Sunday, 19 December 2010

Visit to L'Escala in Spain - Montpellier - Saturday November 6th

I arrived safely in Montpellier. The train was due at 16.44. I am amazed at the speed of the trains. I travelled 313 miles (502 kilometres) in 3 hours 25 minutes. It was much faster, more pleasant and safer than travelling by car. As far as I am concerned, the French drive on the wrong side of the road. I'm not sure if it is an old wives tale (oh dear - that wasn't PC), but I have read (on the Internet probably) that Napoleon was left handed and he ordered people to travel on the right so that his sword arm would not be disadvantaged if he were to be attacked on the road. I have driven in France on a couple of trips. I have found that I am at most risk of driving on the wrong side of the road when I have returned home and am no longer thinking hard about it.

There is a business renting bicycles just by the edge of the railway station. There were lots of bikes so I suppose that Montpellier get lots of visitors.

Like many European Countries (including the U.K.), the government in France is trying to cut down public spending. The government in France wishes to raise the retirement age.

According to the BBC "Under current rules, both men and women in France can retire at 60, providing they have paid social security contributions for 40.5 years - although they are not entitled to a full pension until they are 65. The government says it will save 70bn euros (£58bn) by raising the retirement age to 62 by 2018, the qualification to 41.5 years, and the pension age to 67."

There was a demonstration against the increase in the retirement/pension age. It was very good willed and there were quite a few children present.

I had difficulty finding my hotel. I made it in the right general direction but ended up completely lost. I asked a young couple. They didn't know where it was. They offered to phone the hotelier to ask directions but in the end found it on Google maps on his Smart-phone. I love Smart-phones. I couldn't use mine for Google Maps because I hadn't managed to get it enabled for use abroad.  I was reasonably close and was able to remember the location and arrived safely. I stayed at the Abbeliss Polygone Hotel. I remember now how I was able to get close to it, there was a Polygone shopping centre and a big sign with the name on is visible from quite a long way a way. The hotel was OK, it was very reasonably priced and within walking distance of the town centre. It also had free wi-fi.

I dumped my stuff and went for a walk. I went to the shopping centre first and found a Finac store. I have been to Finac in Spain and didn't know that they had outlets in France. Finac sells Books, Music, Videos and Computers. I was very restrained and purchased one book. Les fées, de Charles Perrault et Charlotte Gastaut . It is a book for children between 5 and 8 years old, which means I was able to read and understand it. It has the most gorgeous illustrations.If you search for "Charlotte Gastaut" in Google Images you will find lots of her illustrations. Her blog is here.

I also went to a super market, I like going to supermarkets when I am travelling to find out the different sorts of food that other cultures eat. I have also found that food is displayed differently, especially meat and fowl. I bought DH Paul a present, although it wasn't French. It was a tube of Wasabi sauce, the green very hot stuff that you have with Sushi.

Prior to the trip, I had been hoping to catch up with my brother and sister in law. They live about 20 minutes from Montpellier. However, they had just become grand parents to twin girls and were anxious about the health of one of them and were glued to the phone, so our meet up didn't happen. I'm pleased to say that the twins are well and are at home. The in-laws with the twins, blogged by the new mum.

So, no catch up with the in-laws. It was surprisingly (to me any way) warm in Montpellier. I had my evening meal "outside". It was on a terrace which had a plastic cover for the roof and sides. The front was open. They were heating the stratosphere though with burners. I had a very pleasant meal and wended my way back to the hotel. I went to bed very early and slept very well, I was pooped after all that travelling.

I didn't find this map until the following day, but have added it to Saturday's blog. It shows the Railway station, the location of the hotel and the square where I had my evening meal.

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing trip! I have always wanted to go to Spain and it's the one country I haven't managed to get to yet. Good for you girl!!