Sunday, May 2:  Nelly and Company

Today I woke up again to find that I was cold. Very cold. I slowly got up and noticed that the door to the balcony was open a crack, so I quickly shut it. Shivering, I got dressed and ready to go to breakfast. Soon I walked downstairs with everyone, and into the warm breakfast room. The owner, Terry, came out and served us. He gave Robert and I hot chocolate, and my parents coffee. To eat I had some apricot yogurt and a croissant. Everything except for the yogurt was good, and I liked it. After that we went upstairs to grab our bags, and then quickly back down again. We then hopped in the car parked nearby, and drove off. Today we were going to meet some friends of ours who live in Gig Harbor a mile from our house for half of the year, and on the outskirts of Toulouse the rest of the year. The lady’s name is Nelly, and the other’s is Louis. We soon were near where they lived, so we followed some directions until we came to a bunch of apartment buildings in front of a beautiful harbor and canal. My dad parked, and I hopped out and followed everybody to their building. We pressed the button for their room, and said we were here. She said to take the elevator to the third floor, so we did. When we got out, we knocked on the door and went inside. We said hello to Nelly, Louie, their collage aged son, Nick, and a friend of theirs, who was about my parents age like Nelly and Louie, and I don’t know her name. They were all very welcoming and instantly offered us a drink.

I got some orange juice, and drank it on the couch while everybody chatted a while. After that, we all went to the table to find a big buffet-style setup for brunch! I was amazed, and thanked them while I grabbed my food. When everybody had grabbed their food, we all sat on the couch and ate it. I got pineapple (juicy!), some cheese that was like Swiss without the holes, ham, and tried some sort of meat. Everything was very delicious, except I didn’t find a taste for the meat. Then, we all tried to figure out what to do this afternoon. Louie found a map and we planned out a car trip, stopping in various places. We all piled in the cars, our family and Nick in our car, and everyone else in their car. We did a very scenic drive to the first town. The first stop was Isle-en-Dodon, a quiet town. We parked in a free lot and got out, but it seemed like the whole town was deserted! We were going to find the Villepigue house today. The Villepigues are the Beezer’s ancestors, and we are going to meet one, the Lady who owns the Figeac, at our next place we stay. She now goes by the name Manincur (I am completely guessing at this spelling, but will find out later, and for now just pronounce it MAN-in-coor), because she married the other owner of the Figeac. My Grandma, who likes to do Genealogy, found all of this out for us, and wants us to find this house that is the one of the only known evidence to the Villepigues. We knew that we would never find it by myself, so Louie asked a man if he knew where it is, and he said yes. He quickly showed us where it was, and his son on a bike followed. We then quickly saw it, but he said that if you wanted to learn about it, he knew a lady who knows all about it. We turned away and followed, and he took us to a big building. It was opened by two old ladies, and they let us in to the backyard. While everyone chatted, Robert, Nick, and I played football (soccer) with a dog. The dog was actually pretty good, and could easily push it wherever he wanted. Then when everybody was finished, we left and walked back to the house.

There we took a few pictures, and examined it. It was about 3 stories high, with lots of windows and shutters, and had a porch. After that, we walked back to the car and hopped in. Our next town was Simorre, where we were going to see a church. We got to the town and parked near the church, and we all got out. The church was amazing! It was full of bricks, and very big. I really, really, like it. Then we headed inside and looked around. It had lots of stained glass, and a wooden choir stand behind the altar and a carving of a different person on each seat! There was also a painting of the Pieta which looked really 3-D and I loved it. It was a very big church, so it took a bit to look at everything. Eventually we left and decided that we were hungry, so everyone looked for a place for ice cream. On the way we looked at some exotic birds in a cage, and then moved on. Mom, Robert, Nick and I were looking at a bunny that looked like a cow in a woman’s yard, and suddenly the owner came out and let us hold it! It was very soft, and nearly fell asleep when I held him. Then we tried to give it to Robert, but it kicked him hard with his back legs in his chest. Then he stopped and let him hold him. After a minute we gave it back to the lady and thanked her. By that time everyone had found a place to eat, so we went inside. All the adults got coffee or tea, but Robert and I got an all white chocolate ice cream bar, and Nick got one that was chocolate with nuts. While we ate outside, a nice big rambunctious dog was politely begging for some, and tried to jump on us. In the end a gave him a little, and it stopped him from begging, but was a lot more hyper. After that we threw our stuff away and got back in the car.

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Photo 259  The castle of Carcassone
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Photo 260  Left to Right: Robert, Nick, Nelly’s Friend, and Nelly

We were driving to Gimont, but didn’t get out, because we drove right under an old wooden area for market, and then turned around to go straight into Toulouse. This drive was longer, but soon we were inside a parking garage, going for the elevator. Right now we were going to see things in the city. We got out of the elevator and started exploring. The first stop was the Basilica of Saint Sermin, and we walked up to it. This one was very big, with a tower, but the real stuff was inside. I walked through the pink padded doors and looked inside. The altar had a big something with a saint in the middle (I don’t know who), and also two side chapels. Everyone split up, and Mom, Robert and I went to a chapel on the left. There was a quick little thing you had to pay to see, but kids were free, so we went in even though it cost 2 Euro. It wasn’t much, but it had lots of gold tabernacles (at least I think that’s what they were), and relics of Saints. Afterwards, we left in search for everyone else. It took a while, but soon we were all together, outside. Then everybody followed Lou to the next sight. Passing through the crowded streets of rollerbladers, we came to a big plaza. It looked kinda like the square in Naples, near where we were waiting for our ferry and we played soccer (see 4/5). It was very pretty, with a big building on one side, where we were going. It was called the Place du Capitole, and it had some art inside. We hiked up some stairs into a room with lots of huge paintings made by a lot of small brush strokes. I really enjoy these paintings, so I looked for a while. After that we went to a long room with sculptures and paintings, but wasn’t as cool. Afterwards, we went back down out to the plaza, and we kept walking. The next and last stop was the Church les Jacobins, and at first I thought I was looking at the same church we just saw! But when we went inside, I noticed it wasn’t. It had very neat pillars, and event more stained glass! It was EVERYWHERE and made the whole church different colors. There wasn’t much to see, just to look at it was enough. There was a side area that led you to a courtyard that everybody paid to go into.

It was where some monks lived and worked. We sat around, and then decided to go home. Everybody trekked back to the car, and the hosts invited us to dinner. We didn’t want to trouble them, but they insisted. So we drove back to their apartment. Inside, we had ham and cheese sandwiches, and ate at the table. Soon we finished, so Robert, Nick and I played poker with pennies. Nick heard that I had run out of books to read, so he grabbed me some old books of his and gave them to me. They were, “Timeline” and “Dune”. I thanked him, and then went back out to the main room and got ready to go. We thanked them a last time, and went back in the car and drove home. We got back at 10:00, so I plopped on my bed and fell asleep. I sure hope tomorrow isn’t as exciting as today!