Monday morning. I didn’t sleep much last night.
I was too excited, and a little bit nervous, but proud of myself for remembering to pack little but important things like a plug adapter and a couple of Euros for the bus which was to take me to my AirBnb when I was in Bordeaux.
I arrived at the airport on time (one of the very few places I usually make it on time, when I’m about to fly away), I even had all my liquids put in a bag beforehand.
It was a short flight and the pilot brought us to Bordeaux earlier than expected. On the plane I read the book Shebs gave me on Ikigai, the’reason for being’, what gets you up in the morning, the Japanese way of life and its five pillars, starting small, releasing yourself, letting your ego go (probably the toughest but the most liberating), harmony and sustainability, the joy of little things, my favourite and my personal eternal struggle, being in the here and now. Every time my mind wandered to anything else than my French adventure, I remembered the fifth pillar. Right now you are on the plane, on your first solo trip. Forget everything else. Who cares what you’ll be doing in a week?
When I arrived, I smiled. I was finally away. And it was sunny!
On the bus my mind wandered, but this time was happy thoughts. I remembered the last time I was away, in Italy with my sisters… and then I got car sick… At that moment I decided I’d rather walk for the next three days and only get the bus again to the airport.
After I checked into my beautiful, colourful Airbnb room, my lovely host Malvina gave me a little tour of her house and a couple of ideas on what to do the following days. Oh and I only found out a few days before that breakfast was included. I asked Malvina for breakfast at 9am tomorrow.
After a quick freshening up, out I went to start exploring. I was a little scared to begin with, but after 10 minutes of wandering, looking around, taking it all in, I remembered why I love travelling so much.
I started to feel hungry so I found this little cafe on TripAdvisor, Books and Coffee, just under the Great Bell Malvina told me about. I loved it. Cosy and quirky, buzzing with people.
After my short break, I walked by the river, God I love the water, it will always remind me of home. It was breezy, but still sunny.
I then bumped into the Place de la Bourse, the iconic Bordeaux square, which at summertime you can see reflecting on Miroir d’eau, the world’s largest reflecting pool.
I wandered into the Musée national des douanes, a national museum of the history of French Customs and then off to St Michel church and Porte d’Aquitaine.
On my way to… nowhere specific, I walked into a handmade chocolate shop and had a laugh with the shopping assistants (and bought a delicious chocolate on a stick) and then came across what I’d describe as a ‘room’ dedicated to Peru, still not sure what it was…
Three hours later, I was exhausted and starving. Deciding where to have dinner was tough. I didn’t realise that most restaurants are closed on Monday in Bordeaux. Again TripAdvisor did not disappoint. I found this cute, elegant bar/restaurant, Loulou and I had a well deserved glass of wine, A Chateau Peyreau the waitress recommended with my dinner, who I asked her to choose for me as the menu was in French and I was too tired to think and translate and decide. She chose the Filet de Canette (duck fillet), Pommes au safran, legumes craquants (apples in Saffron and ‘crunchy’ vegetables) and it was delicious! The glass of wine she recommended was perfect with my dinner! A girl was there on her own, translating the menu. Another fellow solo traveller.
I smiled. A couple of years ago just the idea of eating at a restaurant on my own wouldn’t even appeal to me, but here I am, in another country on my own, absolutely loving sitting on my own, enjoying dinner and a glass of wine, people watching.
I came home exhausted but happy.