Jesse from San Francisco is writing a blog which will probably turn into a book, and, being a software engineer, he’s set up this page for me so I can start writing too.
Two lines…33 words…a very small beginning indeed, written a mere 15 months ago in a Barcelona hostel. Finally, today, I feel my inner blogger stirring to life, perhaps because I’ve had to stop travelling for 3 months and mark time back in the uk waiting for my canadian husband to be allowed back into the schengen zone. More precisely, back into Crete.
Why Crete? It was the sheepbells that did it. The sheepbells and the mountains. No, the sheepbells, the mountains and the absolute silence, only broken by the jangling and clinking of those bells. The agent who’d brought me to view the house led me up to the rooftop and spoke not a word. We looked across at the Lefka Ori, snow-capped although it felt like summer still on that December day, and I think she intuited that she had a sale coming.
So why am I buying a house? Well, much as I love to travel, it’s nice to have a home to go back to. And the friends and family who have been putting us up on our returns to the uk will no doubt be glad when we have one too. Plus which, leaving all out stuff in storage for 3 and a half years….hmm. I can hardly remember what’s in that wooden crate near Horsham, but it’s costing me a lot to keep it there. And why buy a house in Crete? Well, look at property prices in the uk and then look at property prices in Crete, and go figure, as they say over the pond. I do like it when the sun shines too….need I say more?
The Barcelona hostel was called Fabrizzio’s Petit, and I fetched up there just before Christmas 2016 because my car had broken down just north of the Pyrennees. Stranded in SW France, I thought about where I could go that would be a. not too far away b. sunny and c. cheap, while waiting for the repair (the repair that never happened, as the busted automatic gearbox proved terminal). I came up with Barcelona. I’d never been there but it proved providential. Not even on my shortlist of hostels, fab Fabrizzio’s was a gift: free breakfast all day long; a dorm (all to myself most of the time) with a balcony overlooking a small park, the sun shining in through the open french doors right onto my bed all afternoon; a bunch of friendly staff, and lovely people from all over the world passing through all the time. I stayed for 6 weeks. That time was inspirational, and before I left I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life: run a small rural hostel. And since a hostel needs a bit of space, I’d have to do it where I could afford a fairly large house….or, as it turned out, a house with a large, stunning rooftop.
I plan to call it the ‘belle etoile suite’. When I travelled in Greece and Morocco 40+ years ago, sleeping on hotel rooftops was the cheapest and most fun option. So why not?