This week, my little Giulio is in Dubai with his parents so we’re taking advantage of the free-er week and taking off too. When we first decided to go, it didn’t mean we knew where. There are a thousand possibilities from Florence. A four-day trip can be driving around Tuscan towns and visiting wine cellars, or it could be a long weekend in Paris. Accommodation can be anything from a hotel to an Airbnb, and honestly, if the flights are right, you can do almost everything within a decent price range.
I scanned flights, of course, if you find a crazy low one, it’s almost impossible to grab it. My mind was on other things, however, like the constant drilling and tile cutting that has been going on outside in our garden for the past three months. The thought of silence was incredibly attractive. I desperately want to sleep past seven and only hear birds in the morning. Hell, at this point, I’d take my old annoyance of the older couple (and 40/50-year-old son) that yell too loud about soccer.
Also, I miss the snow. This isn’t new. So even though the Mimosa flowers in the garden are already turning yellow, I still want to at least see mountains covered in white. We’re heading north about three hours to a little town just left of Lake Garda, and we found an Airbnb in the middle of nowhere for next to nothing (and no one) so we can live like hermits and pretend the world doesn’t exist for a few days. (If Trump’s face finds me there, I’ll cry.)
Airbnb has been taking a lot of heat in Europe (and probably elsewhere) for turning into a monster, even though the original idea was really different and pretty cool – at least how we use it. In Florence, it’s been said that almost one in three apartments are now rented as an Airbnb or something equivalent in the historic city center. Why? It’s understandable. The people that own apartments here can make much more money selling it at nightly prices, rather than monthly contracts to residents of the city. Yes, it may be a bit more work, but there are even companies to manage the properties now while they’re on Airbnb. In addition, many hotels and accommodations have jumped on the site. This pushes locals out of the center because they can’t afford the price competition anymore, or the landlords are simply not giving out the appropriate contracts.
This is a problem, and it has to be regulated, or Florence and cities all over will be gutted of everything they are famous for.
When we’ve used Airbnb, we search for the unique, the unusual, the ones that certainly aren’t taking up anyone else’s livelihood. We’ve stayed in a VW Van that was set up overlooking a valley on the east coast of Italy. There was an outdoor bathtub built into the porch, a kitchen with hotplates out the back window, an outdoor shower looking into the woods. It was incredible – and when you live in the city, you dream of sitting outside with a fire and the sound of crickets.
Another time we stayed in an old watchtower that had been renovated by an architect. This time, I’m pretty sure that we’re heading to what used to be a cow barn. We use Airbnb to get away from hotels (Rami’s in one every day), tourists, attractions, and nightlife. For the next few nights, we’ll have a wood stove and a few books (and if I haven’t mentioned MOUNTAINS). There’s no running hot water, or electricity, and we’re thrilled. I’d take that over a fancy anything any day. Maybe that’s just the New England in me. Oh, and we’re bringing Luna, much to the dismay of my in-laws (scusa Laura & Bassel), but this place was made for her, so we’ll head up hiking and around the lake nearby.
I won’t have wifi (or electricity for that matter – this is really glorified camping) but I will still be writing. If I can figure out how to post every day, I will. I should have planned and written all of the posts beforehand, etc but no one is fooling anyone here. I said I’d write a post a day. I certainly am not dedicating a few more hours now and then not doing anything for the next few. I wish I could just handwrite it and take a picture to post, but absolutely no one would be able to read it, I promise you. So either I’ll try and post or I’ll upload on Friday/Saturday depending on when we get home. If you’re looking for a sneak peek, try my Instagram. I’m sure I’ll put up a photo or two in the next few days!