20 Years From Now...

"20 YEARS FROM NOW," Mark Twain said, “you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than the ones you did.”THIS online journal is dedicated to our next 20 years!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

To France to Housesit

We arrived in France (the 25th country we've had the pleasure of visiting) less than a week ago, and we're already smitten. There's so much to see, experience and savour. Montpellier is situated on the Mediterranean it's history dates back to Roman times. This impressive aqueduct is within walking distance of the old section of the city.

Adjoining the aqueduct is the Peyrou or Royal Square with its decorative water tower.

The square provides an impressive view of the city and provides the locals with a park area. To the right of the statue of Louis XIV on horse back are two canopy tents. Vendors were selling wine and barbecued meats and many people enjoyed a picnic lunch on the grass.

If a picnic isn't your thing, why not enjoy the outdoor market that stretched around the perimeter of the royal square?

The items for sale were as varied as they were impressive. 

Vintage Clothing & Accessories
Woodworking Tools
Bobbin Lace
Odds & Ends

In the next photo notice the vendor sitting off to the right. In front of him is an open bottle of rose wine and he's enjoying a glass between sales.

Pewter, Brass, Glass, Etc.
Window Furnishings & Wooden Boxes
Leather Purses, Shoes & Boots
Nostalgia With a Flare

The centre of Montpellier is home to two Opera Houses, one of which is below.

The city tram service consists of four different lines that crisscross the city. The flower tram runs north and south to Jacou (the destination of our latest house and pet sit).

The blue line crosses Montpellier east to west, while the merry-go-round just goes, well, around and around!

Outdoor cafes and restaurants line the square, providing a prefect place to eat, drink and be merry,  watch life go by or enjoy one of the many street musicians.

The historic part of town dates back centuries with narrow lanes and alleyways. We didn't have time to see it all and will definitely return for a more in-depth look.

Last Monday our homeowners picked us at our hotel and showed us around Jacou before they left for vacation Tuesday afternoon. We enjoyed a delicious homecooked meal with wine (mais, oui) and that evening did what homeowners and housesitters do best - shared travel stories! We were also introduced to the two reasons we came to France...Jake and Petra.

Jake is a Green Cheek Conure, 20 years old, almost blind from cataracts and he loves crackers. Next to crackers he adores red pepper sliced, diced or on the stem. Did I mention his passion for red pepper?

Petra is a Sun Conure and 13 years old. He enjoys climbing to the top of his cage where he can see everything that's going on around him and from that vantage point likes to pretend he's Top Bird (until Jake puts him in his place).

Their little spats are few and far between, however, and when they think we're not watching the two groom and coddle each other. It's too cute.

The first few days of any housesit we devote entirely to the pets. We stay close so they can get to know us. We are, after all, strangers in their home. Our goal is give them time to accept us as their temporary human caregivers until their cherished homeowners return, and as you can see from this next photo John seems to have won Petra over while he's plying Jake with a slice of red pepper!

Did I mention Jake likes red pepper almost as much as he does crackers?!

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  1. Great pics and commentary, as usual! Love the colours of the trams!

    1. The 4 lines symbolize the 4 elements, Alan. Line 1: air with white swallows on a blue background; Line 2 - earth, with flowers; Line 3 - water, with a marine decor; and Line 4 - fire with references to the Sun King. Pretty and functional!

  2. Sounds like you are going to have another wonderful housesit! Montpellier looks like a beautiful city to explore, sure hope those gorgeous blue skies stick around for you.

    Don't forget to stock up on red peppers!


    1. We're so very fortunate, Ruth, and yes red peppers are on our grocery list!

  3. Hi Dianne,
    Montpellier is such a handsome place. I believe the French are best when it comes to monuments upon monuments, upon pedestaled sculptures, and rows and rows of stately architecture. Beautiful!
    And then to the most human and local of things -- the flea market -- juxtaposed with monuments and sculptures in the background. Very nice. Thanks for you pretty photos.
    As to the house sit, I agree that staying around the house for the first few days is so beneficial to the animals. It helps everyone involved, n'est pas?
    Looks like Petra and Jake are quite entertaining with all their antics!
    Wishing you a wonderful time in France and beyond,

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Josie. We love the housesitting lifestyle as much as you and Pete obviously do. Not only do we meet fascinating homeowners, get to cuddle and coddle their fur and feathered babies, and explore their home regions, but we also meet lovely house sitters as well. Pretty much a win/win no matter how you look at it! ;-)

  4. What a lovely location for a house sit! Such an interesting city to explore (and eat and drink). I agree that staying close to home and devoting the first few days to bonding with the pets is really important. After all, they are the reason we get to have these wonderful travel adventures. Thanks for a great read and so many interesting photos. Including the seller and his bottle of rosé. He is my kind of guy. Happy house sitting.

    1. He was my kind of guy as well, Nancy. The entire time I was taking the photograph he watched my every move. Afterward I acknowledged him with a slight nod and that garnered a grin. If I'd been braver I might have begun a conversation with him, but my French is next to pitiful so perhaps body language was best! ;-)