I spent the last morning of my trip to Montpellier trying to discover why I kept getting lost. Not lost in a bad way, but lost in a ‘full-of-surprises’manner.
There was something about these streets… As if they kept changing position whenever I turned my back. This resulted in nothing being where I expected it to be.
There’s plenty of convergence in the old part of the city. Roads and façades team up to make sure you only see as far as you need to.
Another charicteristic of the narrow roads are the number of ‘now-you-see-them-now-you-don’t’ moments per minute.
For reasons that defeat me, up always to be “…somewhere down there…” and down is always “…up above…” I believe something stronger than bread and wine was consumed during the planning of Montpellier.
Didn’t I just go around this corner, or was it the other one? Or… Wait a second; isn’t this the place I passed seven minutes ago? That’s how it goes when strolling through Montpellier.
And just like that; from its base behind the cliffs of offices and homes, out pops a golden tower.
You see a door, and the very next question to jump into your head is: “What’s going on behind that door?”
“Do you see me?” Asked the Tree. I’ve no idea why it asked that particular question. But it did; there must be a reason for that.
There’s a lot about the 14th Century that we do not know. It’s possible that this architecture was designed to accommodate the long lost sport of Garner le Sanglier. A healthy and athletic boar would be covered in raspberry jam and then let loose on the streets of Montpellier. If it escaped, then it went free. But if the boat was caught, then on to the spit—in an Asterix/Obelix style. It turned out the jam didn’t slow the boars down, and for the first few seasons of the sport they had a 100% escape rate. The city countered this by incorporating additional twists and turns into the city planning. The result? Increased confusion and crowd excitement. The boars held on to their 100% record.
When everyone else is in, or away. When the night has gone, and the Sun is out. Listen… Hear the buildings yawn and sigh as they all get ready for bed.
After a while you get to know the windows and doors. All it takes is a couple of hellos, and you’ll be onto deeper matters such as life on Earth and hinge oil.
If I were a cat I’d take morning strolls through Montpellier, and high-paw the other cats on the way to hang out with my crew.
“Stop worrying and let it go!” Sang the streets of Montpellier. “All roads lead to somewhere else and something else…”
On a gently twisting road in an oddly bendy town, A flash of light bounced through my head, One happy lady laughed and said: “You’ll have much more fun when moving up, than when you’re thinking down.”
And up popped the sun. Aah… A much better experience than finding the end of a rainbow.
The art of a good stroll includes managing the distance between yourself and other strollers. You don’t want to get too close and freak out the walker in front. At the same time, there’s no need to cause a traffic jam at the rear. It’s all a matter of practise, peeps.
And of course there is no forgetting the famed Montepellieran ’Hide and Seek à la Wellington’. The seekers were given five opportunities to guess behind which doors the cherry and apple pies were hidden. With each wrong answer the seekers were asked to climb into increasingly large Wellington boots filled with lukewarm water and soap suds.
Are there castles in the streets, or is it all one big hallucination? 😄
The higher they built the garden wall, the greater the number of escaping pet cats. Two years ago there were one hundred and seventy-three cats living at home; now only three remain. Two are definitely not of the gate climbing persuasion. The third cat couldn’t climb trees because it was midway through a transitional phase between to forms of indecision.
“Yes officer, I believe that’s the man! He… Just a moment. Sorry. My mistake. Officer? Officer! Will you please stop biting and let him go. That’s right. Step away. Step away. Now tell him you’re sorry, and while you’re at it, hand over your sunglasses.
The Van was an old hand at inner city parking. The façades were grumpy at the best of times, but Van knew exactly what to do. He kept the conversation light and focussed on the weather, which they all agreed was just the way they liked it.
Due to limited athletic ability, together with the laws of physics, I am unable to follow my heart and travel the streets of Montpellier by swinging along the cables.
Everything happened exactly as my brain recollects. But in the moment just before, and too fast for the camera’s shutter, I saw the wildest thing. Seven geese, riding a tricycle, whizzed around the corner like feathered lightning. Two on the seat, one on each pedal, two on the handlebars, and one of them honking out orders—she was the brains behind the tricycle heist.
Certain business theories state that the position of the plant pots outside one’s place of business have an enormous effect on customer satisfaction, which in turn affects profit.
Everyone waited patiently for the whistle that would signify the start of the day. Windows and doors would open up to the brand new day, and out would blast the happy hustle-bustle music of good morning life.
The bikes were ready to go: all they needed were the riders. As it was, the riders were inside, sipping coffee and debating last night’s football.
I suppose the flags are out because we’ve come to the end of this particular show. There’ll be more Montpellier elsewhere…
On the last morning of a three week stay in Montpellier, I realised I’d done just about everything except take pictures of the city’s twisting, turning, rising, falling streets. A certain panic set in, followed by a seventy-five minute dash through the centre of Montpellier.