Sorry for the random title, but I never know what to put there. Better to get a laugh and be misunderstood than to just write something crappy up top.
So well, as I said, we went to Tours this weekend to do some Christmas shopping. Tours is a beautiful city, and it has this amazing walking area, it's actually a part of the city where cars aren't allowed. It's called a centre pitéon. It just means pedestrian zone. We really don't have them in a lot of places in the US, ok we didn't have them where I lived in the US, but I love them here. There's all kinds of shops and restaurants. I like it, a lot.
Now of course, the lights were beautiful. As it's getting close to Christmas they had their lights up. So there were these really cool flashing lights that look just like all the other normal ones. I was insanely amused by them. So well, that's me. Call me whatever you want. It was a really fun trip, and we got quite a few things crossed off our shopping lists. That makes life easier, after all.
Well then, we come to the real purpose behind this email. I'll be the first to admit that where I grew up was not really cosmopolitan, and in some cases it was barely even civilized, but the one thing we had in spades, was space. I used to be able to walk for miles, and I would maybe see one person if that. It was wonderful.
I moved to Columbus for college, and yes, on campus it was a bit crowded, but I never had problems getting from point A to B. It was a giant campus, so there was plenty of space. The oval was never at capactiy or anything like that, so there was always space enough. The only time there were ever crowds were at Gallery Hop. It was fun, so you never paid attention to how many people there were. I mean, yeah, the occasional crowded restaurant/bar or a football weekend against Michigan, no big deal though. Those problems all but disappeared when I moved towards Polaris in fact.
Nothing, and I mean nothing, could prepare me for the experience that is French crowds. It's not that people aren't polite or anything, but well, there's just so many people....everywhere. We were walking for blocks, and they never let up. It probably didn't help that I was carrying something that I was deathly afraid of having someone steal which only exacerbated my estimate of the size of the crowd, and my own paranoia. I just am not used to it. I am sure at some point, this will be commonplace.
Another thing is the parking. Columbus was a city of 1 million people, metro area included, but I never even had a first thought, let alone second about finding parking somewhere. There were the occasional holidays where yes there were difficulties. (Funny enough, there were usually more problems in regards to cars when I was leaving the city or coming back into it than actually parking in it.) It never took more than maybe 2 minutes to find a parking space.
Tours has a population of about 310,000 including metro area. That's like Fort Wayne. Could you even imagine the idea of not being able to find a parking space in Fort Wayne. To me, it's ridiculous. Then again, as I said, I was raised in the wide open spaces. It took us like 15 minutes to find a garage that was open, and we had to park on the third level. So I was a bit amused by that.
Maybe this should also be about driving in France, which is an experience in itself. Seriously, even with the best driver in the world, it's an experience. All the roads are about 5 inches wide. You seriously have to wait and let cars pass, and this isn't odd to people.
Now, I must say a bit about walking in France. It's a joy. There are a lot of beautiful things to look at, the weather is incredible, and it's just great to see everything. You'll randomly be walking and there's a building from the 13th century. Sorry, but that doesn't happen in the US. So far, while I have been here, the weather has not dropped below 45 degrees farenheit. I am from the land where you stand outside for more than 5 minutes and your nose falls off, so this is a refreshing change. It does rain a lot though. For me though, I love that grayish overcast looking sky. Yes, I am a freak, but that's pretty much France all winter. So I am thrilled!
So tomorrow we're going to the pool, which may be an experience in itself. Among other things, I have to buy a pair of shortys for the pool. It's more I'll explain later.