Montpellier, week 1

Montpellier, my new hometown.

Time ran so fast that I haven’t even realized a week has past already. 7 days to find a house, and I hope it won’t take longer to find a job!

So…I arrived last Friday, leaving at 7am from Milan Central train station. After an 11 hour ride and 4 trains, I finally arrived in Montpellier!

The first things on my eyesight were the tram tracks (just like those in Sevilla, my last “home abroad”!), and as soon as I walked out of the train station a spring-time breeze invested me, rays of light and a lay-back, “university-like” atmosphere!

Ludo, my host from couchsurfing, welcomed me at the station with his friend, artist-photographer Julien, and we went to his house to drop my bags. Three hours later we were making sangria and eating home made cassoulet (a beans and meat based regional dish, typical of Languedoc)! Not bad as a start, not at all!

Later at night we took a walk along the Esplanade, where a sort of festival was taking place, and all around the city center. The streets were full of young people, full of pubs and bars, and the buildings looked very charming and “magic”.

The week-end was quite relaxing. We walked around the city, went to the botanic garden, and I prepared myself to the first day of school and to the big house hunting. On Sunday I went to a faire nearby to see if there was some useful information regarding accommodation. Well…the fir was HUUGE! At least 700 stands, one for each organization, hobby and activity one could do in Montpellier! Of course there was NOT a stand dedicated to ads for accommodation (only very general info) but thanks to a piece of paper  attached to my bag saying “cherche une chambre” I got the number of a couple of women who had a room for rent. Overall, I learnt that there are 3 main forms of accommodation: flat/room in a flat, student residence, or a room “chez l’habitant”, which is more or less like staying with a host family. This last option of course is better for short periods, but during the week I struggled so much to find a place to stay (literally called at least 30 numbers) that I seriously took that into consideration. Well, after 40€ of calls and visits to 5 houses, yesterday (friday) I finally found one! I’ll move in tomorrow so don’t want to jinx it by writing about it.

The school is great, I am learning a lot and teachers are wonderful! I have class every morning from 9 to 12.20 and 2 afternoons a week from 13.30 to 15.45. My classmates are very nice as well and yesterday night we all went out together. We had a few beer in the city center and went dancing to a place called Panamà, with FREE ENTRANCE! They come from all over the world and we manage to speak french most of the time (even though at night it can be a bit difficult).

This is the week end “du patrimoine”, and a lot of buildings and monuments that normally are close will open their doors to visitors. I will take a good tour of the city tomorrow and make sure I see most of them!

Time for my first run now!

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