Sorry we’re a bit behind. We’re having a couple of drinks now and recalling a stay that wasn’t funny at the time, but enough time has passed for our hippocampus to process the trauma.
We’ve changed some details to protect the shame of the Airbnb hosts who were actually super nice.
We booked a three night stay at a gorgeous place somewhere outside Barcelona. The listing called it “Little Abode”.
‘Little’, in real estate terms normally refers to the square footage but this is deceiving because it’s actually quite large …from a horizontal axis. From a cubed footage, not so much! It would be more accurate to call it “vertically challenged adobe” because if you’re taller than 5″10 you’ll be walking like the Hunchback of Notre dame.
The main house was fabulous and the host was a flamboyant camp Dutchman.
There was no wifi. We should have left then. The toilet didn’t flush without plumbing intervention. We should have left then.
Then his wife called. This caught us completely of guard. She came just as Hugh had done the biggest, most vile smelling poop you had ever experienced. It smelt worse than a public toilet … near an IBS support group.
We were in our polyester tracksuits we’d bought for €10 at Carrefour because it was SO COLD in the little abode. Or as Hans said “A little chilly huh?”. Hugh was in his mismatched PJs consisting of a faded Buzz Lightyear top with three day old weetabix crusted into the neck and sleeves and some Olaf bottoms.
I opened the door ready to moan about the toilet and lack of…. human necessities, when the most immaculate, well groomed and classy woman I’ve ever encounter greets me. She looks like the woman in that painting of a lady dancing in the rain in Paris that populates every restaurant wall and rental house.
Hans suddenly looks straight and her son – same age as Hugh looks like he is heir to the kingdom of Monaco.
She then explained that Hans had taken a look at the toilet and all you need to do is take off the lid, perform surgery on the innards of cistern and voila “fixed”.
She then wishes us a happy stay.
If we hadn’t felt completely intimidated by their aura of perfection we may have seen through their cunning plan to subdue us. Still, we found ourselves complementing how nice they were and stayed the entire three nights despite the house being a complete bag of spanners.
Fortunately we weren’t paying very much for this place because it was about to be upgraded to include a swimming pool, outdoor cinema, wifi, dignity etc.
What was truly remarkable was how little there actually was. TV? No. Chopping board? No. Kettle? Let that sink in… No TV and No Internet.
What they did have was lots of staff, nannies, gardeners, maids. We had time to ponder and wondered if they wanted to leave too, like we did. But never actually did it? What was this force that kept us all here?
One night as we sat talking (remember, no tv or internet!) one of the light fittings fell out of the ceiling! We told them and they just smiled and thanked us for brining it to their attention. They smelled like caviar and yacht cleaner. They were so divine we let it go.
Driving through the town one day we saw a street sign called “Dr Hans” and we joked that maybe it was named after him and he was in fact a kind childrens Doctor and a local hero.
The real joy was during check out. Now after 18 years together we have formed a type of telepathy and Neil sends me a confusing psychic message. It sounds like “I can see his nob”. I turn around and Hans is wearing a lycra workout unitard! Nothing is left to the imagination. He seems camper than ever and we decide to find out as much as we can about him. And you know what? He is a DOCTOR!! He also worked the United Nations and should know better regarding the treatment of captives. The right to stand up straight is protected under the Geneva Convention.
We ask him how he finds hosting Airbnb’s and he tells us that he has a couple and that he has only had the most wonderful guests. He said the best bit is people kindly buy supplies and leave them there so you don’t need to buy that much to start with!! Guessing he is hoping someone will buy him a telly!
We tell him that we’re heading to the south of France and his words have stuck with us to the point where we repeat this quote several times a day now and it took everything in our being not to cry with laughter when he said it. Imagine the voice of Franc from Father of the Bride “The south of France is fabulous. Not like here, Spain, ugh sooooo working class!”
We leave madly in love with these two fabulously eccentric oddballs. We will never stay in your Airbnb again but would totally be your friends and stay in your big house!