By the time I neared Figeac I already had a response on Couchsurfing from a girl called Marie. She said that she needed to check a few things because she had a German friend (from Couchsurfing as well) over but she would get back to me soon..
Amazing how succesful this is. Before I left on this trip, I had only heard about these “typical Couchsurfing” stays and now Im having my third same day request approved on this trip. The setup was a little weird for this one but that made it all the better in my opinion. Variety is the spice of life after all.
Marie replied that she had work in the morning and that she already had the aforementioned German Couchsurfer over, she was going to ask if I could stay and soon enough the German girl approved and as I finished up walking to Figeac, I was greeted by her at the apartment. Marie was nowhere to be found. The German girl told me that she currently inhabits the old apartment and that Marie and her boyfriend (Adrian) were currently moving to a new house. The girl had been there since November and rode a motorcycle there from Frankfurt. Pretty fucking epic/ballsy in winter. The atmosphere was very laidback right from the start. I asked if there was still a kebab place open and before I took a shower or anything else we went to go get a cheesy, delicious, kebab. Now at this point in time I was planning on staying for 1 night, maybe 2. I had fire in my heels today and I felt good to keep on walking the next day. The fact that they were moving however and the fact that I wasnt in a hurry made everything possible.
The German girl (Petra) was really cool and chill, good natured and humorous, when I murdered the kebab, I went for a nice long shower and she offered to get my laundry done as well. The apartment was a little bare boned but still it was good to have shelter and a place to sleep, the laundry is just one big bonus.
After Petra and me shared a few beers and watched the ending of Captain America Winter Soldier – I went for a sleep in the other room where there was still a mattress and by now – I dont need much else. In fact I dont even need a mattress perse since Im carrying my own. Still nice to have some minor luxuries here and there though.
The next day we woke up and Petra was already helping Adrian move stuff to the new house, she wrote me a nice note saying Im free to do whatever and that they’ll be back in an hour or so. I met Adrian shortly after, a kind French soul and a reliable dude. Also funny right from the start. I went to help and in the meantime did some crucial writing in my diary, I was behind a couple of weeks and it was nagging me. In the evening I met Marie who was off work. A nice girl thats also a travels a lot. Petra and her spoke perfect English. She asked me how long I was going to stay and that I was welcome to stay as long as I want.. This is not helping in the pilgrimage department, but it is helping in my over-arching goal department – and that is to fondue myself in the culture.
Marie invited me to come along for the weekend, help them move and fondue at her parents. That sounded like an exceptional chance to experience more of France. Just every time I feel like Im done with this country, it just ropes me back in and throws me a curveball. This time in the form of some awesome people that were very welcoming and nice to me from the get-go. Since it was Wednesday, that meant that there was a whole Figeac ritual to follow for the upcoming days. Thursday night was game night and the beginning of the weekend, Friday was a thing called Rampeart – a music / improvisation evening in some raunchy house thats rented by some people, everyone brings their own booze and is free to grab the mic or any instrument thats there, then Saturday is Saturday which means going to the bar but in the morning theres a market throughout the cit and Sunday is rest day but maybe also the lounging in the bar.. Theyre French after all.. See if you give the moments you drink alcohol enough names, youre not really an alcoholic now are you?
So tomorrow was game night, then the day after we would go to Marie her parents in a nice town called Puycelci, we would sleep there and the day after we would move Marie her stuff back to Figeac, after which we had a sort of soft house warming with her family and close friends. Fondue me right there silvousplait.. Please allow me to cook for all you all, as a return the favor kind of thing (not to mention I really like/miss cooking for people and this was a golden opportunity).
SO THURSDAY! My laundry still wasnt dry and how could I skip gamenight huh? I cooked my “WORLD FAMOUS” pasta (without the sand this time) before hand and everyone except for Petra was slow as shit. Games were not really played, at least not by the group I was with. Beer drinking on the other hand – you bet. Then going to someones house to continue the party? Yes that also.. This is the first time I encountered a situation like home, where the party just never stops and everybody keeps pushing to get together somewhere. Good, deep conversations and my Frenglish actually held up alright. I went home as one of the latest, since Marie had work she had left earlier with Adrian. Petra gave me the key to the apartment and I went on ahead. This was shaping up to be a pretty nice time in Figeac, one alcohol fueled rampage perhaps, but I cant let up on the opportunity of sharing time with great people. The town itself is beautiful and extremely friendly, also known for its musical talent that never left.
Most people werent actually from the place and like my amis in Ambert, this makes the place full of people who are there by choice and work towards making it better. This is also reflected in the many associations the town has, helping homeless/immigrants (which was also Marie her job btw) and all-comers alike. Petra showed me around the next day and it was all beautiful. The churches and cathedral, the squares, some hieroglyphs in some alley way(?), sure. We drank a nice and quiet coffee at the end of all of it and Petra was a very interesting girl and she definitely made Figeac all the better. I dont really consider her German since she bore no resemblance to any German I’d ever seen. Freespirited and confident, little accent when talking English, structureless..French.. I teased her with the fact that she actually isnt German but Swiss.
We picked up Marie at the end of the day from work and walked through town. I grabbed a nice pizza from the Boulangerie on the way to the new house. Petra was planning on staying in Figeac while Marie, Adrian and me headed out, an hour drive away to her (awesome) family. They lived a little while away and driving there in the dark really didnt do the countryside any justice (as I would find out the next day). We arrived there and the pastis alla France flowed freely, with water is the French way and I cant say I dont like. Her parents were fantastic people, very welcoming, open, warm and it felt great. I met the grandma who had her own little apartment in the house but she didnt stay for dinner. Her mother is officially Swedish and a great cook. She made a sort of fondue (they called it fondue but it was mostly fon-to-due).. An oven dish with potatoes and vegetables, and cheese, omfg the cheese, so good..
Her brother Arthur was also there, just as cool, just as well spoken/good natured/kind as the rest of em. Man this is a blessing. At some point I just had to call it quits and I slept in one of her brothers room. Lucy was being a bitch to their dog Guus, a big ol’ stupid/lovely/kind australian shepard(?), its a dominance thing I guess.
The next day everyone was already doing stuff while I was being lazy and slow. The day started off exactly how it finished except for the alcohol and I had a cup of coffee in my hands before anything.
I started lifting stuff and putting it in the van, Arthur used to work for a moving company so it went really fast and efficient. We loaded up everything and then her mom had already willed another oven dish into existence, chicken this time with great herbs and just allround fucking fantastic..
We went for a little sightseeing tour through the little village close by (Puycelci), nested a top a mountain, walls, church, guardhouses..My kind of shit. Her brother was also pretty knowledgable about the place. Sadly I was unable to get a stamp but the town definitely left a stamp in my memories. Then returning home we drove the car while her parents and brother came with the big van. Marie had the jenkiest sleep ever and I was dj’ing, too bad I only had Cypress hill on my phone haha. Nothing like sitting in the back of a soccermom Renault SUV, driving through beautiful French countryside blasting vato rap..
We had the van and the car unpacked even faster than the packing up part, food magically appeared and it turned into a nice get together once again. Adrian’s parents also came by, really friendly and they even brought their dog Lou-lou to which Lu-Lu could be a bitch to. Trés gentiles.
I had my domain in the basement of the new house, which was basically an entire floor under the house. Petra also came by and the whole thing spiraled out of Figeac, I mean control. In a very pleasant way though. Fulfilled, I went to bed when the youtube games rolled by and by this time people were already asleep on top of Lucy. I was a bit worried for her parents since they were drinking and it was like what…fucking 0300h..? “Nahhh dude, they stayed to sleep obviously..” “OH ALRIGHT!”.
Woke up too late to wave them off as is (becoming) tradition, but its fine. Loose and laidback is the Figeac way..
TO TOP THIS WHOLE STICKY STORY, Monday was Marie her birthday, and I cant just leave on such a great person’s birthday now can I. STICKY CHERRY ON TOP, I forgot my toiletry bag at Marie her parents place.
I was also still seeking revenge for the package never received. The one I had tried to get sent to my friends earlier in Ambert and this all seemed like perfect timing. Get some writing done, meet the locals, share time with awesome people, cook awesome meals and finally get that cursed package with December gifts.. Marie gave me the go ahead to let my parents send it again and I looked forward to it, her parents were sending the toiletry bag and I wrote my damn ass off to a point of getting RSI in my right hand. Not really though but being behind 3 weeks is not fun and it bugged the shit out of me. Not to mention that upkeeping the blog was also on the to-due list.
Santiago de compowhat..?
Just my luck..
Stuck, Stuck in Figeac <3..