July 9th. July 9th. My first sip of caffeine in over two weeks. Hopefully the white matter in my brain that had been converted to grey matter got a chance to go back to being white matter again. I can see my open window from where I’m sitting. The comfortable bed. The weather outside is finally nice, finally kind of like summer. Does France not have summer? It’s July and there hasn’t been one sunny day since I’ve been here. Clouds and rain and humidity. And raw milk. Yesterday I had unpasteurized milk and afterward felt like Paul Bunyan. I thought we didn’t sell it in the States but turns out we do it’s just hard to find and I’m sure expensive as hell. Here you can get a liter of organic, grass fed, unpasteurized milk — in other words milk in its most simple form exactly as you’re supposed to drink it — for a euro. Why is the US so messed up? Of course, it’s micro filtered. You know the filters you use for backpacking? They use something like that to filter the milk so it doesn’t have a bunch of bacteria in it. But it’s not pasteurized.
I’m in the city of Le Mans, famous for its 24 hour endurance race featured in the movie Ford vs Ferrari. I’m in a hotel called Le Charleston which is nice in some ways but I’m still excited to get out. It’s too easy to hear the neighbors in the hallway. Breakfast is not included even though I don’t eat breakfast. And the reception is closed from 12pm to 5pm, probably cuz they can’t afford to pay someone during that time. The best part of the hotel by far is the inner courtyard where I am right now. Quiet. Nice tables and chairs. No street noise. Only a morning dove whose cooing is providing the soundtrack for this fragrant day in France. Some nice plants too.
So the current plan, in case you were wondering, is to take the TGV to Montpellier on Tuesday. Go to the Med for a few days. Probably go to Barcelona. Maybe even take a ferry or a short flight over to Mallorca or Menorca. I’ve never been to the Balearic Island. And I feel like it would be nice to be in the sun by the beach, bathing in the salt water. And that way I get to take a fast train through France, too. Don’t have to fly. Flying is so overrated. Trains are where it’s at. The train ride the entire length of the country takes just over three hours. What more could you want? At the airport you have to get to the airport then go through security and then wait for your flight and then wait to board and then sit there while everyone else board and then sit there as they taxi to the gate and then wait for everyone else to get off. On a train you show up, get on, ride, and generally get off in the city center. This last part is key. Airports are usually in cow fields. Train stations are usually the focal points of cities.
I opt not to try to store my bag at the next hotel or to try to check in early. Instead I go to the river or some kind of canal where I sit in the shade of a willow tree and listen to the birds. The water is basically stagnant. This must be some kind of canal. It’s brown. I’m sitting in the shade but it’s been sunny and beautiful ever since I said it hadn’t been sunny and beautiful yet in France. I don’t know what I’m going to do today. I might finally post a blog, I’ll probably drink some raw milk, and I’ll probably do some reading. I also need to do some job search activities so I can keep getting unemployment and possibly book my train south and ask my friend if I can stay with him in Paris. This is the order for today. No climbing cuz I climbed yesterday and it was expensive and the rental shoes were dirty and disgusting.
After chilling under the willow tree I go the train station to try to use the wifi but am unsuccessful. Then I go to the hotel, which is right next to the train station, and leave my bag there so I don’t have to carry it while I’m killing time till check in. Then I go to Cafe Carre by the square by the cathedral, order a matcha latte frappe, and suddenly everything is right in the world. The church bells are tolling. The sun ducks behind a cloud. The matcha comes and it’s sweet and delicious and normally I would be peeved that it’s sweet but since I’ve been in France I’ve been eating carbs like a crazy person so bring it on. The more carbs the better. The past two days I’ve gotten a baguette and just sat there with a knife and a block of butter tearing chunks off it till it’s gone. There’s a time and a place for carbs, and that place is France and that time is every day.
Two matcha lattes. I’ve just spent nine euros. Aka 10 euros. Should I tip? Probably cuz this was sort of a sit down place. Damnit. Ok what am I gonna do. I just wanna go lay on the bed in the hotel. And drink raw milk. Definitely drink raw milk.