Now that this particular experience is behind us, I feel as though the only proper closure is to write about it and share what I learned with all of you.
Throughout our European tour, the children and I have and will sleep in many types of accommodation. As a personal protocol I try to book a house within budget first so that I have a kitchen to cook in, which is crucial to the budget and so the kids have more room without disturbing others. We have also loved many a hostel, rented rooms in communal homes, been on farms in a rented room, hotels for one or two nights max, studio apartment hotels, rented hammocks and most recently been looking into couch sleeping in the more expensive cities.
All of those experiences had wonderful pros and huge cons. That just comes with the territory. Even if you make tons of money and only stay in hotels it is human nature to find something negative about it. You will and that’s ok, but out of all of the accommodations to date (including a million accommodations in the u.s.) our worst experience has been the house in Heraklion Crete. I’m going to make a list as it is easier, prepare it is long. I recommend popcorn. Front loading the information, I was supposed to live in this place from April 9th to June 21st. . .
- Two hours into arrival, I send her a message kindly asking if she could bring by more towels and pillows because I cannot find ANY in the house. There are NONE! She is super annoyed, but obliges.
- First full day, sewage floods the entire bottom floor living space. Not by a little, but by a lot approximately four inches. We are marooned in the kitchen, as it is elevated and cannot leave. She thought I was being dramatic and “Would come by after work.” yeah, no. We have things to do and the market wasn’t open the last two days for Easter so we need to go. She gets there and is freaking out. “AHHHH why didn’t you tell me it was this bad???” I’m not sure what part of stranded in the kitchen she didn’t understand, but long story short a repair man came to fix it and she expected me to mop it up so she could return to work. No. I don’t try to be mean, but NO, I cannot unpack, go to the market, take care of three kids and mop at the same time.
- EVERY SINGLE DRAWER, CLOSET, DRESSER WAS PACKED WITH THEIR BELONGINGS. Everything from underwear and Christmas décor to sewing needles and candles. In every available space. I had to move all of their things in order to unpack.
- Then the hot water wasn’t working.
- The washing machine worked great for a while, but then it started to not drain water.
- The WIFI worked in one room. Seems shallow I know, but for heaven’s sake I need it to work.
- In order to travel I must cook most meals at home. When it is advertised as “fully loaded kitchen” only to discover that there’s one knife, three spoons, two forks, one pot, no lids, no frying pan, no mixer of any kind, no measuring devices, no coffee pot. . .I was devastated. When I asked for a hand mixer and/or measuring cups she was livid.
Me compromising between not having a lid and having to go spend money on kitchen items.
- Then there were the ants. Constantly for days. I paid lux many pockets of change to be on ant killing duty. I sprayed my first chemical since becoming a mother, actually I made lux do it because I couldn’t stand the idea of it, but we had to.
- Then it got even better, Mice. A mouse ran across my foot and behind my stove while I was cooking. . .
- Then the light fixture in the kitchen blew up. When they came to fix it they left all of the old light bulbs and trash on the coffee table and the baby ate part of a lightbulb. They were just so careless.
It was just non-stop and way more issues than what I ever could have imagined. BUT in all things horrible there are usually many positive ones as well.
- The reason why it took three weeks to leave was that the location was superb. We could walk almost anywhere we needed to go. We got to know the people who worked near the house well and really loved the area we were in.
- I actually really loved the house itself. It had plenty of room and the layout was quirky and fun, but they didn’t take care of it.
- I believe the owners to be good people. They tried, not hard, but they tried. I do not fully understand how they acquired the house, but it appears as if they just do not know what they are doing. I would love to show them some grace, but three weeks was enough and for the price and the safety of the kids I just won’t.
The point of this post was to remind you that no matter what your living situation is right now; there are and will be positive and negative aspects to anywhere you stay. The true travel trick is to not let it affect the wonderful things you came to see and allow it enough space to round out your experience.