My Football pilgrimage demanded a country side sighting between the weekend La Liga and midweek Champions League games. We decided to spend this break covering south France. Our first stop was Toulouse, a quiet, sleepy, high on architecture, quaint and safe town. Seven observations I made there!
The town seemed quiet maybe as everyone had gone to participate in a presidential campaign. Juloos in Hindi (Indian language) means political rally. Candidate Melechon and his supporters had a massive gathering. Seemed more like a fair with loud music, street vendors, heavy security and general enthusiasm. The crowds dispersed very systematically too. May the best candidate, one which France deserves most, win.
2. Longest wifi password ever!
Toulouse has more than twenty Indian restaurants. Most run by Bangladeshis. Food prices range from 15€ – 30€ for two persons. One of these restaurants had the longest wifi password I ever saw! And morever all the words were in capital letters! Doesn’t this deserve to be sent for Guiness book of records?
3. Golden McDonalds!
Finally we spot a McDonalds outlet which isn’t written in yellow. Amidst the bustling Capital square area.
4. Our hotel experience was an experience!
Appart Hotel Saint Exuppery doesn’t take checkin between 12pm to 5:30pm! So we had to drag our luggage another 300m away to its sister hotel – only to keep the luggage there. Then return 5:30pm to drag back to our stay hotel and then checkin!
The air conditioner wasn’t working (just our luck that the April weather didn’t need it), there are no ready hand staff to come to room and fix things (everything is discussed over phone!) and hola – the connecting door to our next apartment could be opened and no one was there! So we got two one bedroom apartments to sleep! Nice to hear as a perk, but major security concern.
What if during checkin hours someone comes into next apartment and then enters ours! The hotel though had certain instructions in Hindi and Chinese – that was unique. Finally someone calculated the world population and bothered to customise accordingly!
5. The beautiful countryside
6. Architecture Splendid
7. Nice French people
My three encounters with people at Toulouse came out very positive. They are warm, friendly, conversational and give smiles. These are attributes you wouldn’t associate with Parisiens or indeed most of France. I made a Facebook friend Victoria on day one and enjoyed playing with tiny Alicia on the train on day two. The Flixbus drivers are good too,
All the above though, pales a little, when I think that the Indian flag held by me, flying at Nou Camp stadium, Barcelona last Saturday, is all over internet and social media now. That has to be the biggest moment of our Football Pilgrimage so far. Special mention of my Facebook friends Suvajit De and Omeir Ak for directing me to internet locations where this flag moment has been captured.
There is only One India.