After a whirlwind tour of Barcelona we headed to Toulouse arriving later at night than normal and took a taxi to our apartment which was on the 19th floor and had a great view of the city. Even better was a pizza place within walking distance. After settling the boys in for the night, I went and got some which Leah and I finished with relish. In the morning we wanted to find a grocery store and a bakery and ended up walking one about 1 kilometer away in the wrong direction. On the way back we walked by both of these within 100m from our building; we should have hung a left, not a right. We did see these awesome nearly silent street level trams which are a combination of Airbus and Alstrom designs. pic
We went to the central plaza twice and to the bathroom in McDonald’s three or four times. Leah and I would trade off taking the kids so the security wouldn’t get wise – though I am sure three running and laughing Canadian kids stuck out in their minds. There was a simple little park near the plaza that the boys liked so we would sit and drink a coffee, people watch and enjoy the atmosphere. For the boys, the highlight of Toulouse was first getting new Tin Tin books at the english bookstore. Ours are nearly threadbare and so some new reading material was great.
Near our apartment is a park called Jardin Raymond VI which runs from down our street to the river and is recommended for picnics and kids. The street end of the park is empty but on the river end, there were lots of picnics, some of which were quite elaborate with a group of 20 lounging and large serving dishes laid out with food to eat. Some of the children seemed content to lounge, while at least a few couldn’t resist playing a ball based tag game with our boys on the stage in the park. It didn’t really matter that about half the group couldn’t understand the other half, they just played.
Finding lunch was a fiasco but based on a local recommendation we went for French food at Chez Carmen. It was busy with locals but we didn’t order very well and did not really enjoy it. Leah ordered country stew and ended up with a greasy all beef stew and I had duck that had a nice sauce and was cooked well but the meat to sauce ratio was low with it being mostly meat. The boys attempted “steak” which was a hamburger patty that was only partially cooked and not a fan favorite. The fries were good though! Not the best first experience with French food. I think ordering is an extremely important skill if you want good food at a restaurant in France.
In Toulouse we also went to the Cite de l’Espace for Ethan’s birthday. It was great, they had headsets for anything that was in French and a great IMAX movie on one of the last shuttle missions which involved repairing the Hubble telescope. The original english version was narrated by Leonardo d’Caprio and featured lots of cool space walk shots. The french are very proud of their space program especially the Ariane rocket which is a three stage rocket that can insert two satellites into orbit per launch. There was a mock up of the Mir station which you could walk through. We hit the playground in the space center twice in between exhibits and movies.
At home we had cupcakes and pizza for supper. A few days later, Ethan commented that he didn’t really get a party because we didn’t have hats and there were no balloons. We will make sure we get some of those for next year.
On to Tours.