Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Au revoir Toulouse! Xin chào Danang :)


Three weeks ago I visited Montpellier for a long weekend over the 14th of July, which is Bastille Day in France and an official bank holiday!

Montpellier is a lovely city. I definitely prefer it compare to Toulouse. Guess you shouldn’t make any comparisons between them, because they are so different. However I felt like I could breath again in Montpellier with open squares and a lot of open space in general. In Toulouse it feels more cramped through all the red bricks and narrow streets. You are always in a valley and never have any point where you can have a stunning view over the city itself. This is the opposite in Montpellier. There is the beautiful “Place Royale du Peyrou”! Have a look yourself.

We visited the old part of Montpellier with the old cobblestone streets,  narrow one’s as well as wide once. 

Montpellier City Center

The atmosphere in the city is great!
I had a look at some French Language Schools as well as English Teaching school to see if there would be any possibility to teach there or to take another language course.

Aix-en Provence

The following day we went on a daytrip to Aix en Provence. It is a nice small city, with a lot of expensive shops and it felt like that all the people from Paris were coming down to spend their vacation in Aix. The city has many lovely fountains and some really nice squares and churches. We also found a small little garden to have a relaxing break from the packed streets of Aix. It was definitely a touristy spot and too busy for my liking. 

Back in Montpellier there was a festival on in the evening with life music and a lot of wine stalls. They had a special offer for 4 Euros, which included 3 glasses of wine, which you could choose from any stall you wanted. They had a wide variety of wines - at least over 80 different one’s ;) The glass was even included! Amazing :)

The next day we decided to go to the beach. There is the possibility to go by bus and for the last bit you can rent velo’s (bicycles) for free if you show your bus ticket :) 

It is a brilliant idea and great service I have to say.
It was nice to swim in the sea again. 

However the water was pretty cold and I couldn’t help myself, but it was not Danang. I missed the Lady Buddha statue and the Monkey Mountain on the left side!

On Sunday we rented some bicycles again to explore the outskirts of Montpellier along the river “Le Lez”. Very nice indeed!

My French course didn’t go according to plan to be honest. I just couldn’t get over the teaching method they were using. It frustrated me a lot and it also didn’t look like as if I would be able to find a job as an English teacher anywhere in the South of France. I didn’t feel like I was welcomed here really.

Tatjana from Russia & myself
So I had to figure out what I wanted to do after the 6th of August!!!

The following weekend I decided to go back to Albi for a day, this lovely ancient city and Clara, another student from London, joined me. We had a great day out, visited the Museum Toulouse-Lautrec with the beautiful gardens behind it as well as the Cathedral Sainte-Cecile. 

We had a great rest at the lovely river “Le Tarn” with the beautiful bridges and just chatted away. 

Before we left there was an open-air theatre directly on the main square in front of the Cathedral. It was actually very nice to watch :)

Overall, a great day out!

Last Friday we went out in Toulouse for my birthday! Alice, Julia & Clara joined me and we had a great night!

Alice, myself, Julia

On Saturday I left on a two days trip to Cahors, which is just over an hour train ride away from Toulouse. I had booked myself a room in a small cosy B&B called “Chez Pierre”, which turned out to be quiet homely :)

I met up with Rick and we decided to explore the town. However the owner of my B&B suggested later on a nice walking tour, apparently 10km long. We decided to head off, discovering after 6km or so that the full loop actually will be 18km instead. Well, as we were already on our way, we also had enough water with us, so we continued. It was a lovely countryside and worthwhile scenery where the walking trail led us :)

Back in Cahors we had a tasty meal in a Creperie from Brittany. I so enjoyed my Kir Breton, a Galette and as dessert another crepe with vanilla ice-cream. Well it was my birthday at last ;)

The highlight of the day was still to come. They had a lightshow on at the famous ancient “Pond Valentre” which lasted for stunning 45 minutes. It was a combination of music and
an impressive light-show!


As the bridge has 3 massive pillars they projected different images on all of them, pretty fast moving sometimes. I have never seen anything so “magnifiques” as the French would say beforehand :)

 It was stunning and really awesome! What a lovely birthday present ;)

Next day we went back to the “Pond Valentre” to take some pictures in the early morning. 

We decided to go on another hike, this time only 8km long to a village next to Cahors called Douelle. 

We passed an amazing viewpoint where a lot of Paragliding took place and it was fun to see them taking off!

After a lazy afternoon with a lovely strawberry tart and a coffee I headed back to Toulouse to start my final week of studying French in my Intensive Course.

And not without a surprise on Monday morning :) We got another new teacher!! The third one in three weeks ;) We also moved up a level – from Beginners class into Elementary A2!! Not sure about that, but I liked the class today and I was not completely lost. The teachers’ instructions were very precise and clear!!! The first time after five weeks ;) Yippie!!!

I will be leaving Toulouse towards St. Foy la Grande (close to Bordeaux) on Sunday for a one week Meditation/Yoga retreat :) No access to any Internet - will be interesting shall we say!!!
I’m heading back to Germany for only 5 days to prepare everything for my trip back to Danang/Vietnam!!! Yes, I am going back :)

Well as it is the 2nd time, so I hopefully will be quicker with packing ;) I doubt it! All these decisions what to bring ;)

I will be teaching in ELI again for another six months and then let’s see what is going to happen :) Time will tell I am sure!!!

It looks like the problem is fixed, so you should be able to post a comment again if you wish :) Thank you and the next update will hopefully be posted already from Vietnam :)!!!!

A bientot!


  1. so nice I can comment now.... thanks for sharing your birthday adventures... and I can't wait to see you when you get back to Vietnam xx

  2. Hi Kerstin , once more I enjoyed reading every word of your lifely blog update - and I love the amazing pictures, as well. I'm wondering if there'll be some minutes to meet for a coffee - in case your flight to Vietnam will depart from FRA ?? :-) Cheers Hendrik

  3. Hi Kerstin, sorry the french thing didnt work out. Good luck back in Vietnam...

  4. Wow Vietnam must have put a spell of you! A positive one of course. Chances are that if I decide to visit it one day, you may be there to say hello. By the way I'd settle for the amazing places you visited on your French adventure at the moment, the combination of your commentary plus photos left me with a veil of envy. Ciao!!

  5. Merci beaucoup! It's so nice to read your comments :)
    Michele, I will come down for a coffee to Hoi An when I am back to catch up.
    Hendrik, I will drop you a separate email as I am actually flying out from FRA :)
    Greg, if you visit Asia again soon, hopefully you will come back to Vietnam! Let me know if you do :)
    Alessandra, I can imagine that you are getting ready for your wedding! Hope all the preparations go well and you are excited :) Please, will you send me a picture afterwards? I'm sure you are going to be a stunning bride! Bonne chance :)

  6. Hi Kerstin,
    so you really return to Vietnam - wow! They seem to do something right over there! Lots of luck and happiness... Susanne