As a self-appointed expert in house swapping I need to stay in practice. It’s a sacrifice being away from work for two months in Europe this summer, but someone has to do it.
We sent out 45 inquiries for 2012 and received 35. We had a number of interesting and positive discussions. We were open minded as regards European house exchange destinations. We tried to get places near my wife’s family, close by the London 2012 Olympics. It turned out many in the UK find the games a chance to leave town for an attractive home exchange. We didn’t find anything in England that worked.
As I have mentioned before, we agreed to spend the first three weeks of July in Berlin, since we had a great experience in Germany last year.
We have always been interested in Scotland and have had many positive discussions with Scottish families, some spanning years. Nothing has worked out. Patience and persistence finally paid off, we found a family in a suburb of Edinburgh, which is 30 minutes away by train. The beach is a ten minute walk. We will be there for three weeks during the London Olympics.
Friends rented a villa in Umbria, Italy for June and had invited different families to spend a week with them. We chose the last week in June, just before our home exchange in Berlin. Our summer was all set.
I received an e-mail from a family in Belgium. We had talked months earlier; they were looking for June 2012. I realized we could give them the last two weeks in June. We would use their home for one week only; they could use ours for two since we would be with friends in Italy. One detail that sealed the deal; flights from Charleroi, Belgium to Rome on the world’s most irritating cheap airline, Ryanair.
There have been two pleasant surprises since we agreed to these home swaps. The Floriade will be taking place in Venlo, about 75 minutes from our Belgian exchange home. This horticultural extravaganza takes place every ten years in the Netherlands. I visited 30 years ago—highly recommended. Scotland is a 2012 Olympics venue for soccer. We bought tickets for a game between the US and French ladies in Glasgow. There will also be live coverage of the games on a big screen at Festival Square in Edinburgh.
The photo shows the garden of our Berlin exchange home.