“There’s no place like home,” said Dorothy as she clicked those fancy red heels together and headed for Kansas. On every trip, it seems I must remind myself that having these moments doesn’t mean I no longer want to travel…it simply means that ‘home’ is where things are arranged to suit my idiosyncrasies and in these random apartments and hotel rooms it’s all slightly off kilter!
About these little ‘homes’ on the road. All the overnights from the Ritz (that one time) to an Indian train on the way to Delhi…and oh so many abodes between. This morning in Montreal, Canada up early to the noise of god knows what mechanical units in the neighborhood and my own anxieties which have nothing to do with place and everything to do with time. Damn time. How many trips left in my life? Due to physical realities of age or mental relinquishing of curiosity and adventure? Stop it. Can’t.
My friend Pat posted that she bet I was glad to have a young person along. I had a momentarily negative response…like why would I need a young person along…am I not strong and brave and experienced? Three seconds later I said to myself…’self, admit you are most happy to be traveling with Patricia, not only because you love Patricia and she’s an interesting companion but ALSO because she can iphone her way to the next corner, figure out how to handle the multiple TV controls AND, best of all, she can make choices about where, when, why, so I don’t have to…because damn it…I’m less fond of choice making than in my bossy past.
Oh yeah…travel…this is a travel blog. Left our lovely QC hotel yesterday about noon, uneventful three hour train to Montreal through pleasant-enough lushly summer-green country landscape. Then wrestled with checking into our apartment. And herein lies the story of the day…the advice column…whatever: UNLESS you go substantially high-end or stick to Super 8’s along the Nebraska interstate, booking resting places for your travel nights is a … well … crap shoot … might be the best description. Sites like booking.com and Expedia were the easiest ways to go for hotels; airbnbs for the more intimate and often cheaper experience of in-home rooms or people’s briefly vacated apartments. No more. Now all travel-stay sites are booking everything, the competition is fierce and the standards are slipping—always the case when the next buck is all that matters.
We are staying in three places this trip. All initially arranged through booking.com—who should have stuck to hotels; our two apartment experiences have not gone well. Lack of check-in communication (unlike hotels, in the case of apartments you always have to arrange for key exchange etc.), readiness of space (in hotels, your room is either clean and you check-in or not and you wait and complain, but at least you’re sitting in the lobby complaining and not on the curb outside!), and the miscellaneous sock behind the couch (oh sure, that can happen in hotels too but stray articles of clothing seem like more of an affront in an apartment). In comparison our modestly upscale hotel was perfect! And these apartments in the $200 a night range—not urban-expensive I know but couldn’t they have found that sock?
There…I feel better. Covered old age and minor travel gripes in one fell swoop or is that swell foop? I always like to say that.
Patricia and I are adjusting to traveling as two adults, not grandma and grandchild. Teresa and I covered this transition a couple of years ago. It’s not so different…well it is but maybe that’s another post.
Meanwhile this funkily charming apartment is on the waterfront (St. Lawrence river or a tributary? We’ll find out.) and there’s an amusement park out there and seemingly hundreds of restaurants and souvenir shops…playground for the hoi polloi…whatever are classy people like us doing here?
BACK TO YESTERDAY.