TRAVEL with pat and lew

* about this blog

July 2010 in Aix-en-Provence


It’s hard for us to believe we’re in the middle of our 5th summer of retirement living in Europe from our home base in Collioure in the south of France. It wasn’t so long ago this was all just a dream for us.

We’ve completed about 15 home exchanges in places as diverse as Perth, Australia and Ajijic, Mexico, but mostly in Europe and especially Paris.

Pat and I are members of www.homeexchange.comlisting #52059. Please contact us through that site if you’re interested in considering a home exchange with us.

How our blog is organized …

  • CATEGORIES … our posts are organized by categories, which are listed in the left hand column. Clicking the selected category will bring forward all of the posts in that category, in reverse chronological order.
  • In the right hand column of the Home Page are lists of TOP POSTS, RECENT POSTS, and RECENT COMMENTS.

FEEDBACK … we welcome comments, suggestions, and questions, especially if we have been unclear about a topic of interest to you, or if you can add something we’ve overlooked.


30 Responses to “* about this blog”

  1. Hi,

    My name is Emmanuel Arnaud, and I am part of a group of 22 French families which have started a new home exchange community called GuestToGuest ( We’ve created this community because a lot of us are not yet retired and do not have a secondary home, so that we have some constraints on when we can go and do exchanges, which are handicaps on the other home exchange services.
    We believe we’ve overcome some of our challenges by introducing a point system, the GuestPoints, which make it easier to have non-simultaneous or non-reciprocal exchanges, so that you do not need to have a perfect match to be invited (A can invite B who invites C who invites A, etc.).
    We’re still a small and young community, but we’d love to hear from experienced home exchangers what they think of our initiative.


    PS: congrats on the blog and the impressive number of home exchanges!

  2. Megan said

    I came across your website and found it alluring and exciting. I am a big fan of travel. If you could e-mail me back, that would be great. I just had a couple questions.
    I look forward to hearing back from you soon! Have a great day.

    • Lew Weinstein said

      I would prefer to handle questions on the blog rather than through direct emails. What are your questions?

  3. Brad Tuttle said

    Hi — I’m an editor with Budget Travel magazine, working on a story about home swapping. I’d love to get some insight from experienced swappers such as you folks. If you’d be up for sharing some of your knowledge and tips for first-timers, please reach out to me: bradrtuttle[at]gmail[dot]com

  4. caroline scott said

    Please sign me up to receive your regular blog posts. I hope to meet you sometime in the future with your travels. I have visited Kristin and Jean-Marc several times and am in the process of purchasing a small village house in Languedoc. When I have completed the process, perhaps we could arrange to meet at some future time. I would love to hear your adventures and know how you got started with your retirement travel plans.
    Take care,

  5. George said


    I’m always on the lookout for key websites and blogs to network with. After reviewing your site, I would like to offer you a guest post on my blog ( Some bloggers I contact write about places all over the word, others discuss only a single place (their home) in great detail, while others focus on a single activity like fishing or biking. Either way, my audience loves to travel and they want to learn about places and activities they can take part in.

    If you would be interested in writing as a guest, please feel free to contact me so we can discuss our potential exciting affiliation. Also it would be extremely helpful if you could provide me with any specific information about your blog,, that you would like to be included in the post. Aside from the guest blog post, you’ll be receiving a link back to your site.

    If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    About OneTravel’s Travel Blog:
    OneTravel’s Travel Blog receives over 2,000 unique visitors each business day.

    Warm Regards,
    George Christodoulou
    Travel Blogger | OneTravel

  6. Lew Weinstein said

    We were in Budapest some years ago, so my information may be dated. Rakoczi Ter at one time had a reputation as a center for prostitution, but we saw no evidence of that or any other street crime during our two weeks there. The neighborhood seemed safe to us, with a large market on one side and a major street on the other. It is necessary to take the tram and subways to get to most attractions, but we had no problem doing that. The apartment building itself was broken down and disreputable looking, from the outside and also in the interior, except for the apartment which we occupied, which we loved. Our apartment was sparsely furnished, very large, with a sort of decadent elegance that we enjoyed. In Budapest, we recommend the monumental public bath and the New York Cafe (the cafe is within walking distance of Rakoczi Ter).

  7. Michael DiPasquale said

    Stumbled on your ambitious blog. I am planning a trip to Budapest and was going to rent the apartment with that amazing stained glass, on Rakoczi Ter.

    But after looking at some travel blogs, I’ve heard mixed things about this area.

    Is the Rakoczi Ter. area safe? I’m up for an authentic experience, but with two kids, I don’t want to worry about crime.

    Thanks for any help you can give me.

    -Michael DiPasquale

  8. Tony said

    Dear Pat and Lew

    I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog, specifically your many European adventures (good and bad). You have inspired me and my wife to consider a summer home in Europe. Collioure looks beautiful. If we visit the south of France we’ll be sure and look you up. Dinner will be on us.



  9. Dear Pat and Lew

    Like so many others, I have fallen for Collioure’s charms but as I use a wheelchair was left a bit high and dry when it came to staying there although one hotel has a room which is just about useable.

    As my company provides care services to disabled people, we decided to buy a property and adapt it so that anyone can enjoy mooching in the village – which is easily enjoyed as the centre is more or less level. The work was finished in 2008 and the house can be seen at – and follow the holiday apartment link.

    I am unsure as to your wishes on content such as this but I thought I’d send it anyway. Perhaps you can add this/delete it as you wish?

    Kind regards


  10. annabelle said

    Hi I found your blog when going on anglo file france.I have lived in spain for over 20 years, and currently am in Barcelona with my 10 year old.I went to colliure in 97, and again 3 weeks ago, and was so happy to see its hardly changed.I have sold my house in southern spain, and was planning to buy in Barcelona after renting for a year, however this is now not a option as the prices are too high.I would so appreciate your views on the best area’s of colliure.if i get a flat i would want a top one and not in a block with holiday lets a house close to the village is also a option.
    How much time a year to you live in colliure?I adore america and have lived in california and florida.great news about obama.
    With many thanks annabelle (oh I am 66 very late mum!)

  11. Bridget said

    My aunt and uncle have a blog?! I LOVE it! I will definitely be checking back here often to see what adventures you are up to. I’m only 23 and I’m already excited for retirement so I can make traveling my full time job. Miss you! Bon voyage!


  12. Hello Dear,

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  13. Sonya Stinson said

    Hi, Pat and Lew,

    I’m a writer who came upon your blog while researching an article on affordable retirement travel. Would you be willing to do a brief interview and share a few thoughts on home exhange and travel budgeting?

    I’m happy to provide more details if you email me.

    Sonya Stinson

  14. wendy Abrams said

    Hi Pat and Lew,

    I am launching a social network site with David Siskin a major advertising and technology executive in Marin. The site is for Baby Boomers and covers multiple topics. Would you be interested in writing a weekly blog for us in our travel category? The site is launching end of week and it’s called Boomity. It’s in BETA, however, I would like to have you write for us. Your blog is excellent and refreshing completely perfect for us. I’ll explain details if you are interested. Happy travels
    Wendy Abrams

  15. peter pilot said

    Hi Pat + Lew, it’s the first time I have read a blog and must say I have thoroughly enjoyed experiencing your journey. My name is Peter and I’m in the process of leaving London behind and have recently bought a vinyard and old winemakers house in Salses Le Chataue, I will today visit colliure following reading your blog, it does sound idyllic. I have visited the area 4 or 5 times now, I’ve been coming at different times of the year to get a feeling for the changes in colour, atmosphere and weather, watching the vine leaves appear, and the grapes grow, I’m going to live in the winemakers house for 9 months per year, I will visit Sols cafe than Karin recommends and look forward to contining to follow your blog.

    Many thanks,



  16. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving your link– I love, love, love travel and am excited to read about your travel adventures!

  17. JIMMY

    Thanks for the excellent site ( which has been added to the blogroll.


  18. Thanks for the visit

  19. Gowtham said


    A novel based on truth is effective if it composes right mixture of reality and message form. I am yet to read A Good Conviction.

  20. Jimmy said

    “We welcome comments, suggestions, and questions…..”

    Dear Sir/Madame,

    I could not find your email-adress, therefor I write it here,
    a very good website about airtraffic in Europe:

    Maybe something for the column “Blogroll”

    Kind regards,


  21. Karin said

    Hi again!
    I’m so sorry that I didn´t contact you when I was in Collioure! I couldn´t reach my e-mail for the hole vacation and was unabled to write you back. To bad, because it would have been so great to meet you! How does it feel to be back in Collioure?

    We were a group of 30 persons that stayed in Banyuls at “Le Manoir”, as we also did 6 years ago. Do you know the place? It’s been great! Spend most of the nights in Banyuls, but visited Collioure and Café Sola a couple of tims as well. It has been a lovely trip as always and I’m already longing to go back, it’s so wonderful there.

    Well, anyway, I’m already planning my next trip, probably in august when I will be trying to stay in Collioure instead of Banyuls! Hope we can meet then. I’ll keep in touch!

    Karin B

  22. Kevin (son) said

    What a great trip. Pop-pop would have been proud. Excellent tips on travelling. We have now put Normandy on the list of places to see when in France, and thanks to your suggestions, have the appropriate preparatory work to do. Can’t wait to see you in Ireland. Dawn (my wife) is very excited!

  23. Joy said

    I found your site from your comment on ell’s blog. I’ve seriously considered the home exchange and am delighted to read information from someone who does that and other creative ways to travel. I’ll be back here reading about your adventures.

  24. Karin Bengtsson said

    Hi! My namn is Karin, and I’ve just found your page here on the internet! I’m a 24 year old girl from Sweden, with my heart in Collioure. I lived there in the summer of 2004 with my best friend Lotta and we worked at Laurent’s Café Sola 🙂 It was the best time in my life, and from that day Collioure is my favorite place in the world (som far anyway!)… I’ve been back a couple of times, last time last summer and I’m actually going there again the 25 june! Still have great contact with Geoffrey who’s working there this summer to!
    Would be great to say hello if we are there at the same time, maybe for a drink at Sola?! 🙂 Anyway, it was really nice to read your blog! Always wonderful to hear how others also loves “my” paradise… 🙂
    Karin Bengtsson

  25. ANNE

    I’ve just checked out your site, which looks excellent. I’ll be happy to add it to our listing of “Other HOME EXCHANGE SItes,” which I am making a page instead of a post. We’re still very new at this blogging business, learning by trial and error what seems to work best. Thanks for your comments on our site.


  26. Anne said

    Hi Pat and Lew

    You have an excellent blog – lots of fun reading with a great deal of informative content. I’ve just spent some time exploring your Home Exchange section which I found to be highly entertaining.

    I will be adding a note about you on my blog and I will also provide my readers with a link to you – I’m sure they will benefit from what you have to say.

    I would really appreciate a link to in your blogroll. Thanks 😉

    Anne Pottinger

  27. Kath’s link, to, can be found by clicking “other home exchange sites” in the upper right section of our Home Page. Her site has lots of great information.

  28. Hi again Pat & Lew

    I’ve just added a short item about your blog on mine and will add a reciprocal link shortly. Would it be possible to have a link for on your blogroll, please, as mentioned above?

    Kath Botterill
    Green Theme International Home Exchange

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