TravelKiwis – January 2018 – Month in Review

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.

If you are ready to sign up for Trusted Housesitters, then click on “Find out More”  on the above Trusted Housesitters banner to receive a discount on your membership. We will also benefit, so helping yourself, helps us 😊.


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.

Lady with two dogs
Housesitting in Zurich
Church all lit up
An evening in Zurich old town

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.

Covered bridge crossing a river
Holzbrucke Bridge crossing the Limmat River, Baden, Switzerland
Three people at a table
Catching up with Lukas for lunch

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 for our self-guided walks.

Old town next to a river
The Untertorbrucke Bridge crossing the Aare River, Bern Switzerland


Waterfall freezing as it drops
Staubbachfall, Lauterbrunnen, Swizterland – The water freezes as it falls


Waterfall over rocks
Rheinfalls, Switzerland and Germany

Mountains with snow
The scene of the drive back from Zug to Zurich

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.

Newspaper article
Newspaper article on Travelkiwis
English class in Fontenoy le Chateau


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.

Old building and church
Dijon, France is more than great mustard
Long bridge across farmland
Millau Viaduct in France
Looking across the river to the Church
The Pont Vieux and Cathedrale Saint-Nazaire, Beziers


If you are ready to sign up for Trusted Housesitters, then click on “Find out More”to receive a discount on your membership. We do benefit as well.


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.

Four cats on sofas
Looking after Chloe, Tutts, Sweetie Pie, Max, Minnie and Sylvester


Woman in front of old windmill
Windmill in Felines-Minevois


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.


Castle view lookking across the river and the bridge
The castle of Carcasonne
Trees, stone town and bridge
The town of Minerve

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

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.


Dijon – A City of Pedestrian Walks, Diverse Architecture and Mustard

Bern – Old Town Discovery Walks

More adventures to come with a new housesitting assignment in February and a 9 day road trip to Spain.

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TravelKiwis Month in Review - January 2018 was a busy month with two housesitting assignments and a road trip to the south west of France. Some must see places of France of Beziers Carcassonne, and Narbonne if you are looking for new travel ideas.


  1. Maryse Doux-Boussiron says:

    Hello Maura and Terry !
    Last tuesday, Roger had a peper copy of your post on your stop in Fontenoy !
    He read it to us and then we talked about it !
    It was nice to see our photo sharing the galette … So, w’re now known all over the world ! May be bakers will be asked for galettes ….
    Are you still in Felines-Minevois ??? Must be a little warmer there ! Weather is becoming quite cold at the moment -not that much snow here, even very little- but definitly cold !

    • TravelKiwis says:

      Hi Maryse One of the things we love about out travels is experiencing local life and we really enjoyed the English lesson class. We are now in Montpellier for a month and the weather is somewhat warmer, but there is a lot more wind than in Fontenoy. Looking forward to catching up with you all again soon. Maura and Terry

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