The arrival in Toulouse was not complicated, the exit yes.
Received by Hanifah, a happy Malagasy (born in Madagascar for the information) who loves to talk and show French music, we spent the first night cooking and sharing experiences, that old process of meeting and conquering the new host of couchsurfing , which may sound repetitive but is surprisingly rewarding.
Toulouse, the fourth largest French city, was not destroyed during World War II, so it conserves old buildings and a peculiar architecture, allied to a sublime sunset.
But enough of that bullshit because it is not a tourism blog here.
Getting out of a big city is always tricky, because hitchhiking inside it normally is ineffective and the highways do not always offer the best places to stretch your thumb and follow your destination. Two subways and a bus later and I ran into the road, but to get there I had to transpose a fence.
I travel without paying to move between cities, nor accommodation, but I dislike people who do not pay tickets on public transport.
One day sitting on the subway in Berlin I hear a Brazilian talking to his new friend in the city: “Man, I’ve been here for 6 months and it’s never been a problem. They never stopped me. I do not buy a ticket myself. Nothing is gonna happen, relax! ”
Two stations later and undercover controllers approach my fellow compatriot and his companion. 60 euros fine for each and a smile on my face that I could not hide.
Back to the complicated part of my departure from Toulouse: the fence.
I could not go back, it’s against my principles. I would have to transpose it. Pass the big backpack, pass the sign that would help me, pass the small backpack with water to the other side. Now it’s all about jumping.
With the coordination of a heron in the high jump I gave a show, fortunately without public to applaud me. With the left leg already on the opposite side, I just had to make a single move and celebrate, but nothing is as easy as it seems. After passing my right leg over the fence, I was able to get my shorts stuck on the fence, and in disastrous movement I fell, I tore my clothes, and gained new scratches and bruises with the fall.
Magnifique in good French!
Then it was easy. Pass fast by the toll (cheering for no police) and point my nice and happy sign to the vehicles.
Awesome 5 minutes have passed, even being in a not very good location and Julien, a saxophonist from Bordeaux in his van stops and tells me that his destination was the outskirts of Bayonne on the French coast. Exactly where I wanted to go.
Magnifique number 2!
Good musical conversations, tips for reading, a new band to listen to (Snawt, his band), and almost 3 hours later I arrived where I wanted: finally a beach!
Jean-marc was the person to welcome me this time, and forget about France now. I was in the Basque Country. Flags, symbols, a new language, a new culture, a very different particularity, but the same hospitality found previously.
Dinners, cafes, walks, wines, beers, even a Basque flag to put in my backpack was offered to me.
The next morning was the time to swim in the French Atlantic.
The beach was called Metro, on the outskirts of Tarnos, with a good stretch, clean water and a German war bunker.
Yes, a bunker in the middle of the sand making the environment even better.
After it a walk around Bayonne, and an introduction to the Basque world, with its sports, food, and strong patriotism.
If one day there will be separation of the Basque Country from Spain and that piece in France, I am not going to say it now, but I affirm that this culture can not be erased.