OK, it has been quite some time, so these aren't going to be as detailed because they were about a week or two ago. I was without internet in Paris, Edinburgh and London, so I didn't have much time to write, I also didn't have as much train time because we flew a little bit. So, I think I left off when we were entering France. That morning was an interesting one. After having used my Spanish while we were in Spain, it was now Braden's turn to take the reigns and use his French in France. I was excited for this to say the least. When we arrived in France, it was 7 in the morning in Hendeye (hen-die-ah). We had to wait in line to make reservations to Bordeaux. Braden did the transaction in French and we should all be very proud of him. We got onto our train and were sitting behind a grandmother and her three granddaughters that were SO adorable. The little girl had the biggest eyes and she just stared at me and I smiled and waived.
We got off the train in Bordeaux and went first to drop off our bags in a locker so we didn't have to carry them all around town. We went trough metel detectors and had to put our bags through the machine, I thought it was a little much for a train station, but securtiy makes me feel safe, so that's fine by me. After figuring out how to work the lockers (and finding the concealed English directions) we were on our way. I made Braden ask a worker how often trains leave for Tours (our next stop and our Hotel for the night). He went to the man and asked in English "Trains for Tours?" and the man asked, "You don't speak French?" Braden: "No...Tours??" to which the man pointed to the tourist office and said, "Tours." ...perfect. Also, it was raining. Oh...and the office he pointed to was closed. So far, Bordeaux was not my favorite, but Braden was excited, and that is always a little contagious. We could not find a map, so we chose to take a tram and figure it out from the center of town. We found the tourist office on the tram map and got on there.
The tourist office was big and easy to navigate and they gave us a free map. Things were looking up. We went to the fountain that commemorates the lives sacrificed for "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity" aka the French Revolution killing sprees. The fountain was also an obelisk and was really pretty. There was also a fair going on in town and it looked fun...it also looked like they would not speak English to me.
We wandered around a little more and saw the church. That was holding a protest in front of it, so we didn't go in. After that we ate. I had a great ham and cheese sandwich covered with melted cheese and my first French croissant. SO GOOD. We then strolled back to the tram stop and saw some more pretty buildings, bridges, and the river.
From Bordeaux we went to Tours and checked into our hotel. It was (of course) on the top floor, but we had our own room and it was spacious enough. We wandered around Tours and saw what there was to see.
SPRING (for my mom, because she is sad about the brown in MN)
We then went shopping for some food stuffs to save money and also bought a baguette, some brie and French wine and had ourselves a cheap fun night in the hotel room!
The next morning we were leaving for Paris, but we had a layover in Orleans (or-lee-on-s), the home of Joan of Arc. We were going to be getting to Paris well before April and Maria, so we decided since it was not far out of the way it wouldn't be too bad to stop and see some of that town. When we got off the train we looked right away for when the next train left was...it was in 2 hous. We couldn't decide if we wanted to stay or just go to Paris, but by the time I decided the train had left. So, stuck we were. I could not make heads or tails of the maps they had posted in the city, so Braden went to sit down and I explored to try and find a postcard. Well, while out, I figured out where we needed to go after studying the map for about 20 minutes. I went back and got Braden and we explored Orleans.
It was a really cool little city, and I liked it I think the best of the three French cities we visited. At first I hated it because the trains were so infrequent, but I eventually warmed to it. We had to walk all the way to the church to find something that was open and selling postcards, though. Sundays in France are just as bad as they are in Germany and the only place that was going to have shops open was going to be Paris. Speaking of Paris....that is where we went next!