Finally Crossing Some Thresholds

Trip Start Feb 24, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Hôtel l'Univers

Flag of France  , Midi-Pyrénées,
Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I got up at 7:00 am, got ready, and went for a walk around Rodez. The town is quite pretty. I was right in the heart of the old part of the village near the cathedral. I quickly got cold, though, so I went back to the hotel and ate breakfast. I had some fresh strawberries, a pain au chocolat, and a great big, delicious cup of tea.

Then I went upstairs and finished packing. I came down and asked, in French, for the proprietor to call a taxi for me. I may learn to speak French yet!  I waited in a comfy leather chair near the door. The taxi came right at 10:00 am. I was at back at the airport by 10:10 am to get my rental car.

They didn't have the small car I reserved, so I got a free upgrade for a bigger one. It's quite nice actually, a brand-new Citroen Tourer. It is bigger than I would have liked though. It's a little scary driving it down those tiny streets!

I was able to make the 1-hour drive to Villefranche de Roeurgue with no problem at all. Although, I found the hotel quite by accident. I had initially made a wrong turn, so I sat in a school parking lot for a minute and reviewed a map (the first time I'd needed to look at one). It didn't help though. But I went in the other direction, and ended up heading right in the direction of the hotel.

I found parking nearby and went into the Hôtel l'Univers...which wasn't as easy as it sounds, because the door was blocked. I had to go into the attached café. I asked about checking in and the lady called someone. Another lady came, and we worked through that I wanted a room. Mind you, no one so far spoke any English.

So since they were working on the main hotel building (painting, etc), I had to stay off-site across the river, which was closer to where we wanted to be by a couple of blocks, within the bastide. I was shown three rooms. Two on the ground floor and one on the 3rd floor. I chose the 3rd floor room. The rooms were all VERY basic, and the place smelled like mold. There is this funky fabric wallpaper on the walls, and you can SEE the black mold. Ughhh. The upstairs room was not as bad though. It is just lacking in character, and, well, anything desirable really. But I am not here for a spiffy room. I do hope they will refurbish this building when they are done with the main one.

I got settled in, got my internet working (free), and then went back to the hotel café to meet the real estate agent. I ordered a Café Creme while I waited in order to warm up; he showed up shortly thereafter. We talked while I drank my coffee, then we went to go see house #1.

The entrance was scary with steep, steep stairs. The first floor has kitchen, living room, and bathroom areas. Then you go up another set of steep stairs to the second floor where there is another bathroom and three bedrooms. The layout is rather strange, different really, but it's a comfortable size. It has a lot of potential.

We went back to his office where we talked some more and discussed a possible starting bid. It will require some work to get it up to snuff, so it would have to be purchased for a reasonable price to make it worth it. We're going to meet an engineer on Saturday morning at house #1 to get an idea of what is needed to finish it and costs.

Tomorrow, I will see house #2 which is across and one house over from house #1. The agent was going to show it to me today, but I've been in contact with the owners directly for some time and have an appointment with them. So there's no point in paying him fees for it. He understood.

Right now, I like House #1 even though it needs work. I like that it has three bedrooms, and we can make it what we want. I'm afraid to get too excited. We just don't know what will happen. I'm trying to take one moment at a time.

For dinner, I walked around until I found a place I liked. I decided on the Café des Arcades in the market square by the cathedral. I ordered a small carafe of Bergerac wine for less than €3 and some cassoulet. I was very excited about the cassoulet; it's a favorite--French comfort food. It was ok, not the best cassoulet I've ever had though (I've made better actually). But I enjoyed my meal, wrote in my journal, and finished my wine by sitting back and observing the locals talk and argue about their favorite teams (either rugby or soccer).

After dinner, I walked around a bit more and took some photos. The sky was an amazing blue. Even though it was past 10:00 pm, there was still a glow from the sun. There was hardly a soul around town, very quiet.

It was a good day.
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