My next stop was Narbonne. Originally I wanted to go from Bordeaux directly to Spain, but there were no train connections. So instead the Interrail app recommended me to cross France to the East to go to Narbonne and then from there South to enter Spain. So that was the plan for today. Unfortunately the train only went a very few times a day, so I had to board it at 14:30, which basically is in the mid of the day, meaning most of the day will be lost. All in all the ride was supposed to take a bit over 3 hours, meaning I would be in Narbonne roughly at 18:00.
In some recent post I was marveling at the punctuality and reliability of french trains. Now I have to revise my statements. I had to buy a reservation for the train and my seat was in cart number 10. Before departure, a stressed out conductor made some announcements in French and after that people around me packed their bags and started to leave the train. I asked another passenger what happened and they told me that there was a technical problem with the cart, so all passengers should leave and wait for the repair technician.
Some minutes passed while I was waiting in the sun together with about 50 other passengers, then the conductor made another announcement. The air conditioning in the cart was broken and we were supposed to split up over the other train carts, told me another passenger. Luckily I found a free seat, which I could occupy for the duration of the ride. Other passengers were not so lucky and either did not find a free seat at all, or had to give it up to other passengers at some point. All this chaos lead to the train departing with a delay of about 40 minutes. When we finally arrived in Narbonne, the delay would have increased to a whole hour.
I did not pay much attention to the landscape outside the window, as I was doing some work on my laptop. Also, I had not gotten a window-seat, so it wasn’t that easy looking out. At some point though I noticed that the landscape outside was drastically changing. The gentle vineyards of Bordeaux were replaced by full-grown mountains and the color of the soil slowly changed to a more red-ish/orange-ish brown. The vegetation was also different, although I lack the vocabulary and knowledge or the Flora to accurately describe it. Basically, suddenly there were those pointy trees which I always associated with the Italian Toskana.
Since now it was already very late afternoon (past 19:00), I figured my chances to find an affordable hostel were quite low, since surely most places were already booked out. And I felt adventurous, so I decided to attempt to go to the beach and find some nice spot where I could spend the night in open air. I had checked the weather report, which stated that temperatures would only drop to around 12°C which I should be able to survive using my blanket and Jacket and extra trousers.
And so I started walking from the train station down to the coast. OpenStreetMaps reported that it would take around an hour to complete the stretch, but I believe it took me at least 1:30. On my way though I crossed beautiful vineyards and enjoyed the ambience. Arriving at the shore I noticed an issue. Mosquitos. At first I thought it wasn’t too bad. I knew that mosquitos often live near waters, but my hope was that they would somehow fear salty water. Turns out that’s not the case. When I tried to settle down at some acceptable spot, quickly decided to bail as suddenly there were at least 20 mosquitos swarming around my head.
I tried walking them off, but they followed me. So in the end I had to give up and needed to walk all the way back to the city. Luckily I found a hostel, but unfortunately my stay in Narbonne would be comparably expensive to that in Nantes. At least I have a big bed in my own room again, so I expect to sleep well at last.
One response to “Europe Trip Journal – Entry 7: Mosquitos”
@vanitasvitae For next time, you can go to Spain from Bordeaux, just keep going south on the west coast, you get to hendaye/irun (France/Spain border), from there there is a local train to San Sebastian, which is firmly in Spain