jn82’s Epic Adventure

Day 34 [4 Mar 09] – Toulouse

Posted in Toulouse by jn82 on March 4, 2009

Another pretty relaxing day today in Toulouse, with only one activity for today, the much anticipated visit to the Airbus assembly factory for the A380, Jean-Luc Lagardère. The tour itself was very reasonable priced at only 11€ (concession price), however the return trip to and from Jean-Luc Lagardère via a bus to the airport and then a taxi ride and then back cost 19€!!

Visitor centre entrance.

Inside the visitor centre.

The tour started with a very short introduction to Airbus as well as some video clips of the maiden A380 flight in a recreation of an actual Airbus telemetry room. After this, we were brought to the A380 assembly area, a massive hanger inside which held two A380s currently undergoing assembly, one to Emirates and the other to Air France. It was really amazing to see these two giant birds in such a setting. Both were already more or less assembled, but the Air France bird had not had its engines put on yet while the Emirates one did. Outside the indoor assembly area, there were two assembled Qantas A380s which were undergoing two weeks worth of testing after asseumbly, before being sent to Hamburg for fixture fitting and painting.

Two new Qantas A380s.

It was a real pity photographs were not allowed to be taken in the Airbus compounds, as the assembly area looked amazing. These were the only pictures for today!

Back to the hotel for an early dinner and somemore cheap French wine, and then off to Bordeaux tomorrow morning.

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Day 33 [3 Mar 09] – Toulouse

Posted in Toulouse by jn82 on March 3, 2009

After waking up really late this morning (~10.30am), we hung around the hotel for the rest of the morning and only headed out into the city for a walk around just before lunch. The kind hotel owner, Madamme Forest, had given us many recommendations of what to see and even a walking tour route to take, so all we had to do was to follow the map.

Toulouse city centre is a pretty small, and we managed to cover the outside of most of the major sites. The first place we went into was Capitole, the seat of the municipal administration in Toulouse. In particular, we only went in to see the Salle des Illustres which contained 19th century works of art.


Inside the Salle des Illustres.

The next place we walked into briefly was Couvent des Jacobins, another of the many European churches we have and will be going into.

Couvent des Jacobins.

Inside Couvent des Jacobins.

Toulouse also had a few bridges which are pretty nice. These are not massive suspension bridges like the ones in Porto, but much smaller structures which span across a river, La Garonne.

A newer bridge, Pont St-Pierre.

Older bridge, Pont Neuf.

The city is also know as “the pink city” (or something like that), because most of the old buildings in the city were not built with stone, but brick, giving the city a very pinkish colour from the brick.

“The Pink City”.

Not a very long day today, which is good because we still need the rest. Pretty excited about heading to the Airbus A380 factory tomorrow, but unfortunately no cameras are allowed, so there will be no pictures.

Pictures from today can be accessed here.

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Day 32 [2 Mar 09] – Barcelona to Toulouse

Posted in Toulouse by jn82 on March 2, 2009

Today, we travelled from Barcelona to Toulouse via Narbonne from 8.45am – 2.20pm. The first train from Barcelona to Narbonne was a older Talgo class train, unlike the higher speed and newer Renfe AVE and Alaris trains we had been on previously. The preferente (first) class carriage looked very old, but the seats were very big and there was more than enough leg room, which was more important. The main difference between first and second class train cabins is the layout, where second class is usually 4 abreast in a 2 X 2 configuration, while first class is 3 abreast in a 2 X 1 configuration.

Talgo 73.

Preferente carriage seating arrangement.

I used the time to plan the remainder of the trip (again), and set a deadline to go back to Singapore. Upon reaching Narbonne, the transfer to the French TGV train was simple as it was just on the next platform. The TGV 9804 from Narbonne to Toulouse was a high speed train, and the seats were new and very big.

TGV 9804 entering Narbonne station.

Seating arrangement in TGV 9804.

Pretty uneventful train ride, which is good. At Toulouse, I made reservations for all the upcoming train rides we will have in France, and ran into a real @#$%^ at the reservation counter. Due to some loss in translation and carelessness on her part (I am very sure), she issued reservations for four people instead of two for all our train trips, and made so much noise and gave such a black face when I told her we only wanted reservations for two (as our train pass clearly indicated), as she had to cancel and do very minor administrative stuff for the cancelled reservations. Definately not a good way to start the French leg of the trip.

Our accomodation here is a small oldish hotel which is only 100m from the train station. Initially we thought this was a very good thing, however the street itself is actually pretty dodgy and it is not advised to stay out after midnight as there are drug dealers and prostitutes around the area.

No sightseeing today as we are trying to rest a bit, and probably minimal sightseeing tomorrow as well with a token walk around the city.

Today’s train pictures can be accessed here.

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