My first few days in Bordeaux!

My Erasmus year in Bordeaux has officially started. Here I am sat on a hot Saturday evening with the beautiful blue sky still visible.

We arrived on Tuesday, excited but apprehensive about finding an apartment in Bordeaux. It feels like many more days than five have passed since I got off the plane and I’m not quite sure where to begin. It has been a roller coaster of finding dream apartments and then being told that they have been rented, moving on to the next one to be given the same response. Guarantors are sparse and are worth gold. But, I think, we are out of the woods and an apartment could be ours within the next week or so.

Our home at the moment is the only youth hostel in Bordeaux, down Cours de Barbey. We spend nights frantically flapping away mosquitoes and reconnecting to the internet every fifteen minutes during the day, but they also do a fantastic breakfast (bread, butter, coco pops, hot chocolate and orange juice everyday for me, thanks very much). We also realised how much we valued it when we were told on Thursday evening that Friday, Saturday and Sunday were fully booked and there was no room at the inn. A dark evening of no garantor and no place to stay is a memory I am sure I will laugh about in the future. Facing the prospect of moving to a hotel, I begged to be alerted when beds became free. Thankfully my wish came true. I truly appreciate having a roof over my head.

While this blog is also turning into a sort of diary of my year in Bordeaux, there is no question that food is going to make an insistent appearance. I have been here only a few days but I have seen so many gorgeous-looking individual restaurants and patisseries that not sharing would be to deprive you. So:

To celebrate our arrival we ate out at a restaurant called La Casuccia. I chose a seafood pizza. To have mussels, squid, small shrimp and king prawns swimming on a sea of delicious cheese was a warm welcome and relief from the pouring rain outside! The heads of the prawns were full of flavour and reminded me of my parents who introduced me to the magical world of prawn heads. Sucking them may not be the most attractive activity at a restaurant table but the rewards are so worth it – try it if you haven’t.

Today we wandered round an incredible market, before drifting around Saint Michel and marvelling at all the vintage furniture shops. We cooled down in a church with fascinating architecture and huge stained-glass windows. The few bits of kitchenware we picked up at Emmaus have made me super excited for our apartment!

We passed an innocuous shop window through which we could see a few cakes laid out in an otherwise almost empty room. Baklava, coconut bites and almond biscuits were available. I tried a coconut bite and was delighted by the lemony sweetness and the sticky coconut shreds. Coconut has been one of the things I have been trying to like. I tried The Collective Dairy lime and coconut a week or two ago and it was citrussy, refreshing, and the texture of the coconut yoghurt was great once I got used to it! This cake had that delicate combination of citrus and sugar down to a T.

It is strange to think that I feel quite like a tourist still when in fact I will be an inhabitant of Bordeaux for the whole year! I’m sure it will feel more like that when I stop checking in and out of hostel rooms and living out of a suitcase that every couple of days is dragged into the lift, taken down to the luggage storage before hauled into another room a few hours later.

A bientot 🙂

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