Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The next big trip

In about a week, I will be going to Albuquerque to see my mother, and spend the night with friends who live near the airport. The next day, I'll go to Madrid.

The Mother-Country. The country from which the Americas sprang. Not to say the Americas wouldn't have been eventually discovered, but it was the foresight and confidence in Columbus on the part of Queen Isabella that led Spain to become a world power and to leave Spanish around the world as its legacy.

I speak Mexican Spanish, and not well. I'll probably never be a fluent Spanish speaker unless I stay somewhere for a very long time, and have NO expat friends. Unlikely on both accounts.

But I am looking forward to learning in the old country. I'll have to tune my ear to thhhh sounds instead of sss's. And many new words that already (from maps and reading) sound more Italian than Spanish. My lodging for the entire month of September is sewed up and paid for, thanks to the Internet and credit cards.

Hat on volcanic tuff,
the dominant rock in Capadoccia
AirBnB is a godsend. In so many ways. I'm too old to sleep in cheap hostel dorms with a bunch of loudly dreaming post-teenagers and snoring dogs. And I'm too cheap and too poor to stay in nice hotels for three and a half months. So AirBnB to the rescue! All over the world, people have a spare room, or maybe a spare master suite, or even an teepee in the backyard, and they are willing to rent it by the night to weary travelers. I am simply amazed at how many options there are in largish cities, hundreds of possibilities ranging from $10 a night to $700 for an entire eight bedroom home. I have focused on single women with a spare room, preferably with its own bath, and so far have not paid more than $35 a night, way cheaper than a hotel room in say, Barcelona, where the cheapest ratty hotel gets $65.

Trusted Housesitters is another website I've put to good use. The annual fee has almost doubled, I think I paid around $35 last year, now it's over $60. For good reason. There are way more sitters than homes, and Trusted Housesitters charges on both sides of the fence. Either way, the owners get pet care and home care for nothing, and I get places to stay for sometimes a month at a time, for nothing as well.

Part of this trip will be spent in Turkey, four nights at an AirBnB home in Istanbul, and a month in Capadoccia, in the super touristy center of the country, housesitting a cave home. I'm looking forward to this trip so much. The time is speeding up to departure date, so stay tuned. It won't be long, I'll post photos of Europeans doing such European things as drinking espresso in sidewalk cafes, and pinching women on the butt. And maybe some not-so-stereotyped things too!!