01.07.2016 - 28.07.2016
Part of travelling is surely meeting people. Now I like to meet new people and get a gauge on their lives, but S can chat and chat for hours to the right people, and that's where doing a good deal of research pays off when booking at AirBnB's.
We have just covered much of Ireland, Scotland and the UK by rental car, viewing the sights and staying with the locals. The people who have a spare room, who make you feel welcome,tell you lots of stories (some true and some possibly not) about where they live, their country, the future and best of all about their lives. This is the sort of stuff you miss out on when you book into the multinational hotels with the staff from some other corner of the planet, you see, they don't know that much, haven't the time to share what they do know, and don't make the connection.
We started out in Dublin, spent time in Letterkenny (well to be honest a glebe outside Letterkenny), then Drumsna with a family who had escaped the city with three kids, Galway where we stayed with either the most genuine person in Ireland, or the most believable storyteller, Limerick where we could grab a beer from the fridge to enjoy in the sun but she had to remove them all before the next guests arrived because they were Irish, Waterford where we stayed in a unique historical building with an equally unique host and Swords where we met a young couple just starting to make their way in the world. All of them genuine, all wanting to meet new people and to share a bit of Ireland.
Then off to Scotland where again we were hosted by a variety of Scotland's best souls. A super night in Queensferry, viewing the Forth Bridge over dinner, then Munlocky on the Black Isle with a great people who shared our desire to travel and who directed us to see all the best things, down to Appin where the historical accommodation and outstanding vistas made the stop a delight (not actually AirBnB - but a distant relative).
Kendal in the Lakes District had quite a bit less contact with the owner, but never the less provided a super facility (if a little low for tall people) and all the required products for a hearty breakfast before departure. Glasgow where a young couple were just buying their second property to convert into an Air BnB, right in the center of the City. Millenials with an eye to the future. Their room especially set up was a great retreat after a busy day, and even though shared facilities, the host were up and clear of the bathroom early to give us priority rights. Very smart. Our hosts in Cardiff had a large loft space for us, made great conversation (even though suffering a motorbike injury from the day before) and guided us to places to eat and replenish missing cosmetics (a story for another time.
Then Bath where the accommodation was center of town, so close to the Baths I could have thrown a pebble in from the bedroom. Unfortunately we didn't meet our host and breakfast wasn't part of the hosting (but the accommodation was atop a tea and cake shop, so........
So how can I summarise our Air BnB experiences this trip? They have been without doubt great on all accounts for various reasons. Some the facilities and offerings, some the locations, but almost without exception when we could interrelate with the owners we found we were welcomed, were made to feel at home and were then part of conversations and laughter.
Highlights; the variety of thoughts about Brezit, the views over the countryside in Letterkenny, the breakfast in Galway and the flash digs in Bath.
The discussions about dead people and the sharing out of the medications in Galway will last me forever.