Walked to the town centre. Went under the railway bridge which is absolutely covered in graffiti. Three guys were adding to the collection. Didn’t have anywhere specific in mind, I don’t know anything much about Toulouse so just went wherever looked interesting. Quite honestly, all of it looked interesting. At one point the thought entered my head that I could quite happily do this until I was no longer physically able to do so. Then a few other thoughts came crashing into my head.

After the experience with Olivier in Limoges and the realisation that, for the next few days, I would be sharing a small flat with a young couple, I knew that I was fed up with the whole AirBnB thing. I’m also fed up with lugging around all of my very heavy luggage. Especially onto trains and into accommodation which isn’t really designed for travellers and/or tourists. It’s people’s homes FFS!

And, I don’t know which way to go next. If I continue with my planned south-west route to Bilbao, Santander and the Cantabria region, it would be yet more aggro with the luggage and the trains and AirBnB’s. maybe I could take a little break from the AirBnB’s and stay in a hotel for a bit, but the other stuff?

What if, instead, I went east? What if, I went to Barcelona? What if, I could meet up with Florian? Maybe Florian could help me find somewhere a little nicer to stay. Maybe he could help me get a car! That would solve all of my luggage and transport problems. A car, that idea has been tickling the back of my mind for a few weeks now. Basically, since my time in Neuilly-sur-Marne was drawing to close.

And there’s one other thing. Probably the biggest issue of them all. I’m feeling bloody lonely. I’m carving conversation. I’m also craving some kind of validation for what I’m doing. Sure, everybody says, ‘what a great adventure’, ‘I’m so jealous, I wish I could do that’, ‘you’re so brave to be doing something like that’, ‘good for you, you’re living your dream’. If only they knew just how desperate my life had become. If only they knew that, while I am making a life-long dream into a reality, I’m also fighting for my survival. But that’s not the validation that I’m looking for. The comments that people make are nice but, they’re platitudes. That’s all they are in reality. No, the real validation that I’m looking for is for the website. I really, really need people to be looking at it and to be engaging with it.

All of this was going on in my head as I wandered the streets of Toulouse. So, I decided to put out a WhatsApp smoke signal to the Fam group. Charmaine picked it up. I stopped in a little square by what was either a church or a civic hall of some kind. It looked like a wedding was just finishing. Was the bride pregnant? Anyway, I phoned Charmaine.

We spoke for quite a while. I told her all of the stuff that was going through my head, glossing over the loneliness, skipping out the platitudes bit and, ignoring the need for validation. I told her about my idea of getting a car and of heading for Barcelona to meet up with Florian.

Nothing was resolved. She didn’t provide some kind of lightening bolt idea or perspective. But, it felt really good to be talking to somebody, to be getting the thoughts out of my head and into expressed words shared with another. She said that it was a lot to think about. She said that she would run it all by Rob and get back to me. I said that I would contact Florian.

I continued with my exploration of Toulouse………….and stumbled into yet another demo. Which seemed intent on following me wherever I went.

A late lunch of Cassoulet at the L’Esquirol Bar.
........followed by demonstrators and their attendant Gendarmes.

Anyway, despite my little bit of “confusion” earlier, my first day in Toulouse was really good. I also managed to get it my thoughts in order re the demonstrations in France. So, yeah, a good day. I didn’t get back to the apartment until after 07:00pm. Jeremy was preparing a little platter of tapas/hors d’oeuvers. He invited me to join them both for a beer and nibbles.

Really nice young couple. I’ve already said that, right?