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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Renting Abroad – Odd & Unusual Situations

ivv-rosmarino-lgSpring and summer vacation season approaches and you may be considering a foreign getaway that involves renting a convenient base of operations.  In the past, I’ve advised what to bring to such homes or apartments which could offer little or lots in the way of amenities.

Today, we cast our gaze to even more unusual considerations in the “know before you go” category, such as granny will be living in the room next to yours, in other words, the entire apartment will not be yours exclusively.

We were shocked that way once in the early days when it was only the vacation-rentalsthree of us.  Our son was about eight years old, the landlord showed us the apartment with bedroom, living room, kitchen, bath down the hall.  Yet, imagine our surprise when that evening, the owners were having a small gathering in the oversized eat-in kitchen-! 

Let’s just say that I don’t like encountering strangers on my late-night or early-morning trek to the bathroom.  If I wanted others to see me in my jammies, I’d walk down the street dressed like that.

thThen I recall the accommodation that hung nude art on the wall which I flipped over each time I walked past.  The maid was kind enough to flip it back each day.

We had a talkative housekeeper in Moscow who cleaned the apartment, and washed and ironed our sheets while we were out.  Returning before she was finished, the girls and I chatted with her in Russian, and she gave us tips about a semi-distant park that was not in our plans and turned out to be spectacular.

Only goes to show you that these surprises don’t always turn out to be disasters, although usually they do, lol.

In some apartments or homes, you will be charged for water or electricity or gas onthumb4_11b top of your rent.  Most offer towels and sheets for the bedding.  What always surprises me is the lack of seating that many holiday apartments offer.

It appears that the owners feel that a family such as ours, six in number, would either be a) sleeping; or b) out and about.  We would not choose to sit at a kitchen or dining room table with space for four.  We would also not choose to be seated in a living room with similarly-limited seating.

thumb4_esternoAnd of course, they are right.  How could the six of be seated in either scenario?  I mean, if you have beds for six, why not chairs or couches for six? 


Cups and plates are another matter, as well.  Either they are mismatched or lacking in quantity.  So I always bring along paper plates, plastic utensils, and paper coffee cups, plus plenty of napkins.  Makes a world of difference.

I’ve encountered cats who expect to be fed, and one that even jumped in the bedroom window from a high stone wall.tuscany  Try getting a stray cat out of your place when you don’t know if they belong to someone next door and you’re going to scar them for life by not offering a bowl of milk or tin of tuna.

Should you be unwilling to babysit the owner’s pet hamster, learn that there’s another tenant a few feet away from your Tuscan dreamhouse getaway, or find out that your vacation rental has as many roof leaks as a slab of Swiss cheese, it’s going to require asking lots of questions.  Especially when your peace-and-quiet vacay is shattered by the sound of a neighbor’s farm machinery firing up earlier than early in the morning.

So, whenever possible, know before you go.  But remember, if you knew everything, you probably wouldn’t go, and what kind of adventure would that be?


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