Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Looking for a Home.

I got picked up from the hotel by an agent who had organized a number of homes to have a look at.

This is a link of a Map I've made.

Toulouse houses

Not sure if it will work as I haven't linked a map before.

The first couple of houses were in Tournefeuille, a nice little village, not too far from the school.

The first house we saw was really nice.

It is on a nice big section and best of all has a pool.

It is close to the School, but not close to much else. The local village is a short drive away.

We saw a couple of apartments next. Both were brand new, but not really what we were after as they were quite small

The next house we had a look at, the agent didn't show, but we had a look around the outside, it had potential, but needed a lot of work and was far from the school

Next we ere in the country side. This house had a lovely view, but it was the most randomly put together house I have ever seen. As you walked in the front door you had to avoid the mezzanine floor

The master bedroom was nice, with a small room that had been converted into a walk in wardrobe. On the other side of the kitchen, that had a random bench jutting out, we're two kids rooms. In between these was a kids bathroom which they both opened onto.

On the other side of these rooms were 3 more rooms. Unfortunately, there was no way of getting to the other rooms with out going through one of the kids rooms.
This house was pretty unkept, and need a bit of work to bring it up to speed. It was 20 min from the kids school.

This next house was nice, but again, was 20 mins from the school. It was right in the middle of the village Fonsorbes. Again a big house with a pool.

All these house come unfurnished, so I now have to convince my boss that there are no better houses out her. The agents are pretty good, and if they say there are no more furnished houses worth looking at, well I believe them.

The last house doesn't have a pool but is in a nice area, apart from being far from school.

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Monday, 30 July 2012

Cites and Castles of the Rouergue

Airbus are a smooth operator and as such, organize bus tours every Sunday for their customers.

This Sunday it was to the Cites and Castles of the Rouergue. The bus picked a group of us up outside our hotel and then we were of on the toll roads on a North East direction passing Montauban though the picturesque country side.

In the distance on the hills you could see little settlements with the church steeples poking above the rooflines. There were also these random towers in the middle of these fields. Our guide told us that were used to house pigeons, to collect their droppings so that they could use it as fertilizer. Not used these days of course.

Our first stop was the medieval village of Caylus. The main street is at the top of the hill with the village sort of tumbling down the side to the valley below.

Like all cities there is a square, and the narrow streets go off in all directions. I split up from the tour group as we didn't have much time, and I knew I would see more by myself, and I also like to take lots of photos of random things like this house covered in birds and butterflies.

It was obvious that the church was built early on in the foundation of the city as a lot of the other buildings seemed to be built up around it without too much order.

This is an arch that links a building to the church. The church looked pretty standard from the outside but it had the most amazing stained glass windows

I continued to explore at pace as I made my way down to the valley to a lake that had a playground and was surrounded by trees. From here I took what I was sure was a short cut, as I needed to get back to the bus. I was right of course and got to the bus just in time.

The bus wound its way to our next stop which was the Royal Bastide of Villefranche de Rouergue. This was built as a modern town during the middle ages in 1250. What made it modern, was the fact that they did a bit of planning and all the streets run parallel and perpendicular. However , the streets are still very narrow. People still drive through these streets, but you could not do it in anything but a small car.

The Cathedral has a street going through the entrance way and the base of the Cathedral extends into the square.

The Cathedral took quite a few hundred years to build, and looking at it you can see that the lower part of it is more weathered than the upper. We slowly made our way down to the river and across to where we would have lunch. On the bridge there was a modern statue that seemed to fit right into place.

There was a market on the other side selling amazing bread. It is not often that I curse my Celiac disease, but everyone was raving about the bread. We had lunch in a restaurant overlooking the river.

That's our restaurant with the red roof.
Back to the bus and I had to stop myself taking photos of all the narrow streets, they looked so cool, like something out of a fairy tale book.

The next stop was to the medieval city and castle of Najac. The bus could only take us so far as the streets were too narrow. From the top of the hill the village followed the ridge that was curved as it followed the Averyron river.

I'm use to seeing roof lines like this in Chch, but for a different reason. You could not see the Castle until you came to a bend and then all of a sudden there it was.

Now I hate to disappoint Penelope, but this Castle was built for defending the Lord more than for throwing a ball, finding true love and getting married to your Prince. The main part of the castle was built in 1100. The round keep was built a hundred years later.

The Castle was in pretty bad shape, but most of the damage was done in the 16th century by people raiding the stone work to build their own houses.

You could climb to the top of the keep (119 steps Dad) and from there you were rewarded with wonderful views down to the valley below. It also highlighted the village clung to the ridgeline.

Sadly it was time to go, but not before I got myself a well earned icecream as even though today was a lot cooler, it was still 28C.

The country side on the way back was just as spectacular and you soon became numb to all the beautiful villages surrounded by vineyards. There were more medieval towns with castles, but we did not have time to stop and look at them all.

I will have to take The Family (and visitors) back to see them one day.


Sunday, 29 July 2012

Saturday 28th July

Had a better sleep last night, so after a late breakfast, I decided to hit the streets. I totally gave in to not looking like a tourist. So with my camera around my neck and map in my hand, I made my way around some of the more popular sites within walking distance from my hotel.

I first headed down to the church that I had stumbled across when I got lost on my run. This time it was surrounded by a Market. Basilique St Serin.

From there I made my way down to the one the more iconic sites in Toulouse - the Capitole. This is a big square dominated by the Capitole building. There was another bigger market happening in the square. On my way I was overtaken by a bride with her Dad on her way to get married.

There was a man playing a wind up wind instrument.

I continued to backtrack on the run I did the other day which takes me over the river La Garonne on the Point St Pierre bridge. Just like London at Westminster, there is a big Ferris Wheel on the other side of the river (not quite as big as the London Eye, but not a bad effort).

An A380 fresh from the factory coming into land in the back ground with Dome de la Grave in the foreground.

I explored the narrow streets, coming across fountains and churches hidden amongst them.

All of a sudden, I began to recognize where I was even though I had never been there before in my life. Back in NZ, I had gone onto street view in Google Maps, and I was now there! A bit surreal! So as I did on Google Maps, I crossed the Neuf Bridge back over the La Garonne, making my way to a park - Jardin des Plantes. To get there it was through yet more narrow streets with hidden churches.

The park reminded me of Hagley Park except for the bubble of people speaking French. I stopped for a quick breather and watched the world go by. I continued up and over a foot bridges that landed me in the middle of a round about, which was huge and it had a lovely fountain in it.

From here I slowly made my way back to the Hotel.

For the rest of the day I decided that it was time to get back into the car and go for a drive. I drove to the school the kids will be going to.

I had a bit of a drive around the area, and decided that it was not that nice a place to live, with lots of apartment blocks and very industrial. Further up the road, it was a different story, the little village of Cornebarrieu is very quaint, and I can see why a lot of ex-pats live here.

The person I took over from, lived in Mondoville which is also a lovely little village. So it was good to see that there were some nice places to live.

My Customer manager at Airbus, Cathie, lives in Pibrac. It is quite close to the school and yes it is quite nice as well.

Made my way back to the hotel with out too much trouble.

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Location:Allée Jean Jaurès,Toulouse,France

Saturday, 28 July 2012

ATR Day One

I woke early due to some noisy neighbors and a sore back. So by 7am I decided that I had better go for a run. I ran along the canal past all the homeless until it was time to head back. I decided to take a shortcut but predictably I got lost in all the narrow ancient streets. I did get to have a good look at some of the sights.

I managed to convince ATR to send a driver to pick me up as I didn't think that I was ready to drive to work in peak hour traffic.

After a meeting with the contract manager I was taken to the delivery center where my office was. I met the Customer Delivery Manager, who seems nice. After lunch and then of course coffee ( or in my case tea), I went and had a look at our aircraft.

I was asked to do a couple of inspections, which was nice to actually do something that I am use to doing. I think that next time they may be a bit better prepared as I don't think they expected me to find as much as I did.

I went out to diner with some guys I had bumped into on my first day here. They are in the hotel next door. One of them is a Kiwi, who is now flying for Emirates, and they are here on an A380 course. We walked down to one of the squares with a lot of cafes outside. I had braised lamb shoulder which was really nice.

It started to rain on the way home, and by the time I got into my room, the lightening started. It was quite a show, unfortunately it played havoc with the TV reception so I was unable to watch the beginning of the opening of the Olympics.

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Friday, 27 July 2012

First Day

What an amazing first day. There was so much to take in, it made my head hurt.

My day started with my driver taking me to the security centre to get my badge. This was rather painless and took a lot less time than expected.

It was then to the Periport which is the customer office block. I was met by my Customer Liaison Manager, Cathie, who is a lovely lady and speaks good English. She showed me my office, which was much bigger than I imagined. I was given a card which allowed me free food and drinks form the vending machines.

I was then given a car! What freaked me out was that I was to get it back to the hotel!

I followed Cathie in my car to the local shopping mall. There we tried to get me a Mobile, but I need a permanent residence in France before they will sign me up to a contract. I continued to have a look around the mall but I was fading fast and thought that I should attempt the drive home while I was still awake.

It was peak hour traffic when I made my way out of the shopping centre carpark ( which wasn't that easy). Thank goodness for GPS. Having a lot of traffic around actually made it easier as I didn't have to think about which side of the road to travel on.

Got to the hotel, changed went down to the restaurant for a quick bite and then back to my room to collapse .

Cathie left me to fend for myself at the mall. I went to the Hypermarket which is like a big supermarket, Warehouse and Harvey Norman all rolled into one.
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Thursday, 26 July 2012

Bienvenue à la France

The flight over to France went without too much trouble. The new terminal 5 at Heathrow is impressive. I had lunch at Wagammas which was nice.

Hot. That was my first impression of Toulouse. 36C. My bags made it all the way which was a bonus.

My driver met me and took me to my hotel. Once settled in to my hotel, I wanted to put some more money on a pre-paid phone that I was given, but the shop closed early so I missed out. Had a good look around though, what an amazing city with all the little squares and narrow streets teaming with people, scooters and cars.

At Wilson's Square, there was a Merry go round. The square was surrounded on all sides by cafes with seating out on the sidewalk. I decided it was time for dinner.

I eventually found a cafe that had an English menu. I ordered a steak and chips - medium rear. A couple of minutes later out it came - just cooked. I was wearing my All Black top and a Kiwi introduced himself who was a couple of tables over. It turns out that he is here in a training course at Airbus. He is working for Emirates.

Back to the hotel to collapse.
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