Bonjour! So much has happened during the last two weeks, since I left Denmark on the 17th of February.
My journey to France started out pretty mediocre with my train to Hamburg being delayed by an hour and two of the four train carriages missing. So I spent the ride cramped together with mostly Germans on the floor, knitting my scarf and communicating in bad German with the sweet woman beside me.
From Hamburg I took a night train to Stuttgart – ending up in a compartment with a crying baby and a little girl singing 'Happy Birthday' for a solid three hours. The family were kind though and I managed to get a bit of sleep before arriving in Stuttgart around 4.40 in the morning. It was freezing cold and my train to Paris wouldn’t arrive until 7 am, so I hid out in the bathroom for most of the morning.
After dragging my huge suitcase back and forth in the streets of Paris, I found the metro and arrived at Gare de Lyon with enough time to board my final train to Montpellier.
I spent most of the 18th unpacking, packing and chatting with Benedicte.
And then around 5.40 am the following morning Ben drove me to the train station from where I took the train to Toulouse. In Toulouse I boarded the bus to Andorra and arrived at Bordes de Envalira around 3 pm.
Tomas thankfully did remember to pick me up at the bus station and we walked down to the hotel Axel was working at to say hi. We chatted in the bar for a while, Axel joining in when he wasn’t running around serving food.
And then the waiting game began – we were going to join an Argentinian party at a bar in town after Axel finished work the same night, but until then (approximately until 1 am) Tomas and I had to entertain ourselves.
We found the key to Axel’s apartment (which he is sharing with three other girls and a guy) and after watching a bit of television, we went for happy hour at a bar – since neither of us really knew Axel’s roommates we thought it would be odd to be in their apartment when they got home from work. So we spent the rest of the evening in town, first getting food and then visiting three different bars to pass the time (as soon as the sun set it was freezing outside, so the bars were mostly a way to get out of the cold).
It was lots of fun just catching up with Tomas and later on meeting lots of different people (almost all Argentinian). But when Axel finally did arrive at the bar we had had a little too much to drink and so I spent most of the following day sleeping off a hangover.
I stayed with Axel (whom I met on the first farm in Thailand and then later met up with on a second farm in Thailand - the second time he brought with him his childhood friend Tomas) in Andorra for a week. Unfortunately he worked from 2 pm and until 1-3 am, so most of the day I spent on my own.
He would wake me up when he got back from work and we would spent most nights talking, one night sharing a bottle of wine and staying up until 5 am, laughing and talking quietly. And then we would try and get the most out of the mornings we had, usually going for walks.
On the 21st we took the bus to a nearby town, Pas de la Casa, to buy groceries and walk around. We shared some vegetable skewers at a restaurant and enjoyed the warm weather before hurrying back in time for Axel to get to work.
Picture: Axel trying to look dangerous
The following morning we slept in and sat down outside with hot cocoa.
Axel’s roommates usually got home somewhere in the early evening and I got to know them throughout the week as well. They were all Argentinian, but luckily Augustin – the guy – was really good at English and we spent a lot of time chatting and even went to watch a snowboarding competition together one afternoon.
Julie was great at English too and although Augustina didn’t know much English, she tried her best and we had great fun together in the evenings. Cami knew barely any, but she seemed kind. One evening we watched a documentary together on Chernobyl, one evening Augustin made vegan apple pie and on multiple occasions we either watched TV together or chatted for a bit.
On the 23rd Axel and I woke up early and went on a long walk, finding small hidden pathways and ultimately getting a little lost in a nature area quite far from his apartment.
It was a beautiful and serene place and we had lots of fun exploring for hours – first in the heat of the sun and then in the cool shade of the pine trees.
The following day we watched a documentary in the morning and after walking Axel to the hotel I continued down to the same place to sit by the river. The sun was shining warmly and I ended up falling asleep on the grass for two hours.
And then before I knew it I was on a bus back to France on the 25th.
Andorra had been beautiful and it was great seeing Axel and Tomas (who unfortunately lived and worked quite far from Axel).
But I had also felt a little out of place in the apartment and at the end of the day there really hadn’t been too much to do there. So it felt good to be on my way back to Montpellier.
Back in Montpellier I did a bit of grocery shopping and took the tram back to Ben and Eric’s house. I spent the first evening there alone - unpacking, washing my clothes and getting settled.
these past few days I’ve mostly spent relaxing, chatting with Ben and walking around Montpellier.
I went grocery shopping with Ben one day and then spent another day finding organic shops in the city centre.
Saturday I bought a proper tram card and then met up with Caroline at Cafe Bonobo just before she was off to Paris for an internship.
Picture: like true cousins we were accidentally matching from head to toe
She took me on a walk around the city and showed me where the good thrift stores and restaurants are.
Today Ben and I drove to Saint Gulheim le Désert, a charming old town near Montpellier and we spent the early afternoon trekking up the hill.
We found a spot in the sun somewhere along the trail to eat our lunch and then made our way back down again.
And then tomorrow I will be starting school – at least two months of intensive French courses for beginners (six hours a day, the two extra hours will be primarily focused on pronunciation). I’m excited to learn and hope everything works out well.
So far I love it here. Eric and Ben are lovely and I’m already starting to feel at home in their house.
And Montpellier is a beautiful city with lots of organic, vegan and zero-waste shops and initiatives. I’m crossing my fingers that the other students will be nice and that I’ll learn my French quickly.
Well, bonne nuit and wish me luck!