Last summer two groups of people from France came to Victoria and stayed at our place. This year we get to go to the south of France and stay at their place. That's the pleasure of home exchange. We've been dabbling in this for a while now and we're really reaping the benefits this year.
Next week we are booked to fly to to Toulouse in France, where we'll stay for a couple days to get over the jet lag, and then we'll rent a car and drive to Albi and stay in the home of Adeline and her family for a week.
I hadn't heard of Albi until we received Adeline's home exchange request last year. When I found this image of the town there was no question but that we would go there. It's a Unesco Heritage site in a beautiful part of France. It features an ancient bridge over the River Tarn, a 13th century cathedral, a Toulouse Lautrec Museum, plus other delights. A three-star hotel in Albi runs about $95 a night, but we get to stay in Adeline's home with a swimming pool for free. Home exchange is for sure the way to go.
Plus we will get to visit with this lovely family who we met last year and benefit from their knowledge of the area. Adeline's family will be staying with at her parents home while we are at their place.
In fact Adeline arranged a six-month tour of Canada and the US last year, all on home exchange. It's a fair bit of work to co-ordinate with people in different countries but it can be done.
For the second part of our trip we will be staying for two weeks in Narbonne, about an hour south of Albi. Last year David and Lyn stayed at our place for two weeks while we were in Spain and so this year we will be staying in their apartment on the main canal there. Home exchange is really a wonderful way to travel and meet people from around the world.
Narbonne is a city dating back to Roman times. It was once a prosperous port but is now located about 15 km from the Mediterranean sea. The apartment we'll be staying in fronts on the Canal de Robine, a historic connector from about 200 years ago which links to the famed Canal Midi in southern France. You can tell we're super stoked about this trip.We spent some time in France five years ago and really loved it so it will be wonderful to go back and explore more.
I have been boning up on my high school French with the help of Duolingo and Pimsleur's cds. It's amazing home much is coming back to me. Although I doubt I'll be very fluent when we actually get there. Right now we're organizing and packing and cleaning for our three-week trip. But just today we found out that our flight on Air France may be cancelled because of an airline strike. Here's hoping things get settled before we're scheduled to leave on Wednesday.