A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: claptonisgod

The people you meet at AirBnb

all seasons in one day

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.

Posted by claptonisgod 10:43 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Republic of Ireland here we come

rain 13 °C

Never having been to Ireland but having met so many colourful Irish people in New Zealand it was hard to know what to expect. As the plane landed and we gazed out the window it reminded us both of West Auckland of the 60's. We arrived into a tired airport to be met by real people... quite a contrast from our last airport encounter. One poor girl was very unwell and people ran around comforting her. We had our passports stamped by someone who enjoyed her job and obviously loved her country and was interested in the people visiting it. This makes quite a difference to your feeling about a country. Although systems seem overly complex for simple tasks... for example just getting into a taxi .... it works out in the end and people are always there willing to help. Our taxi ride from the airport was entertaining. We should all give taxi drivers much respect as they are often our counties first ambassadors. Our cabbie was well up to the task. He ensured we turn our watches back a hundred years and sit back and enjoyed the irish experience. Don't over think it we were told. Just obsorb yourself in it.... so we did. At first glance there seemed to be a lack of brash colour. Yes it was cold but people tended to wear dull colours and houses were very subtle in colourings and similar in shade. However as you got used to things uniqueness was everywhere in the form of colourful flags, amazingly colourful shiny front doors, flowers around windows and the people. This city has always been full of colour being the birth place of people such as Oscar Wilde and now with its sculptures and amazing bridges telling stories of past history, great endurance and passionate national pride. The many bridges crossing the rivers are a great example of this with the half penny bridge and its wonderful history to the new bridges representing an opened book ( to celebrate the great representation Dublin has had in the literary world) and the harp a symbol of Ireland. This amazing bidge can swing up to let boats through as well as actually play music when its strings are plucked. We stayed in Feet street part of the colourful part of the city (Temple Bar) and had a great night in a three story pub. The bottom two floors had live traditional irish music. The place was full of energy, laughter and music. This was interrupted only when Wales got a goal in the Euro 2016. We were told ...our lads are out so we are throwing our weight behind the Welsh.
The hop on hop off bus as always was very informative. Especially around the subtlety of showing class in georgian times. The number of steps to your front door would tell people how well to do you were ... 7 meant you were pretty much walking on water. Even the number of the street you lived on let people know how well off you were.
Now you may believe the Irish speak english...well they do but also Gaelic and most street signs are bi lingual. However the spoken language is a colourful combination of the two. As common one language kiwis we could understand but we needed to concentrate or we were lost. Since arriving here we have smiles on our faces . These people have suffered great hardship but are always keen for a chat, are so willing to help you and laugh more than any country I have visited. Now that can't be a bad thing. We have started saying m'heath when we toast at our evening meal. Although this city is unique for us there is a familiarity about it...we feel comfortable and we have a realization that in good ole New Zealand there is much Irish that we call our own.

Posted by claptonisgod 10:40 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Sean of the undead

overcast 20 °C

There is something particularly troubling about travel in the high season, and I hate to say it but it's tourists.

I didn't really notice at first, maybe because we just slotted in with the heaving humanity traversing the planet, all ending up at the same place, looking at the same things, making similar comments and taking the same photographs. Flocking to the retail outlets attached to each attraction, trying to find something unique in a world of dross similarity, and the multinational food outlets supplying the same packaged food to be eaten in proximity to the attraction.

Are all experiences expected to be homogonised?

I first noticed how appalling it all is when grabbing a coffee in Bath. Buses continued to rotate around the fountain island in the centre of town, disgorging load after load of the still undead. Hundreds of people mimicking the zombie walk from "Sean of the dead", heading off following a guide holding aloft some emblazoned ensign and muttering the ramblings of a third rate history lecturer, setting the pace and heading 'over the tip' as battalions of misguided have done fighting for peace.

The cities are full. We have two cities to go.

That will be enough.

Posted by claptonisgod 06:53 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Sean of the dead

There is something particularly troubling about travel in the high season, and I hate to say it but it's tourists.

I didn't really notice at first, maybe because we just slotted in with the heaving humanity traversing the planet, all ending up at the same place, looking at the same things, making similar comments and taking the same photographs. Flocking to the retail outlets attached to each attraction, trying to find something unique in a world of dross similarity, and the multinational food outlets supplying the same packaged food to be eaten in proximity to the attraction.

Are all experiences expected to be homogonised?

I first noticed how appalling it all is when grabbing a coffee in Bath. Buses continued to rotate around the fountain island in the centre of town, disgorging load after load of the still undead. Hundreds of people mimicking the zombie walk from "Sean of the dead", heading off following a guide holding aloft some emblazoned ensign and muttering the ramblings of a third rate history lecturer, setting the pace and heading 'over the tip' as battalions of misguided have done fighting for peace.

The cities are full. We have two cities to go.

That will be enough.

Posted by claptonisgod 02:13 Comments (0)

A true test for a colonial boy.

I have every respect for structure and purpose and I know that a great deal of this structure comes from the British and their heritage. Colonising the world has enabled these structures to become shape and form across the world, but it has been enlightening to witness it here in the UK where class and politeness, which was once the the cornerstone of the empire, has now some more interesting permutations.

Of course queuing has been an established practice since the Indian Empire for the British, and something that comedians have suggested the British could win Olympic gold medals in, and yesterday I got to witness the form of queuing designed by the British for the British by that bastion of wonders, British Post.

In its new iteration one selects from a touchscreen on entry the service one requires and is provided with a printed number. All very school gala when buying a ticket in the chicken raffle, but then a digital voice launches from the ether with a sound as terrifying as the call from a Butland's holiday camp,

"One 0 seven"

"Number one 0 seven"

"Number one 0 seven will be seen at counter four"

And just to be assured of what this all means, a digital display above counter four now flashes with the number 107.

You can now leave the queue and head for the flashing number. Satisfied that order has now been maintained.

After a couple of calls from the invisible mouthpiece, "105", " 109" I yelled "Bingo!"

Sharon very unhappy. Many people laughed (as the British do, behind their handkerchief), a couple out loud.

My work was done.

Posted by claptonisgod 01:46 Comments (0)

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