Its been too long since I last posted but I will try to make it up to you, dear readers with a few back to back posts! Today, I extoll the virtues of airbnb.com, a fabulous site that allows users to rent a room, apartment or an entire home from the site’s community members. At first, I was a bit skeptical about the idea. A couch surfer I am not and I tend to be a bit OCD about cleanliness when I sleep in a bed that isn’t my own. However, given the grime factor in even the nicest of hotels–my first action upon entering any hotel room is to move the decorative bedspread and throw pillows as far away as possible– I decided to have a peak around the site to see what I came across.
But let me back up. About a month ago, on the verge of accepting a new position, my husband decided we absolutely needed to take a vacation during his one week hiatus between positions as we would not have the chance to travel much during his next several months on the job. Well that was just fine by me! He spent several late nights researching destinations that could welcome us for a week. Nicaragua was too remote, Big Sur was too close, Brazil did not leave us with enough time to get required travel visas. And so I found myself waking up one morning and learning I had 48 hours to go before departing to Spain! There is nothing like a bit of spontaneity to get your blood flowing and as we debated the merits of planning ahead and having months to look forward to a trip versus booking a last minute flight and jetting off, we both agreed that while the buildup is lovely, its so not necessary!
I fell in love with my husband in Barcelona back when we were just friends. It was his mastery of the Spanish language and tour guide prowess that led me to believe he could take charge in any adventure. This time, our travels led us to the south of Spain: Seville, Madrid (where he had studied abroad) and Cadiz (where he spent a summer in high school). As he planned and coordinated the entire itinerary of our trip in less than 48 hours, I took it upon myself to browse Airbnb.com which I stumbled across via Hollister Hovey’s Blog. Her experience of staying at a Catskill’s cabin designed by a Danish Modern style furniture designer had me swooning! So, when the Mr. mentioned that there weren’t really any decent hotels in his old home-stay haunts, I typed Cadiz into the Airbnb search and something wonderful caught my eye! A few emails back and forth with the proprietor and we booked what looked like a gorgeous, modern apartment at a great price, hoping it would work out.
After a memorable stay in a beautiful hotel in Seville (stay tuned for my next post), we drove for an hour down a perfectly paved Spanish highway, overgrown with fuchsia bougainvillea and an endless view of sky and entered the ancient gates of Cadiz, the oldest standing city in Western Europe.
We pulled up to our accommodations right inside the walled city and were met by a friendly local who gave us the keys to our new residence. Upon entering the plant filled, open air courtyard (Moorish architecture is superb!) I was in apartment heaven! I could have walked up the two flights of black and white checkered stairs forever to live in this apartment, it was the most perfect blend of old and new.
We wasted no time, getting ourselves acquainted with the two bedroom apartment as if we were its proud new owners. We dropped our luggage off in the glass walled, zen master bedroom and marveled at the low Japanese style bed and gorgeous wood beams that surrounded us. There was a large, very old wooden door opening into the kitchen, 30 foot high ceilings everywhere, ancient archways leading from the hallway to the living room and wrought iron windows that allowed you to peak into the 2nd bedroom (see all details I’m talking about on the airbnb post here). Smooth ebony wood flooring, funky shelving, ikea chaise lounges, Flotaki rugs, and a built in loft for TV watching transformed the old bones of this residence into a modern, ultra relaxing pad.
We opened the big doors to the balcony and felt the cool bay breeze.
But after snooping around a bit and coming across many whimsical, spiritual and otherworldly touches, we decided to get out of the house and do what we came to do!
Wander the streets of Cadiz and hit up the beach!
I am so happy I tried Airbnb and very grateful for our wonderful hostess Christina, who left the most thoughtful welcome basket of sweet and savory snacks and provided the best possible base from which to experience Cadiz. It was really special to have the Mr. show me around a town where he gained his first taste of independence! Unlike other European beach towns, Cadiz is super low key (no naked Germans on these beaches!). Dining on tapas in front of the ocean and strolling the cobblestone streets covered in salt and sand made for the most relaxing vacation. We’re already planning our next trip and we know the perfect place to stay!