I'm going to give you a tour of Toulouse each day before we go back to Toulouse (in about 7 weeks). The first place I want to take you is over the Pont des Catalans (Catalans Bridge). This is our bridge, because when we lived in Toulouse, this was the bridge we crossed on foot about a million times. I love this bridge because it took us to our dear friends' home, past the ever-present men playing petanque, just next to the Canal de Brienne. I love this bridge because it led us once a week to our laundry mat, where the owners, a couple, faithfully worked hard each day, ironing other people's pants and manning the quirky machines in the un-airconditioned, cramped quarters. Since we didn't have a car, we loaded our dirty laundry for the week into our suitcases...and pulled. I knew every pothole, every bump, even each dog-pile (until it disintegrated and a new one replaced it), because we made the trip so many times.
The bridge goes over the beloved Garonne River, my son's middle name-sake. When I was in labor and they told me to focus on something, it was our bridge that I walked back and forth on in my mind, trying to make myself go to a Happy Place. It worked.
The bridge was the low-tech "GPS" for finding our neighborhood. We could find home easily, in those first confusing weeks of being in a new city, using the bridge as our reference point.
Walking across the bridge on warm summer mornings, looking to the right and seeing the silhouette of Les Jacobins is etched in my brain forever. Watching sunsets from the bridge is something I never got tired of. Seeing it lit up at night gave me a great feeling; knowing I lived just beyond The Bridge, Our Bridge.
Stay tuned for more Toulouse photos, A Preview of our upcoming trip in March/April 2008