It’s true, I am very happy. I now have two amazing home exchanges to look forward to beginning around mid July next summer. As you know I have arranged to exchange for at least two weeks with a family of five from France. Gweneal’s family home, in St. Meloir-des-Ondes, is in northern Brittany, only kilometers from the sea (English Channel) and the intriguing cities of St. Malo and Dinan, and so much more!
Yesterday, my family actually skyped with the family. It was the first time for either family to skype with anyone, and it was actually really wonderful. It’s so nice to put faces on the people with whom you are conversing regularly in e-mail. It really makes it more personal. So, that exchange is secure.
What I want to tell you about today is the second exchange that I have been working on for the last few weeks. It too has been settled. This exchange will take my family to ….drum roll please…the beautiful city of Amsterdam in The Netherlands! I am so excited! We will exchange with Gerard’s family of four for at least two weeks beginning mid July. Gerard’s very cool home is located just outside Amsterdam proper in a very interesting location, which Gerard says is ‘very dutch,’ and therefore is extremely appealing to me. The home is located on one of three artificial islands raised from the Ijmeer lake, east of Amsterdam proper, only in the last decade or so. The three islands make up ‘Ijburg‘ and we will be on the island of Haveneiland with it’s own harbor. There is also a very cool urban beach called ‘Blijburg’ nearby. It seems that IJburg, has received much attention and acclaim for it’s city planning and modern architecture. I can’t wait to explore it. Ijburg is connected to Amsterdam with a main bridge and is only a 15-minute tram ride to Central Station. A biking/walking bridge connects it to Diemen and Amsterdam Oost. There is so much to do in Amsterdam and it’s outer environs, that I will struggle to squeeze everything we will want to see and do in two short weeks (so a couple more days may be necessary!) Oh, and we will likely exchange cars as well.
So, my families month+ long trip to Europe next summer will go something like this:
-Fly to Amsterdam for a minimum 2 week stay in Gerard’s home in Ijburg where we will explore Ijburg, Amsterdam, and the greater Netherlands area.
-Then we will take the train (approx. 4 – 5 hours) to Paris and re-visit that amazing city. (we home exchanged just outside Paris for two weeks in 2009.)
-Finally, take the train from Paris to Brittany, France (about 3 1/2 hours) to begin our 2+ week stay in Gwenael’s home in St. Meloir-des-Ondes where will be explore that beautiful region of France!
As I mentioned in my headline, I couldn’t be happier! I have an amazing trip ahead of me. Now, I get to plan it. I’ve already picked up a handful of travel books (at the library) and have begun to read them. I’m really liking Lonely Planet‘s and will likely buy that one and carry it with me. It’s chock full of great information. I love researching and planning almost as much as the trips themselves; and I am a big proponent of anyone doing their research before a big trip like this, to make the absolute most of it. A good guidebook is tremendously useful.
Note: I have received four offers from Amsterdam in total; three of which obviously were declined.
Now that I have arranged my two home exchanges, I will continue to post any offers I receive, even though I will be declining them. I want to continue to show you the frequency and quality of my home exchange offers.
I hope seeing is believing and some of you are starting to think a home exchange is something you should seriously consider.