Well this has been a first for me! Can you believe I’m in my 50’s and I’d never travelled on a tram? Sad isn’t it? Well, fear not dear reader I have now ticked that box.
And if you’re going to travel by tram, Montpellier has a rather a impressive network of trams albeit just 4 lines, they cover just about the whole city and stop off at all destinations that you could wish to visit including the tourist sights, shopping centres, sports venues along with, should you really need it, the SEASIDE!! Yay!!
The young man at the Tourist Information Office recommended that we buy a ‘family’ ticket for up to 5 people, even though we were just 2! So for the princely sum of 6 Euros we purchased our ticket which would allow us to travel on whichever tram we wanted, as often as we wanted for one day! We only wanted to do one journey but it was still more economical to buy the family ticket.
The trams of which there are four designs (one for each line) are designed by Jean Paul Gautier and what a brilliant idea, you see a tram and depending on the colourful design, you know exactly where it is going! Simple but very effective! We had decided to take the ‘flower power’ line, just to see a little bit of Montpellier from a cool, air-conditioned vehicle. It was so simple, we purchased the ticket from the machine next to the stop and boarded the tram, clean, spacious, cool and just totally funky.
We went to the end of the line to a small, suburb village called Jacou, as we got off the train, I noticed this great system for people to leave their bikes, totally secure and accessible only by a smart card. What a great idea, I’m sure they have this idea elsewhere but so far it’s the first time I’ve seen it. It must make the commute so much easier than having to take the bike with you on the tram.
Another thing we’ve noticed here in France is the lack of libraries, I had heard that the French like to buy ‘new’. We’ve seen a couple of these both in the Dordogne and now here just next to the tram stop, a ‘Boite a Lire’ (reading box). People leave books that they have finished reading and others can help themselves to anything that takes their eye. Perfect solution to finding something to read on your trip into work and when you’ve finished the book, you simply pop it back into the box for someone else. I’m not sure the selection that was on offer the day we arrived would have tempted me though!!
So I give the tram system in Montpellier a 10 out of 10. It was so simple to use and an absolute pleasure to be able to be driven around sightseeing and not have to worry about parking etc. especially during this heat wave.
The weather is still giving us a bit of a bashing with the heat, but I think slowly we are becoming accustomed to it. Charlie, however, is finding it quite exhausting. I’ve come up with a little tip, and it works brilliantly. We make Charlie a mix of boiled rice, mince beef and carrots and to this we add biscuits for his main meals. I bought some natural yogurt, stir in the rice mixture and place in little plastic yogurt pots, these are popped in the freezer overnight and he has one when it’s very hot! He loves it, it keeps him occupied and it cools him down at the same time.
The other thing that the clever little so and so does, is he lies on the stone floor, in a semi circle at the base of the oscillating, tower fan that we have on constantly, this ensures that he receives cool air from tail to ears! Now you can’t tell me he’s not smart!!
I had such a down day, yesterday, I received news from England that one of my friends had had to put her lovely sheepdog called Tess to sleep, Tess was a truly lovely dog and Charlie and she got on very well together. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I then received another message (on the same day) telling me that another friend had had to have her dog, Rooney, put to sleep too. He was a gentleman of a dog, never demanded attention and just seemed to be ‘there’ next to his owner, a real treasure. I know how much my friends will miss their ‘babies’ I’ve already lost one dog 15 years ago and it hurts like hell. All I can say is it makes me appreciate my old boy even more. How he is coping with all the change, the travel, the heat is beyond me, he’s truly one in a million.