Ann's News

Sunday: Travel Day

My flight was scheduled for 6:10 a.m., out of Stuttgart, to Amsterdam then on to Toulouse Airport on KLM Airline, which made for a very early Sunday morning. Thankfully, an early flight meant I would arrive to Toulouse before lunch time.

The flights went smooth, and I managed to catch a couple 10-15 minute naps. I arrived to Toulouse airport on time. It’s a relatively small airport. Once I had my luggage, I proceed outside, to search for the bus I needed to take to get to the train station. When I booked the trip through Discover France, Chris, the representative I worked with, said it would be easy to get from the airport to the train station and onto Gaillac where my trip began.

I walked outside and was quickly and pleasantly surprised by how warm it was.

It took me a little bit to get my bearing, but I eventually found the bus stop. Unfortunately, I had to wait 15 minutes for it to arrive. The bus finally arrived and for 8 euros (kinda expensive) it took me to the train station.

I was lugging a pretty large suitcase. As much as I wanted to pack light for this trip, I had to anticipate all possible weather conditions, for both my bike riding gear, and clothes to wear to explore the various villages where I would be spending the nights. I didn’t travel much by train during my stay in Europe, my one experience was taking the train from Mainz to Koblenz after biking over a 100 km. Based on that trip, I knew to use the automated machines to make getting a ticket faster, but unfortunately, the automated machines didn’t like my credit card, so I had to make my way to the ticket counter.

I found the ticket counter, grabbed a number, and waited to buy my ticket. It took a good 15 minutes for my number to be called, I purchased my ticket, but my train wasn’t leaving for another 55 minutes. Getting to my final destination was proving time consuming, but I reminded myself I wasn’t in any kind of hurry. I found a snack bar to grab a bite to eat and waited. I returned to the announcement board to see what platform my train would be arriving.

It was a bit of a hump to the platform, and another wait once there, but once seated on the train, I got excited again, the destination to the start my my trip was 40 minutes away…oh so it was supposed to be…

We got delayed and waited on the track for 40 minutes, making the train ride, twice as long. In the end, it took almost 12 hours from my wake-up call in the morning to my final destination. Thankfully, once in Gaillac, my hotel was only about 500 ft away from the train station.

Gaillac Train Station
Gaillac Train Station
Hotel L'Occitan Gaillac - First Night
Hotel L’Occitan Gaillac – First Night

I checked-in to the hotel, which was comfortable but nothing fancy, and dropped my things before I headed back out to do some exploring. I had to be back at 6pm, to meet with the guy who was dropping off my bike, and the information I needed for the trip.

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Ava will have a very similar trip as the one I had. Josh on the other hand, I plan on having come from a different route. Just haven’t decided which one yet. I can’t have them both coming from Stuttgart at the same time because I don’t want them running into each other.

They will both receive their bikes in the morning, versus the evening like I did, and that’s when Ava will find out her Holiday has been Hijacked by Josh!