Invitation to stay with ‘friends’ in NYC

View from the Empire State Building
View from the Empire State Building

Who has never had the dream to be invited to stay with someone at their place in NYC? Yes, a dream but it became reality. If you like to hear the full story please continue reading – it’s no fun at all.

As many already know we are frequent travellers and we enjoy exploring the world. Therefore we are open to others and do invite them – when we started knowing each other a little more in depth – to stay with us. That’s what we’ve done to friends when they toured Germany a couple of years ago. They brought their mother with them and she was quite a very nice, 92 years old lady. We did have a splendid time together while they stayed in our home town. I did do them some favours and likewise they offered us some too.

One big thing was that we’ve talked about our plans to visit NYC again the following year. The old lady invited us to stay with her and a friend, who would open up her apartment in Greenwich village, NYC for us. It was a two room flat on the third floor of a building located in the art district of New York. We got excited and said that we would love to stay there. As said we realised it and flew into Newark, where the driver of the lady picked us up with there Audi V8 limousine. What a luxury we thought and got even more excited when the chauffeur brought us to her building where we should stay for the first night, because …

This night was exciting because we did have an excellent view of downtown Manhattan from Millbourne, NJ and we couldn’t wait to stay at the pre-announced apartment in Greenwich village, NYC.

The next morning the chauffeur picked us up again with the Audi V8 from the lady’s place where the owner of the Greenwich village apartment joined in for the ride to her place in NYC. We felt like being pampered in a way that we haven’t experienced before. While we were rushing toward Manhattan the driver told us that he has to drop us immediately because he did have another appointment to meet. although he was obviously in a rush he did have time enough to follow advices of the owner of the Greenwich village apartment to stop at an art gallery where she was exhibiting and at a fish store to pick up some food.

Finally we made it to the apartment building were the chauffeur, while parking the limousine on the roadside, announced that he will only wait for ten minutes until we’ve unloaded our luggage and entered the apartment. Our concerns that we would have a look at it first before he should leave was totally ignored by him.

We disembarked the limousine and entered the building to rush to the third floor where the apartment was located. The owner lady was with us, opened the doors and let us in: And we were shocked! This place was a total mess. It was dirty, smelling and uncomfortable.

View from Melbourne, NJ
View from Melbourne, NJ towards downtown Manhattan, NYC

Because we wouldn’t be unthankful we didn’t complain in the first place. We did see that she provided brand-new bed-linen although the bed was really dirty that you wouldn’t lay on it on the first place. We didn’t say anything but accepted the keys for the rooms and the owner left with the chauffeur to their next meeting.

We were shocked and couldn’t speak. Both close to crying we first started to think what to do first: Cleaning the bathroom, making up the bed, etc. We rushed to the next drugstore and bought some cleaning fluids and tools. Back in the apartment we started to clean the bathtub, the sink and the floor. But it was all greasy, sticky and old so we couldn’t get the stains off and make it shine again. And: The water didn’t flow properly. Instead of flushing the bathtub, toilet and sink we had to wait until the water was going to trickle away. A closer inspection of the bed mattress showed that it should be thrown away instead of being used by us. Our mood changed from enthusiastic into close to depression and I said to my wife that I will go and look for a proper hotel instead of staying at this place. Because of the fact that my wife was jet-lag suffering I went by myself and found a nice hotel nearby where we moved in immediately.

While my wife was waiting for me to return from my search for a hotel room she was sitting in the kitchenette and found some account statements of the owner lady of the apartment. And she was shocked: It was stated an amount of 1.6 Million USD positive balance. Believe it our not: She was a Millionaire and did live in such a messy place when she was in NYC instead of her apartment in NJ.

We moved to the hotel and stayed there for the days we’ve spent in NYC. It finally went out well. We like the hotel, the area and the vicinity we stayed in. Our trip to NYC came out well although we spent more money than expected. And we’ve learned our lesson: Don’t be to overwhelmed when someone invites you to his or her place. Have a look first before you accept the invitation. It can get quite expensive if you fail.

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Currently researching for …

… a new destination: Warsaw!

As for many years already I am planning much ahead regarding my travel destinations. Therefore I started my investigation into flight fares, housing rates, hotel costs, tour guides, rental cars, etc. quite early.

www.unesco.org
http://www.unesco.org

My next destination – Warsaw Old Town – is part of the UNESCO world heritage list. I selected it after carefully looking into the available flight connections, hotel offers and other valuable information such as costs of living and so on. I flew into WAW three times before on business trips which means quickly into town and as fast as possible out again. Each time I visited the Telewizja Polsat broadcasting station (2008 and 2014) and reported on their migration from analogue to digital technology. Anyway, that was something else but today I travel to Poland for enjoyment and a short vacation.

To fly into Warsaw from my hometown is at least 100 EUR more costly therefore I decided to fly from DUS with a direct Eurowings (EW) connection. All LH connections from CGN are either going through Frankfurt, Vienna, Munich or Zurich and take almost 4 hours to get there. The EW ticket came up to roughly 120 EUR including a suitcase and a snack/drink. Nowadays travellers have to pay for almost everything on a plane. But: Driving by car into Warsaw or even by train is no option. The train needs almost 23 hours to get there with a stop-over in Berlin. And – the price is 250 EUR at least in 1. Class coach plus the hotel room in Berlin. Therefore I have chosen the less economical way: I fly into WAW – It’s less than 90 minutes to get there. And the taxi ride from the airport into town takes another 20 minutes. Driving by car would take a full day too with the danger of having a break-down or something else.

My research for accommodation went well. I’ve used several platforms to find the best offer and finally booked through hotel.de, because they provide a business discount on top of any reservation with the option to cancel the same day until 6 PM. The hotel I booked looks very sophisticated and trendy. I hope that it’s the right choice. But being on business trip over the last 30 years anything will be better than what I experienced back then. You will see when I do return from Warsaw.

But before I will stay there for four days I will have a break in the 4* Dolomitengolf Hotel and Spa in Levant, Austria. You will read in a separate blog about that stay. I’ll keep you updated.

Continue reading “Currently researching for …”

Five days in Kraków: Good bye

The last evening I went spontaniously to a concert performed by the Craców city orchestra at the St. Peter and Paul’s church. This one hour event was something I really loved because the acoustics of the church were very good and the artists gave their best while playing Vivaldi, Mozart, Chopin, Bach, Gardel, Grieg and Pachelbel.

Not regretting anything I went back to my apartment in Kazimierz where I spent the last night. And believe it or not: After sunny four days Kraków said good bye to me with a misty morning.

 

Because of the foggy weather the airport was shut down until noon and my flight back was slightly (2.5 hours) delayed. My taxi driver brought me back to the airport where I waited until take off.

In summary I can say that this town did better than my expectations have been. I think that I will travel Poland frequently and see the beauty of a country that isn’t that “crowded” like others.

Good bye Cracow – good bye Poland, I will see you soon again!