Armchair traveler

January 30, 2020

Can’t say right off the bat which one was the bathroom door

In our European trips together so far, Carol and I have stayed at about two dozen different hotels and apartments. It’s not surprising, then, that a lot of people would probably like to have asked me what’s been our favorite accommodation. What would be more surprising was that I’d actually open myself to the kind of social situation where I could be asked it in the first place. (Upon entering a social situation of any kind, my first inclination is to find a dark, empty corner or a ficus tree in which to hide.) But I’ll answer the theoretical question here, because it more or less qualifies me as providing a legitimate travel tip. Which would be my first, if I’m not mistaken.

Big enough to dance in, while waiting for the wash cycle to finish

For the equivalent of about $60 per night, we were treated to a very spacious, modern, well-lit apartment in Aberdeen, Scotland. Located walking distance from the train station and the center of town (provided you walk straight there. Evidently, I had my GPS preferences set to “wander aimlessly,” and we needed the help of a local and four Asian girls also heading for the same apartment hotel to finally find it.)

“Home is where the couch is.”

But at least we were in a country where you could ask for directions in English and receive accurate responses in what may just have well been the recipe for haggis for all we were able to comprehend. But the meandering trek in a fine drizzle was worth it. The apartment featured a comparatively spacious bedroom (two people could be in it at the same time), kitchen and dining area and a large living room. I had told Carol before we started the trip that given the probability of bad weather in the UK at this time of year (this time of year in the UK being that period between January and December), I’d be on the lookout for an apartment with a comfortable couch for those days when it was just too cold and rainy to go out.

I must have been in the kitchen preparing the cheese board. The “real” book is Carol’s.

Now most people planning a European vacation don’t put “make sure there’s a couch” in their accommodation planning, but there’s a big difference in having to brave the elements because there’s no place to sit in your hotel room, and looking out that hotel window into bleak, cold, pouring rain, knowing you have a couch you can stretch out on until…dinner.

The apartment was spacious enough to have eight separate interior doors. I know this because I opened all eight in the middle of the first night while trying to find the bathroom.

Aberdeen was kind to us, and rolled in the kind of weather that makes even a cheap piece of living room furniture seem luxurious. A couple of well positioned bedroom pillows, a charming cheeseboard, a bottle of white and a good kindle book was all that was required to make our visit to Aberdeen both pleasant and broadening.

Thanks to that wonderful apartment with eight doors (which can seem innumerable with a full bladder) I was able to give a whole new meaning to the term “armchair traveler.” I mean, when you can actually take the armchair with you…

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