Monday, 29 October 2012

A day at the zoo

I was expecting a cold day today as yesterday was freezing - a high of 8oC so my plan was to take the kids ten pin bowling.  We woke to a lovely Autumn day and although it was a bit brisk it certainly didn't have the wind chill factor of yesterday.  We spent the morning at home and I started packing as we go to Paris on Saturday and when we come back move straight into our new house.  I also found out this morning at the reception that we need to clean the kitchen when we leave as the cleaners don't do that.  I think it is a bit odd as we have been here for 8 weeks and you think that the hotel would want to make sure it was all clean before the new guests arrive.  They clean the rest of the unit just not the kitchen.

As it was a lovely day we decided to go to the Zoo which is in a neighbouring suburb so only ten minutes away.  When we arrived it wasn't that clear where to pay so I just kept driving and suddenly found that I was driving on a road with camels on either side!  Penelope then told me that she had turned around and saw a lady looking at us and shaking her head - oops.  Anyway as there was nowhere to turn around I just kept driving and there were other cars so decided I must be in the right place!  We drove through the park past Lions and zebras and two hippos that came very close to the car!  It was lovely although at one point we had to drive through two antelopes and I thought that one of them was going to give the car a little nudge with its antlers!

We wound our way through the safari park and arrived at the car park.  I then found the ticket office which I had driven past and yes I was meant to have paid on entry to the park but they didn't seem too worried.  We then walked down and into the zoo and Hannah ran off and disappeared!  We eventually found her about 20 minutes later and she burst into tears very upset and apologetic.  Penelope was quite concerned that Hannah might have to end up sleeping with the animals overnight in one of their cages!  Oh well better to wander off in a reasonably small enclosed Zoo then in Paris, hopefully she has learned her lesson!

It was a really lovely zoo with lots of gorgeous animals but some of the animals especially the big cats - tigers, panthers and jaguars seemed to be in very small enclosures.  This was great for us being able to see them but probably not so good for the animals.  I think of the lovely big enclosures that the big cats have at Wellington Zoo and at Orana park and think they have got a much better deal.  We also didn't see any zookeepers apart from the lady that worked with the seals, which was a bit surprising.  It did feel like it could perhaps do with a bit of a spruce up and some of the enclosures being changed and enlarged but in saying that the animals all looked really healthy.  The highlight of the day though was a show put on by the two fab seals Dolly and Daisy!  They leapt and clapped and generally showed off to the audience which was a real treat to see.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Eating out and shopping

After a week stuck at home with a sick child plus home schooling as well as the fact that James has been working very long hours, I was quite keen for some desperately needed time out.  My half day off on my birthday seems a very long time ago!

So Friday night Jasper was well enough to go off to the birthday sleepover and we had organised a babysitter, so James and I headed into Toulouse.  There are a crew of engineers, pilots and managers from New Zealand here at the moment to help James with the final stages in getting the plane ready to go so we organised to meet up with them.  The babysitter was booked for 7pm and James got home from work at 7.20pm, so a quick change and then back in the car for him.  It was pouring down with rain plus the last day of School so the traffic was terrible!  It took us over an hour to make a 20 minute journey.  It was frustrating to think we were paying for a babysitter while sitting in a car on the motorway - on the flip side James and I did get to chat and catch up!

So nice to chat to some fellow New Zealanders (not many of us in the South of France) and we had a lovely dinner out at a restaurant called St George.  I had duck and the most amazing looking profiteroles.  We had said to the babysitter we would be home by 11ish but as I ordered my dessert I looked at my watch and it was 10.50pm so maybe not home by 11 after all!  The French take eating out very seriously so having dinner is not a quick bite but something to be enjoyed and savoured over.

We got home by midnight and then James had to take Georgia home so a bit of a late night for us.

On Saturday we managed to navigate the one way streets and find our way to the house where Jasper was having a sleepover.  He had had a great time and so nice to see him with a lovely bunch of new friends.  The boys had played pool and playstation as well as got dressed up for Halloween so lots of fun - not much sleeping but that's what holidays are for!  Jasper is much better and is fully recovered from his mumps.

After lunch James said he'd look after the kids so I could have some time out, so I headed off the shopping mall.  It was so lovely to have a good poke around the shops without a deadline to meet or a child to manage.  The mall was packed and there were queues for the dressing rooms and at the tills of most shops so that put me off buying anything but I did have a lovely look around.  I also thought I'd save my money for some shopping in Paris!

I got home save and sound despite the crazy French driving.

It was daylight saving last night so I think we are now 12 hours behind New Zealand for anyone that wants to ring or skype us.

School holidays for the next two weeks so this week we will be packing to move to our house.  We drive to Paris on Saturday  for a week and then when we come back we move straight into our new house.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

What a busy week...

While James has been busy at work mingling with the French Prime Minister and getting his plane ready to come home I have had excitement in my life as well with the discovery today that darling Jasper has mumps.  He woke with a sore neck on Sunday morning and we thought he might have strained it due to all the ducking and diving he had to do to avoid being hit on the head by stalactites during our caving expedition.  Then I thought maybe it was swollen glands but thought I'd see if it got better or worse so sent him to school Monday and Tuesday.  Monday he was fine but Tuesday lunchtime I get a call - while Hannah and I were out having a girlie shopping expedition - from School and I went and picked him up.

I had a name of a doctor who could speak English - whom I have met before at School about Hannah - so I rang her but the receptionist could speak no English at all so we just both hung up on each other!  I ended up getting the lovely receptionist at our hotel to ring the doctor and she found out that I didn't need an appointment as they just run an open clinic on mornings so just turn up and wait.

So this morning we head off and unfortunately the surgery has no number just a street name, so after stopping and asking a shop assistant at a pharmacy (who could speak no English but who used very good hand signals) we eventually got there!  I was expecting to wait ages but we arrived and noone else was in the waiting room so got to see her straight away.  The diagnosis was mumps, so Pamol and rest and no school for the rest of the week.  He has been invited to a sleepover birthday party on Friday so the aim is to be better for that.

On the bright side I have organised a babysitter for Friday night so we can go out with some fellow New Zealanders who are here to help James get the plane ready to fly out next Wednesday.  Plus it is School holidays next week and a much needed rest for everyone.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012


I started work early this morning. I left home 1/2 hour early (Rach had to take the kids to school)and by the time I made my way through all the traffic arrived 1/4 early.

I wanted to get on top of things before I had to go to the opening of the Airbus A350 Final Assembly Line (a big hangar where they assemble the parts of the plane). It was a flash do. They had the Blue carpet out and you were shown to your seat by one of the many pretty young ladies they had there. There was a lot of security as the French Prime Minister was there.

I sat next to some of the other Airbus rep's I have met. Whilst sitting there I recognised a Kiwi voice. It was coming from a couple seats to my left. I read his name tag and low and behold it was our strategy Manager who I am suppose meet tomorrow. So it was good to catch up with him and take him back to look at our aircraft.

Today our aircraft took off into the sky for the first time.

It was great to see it lift off the ground after all these months.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Route de Pibrac,Colomiers,France

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Adventures in the Pyrenees

Yet again the forecast for Saturday was for rain but as usual we chose to ignore it and go on a road trip anyway.  We decided that the kids had probably had enough of quaint French villages so instead thought we'd go and have a drive through the Pyrenees with the aim of having a look in some caves near Foix.  James found the idea of going to the mountains without his mountain bike a bit upsetting and despite doing some last minute research into buying a new bike just decided to wait for his bike from home to arrive in two weeks.  He also thought this would be a good opportunity to have a look at potential mountain bike tracks and places to stay for the future!


It was raining when we left Toulouse but heading south the weather cleared and we could even see some blue sky.  We arrived at Foix at about 11.10am and found a park then walked to the town centre.  We were quite surprised by the amount of homeless people around as we hadn't really struck that so far.  Foix was lovely but certainly alot more rustic than some of the other more touristy places we had been.  We found a playground that was right beside the toilets, bank and tourist office!  We asked at the tourist office about the caves and we were told that there was an underground river close by, where you went on a boat and looked at the caves.  Being France where lunch is taken very seriously and everything closes from 12-2pm the next boat trip was at 2pm.  We decided to walk up to the castle and have a look around (even though it closed for lunch).  We didn't go in but got a great view and were able to marvel at the feat of building such an impressive building several hundred years ago.
 Climbing the road to the castle
 The view from Foix castle

Houses carved out of the hillside
We then walked back to the village and found a nice cheap cafe where the kids and James all got steak hache (meat patty) and chips and I got duck and chips.  We finished it off with icecream for the kids and espresso for James and I (yes James is now drinking coffee!!)

We managed to navigate ourselves around the village by using Ken the GPS and road signs.  Ken tried to take us down some one way and closed roads and we learned that fortified towns designed to protect themselves from outside enemies are not that easy to get from one side to the other!!  We headed towards the caves and got there nice and early as even though the tourism lady told us to get there at 1.30pm the office was closed and no one turned up till 1.45pm.  We got our tickets and walked down to the entrance to the cave then got into the boat.  The caves were amazing and took 75 minutes to go through.  James and I were both surprised at how commercialised the caves were with concrete steps having being built for access, the use of metal boats, a cable bolted to the wall of the whole cave for the guide to hold onto as he took the boat down the river, dams set up, cables bolted to rocks and wound round stalactite formations.  In NZ it would be access by absailing then you'd be given a hard hat with a light on it and a rubber tube and be wished well!!  Even though it did go against our NZ conservation ideals it did enable us to see something amazing and gave us access to another part of the world.
The merry go round outside the caves - yes truly!
As it was only 3.15pm we decided to go on a bit of an adventure and go across the Pyrenees.  It was a very long drive and we didn't end up seeing the waterfalls we were heading too but did find another one instead.  The road was very narrow, windy and hilly - great for the tour de France but not so good for upset tummies!  It was amazing countryside and at one point we were quite high and it looked a bit like home.  By this point it was getting late so we decided to stop and get dinner.  We eventually made it back down to flat ground and spotted the golden arches - so meat patty and chips again!!
 Waterfall in the Pyrenees

Driving down through the cloud.
We got home about 8pm after a great day.

We are enjoying our quiet Sundays and love the concept of shops being closed on Sundays.  It does amuse us though that every Saturday evening there is a huge last minute rush as everyone suddenly remembers that the shops are going to be closed the next day.  We went to the Toulouse International church this morning which was really lovely.  There were quite a few families from school which was really nice for the kids, as they recognised a few faces.  So we will probably continue going there.

It's the last week of school this week before half term, the last seven weeks have gone so fast.  Hopefully Hannah will be able to go to school for Thursday and Friday which will be great as I need to go and get some winter clothes for the kids before we head to Paris in a fortnight.

Friday, 19 October 2012

A steep learning curve

As many of you know getting Hannah into the School in Toulouse has been a very long involved process, but after meeting with the agency today it seems like it is going to happen!  In fact if the costings are all approved she could even start on Wednesday.  It has been a very interesting journey for us as we have had to come to grips very quickly with employment law, finding a teacher aide and an agency to employ the teacher aide  as well as just dealing with a sad little girl who doesn't really understand why she can't go to school with her brother and sister.

It has taught me a lot about perseverance but also that sometimes in order to achieve something you actually need to just do what is asked of you.  Firstly the school rejected Hannah's application but would reconsider if we found a full time teacher aide plus if there was space in the class (it is capped at 26).  We could have dug our toes in and fought the school but instead decided to do as they asked.  A friend put a request on an English Facebook site and within days we had found our wonderful Emma who is going to work with Hannah.  We reapplied to the school and Hannah was accepted.

Due to employment law in France the school can't employ Emma as they are not able to do fixed term contracts and when we leave in two years Emma would still be entitled to keep her job which could be difficult for the school.  The easiest way for them would be for us to employ Emma - this of course is not easiest for us and in fact is very complicated!!!  In the end it was suggested by the school that we use an employment agency which employs Emma and then we use them to get Emma to work with Hannah.  As I don't speak any French Emma found an agency which seemed good but then started demanding that Emma (a British citizen) needed a work visa - this is false. So she found another agency which have proved to be fantastic!  They deal specifically with children and have this year moved into providing support for children with special needs.

Today was my meeting with the director of the agency and as he spoke no English and I speak no French I rang a lovely bilingual Mum in Jasper's class who came and translated for me.  It went very well and I now feel like we are moving forward.  The agency does all the complicated French paperwork including tax, insurance etc and all we need to do is sign the contract.

It has been an interesting experience and we have made many compromises along the way in that Hannah is starting school 7 weeks late, only doing half days and has a full time teacher aide but on the flipside for the first time the international school has accepted a child with Down Syndrome.  We may not have made any difference to French law but we have made a difference to one wee girl and maybe have paved the way for children with special needs in the future.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

We are now French residents - yah!

James and I were both dreading going to get our medical today for our French residency - the last step in obtaining our residency.  After waiting 8 weeks in New Zealand for our visas thinking we had filled in all the paperwork only to have to produce more paperwork and waiting another week for our passports to be stamped in Wellington, we then discovered in order to gain residency we had to have a medical within 3 months of our arrival in France.  We got all the paperwork together, paid the money (just for me as James is exempt as he is working??) and set off for our 9am appointment.  We discovered that due to a late night at the office James had mistakenly left the address at work.  So we made a detour to airbus and arrived at our appointment right on 9am.

We had heard all the horror stories about getting residency and bureaucracy in France so were prepared for a long morning and had Hannah all organised with the ipad.  We were pleasantly surprised to see only 5 other people waiting and it all seemed to be moving quite quickly.  We were seen by a nurse who ticked some boxes then said we would have an xray, then be seen by the doctor then get our visa.  We were all done in just over an hour and once they said it was finished we walked very quickly out the door and back to the car and both let out a huge sigh of relief!!  So we can now travel around the EU on our French visas which is great.  They need to get renewed in a year but hopefully that will be straightforward.  The doctor was hilarious as although I'm sure he probably spoke quite good English he just spoke in French.  He asked us all these questions which we had no idea what he was saying except for "Smoking, no?"  but he just ticked the boxes anyway!

We then headed into Toulouse city for morning tea and found a great cafe which had pastries and coffee for me but also sold grocery items.  So Hannah and James were both able to get a packet of gluten free chips each and eat them at the cafe - perfect!!  We will definitely go back there as it is so hard to find anywhere gluten free for a snack and this place ticked all the boxes.  Hannah was hilarious though as she chose some plain chips but discovered that James nacho chips were much nicer so swapped and then wouldn't share!  We then met another engineer from NZ that is over here helping James with the plane and they dropped Hannah and I home.

It was a lovely day so we decided to walk down to school to get Penelope and Jasper and then came home for lunch.  We love the short day Wednesday as it makes the week go so much quicker and it is so nice for the kids to relax and rest during the week.

In order to keep us grounded and not to take all that is French bureaucracy for granted we still have the whole matter of trying to hire our wonderful teacher aide.  You would think that in a country that has soaring unemployment rates they would be very happy for us to employ someone to work with Hannah - especially when that person is being paid by a company in another country, but no.  The teacher aide is meeting the agency tomorrow then they come to us on Friday.  Hopefully we will be able to get all the paperwork sorted and get the contract drawn up so Hannah can start school next term.  We have already had to change agencies due to the first one inventing some paperwork that our teacher aide supposedly needed.

Oh well one battle at a time and today it is a win for the Lonsdales - residents of France!!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Just North

The weather forecast was wet and cold, but we awoke to a beautiful clear blue crisp sky. So we put away our plans to go to the Space Museum, and decided to head just north of Toulouse to a city called Montauban.

We have driven past Montauban on the Toll Road at 130 kph and thought that it looked pretty ordinary apart from the Cathedral that every town seems to have sticking up above the rest of the buildings. It is not a town that you hear about or that people tell you, you must go and see it. But as we drove in to the town we were guided (by Ken the GPS) down along the river. It looked lovely and we were sure that we would find somewhere to eat out sandwiches that we had made. The car park that Ken took us to was full, so I turned Ken off and headed back towards the river, on the way we spotted a car park next to a play ground - perfect!

After lunch at the playground, we headed back the way we came to have a look at the Market. It was a lovely market and not too crowded with lots of fresh produce and clothing. The Market was big, but was winding down. Common sense dictated that we should go straight ahead to the square that we passed in the car. So we ignored common sense and dove into the narrow busy streets not knowing where we were going or where we will end up. The guide book said that all roads lead to the old square - and they were right. Through an archway we popped through to a delightful square full of people sitting out enjoying lunch at one of the may restaurants.

We kept on walking promising the kids that we would come back to get an ice cream as it was closed for lunch. We walked past an old church built in 1230AD and found another play ground. A gap between the buildings revealed a lovely old bridge spanning the River Tarn. The view from the bridge was spectacular overlooking other bridges with yet another old Church rising above the adjacent buildings. that were right on the waters edge.

If there could be one improvement in the towns that we have visited so far, it would be public restrooms. They are very few between and those that are around are well hidden. We made our way back to the promised Ice Cream Palour, the kids using their pocket money to by themselves an ice cream.

We really had a nice time in Montauban, it was much nicer than we thought it was going to be. Inspired, we decide to head to Gaillac via Castelnau de Montmiral. On the way we turned off the main road at an intersection marked by the most amazing looking Chateau perched on top of a cliff.

This seemed to mark the start of the Post Card that we would spend the next 45 mins driving through. Rachel was taking photos as we drove, and around every corner was yet another Post Card that we could actually drive through. It was like the farmers had got together with an artist to work out how to make it look so beautiful. All the detail was there, the tress were planted it the correct position, the old farm houses were surrounded by plowed fields  the horses were coloured to make sure they didn't clash - there was even an old man wobbling around with a walking stick wearing a beret.

I had to stop at one village to take a photo as all the buildings were the same colour as the cliff that rose behind them.

On to Castelnau de Montmiral, which was situated on top of a hill with the narrow streets leading to the quaint little square. As we headed back to the car we spotted a shop that had a cafe attached, we could see through the shop, cafe and to the valley spread out beyond it. It was too tempting, so we stopped for a drink and took in the view.

Some towns have two sides to them. We approached Gaillac from its' backside! It is a city based on its produce of wine. The streets were wide (in some places trucks could pass each other!) and it seemed to be a more practicle than pretty. The prettiness started at the center of the town and continued on the other side over the bridge. As I looked in my rear view mirror, it was again like looking into a post card.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Smile and nod

I have worked out that until I open my mouth and start speaking no one realises that I can't speak French so the best way is to just look like I know what I'm doing and smile and nod.  This applies to driving in some ways as well, because the other motorists don't realise that it is only my second time driving further then to school 1km a way and that I don't understand half of the crazy French road rules and that I am completely relying on the GPS to get me anywhere!  Today I decided to take Hannah and I on an adventure to the local mall (Centre Commercial in French).  The aim was to have lunch and to do some post.  I wanted to give Hannah and myself a cooked dinner at lunch time as Jasper had soccer tonight after school and Penelope was starting singing class so it was sandwiches for tea - very French!  I decided to drive the back route to the mall which worked well and thankfully coming from Christchurch am use to roundabouts so arrived at the mall unscathed.  Hannah was such a good patient girl even when it took me ten minutes to find the correct location on the GPS before we had even started.

In France there is a chain of restaurants called Flunch which have a unique way of ordering where you get your tray, tell the teller what you want, pay, get a docket then go and get your food by presenting the docket. Hannah loves it as she can go up for more chips as often as she likes.  This is one of those places where I just smile and nod and try to pronounce things in French but the poor French teller has no idea what I'm saying so I start pointing frantically and then just hope that what I've paid for is what I want.  Luckily for me Pepsi is the same in every language.  I am also learning a few key French words - hache means steak burger patty without the bun, cafe means coffee, glace means ice cream and as long as you always say bon jour and Merci things are normally fine.  It is nice though when the French people who can speak English rescue me from flailing my arms around and pointing at things.  The nice chef at the fish counter in Flunch spoke perfect English, which made my life a bit easier.

After Flunch for lunch we went to the post office where we struck an annoying French habit of idle chit chat between the customer and the teller even though there is a huge que - all very nice for the people involved but not so great for me.  Anyway I got in the only que at the post office and the lady in front had about 20 envelopes each which had special stamps and stickers on them for some reason and she took about twenty minutes!  It is a very strange thing standing in a line of people and not being able to understand anything anyone says - again I just smile and nod.  I do miss not being able to eaves drop on conversations and just  listen to what others are saying in the world around me.

By this time I decided we needed to head back home so got in the car and pressed the home button on the GPS and it started taking me in the wrong direction - as I knew better and also was terrified it would take me onto the motorway I turned around and went the other way.  Luckily the GPS came into line recalculated and we all got home safe and sound.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

A day in Cahors

A great start to the day with a lovely skype chat with my good friend Suzi and her gorgeous family and then we got the wonderful news that Hannah has been accepted into the International School of Toulouse.  We are so delighted as she will have a great time and I'm sure will fit in quickly and make friends.  It is a lovely school with very supportive staff and families and she is excited to be starting soon.  We need to finalise a contract with the Teacher aide then work with the school to find a best starting date so she may start this term or at the start of next term which is in five weeks.  The terms are very short here with only three weeks till holidays.

We then headed north in the direction of Cahors.  A beautiful old medieval French town.  We arrived and found a park no problem and then went off in the search for lunch.  After a couple of misses where no one could speak English and we weren't really sure if the food would be gluten free we found a lovely cafe.  We thought we would try and do lunch a bit cheaper today so had no frills with just a main each and no drinks - so we saved a few penny's.  We think that next weekend if we go away we might make up some baguettes and sandwiches and have a picnic instead.  Every town has gorgeous bakeries and cheap pizza and creperies but for gluten free diners it is a lot more challenging.

One of the narrow alleyways in Cahors.
 Part of the medieval town.

Having a rest at a WW1 memorial

So after a meal of steak and chips we walked the streets of Cahors admiring all the age old houses and trying to work out what all the different pulleys and grates on the outside of the houses were for.  The streets are very narrow and we decided that this would not be a good place to own a big 7 seater car like ours.  We had a great explore and then walked down to the 14th Century medieval bridge Pont Valentre.  It was truly magnificent and quite awe-inspiring that something over 600 years old is still standing and you can walk over it and climb some of the stairs that lead to the towers.
 The bridge of Cahors

Jasper walking over the gate that opens the lock.
On the riverbank looking at Pont Valentre

We then walked back into the village and found a cafe for an ice cream and a coffee.  We had planned to go onto Rocamdour which has an amazing chateau perched on a hill.  We had done alot of walking already and didn't think the kids would be that impressed if we made them walk up a step hill to look at yet another old building.  So instead we decided to take a short walk back to the Cathedrale St-Etienne in  Cahors.  It was a wonderful building, so ornate with some 14th century fresco's.  The monks certainly knew how to hide themselves from the world as inside the church through a doorway and chapel was a lovely courtyard.  Very peaceful and private.
The courtyard inside the Cathedral.

We then decided to head for home and will come back to Rocamdour another day with friends of family.

Today we decided to try out a different Church and even though it was advertised as English speaking it was actually French speaking.  We stayed for some songs and prayers but left before the sermon as thought it might be a bit hard going.  We instead went into Pibrac which is a nearby village, to a playground we had spotted on a previous occasion.  It was a great playground and the kids had a good time.

Am looking forward to the week ahead with organising the Teacher aide for Hannah and getting a start date for her for school now that she has been accepted.  On Monday the children have the day off school for parent teacher interviews.  My interviews are in the afternoon so we will be able to have a relaxing morning at home.

Friday, 5 October 2012

A lovely birthday week

Been a busy week with Hannah and my birthdays.  Thank you to all those who posted messages on facebook and txt and skyped us, lovely to hear from you all.  Hannah had a lovely day on Wednesday and got some lovely presents and cards.  We gave her a scooter which she is great at riding although I think I will need to get one too to keep up with her!  The children's school has a half day on Wednesdays which worked out well as we went and collected Jasper and Penelope at 12.30 (in my new little car).  We had pizza for lunch - which is challenging to cook in our convection microwave but it was okay.  It was a beautiful day so we went to the hotel swimming pool for the afternoon which was lovely and then played out on the lawn with all the other kids staying at the apartments.  For dinner we went to MacDonalds and learned that unlike in NZ the French don't make up burgers in GF bread even when you bring your own.  So when we took it to the table we just put the fillings into our own bread anyway.  Had a lovely evening out and Hannah had a lovely day.

Hannah opening her presents.

For my birthday I had booked for Hannah and I to go on a walking tour of Toulouse.  We dropped Jasper and Penelope off at school and then joined the throngs of early morning commuters on the motorway.  We got into town nice and early so James dropped us off and headed to work and Hannah and I went and sat in the Capitol square and had a very expensive coffee and juice.  We met up with Penny our guide and three others and started our walk.  We had a great time and it was so nice to learn a bit more about Toulouse's history and also to find out a bit more about the buildings.  The walk was 2 hours and 3km long so by the end Hannah was a bit tired.

The plan was for James to drive in and meet us for lunch and after eventually him finding a park we met in a restaurant above the Victor Hugo market.  James and Hannah had steak and chips of course and I had duck salad followed by Paella then a strawberry pie.  You might notice in the photo that the mussels are much smaller then ones in New Zealand!

After lunch James took Hannah home and I was left in the city for some much needed time out.  It was so lovely to just wander around the shops and quite a few were having sales which was great!  I managed to pick myself up a few bargains.   I even managed to find my way back to some of the shops that Penny had pointed out that morning on our walking tour.

So that James didn't have to come back in and get me I decided to try out the Toulouse public transport system.  I managed to find my way to the train station got a ticket and then found out by asking that I was actually catching a bus!  Made it to the bus stop in time and even though it was slow due to the traffic got dropped off just round the corner from our house so nice and handy.  James had cooked dinner which was a nice treat, so a lovely day.

This morning Hannah and I went and met the Principal of the International School as she is taking our application to the school Board this afternoon.  So hopefully we will hear that she can go and she can start in a week or so.  Will let you all know!