Sunday, December 15, 2013


I was going to do nothing for my birthday - last year was a three city, two country extravaganza, but that was my thirtieth. Liz, however, was having none of this and proposed that my friends back in Tours chip in to buy me a train ticket back "home" to celebrate together. Somewhere in there, a side-trip to Nantes (yes, all the way on the other side of the country) got tacked on - mostly, I suspect, because that's where Liz's boyfriend lives, but I was fine to go with the flow.

So the plan was a quiet, tame night in Tours on Friday, followed by a big one in Nantes on the following night. I think you can all guess how that went down. The champagne was flowing at Liz's and we ended up at our familiar old haunts of the Pale and the Beer Academy, as we have so many times before. It was kind of bitter-sweet being back in Tours. It's not quite "where everybody knows my name", but there's something to be said for feeling like a regular instead of a tourist when you walk in somewhere. Of course, more than the pubs, I miss my mates though! They are some of the funnest girls you'll ever meet, very difficult to replace!

That is Liz's hand by the way!


Basically, all my photos were a series of me with different random guys. I find the expression on the guy second from left priceless!

It's just unfocused drunk face, but I like the sort of innocent, young look I have going on here

Firstly: I like how the only people looking at the camera are the dudes in the background. Secondly: who is this man? Ignore the unflattering profile, and look at us having A Moment. I think he might be my soul mate and I missed it 

Look, he's even (presumably) laughing at something witty and hilarious I said. Unfortunately, he's only in these two photos and I have no idea who he is. Hence I'll die alone ;)

So, surprise, surprise, we ended up staying out all night, and the next day was a bit of a shambles. I woke up thinking I'd lost my phone, which I was pretty bummed out about, since it's an iphone my sister gave me and I've only had for about 3 months. Happy ending though, since it turned out Caro had it (for some reason). However, she couldn't let me know at first since I was with Liz, who had lost her entire handbag!

I was feeling a little under the weather, but not terrible, but Liz was dying. The plan had been for Liz and Mel to take a carpool to Nantes, with the rest of us driving in Philippa's car. 12 pm came round, and Liz was in no shape to turn up for the carpool, stranding poor Mel as well. Using GPS, Liz thought she tracked down her phone (and hence bag) to the Beer Academy, so that was the good news. The bad news was it's a club, so presumably wouldn't be opening till the evening. We decided to tell the rest of the girls (and Chris) to set off by car & Liz and I would take the train to Nantes later. In the end, there was still no response from the Beer Academy, so I left Liz feeling sorry for herself and took a train at 5 pm, getting to Nantes around 7.30.

By the time I turned up, my birthday champagne that Marion, my kiwi friend who now lives in Brittany, had brought for me had already been drunk (boo), but I suppose that's my fault for turning up late. After a couple more bottles while we got ready to go out (not very much of which was consumed by me, since I was still feeling slightly sorry for myself), with still no sign from Liz, we headed into town for dinner around 10 pm.

As anyone who's ever tried to eat late in France can tell you, this was a bad idea. There's really a very small window in which you can hope to be served. Before 7 = too early. You probably can find some food, but they'll probably spit in it since you're clearly an uncultured tourist oik. After 10 = nearly impossible. Granted, we were trying to get a table for 6 and every restaurant seemed to be busy, but I can't even tell you how many places we went into unsuccessfully. One particularly dickish restaurateur even refused to suggest any other restaurants that might serve us because "he couldn't guarantee any other restaurants used fresh produce". Dude, we're not coming back to your restaurant anyway, don't be a twat. Anyway, *finally* we managed to find a Moroccan place, where the service was chaotic but the food was okay, and most importantly, they let us eat there. Apparently, the guy on the next table to us spent the whole meal making fun of us all in French, but whatever, I couldn't hear him. Once again though people, some of us do speak more than one language.

To our great pleasure, we learned that Liz was on her way after all. She searched the Beer Academy from top to bottom for her handbag, but was defeated. Finally, with a heavy heart, she popped into the Pale, which is just around the corner. The barman there took one look at her and produced her handbag from behind the corner, with everything safe and sound. The question is how we all managed to leave the Pale at 2 am and go to the Beer Academy and none of us (Liz especially) ever noticed her handbag was missing? Bless her, even with a killer hangover, she got into her car and drove all the way to Nantes, turning up around 12.30 am to meet us in a pub. Not quite sure how she managed that!

From there, we went to a horrible club. It was soooooo crowded and unpleasant, you basically couldn't move at all. Since I was still not quite on top party form, I decided I couldn't cope with this place, and we all went home. Felt a bit bad since everyone had more or less been dragged to Nantes on my behalf and we saw basically nothing of the city, but I did say they could have stayed out without me.

Caro and Mario(n) in Nantes
Chris and Mel in Nantes
So the next day, basically we had time to get up, have some more girly chats while getting ready in the hotel, have lunch, and then it was time for my train back to the other side of France again. I think it was something like a 1400 km round trip for not a lot of Nantes time, but most importantly, I got to celebrate with some awesome people!


  1. It sounds like you had a great birthday celebration with some good friends despite some setbacks! Glad you were able to have some fun!


    1. Yep, didn't quite go as planned, but still fun! I've been to Nantes before anyway (still haven't seen the famous elephant though)

  2. Looks like a blast! Gwan, you sure do look like you know how to have a good time and I like it!
    1. I want a camera that makes me young and innocent looking
    2. I think you should post the photos of you and your soulmate all over the internet until somebody can identify him.

    1. We so need to faire la fête together one day :)
      I don't think it's the camera, you just need to put your vague, unfocused face on.
      Ha ha, nooooo. Thus far, we can tell he's French because he's wearing a scarf in a club. That's all I have to go on ;)

  3. Your Tours friends are brilliant for thinking of a way to lure you back to France, Gwan. I love the photos of you and Mr Mystery Man! There's passion, longing, humor and so much more in your regard. How could you not know his name?! You're a heartbreaker. He has probably been going from pub to pub in the hopes of finding you. Too bad he's not the one who had your cell phone, like Prince Charming found Cinderella's shoe.

    1. Aw, you make it sound so romantic. In reality, it's a skeevy club with sticky floors and I don't even remember talking to him ;) Quite pleased my phone was with someone who could return it to me easily!

  4. I love your birthday escapades! You were planning on doing nothing? I'm so glad you have such wonderful friends to transport their Gwan to Tours. That was so thoughtful.

    You and this guy in the photos are really getting along. It's a shame you have no idea who he is! Does anyone else? Find him at once!

    The drive to Nantes sounded painful. Glad you made it there okay.

    They drank your birthday champagne? : ( 7:30 isn't THAT late.

    1. I know, they're the best! I'm with Liz for Christmas and there's been talk of a winter girls' getaway sometime next year, so not toooo long before I see them again :) The only downside is they are totally the kind of girls who can't be trusted alone with a bottle of champers! It's okay, I can relate.

      I'll have to give a copy of the photos to my gals and get them to track him down for me!

  5. So glad you decided on doing something fun and festive for your birthday! You seem to have wonderful friends :)

    the worldling blog

    1. Thanks for your comment Sara! Good luck with your blog :)


Feed the Comment Monster! Rawrrrr