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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tuesday Travels...apartment 9F ("F" is for "fate")

Isn't it interesting how sometimes plans just don't seem to be working out for you and finally you decide on a change in direction and suddenly everything just falls right into place? It's like Plan A was not meant to be. And Plan B had all along been ordained to be your proper course of action, except that you didn't know it till so much later in the game. For some reason this has happened to us with recent travel plans. We've wanted to "Copenhagenize" ourselves for a couple of years now, but trying to get things organized has been unusually challenging.
image courtesy cntraveller.com

We love to visit cities. And lately we've come to love spending an entire two week vacation in one town. Many people find the idea of devoting an entire vacation to one centre to be a bit much. We, on the other hand, relish having the time to explore a place in-depth, to really get to know a neighbourhood or three, and to try (to the limited extent possible as a short-stay visitor) to inhabit a place somewhat like a local. The key to doing this successfully, in our opinion, is an apartment rental; let's face it, a fortnight in the same hotel room, no matter how luxurious, would probably drive most of us a little crazy. And let's not even mention the cost!

An apartment, on the other hand, gives you freedom: freedom to get up in the morning, prepare a healthy breakfast, and take as long as you want to get yourselves out the door; freedom to make a picnic lunch to throw in your travel bag if you so desire; freedom to explore the city's exotic markets, to actually purchase some of that incredible stuff, bring home the goods, and have an enjoyable time in your kitchen preparing a delicious dinner; and freedom to come home after a day of sightseeing and have something more than a bed and a couple of tatty hotel chairs to relax on before you clean yourselves up and head back out for the evening. To us, an apartment is the key to a truly relaxing vacation.

We've yet to crack the nut that is the Copenhagen apartment rental scene, though. The few flats that have appealed- specifically, in a neighbourhood we want to stay in, of a size and condition that suits our sensibilities, and at a price we can afford- have been beyond our grasp. They either don't seem to exist or they are not available at the times we plan to visit. Perhaps there's a more limited supply of short- term rentals in Copenhagen than other places we've visited, perhaps our travel dates align with when the city is at its busiest (they do have a relatively short window of seasonable weather, after all), or perhaps we just haven't found the right websites (although we're pretty adept at ferreting these places out, we think). Or maybe it just isn't yet meant to be.

Commitments at work recently pushed the dates for this year's vacation into mid October. We were suddenly thrown into the position of having to reevaluate whether it was wise to continue making plans for a holiday in a North Sea environment half way through the autumn. Cool temperatures we could handle, but what if we encountered 14 days of rain? No one wants to risk washing away that precious time. So for the second year in a row we pulled the plug on Denmark. Except this time we said, "there must be some reason that it's proving so hard to get there. Let's respect what the travel gods are telling us."

It may be some time, if ever, before we understand that reason. But we still intend to visit and we will no doubt try again next year. But in the meantime, in casting around for places that strike our fancy yet remain reasonably dry as winter approaches, we were drawn once again to South America. And, magically, from out of the haze an old friend beckoned: Apartment 9F.

Apartment 9F is one of two modern condominium units owned by two Californian couples in the city of Buenos Aires. It is the first apartment we stayed in during our inaugural trip to Argentina, and it is one of the very best we've ever rented. On our second visit it was not available; we took a place in the same neighbourhood, but our substitute flat was inferior. Unfortunately we pined for 9F throughout the entire stay. So imagine our great delight to see on its website that 9F was available during our intended dates this year. We quickly contacted the owners and within a couple of days it was ours!

Moving onto travel arrangements we found that there were still plenty of seats on our preferred route, an Air Canada service direct from Toronto (with a quick stopover in Santiago de Chile). And best of all, the fares were great! Boom! Booked! 

Remarkably, we had just gone from a period of months, stretching across two vacation years, of trying in vain to organize a holiday to Copenhagen, to abandoning those plans and successfully organizing our entire trip to Buenos Aires all within six days! Sure, we didn't have to go through the usual process of researching dozens of apartments and drawing up a shortlist, contacting the owners and patiently waiting their replies, but still...it makes you wonder why everything fell into place so effortlessly.
B&W image courtesy digifocal.com
Below that, courtesy friendlyplanet.com
Bottom, courtesy planetajoy.com

The lessons, we suppose, are to trust in fate and heed the message when it comes at you loud and clear, and to accept the possibility- even the eventuality- of a Plan B. 

Or should we say Plan 9F?




  1. What stroke me the most in Argentina was the cathedral. Did you feel the same? When you enter, you ascend a staircase to the dance hall, which appears upon first glance to be in a barn. The roof is high, with wooden beams. Years of kitsch hang from them, the most noticeable being giant, glowing heart that looms over the bar. Taller than a person, it is made from red cloth which covers various sized plastic cans, giving the heart arteries their shape and transparency.
    I rented apartments in Buenos Aires and stayed in the capital of the country for a month and I really enjoyed visiting places like this one or other religious temples. It was great!

  2. Most travel is best of all in the anticipation or the remembering; the reality has more to do with losing your luggage.

  3. No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.