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Location: Austin, TX, United States

Scholar, Writer, Mother, Dreamer. Editor of Luminarium, an online library for English Literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Monday in Montpellier

Arrived safely in Barcelona, of which I got to see nothing but the airport this trip, and then drove north to the French border, and up to Montpellier. Jet lag had me pretty unconscious, and I didn't get up until after noon today.

Weather in Montpellier right now is lovely, about 80F or so, and the city is bathed in bright golden sunlight. I visited Montpellier a few years ago, but this time what has struck me is how different it is from Paris and other towns in Northern France. 1) People are much friendlier 2) Cultural diversity rivals that of NYC 3) Few people speak, or admit to speaking, English. Whereas in Paris, say, one can tell what kind of clothing or shoes are in fashion, here it is well nigh impossible to gauge - people of every shape, size, color, and dressed in everything from kaftans to flip-flops to miniskirts and business suits flit by like so many energetic butterflies. This makes it very nice for the visitor — one doesn't stick out of the crowd as a foreigner any more than the next person.

I took my book and my map and went to the Place de l'Opéra, where amidst the swirl of students, tourists, and locals I found a nice little table at a sidewalk café and sipped a café au lait while doing some daydreaming and people watching. I also managed to devour a goodly chunk of my book (Umberto Eco's newest, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana), after which I strolled down to the Galleries Lafayette, where I browsed the colorful purses and sunhats, drooling over the sumptuous fabrics and balking over the prices.  I ended up buying a nile blue (turquoise for you straight guys :P) pashmina shawl to wear in the evenings when it gets a bit nippy still. Dinner was at 'l'Ancienne Corriere', a 5-course menu which was very mysterious to me, and half the things I still don't know what it was exactly that I ate, but it was all delicious. The dessert was chocolate mousse with bananas and this thinnest of thin wafer cake. Yummmm.

Tomorrow I'm planning on visiting a few museums and the Ursuline convent, and perhaps finding a cute pair or two of espadrilles, then heading to the storybook castle and fortified town of Carcassonne for dinner and an evening stroll. And the crack of dawn on Wednesday will find me en route to good ol' Londinium. More bloggery from there.

*mwah* A

Tags:  Travel


Blogger The Lion Sleeps Tonight said...

I hope you're having an awesome time.

June 13, 2006 1:19 AM  
Blogger Mark A. said...

Take care of that jet-lag. I hope you recover fast than I do.

And would you be sure to tell London that I said "hi?" I haven't called or written, and I feel as if I'm being a tad neglectful.

June 13, 2006 2:44 AM  
Blogger Anniina said...

Mark, London seemed pleased that you sent greetings, and told me to wish you a speedy return. The booksellers on Tottenham Court Rd. especially seemed to miss you - something you want to admit to? :)

June 14, 2006 2:19 PM  

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