The Universe was, thankfully, in a good mood, and the day was beautiful and sunny and warm. I took a deep breath, and started walking in a random direction, silently hoping I was going towards the city centre. I walked in whatever direction looked the most interesting, and after ten minutes, I found myself in front of the railway station again.
Feeling a little foolish, I approached a few people and asked them for directions in broken French. In another fifteen minutes, I was well on my way, baguette in hand
(there is a history behind my longing for freshly baked French baguettes… I had missed it on BOTH my previous visits to France!!).
I reached the city centre (or Centre-Ville as the locals call it) and tried to figure out where the Youth Hostel was. But, well, as Murphy’s Law dictates… The internet on my phone wasn’t working, and no one could understand me (for future reference… Youth Hostel in French is Auberge de Jeunesse).
I found a McDonald’s, went inside for a salad (because I was too full after the baguette and it would be unethical to use their wi-fi for free, no?), connected to the internet and found that the hostel was a short 10 to 15 minute walk from where I was. When I reached where I thought it was, Murphy’s Law came into play again, and the guy manning the gate told me that, yes, the hostel was, in fact right behind the campsite I was standing in, but I couldn’t go through the gate at the back.
And to actually reach the hostel, I had to circle around the humongous campsite. Which would take over 20 minutes. Which would have been fine under normal circumstances, but now I had been walking non-stop for almost 3 hours with my bag, and the sun was starting to get to me.
So anyway, 20 minutes later I reached the hostel… And what do I hear? (Hellooo again, Mr Murphy). The office was closed between 10am and 5pm, and I could only check in after that. I checked the time. 2pm. Excellent.
I walked back to Centre-Ville, managed to spend three hours there somehow (I must have walked every street five times, it’s so tiny and quaint and lovely!!), eating a bit too much in the process, and went back to the hostel. This time, thankfully, Mr Murphy decided to leave me alone, and I found the hostel had available dorms. I checked in, ran up and dropped my bag. Oh the relief 🙂 I spent some time at the computer (basically emailed my family to say I’m alive and safe), and got ready to leave again.
On my way out, I saw a girl checking in. And (I amazed myself when I did this), I randomly introduced myself, and asked her if she would like to join me. That is how I met Teodora.
Teodora is a lovely girl from Novi Sad, Serbia, working as an au-pair in France. We spent the rest of the evening chit-chatting and walking all over the city. It was a much better experience than during the day (and much easier to take pictures of one another, rather than asking strangers to take them for us).
When it got late enough, we decided to go for dinner. We walked past a bunch of restaurants, finding nothing that suited our tastes and budget. Finally, we reached an Indian restaurant which had been calling out to me every time I had crossed it during the day. Teodora had never tried Indian food, I am perpetually homesick, and so it seemed like the perfect choice.
There was lassi. There was chicken tikka, biriyani, rice and dal. And there was halwa and kulfi. I could have cried.
A wonderful (and heavily discounted) meal later, we walked back to the hostel, exhausted and satiated, fell into our beds and literally blacked out till the next morning. We woke up to a rainy morning, showered and quickly downed our breakfast of coffee, bread with jam and Nutella, and juice. Teodora had arranged to go to Luxembourg with a man she had found on a car-sharing website. I decided to join her if there was a spot available (the train back cost 4 times as much!!), and thankfully there was.
Sitting in a car is a luxury these days. Ever since I moved to Milan, I think my bum has rested on a car seat a total of four or five times. Teodora and the man (I’ve COMPLETELY forgotten his name) talked in French the whole way (and I felt pretty proud when I realized I could understand almost everything… Yay to five years of French in school!).
With that journey, my little trip to Metz came to an end. We walked to my temporary home in Luxembourg City for a cup of coffee, prepared ourselves for a long day and left to wander around in a new country… Luxembourg.