I met a true polyglot last night; the receptionist at the hostel. Just for fun he carried on a group conversation in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and English, speaking to everyone in their native tongue. Cassidy, a woman from China touring France for a month, chatted with me for a while afterwards and in the morning. She heads home in a week, musing that the month wasn’t enough time to see everything in France.

Taking advantage of a hostel benefit, I took the opportunity to resupply. Hostels usually have food left as over from the tenants, things sold in quantities larger than a quick meal. Dish soap, pasta, salt, and oil all made their way into my kitchen kit. In return I left almonds and crunchy muesli, neither a valid choice for the while.

I almost had a hostel room to myself again last night, but when I finally went to bed, a suitcase rested in the vacant room. I left one of the small bed  lights turned on to avoid the usual late arrival turning on the ceiling light. That worked out, I awoke only at my usual time to find someone sleeping nearby.

The weather forecast for the next week or so looks great, cloudy or sunny and cooler. After wending my way down from the Carcassonne fortress I headed out of town. Of the many kinds of days, today I just wanted to be somewhere else. While working my way out of town took the usual hour to find my way out of town and settled into a routine, the the day went quickly.

I followed the canal out of town, and switched to the more direct highway for the first 30 km until Castelnaudary. Along the way I saw the usual skyline profile of a castle and tower, but closer inspection showed only a cleverly designed water tower. When the highway path changed, I switched back to the canal. Initially I regretted that swap, as the canal path didn’t let me get up to full speed, and I better understood the comment of another cycling couple about sliding off the loose gravel into the canal. After the first 10 km the path improved to highway-quality, sans traffic. Full speed comes with additional meaning today, as I came screaming into Toulouse, hot as could be due to the incredibly strong direct (and occasionally oblique) tailwind. The day off yesterday also helped my knee recover.

Carefully eating a plum, I lost the right replacement temporary filling. To my joy and surprise, no sharp shooting crippling pain; everything just aches a bit. No sucking air past the tooth though. I stopped calorie intake after that, making the final run into Toulouse with no problems. I intended to rebuild the filling (again) upon arrival at the hostel, delayed by the first hostel with no vacancies. At least they redirected me to a second hostel.

It’s good they did – I think the second hostel runs off the books. No sign exists at the entrance, so I’m glad for the directions from the first hostel or I would have been heading to the campground outside of town. My first impression less than positive, the hostel grew on me throughout the evening. After all, for the first time, I get to sleep in a triple bunk.

Repairs to the tooth on the other hand haven’t gone as well. I’d wondered even the last time I opened the dental cement that it remained soft instead of single use. Today proves a shelf-life, as most of the cement hardened; the little I could use no longer remains tacky. When the first repair failed in less than 24 hours, the odds of the second lasting for weeks on end, even as I have a better idea of how to apply it, are slim, and I doubt those odds improve as the cement dries out. I visited three pharmacies looking for a similar product, but no luck; one doctor said a similar product is no longer sold in France. I’ll try to track down a dentist in the morning here in Toulouse, the 4th largest city in France

Unfortunate, as I’m unimpressed with Toulouse, and hope to spend little time here. I have been accosted multiple times by those begging for change, including a group of young men under a bridge on the canal; if that hadn’t worked out I could be at the bottom of the canal. Homeless pitch tattered tents in the obscure edges of town. With no specific historic center remaining, little of the town history remains. Toulouse also has mimes.


Pouring rain outside, forecast to continue until 9 am tomorrow, so perhaps a later start to get to Tourist Information than originally planned. Glad I came to the hostel instead of my campground fallback plan.


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