Good morning from Germany.
A long-overdue update. It seems that when we’re not travelling outside of Canada I don’t feel that I have much to say. And now that we’re at the beginning of a whirlwind trip through Europe, somehow my life is a tad more interesting.
Recap of the past few months:
- April: returned to Canada after almost seven months in South America.
- May – June: reconnected with family and friends in Calgary (and I may have walked the occasional dog or two).
- July: started a communications contract – it’s nice to know that after two-and-a-half years of “retirement” I can still put some words together for the benefit of a corporate client. In between working, we found time to visit family and friends on Canada’s East Coast.
- August: more time spent at a desk — it’s surprising how quickly the nine-to-five can sneak back into a daily routine. That didn’t stop us from taking a quick trip to Ontario for more visits with family and friends.
- September: More work and now an 18-day trip to Europe to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.
In June, Frank surprised me with details of our anniversary adventure: Berlin, Prague, Dubrovnik and Zagreb — all cities we’ve yet to explore.
Booking flights was pretty straight forward. Frank then became slightly obsessed with researching EVERY AirBnB in each city to find the perfect spots. We’ve had pretty good success with AirBnBs over the years. Knowing that you can’t entirely trust the photos a host will post, we also rely heavily on past reviews — the more recent the better.
We had the perfect place in Berlin squared away only to have them cancel our reservation two weeks before the start of our trip. The good folks at AirBnB helped us find a replacement. And although the location and amenities wouldn’t have placed it in our top 10, the reviews were positive.
For others, like us, who go the AirBnB route, the moment of truth is when you are standing in front of the building. Here is how ours played out after a long day of travel…
Once we landed in Berlin and connected to the airport wifi, we heard the ping of this email message from our AirBnB host (the italicized text captures my thoughts):
“I have an emergency at work and no one can be there to let you into the apartment.” Not exactly what I want to hear when we’ve been traveling for 14 hours and I’m hungry and tired and need to pee.”
“The front door to the building is not closed properly.” And a sketchy front door it is and that news doesn’t really speak well to my desire of security.
“You have to just push with your full body weight two times hard against the door.” Apparently it does close properly because we both pushed very hard, more than twice — and me with a full bladder no less — and the door did not open.
“Or you can choose the easy way and ring a neighbor’s place and just say you forgot the key to the front door.” We didn’t have to ring any neighbours. We made such a commotion that one of them came to our rescue, luckily before any others called the authorities.
“Then you walk to the backyard – there is a second building on the left side.” Wait. What? Through the first building — then a backyard. Oh joy, a scavenger hunt for the flat.
I live on the second floor.” But when you say second floor, do you really mean the third floor since sometimes the ground floor (outside of North America) is really zero?! I would really hate to walk into the wrong apartment.
“My apartment is the left door without a name on the bell.” It was very helpful that none of the floors had numbers. And more helpful yet was that none of the doors had names nor numbers. Well played!
“The key is in front of the door under the carpet.” You must have spent several hours tacking down the carpet. And I give you extra points for making it more of a challenge by unscrewing the lightbulbs in the stairwell and halls. But we Canadians are not easily thwarted — we found your keys and we are enjoying your flat. The bottle of prosecco you left was a worthwhile reward — and so was your bathroom.