January 2018 has been a full-on month of housesitting, saying goodbye to family again, car troubles, exploring new places, catching up with friends, and another road trip. Having two new housesitting assignments gave us lots of opportunities for day trips to visit some new places and to learn more history of the world we live in.
Housesitting is still our nomadic travel lifestyle choice. You can click here Housesitting to learn more, and to check out some of our housesitting stories. And if you want to learn more of our story, then click here on TravelKiwis.
Housesitting in Zurich
Our month long Zurich housesit looking after Valentino and Diego, took us through to the 10th of January. While the weather wasn’t the best, well it is winter, the grey and bleak days meant we explored less than we would have liked. But the car also developed some unexpected problems limiting our travelling.
We said goodbye again to the kids, with Daniel and Jess returning to the UK and Richard back to New Zealand. It’s always great catching up and hearing new stories from them all, as well as having lot of laughs too. Some of those laughs were on our last night together. We went ice skating. Jess was the professional, while the rest of us trailed along behind.
Zurich, oh Zurich you are so expensive
Well, if you don’t know, Zurich is the third most expensive city in the world. So when we discovered the brakes needed replacing and the quote was for €1500, we definitely needed a whiskey. As the car only cost that same amount, we considered whether we sell it or fix it.
But wait. We found a solution requiring a 40 minute drive across the border to Germany for a quote of €700 for the same repair. Yay.
Well not yay, the brake mount was stuffed and the shock absorbers as well, so we were back to the original price plus a whole lot more. Ouch! We managed to make a deal for them to repair just the essentials, so the bill dropped from €3060 to €1000. But we will need to get the shock absorbers done sooner rather than later.
Catching up with a Travel buddy
Our month in China in 2016 was a great experience travelling and exploring this amazing country by ourselves for 15 days, and with a GAdventures tour group for 15 days. And by staying in touch with the tour group following the tour, we were able to meet up for a long lunch and chat with Lukas who lives in Baden, 20 minutes from Zurich.
Some Highlights of Switzerland
If you are looking for a base when in Switzerland, Zurich is a place to be as it gives you access to so many places to visit for day trips within an hour or so. You can even spend the day in Austria, France, Germany or Liechtenstein. And how do you do this cheaply?
Housesitting – it’s how we are achieving our nomadic travel lifestyle within our budget.
Our housesit in Zurich meant we could take some day trips to must-see places like Basel, Bern, Lucerne and Zug. But the highlight for us on this trip was the Rhein Falls, the largest waterfalls on the European continent.
We have put together a few photos of some of the places we visited and we will expand on them later in another post. Or you can check out our link to Walkli.com for our self-guided walks.
A quick stop at Fontenoy le Chateau
Our stop this time for a few nights in Fontenoy had us being featured in one of the local newspapers. Maryse who attends a weekly English class in village, stopped by first to learn more of our travelling lifestyle. And as time ran out while we chatted, we decided to join the weekly class lead by Monk.
The group session tonight was a question and answer to us on our lifestyle and New Zealand. We have to say, the group’s English was very good. It was a lovely evening finished off with wine and a galette.
Now this galette was different to those we had eaten in St Malo, France. This galette was sweet, similar to a pie and is filled with frangipani, but with a hidden surprise. Whoever is luckily enough to find the little doll in their piece of pie, is crowned the King or Queen (a crown is included in the packaging).
The galette is a tradition for the visitation of the Three Kings celebrated in early January.
A road trip to South West France
Following our stay at Fontenoy le Chateau we headed south to our next housesit in Felines-Minevois, in an area known for its wine. We had chosen a few stops on the way at Dijon, Clermont-Ferrand and Beziers. This was to avoid road tolls, but also to see more of France off the beaten track.
You can take a look at some amazing must-see places here.
Housesitting in Felines-Minevois
Our next housesit was a first for us, looking after more than two cats, six in fact. So it was a learning curve watching their habits, giving them lots of cuddles, and feeding them at various times throughout the day and night.
Looking after cats vs dogs means you have more flexibility with your time to explore the region you are visiting. The first thing we noticed about the Minevois region was the flat plains of vineyards, the wind, and how much the terrain reminded us of Spain.
We felt quite at home when we saw the windmills and the wind turbines scattered about the hills. The wind blowing through, reminded us of Wellington and Palmerston North.
But we also discovered the region is home to a large rugby following. The All Blacks have played many a game in this area.
Why we love Housesitting
Housesitting is our way to travel so we can experience the local way of life and to see many less visited places. Felines-Minevois is about half way between Toulouse and Montpellier. The area is so interesting for its history, cruising the Canal du Midi and many UNESCO sites.
Some of the best places we visited this time were Caunes-Minervois, Toulouse, Carcasonne, Minerve and Narbonne.
Drum Roll Please
As you may or may not know, one of our income streams while we are travelling, is producing self-guided city walks for Walkli.com.
Well, for 2017, Walklis top self-guided walk was TravelKiwis Bruges ABC Walk (Architecture, Beer, Canals and Chocolate.)
And, to give you a sample of some of our recent walks we have completed, you can click on the links below for Bern and Dijon.
More adventures to come with a new housesitting assignment in February and a 9 day road trip to Spain.
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