Until last Wednesday afternoon we had no idea where we would be going next. We hadn’t heard from anyone on Couchsurfing and many of the hostels in nearby cities were completely booked. It wasn’t until we heard from Stephanie in Montpellier that we actually had a specific destination in mind for the next morning.
We woke up early on Thursday morning (5:30am) to leave Violetta’s and catch our train. We had to make 4 connections to arrive in Montpellier, France at 7:25pm. It was another loooong travel day. We left Milan and traveled about 4 hours to Ventimiglia, then caught our next train (only a 20 minute ride) to Monte Carlo, Monaco. While we both would have enjoyed seeing a little bit of Monte Carlo, our train was late and we had to jump off and run to catch our next connection to Nice. After another short trip (30 minutes) we arrived in Nice. We only had 30 minutes to kill until our next connection, but we needed to make a reservation for our next two trains – one to Marseilles and the other to Montpellier. When we got to the counter the woman told us second class was full on the train to Marseilles, so she bumped us up to FIRST CLASS! Wow. It was amazing. The seats were leather, comfortable, and incredibly wide. We didn’t even have to share armrests! We could stretch out our feet without touching the seats in front of us and our seats adjusted automatically with the touch of a button (a magic button as Zach says). We had an immensely comfortable two hour ride to Marseilles and then made our final connection (again in 2nd class) to Montpellier. Once we finally arrived we met our host, Stephanie, a French-Canadian, at the McDonald’s across the street. She had a folded piece of paper with “Zach and Mackenzie” printed on the front sitting on her table. Immediately we loved her. She showed us a little bit of the town as we walked to her apartment – only about 10 minutes from the station. We put our bags down and grabbed a bite to eat at a local cafe, then chatted with Stephanie about Canada, Texas, and Montpellier before going to bed.