09.08.2007 -17 °C
Yes Bern... I already forgot what i wrote about it. Its nice to visit, i heard its nice to party there too. Unfortunately iàm not quite the partying type. Well when i mean party i guess i mean night life in this case. I am too poor to drink beer... I seriously dont know how other travellers seem to be able to drink beer during the nights... I have been surviving on sausages and the cheapest bread for god knows how long and i still cant afford it. What do they do?!?! skip all their meals?
ANYWAYS... met a couple of nice and interesting people at the hostel in Bern. I found out that in french canada everything is done in french, whereelse the rest of the country, things are in english. Funny system that... i suppose its too hard to change it but well... no more comments.
After bern was Gap, in france!! I have been trying to do some couchsurfing, but due to lack of preparation ( i only found out about it right before i left) and expensive local internet, i have not much luck with it. But! i got to crash on a couch/futon in Gap France, with the most wonderful host/friend/woman ever! However, it was no thanks to couchsurfing.com though. I met her in Bruges! It'll take too long to explain... so i won't. Hooray i found the ' symbol. Somebody write a comment and thank me.
The town was quite cute. Its not very toouristy and so retains quite a little bit of the french countryside town feel. From a high vantage point ( like when you're on top of La Clarance, about 2300m up), you will see that Gap is really too big for the area. However, you certainly don't feel it when you're living in downtown (where she lives). Gap is like Zermatt, overdeveloped but far far less touristy. My experience there was phenomenal. I was introduced to french cooking ( yeah she is a good cook. Now i have a valid reason for a french maid, if i can afford one ever ), and the hikes in the nearby area were the most beautiful hikes ever! I am told in summer there are many outdoor activities, free ones, in Gap. They are mostly musical festivities but the thing is, they are weekly ones! Twice if not at least once weekly! Now, the french really know how to enjoy life! French kissing, yeah that probably came from france. Where else?!?! By the way, i have to mention that there is a food native to the region called tourtons. The first ones i had were a little bit like curry puffs, minus the curry spice. The later ones i had, the sweet ones, were spectacular!! The had all sorts of flavors. Unfortunately i had quite a bit to eat already and had no chance to sample them all. I am salivating right now just thinking of it!! The berry/currant one i had was the best! It was soft and sweet and yet it had that sour currant/berry tang to the slighly crunchy crust that enveloped the (duh) filling. Now that we're talking about food i hve to mention this lovely biscuit: prune flavored biscuits. They were given to me as a snack on my hike up La Clarance (by myself). I had it and the top and if i wasnt so amazed by the taste i'd had shouted my orgasmic pleasure (i apologise to the children who read this, please don't look up the dictionary for clarification. You'll find out later in life by youself.). Someone has GOT to introduce this type of biscuit to whereever i live... i would buy them by the case! These biscuits had just the right amount of saltiness and sweetness to it. Perfect for snacking!!!
The hikes -- I won't bore most of my readers with all the details, but i have to say, wandering around the national park (yeah she took a day off work...how much better can a host be?!?) in france, i got to see the true beauty of alpine summer time. The wild flowers were in bloom, the wild berries and all were in season... It is quite something else to be able to just pick off the wild berries and eat them while you're hiking! The mountain tops weren't that impressive i suppose, but the hikes were quite something else! I love the beauty of the place. I dont remember the name of the park, but its the one that has Le Sirac in it.
Aside from Gap, i also got to see Embrun, a small resort town half an hour train ride away. By the way, my experience in laid back out back france was lovely. The people were friendly and generous. The saying that the french are rude etc etc so far has not proven true yet. Now... the italians however... I will mention that later. Maybe. The town was quite a bit more touristy than Gap. It was by a very beautiful lake. I think Embrun is also a hotspot for the french themselves... Most of the brochures i saw were only in French... Well, maybe i am again very very ignorant. Anyhow, I wished i could windsurf. I've tried once before back home in Malaysia with disastrous results, you can ask me personally and so haven't picked it up. I spent about half an hour watching them people having quite the time of their lives! It was a particularly windy day i am told and boy did those windsurfers shoot across the broad lake! I am quite sad i didn't get the chance to spend more time there, i had an errand to run that evening so i had to make it back to Gap early. Overall... i wish i could've spent more time there. When i go back, whenever that is... i'll make sure i can speak ok french. I think i will really really enjoy myself then. I might be falling in love with France!!
Of course i have to say my experience in Nice wasn't memorable. My host has more than made up for it (along with her friends and colleagues) however and then too, she did say the french up north are generally gloomy and unhappy... (Yes i know Nice is in the south. I have come to the conclusion that the french in cities are the bad ones. Of course.. thats a generalization too, everything is. generalization makes life easy. one has just got to remember its a generalization, not a judgement locked in stone).
Hmmm well i guess i was able to gloss through a lot there... hooray! I will stop now. I have actually spent quite a bit of time doing this!! Too much in fact... Till next time! BTW i am in Florence and will be for awhile. Since there is cheap internet here you guys might be in luck! I actually found out u can see how may people has viewed my blog... thanks for doing so! & i hope people will check in again and leave comments!!