We already knew Noodle and his owners, Tim & Andy as Andy (and Noodle) used to live in Australia and in fact Andy and Christopher, along with another friend started a cupcake shop – My Little Cupcake – but that is another story. It was great to see Andy & Tim again and we had a couple of days to catch up prior to them leaving for France and Spain.
We were soon introduced to Alexa who would be our constant companion during our stay in Palm Springs. Alexa was our first experience of home automation and were delighted to see this technology in action. She controlled the lights, would google questions we had, provide flight updates, give weather updates and control the temperature when requested. She was aware of the different rooms in the house and which lights she could turn on or off and all this happened with simple voice commands. Alexa even understood our Australian accents (most of the time) and we did teach her some Aussie slang as well! The handover for this house was extensive as we were shown the ipad used to communicate with the security gate, control the pool lights, increase the spa temperature and all manner of other tasks. Andrew being a tech guy loved all the gadgets and we knew that if all else failed, there were light switches that meant things could be done manually.
We took a trip on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to the Mt. San Jacinto State Park. This tramway is the largest rotating aerial tramway in the world ascending to over 2500m and the cooler temperatures were a welcome relief as we went on a bush walk with great views over the valley & Palm Springs below us. The Palm Springs Art Museum houses an eclectic collection of modern and traditional art and we spent an afternoon there exploring the exhibits. There is also an Architecture and Design Centre which had a great exhibition on Albert Frey’s tiny house built in the hills overlooking Palm Springs. Albert Frey also designed a local gas station which has subsequently been turned into the Visitor Information Centre – worth visiting for both the building design and tourist information. This architecture hot spot was a great introduction to the architecture of the area in the 1950’s, 60’s & 70’s and also got us very excited for our visit to Fallingwater, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright later in our trip.
People often ask what are the benefits of having house sitters? One is that someone is around should something unexpected happen and this it did one afternoon. It began pouring rain and after an hour or so, we realised that the pool would soon overflow, potentially flooding the house. The air conditioning units and pool equipment were also in danger of becoming water logged as a result of the freak storm. Armed with an umbrella (which we soon abandoned) we started digging trenches to run the water down the sides of the house onto the street in order to prevent any damage. All ended well but we sure were glad we were on site to avert a disaster.