Every check-in at a new accommodation is stressful. Every single one. Just finding the address using a has-been GPS (yes, Rita is still with us) is difficult. Then there’s the parking issue – finding a place to leave the car at least long enough to check in and unload the luggage. Then, when all that is accomplished, there is the communication issue.
I am so happy to report that Zaragoza was the best Airbnb check-in we have ever had, in English or Spanish!
I was a little preoccupied on the approach. José Miguel’s emails had been a bit confusing. He said we couldn’t drive up to our apartment building; we would have to meet him at the building next door, which was on a different street. Rita couldn’t find the building number, so we settled for an address on the same street. Then there was the question of how I would know José Miguel from all the other men on the street. Should I approach each one asking, “José Miguel?”
I’ve done worse. In Llanes I asked everyone coming out of our apartment building if they knew Mercedes, our host who had failed to show at the appointed check-in time. One woman gave me such a long, sad story about how she knows no one in her apartment building because no one talks to her and she’s so lonely, I was sorry I asked. Suddenly my problem of not being able to locate my host seemed inconsequential.
So, back to Zaragoza…. We slowed down as we turned onto the street of our appointed rendezvous, looking for someone looking for us. We noticed a young man checking out all the cars. What the hell! “José Miguel?” I called out.
“Yes, yes! Quickly, drive down the street on the right and park anywhere you can find a spot.” Perfect English. That’s one less thing to worry about!
As we followed his direction, we noticed another young man on the opposite side of the street waving us into the side street; “This way; this way!”
“I think they’re together,” Marcus observed. Excellent! One spotter and one parking assistant. This is getting easier by the minute!
We parked, and they swooped down on us advising us about the parking, how much to put in the meter, when we would have to move the car, all the while taking luggage from us as we pulled it out of the car. Before we knew it, we were walking toward the apartment, jabbering all the way.
Turns out neither of them was José Miguel; they are his sons – and what polite, enthusiastic, and helpful young men they are! One a banker and the other an engineer, they just bubbled over with information and advice in perfect English. At one point we asked how they had learned English so well. Santi (Santiago) pointed at Alex (Alejandro). “He went to boarding school in Maine,” he announced proudly.
What great kids, and what a great team! How fantastic that one brother’s advantage of attending school in the U.S. was used to teach the other one English! And I loved watching them bounce ideas off of each other as they answered our questions. They email us daily to see how we’re getting along. I wonder if I can adopt them….