Lundi - We tried calling a taxi but were told the taxis only go to the airport. Robb walked down to Place Léon Blum, got a taxi and brought him back to the apartment to pick up me and our luggage, then we were off to Gare d'Austerltz and the 13h46 train to Toulouse. When we got to the station there was a sign indicating that the train would be fifteen minutes late, but it was on time and left at 13h46 on the dot. If you're planning on taking a scenic tour of France on the train, forget it. Although there was an occasional sight to behold, most of the time the only thing we saw were warehouses or trees, and almost every time you thought you were going to see something, what you saw was warehouses or trees. After Limoges, the tunnels began. There seemed to be an endless number of them. We got to a tiny place called Gournod and the train had to stop because a group of people had blocked the tracks in protest of Sarkozy's announced plan to spend €1.5 million on a private jet similar to the one his buddy George has at his disposal; AirForce One. We were only stuck there for a few minutes and were once again on our way.
When we boarded the train, in Paris, we found our compartment with no problem, but there was an old lady sitting in one of our seats. She made motions to move but we just told her to stay there and we would take other seats. When we left the station, the compartment was full, in fact the entire car seemed to be full. All but one guy got off in Limoges. He was a young guy who was on his way to Toulouse to interview to attend a university. He said if he didn't get that, he was going to apply in Bordeaux. He and Robb had quite a conversation, with Robb speaking French and he speaking English, which he said he wanted to improve.
In Toulouse, it was a long, long walk from the train to the terminal in Gare Matabiau, during which we had to go downstairs and then up stairs, dragging our bags with us. Fortunately, it brought us to within a few yards of the taxi stand. The driver loaded our bags into the back of the taxi and we were off to Hotel Royal Wilson, which is ideally located right downtown, just off Place Wilson and across the street from the Théâtre de la Cité. It is also only a couple of blocks to our friends' apartment. The room is strangely located off the main floor across an atrium, luckily it didn't rain, so we didn't have to test that situation when getting to the room. It's a typically French hotel room; small, but rather nice.
Before we got ourselves settled in, our friend (Lost In France) called to see how we were faring and to invite us for drinks at their place before we all go to dinner tomorrow night.
We rested for a few minutes, then set out for what used to be called Le Bistro' Toulousain, but is in the process of changing to Maison du Cassoulet. I was surprised to find it almost full, and the clientelle was all French. Our waiter was a cute, young oriental guy. We ordered the cassoulet and for the very first time, I ate the whole thing. Afterwards, we went for a nice, long walk down to Place du Capitole and then a round-about way back to the hotel.
Plus à venir, mes amis.