“If you value your home do not exchange with these people. We found a war zone upon our return, not even 7 hours of our cleaner's time had managed to touch the surface of the disaster they had left us, dishes everywhere, stuff strewn on the floor, chairs left abandoned on the terrace and the awning out for days in an area prone to storms, excrement all over the toilet bowls - they hadn't even bothered to flush the toilet the morning they left! It has taken us three whole days to get our home back in order. In addition they used our handmade cherry dining table as an ironing board when we have two in the laundry room. They also smoked in our bedroom in a strictly non smoking home and they didn't even bother to feed our cat every day, he was starving! We always leave precise easy instructions re the separation of the rubbish but it took my poor husband almost half a day to separate the rubbish they left with maggots crawling everywhere, otherwise we would get a huge fine. As to our stay at their apartment in NYC, we were like two rats in cages. The main reason we chose it from the various offers we had was because of their outside space. Unfortunately however they "forgot" to mention that it had been closed for works since January, the month we agreed the exchange. So although the location was perfect and it was quite clean and comfortable, for two people who spend all year outside it was a big problem. And if all this was not enough, we initially agreed that they would be bringing another couple, which grew to five people and became six in the end. What really put the icing on the cake though was that she informed us just a few weeks before our departure that she had given on of her Russian friends our contact details to use for her visa to come to our home. By that time it was too late, but had she asked we would never have given our permission for such a thing! We have done 42 exchanges over 15 years and are now considering never doing it again. *********************************************Host's Response: Out of all the negative remarks made about our staying at Maria’s place on Lago Maggiore, the only true one is the fact that there was a cat. THE CAT: The written instructions explaining how to feed their cat took half a page: where to find the cat’s food, how to mix the dry food with wet food, asking to make sure we make the cat sit to take his meals, the time of the day (always 10:00 p. m.) to give the cat some treats, etc. One of our friends has a cat and he made sure the cat had everything and was fed every day timely. OTHER ANIMALS WE DID NOT EXPECT: Imagine our surprise when the very first morning another cat ran into the kitchen and jumped to the cat’s food . We immediately wrote to the owners and were told not to pay much attention as this was a neighbor ‘s cat. That same morning a huge dog ran into the kitchen and started to jump all over. We didn’t know what to think. We were told that it’s a neighbor ‘s dog. This happened every morning, but we love animals and stayed friendly. OWNERS ‘ DIRTY KITCHEN: When we arrived, the kitchen surfaces were covered with so much stuff we could barely find place for our food. Besides, there were moths flying all over feeding off the grains the owners had in the jars inside the kitchen cabinets, and we were disgusted. We took all the trash out in accordance with the written instructions separating whatever is required to be recycled. We followed the truck schedule and left the trash the night before by the road. SMOKING: I hope the owners were ashamed as they were writing about all these false details like unflushed toilets. And smoking made me laugh - we are all non-smokers, have never smoked! I would find it demeaning if I tried to fight every single fault described by the owner. OUR GROUP OF 6 PEOPLE: Our discussion was in working progress when I mentioned there would be 6 of us. This was long before we left for vacation. The owner knew perfectly well that there would be 6 of us, and we discussed sleeping arrangements before our arrival. Shortly before we left we York, the owner mentioned that they didn’t have time to prepare the study room for the third couple. This only shows they were fine with the number of people. One of our friends was asked by the consulate for the address she was going to stay at. I asked the owner for her permission. This is a standard question; I myself have been asked by our guests multiple times - if someone needs a visa, it’s a standard question on any visa application. OUR NEW YORK PLACE: At least, Maria admitted that our place is perfectly located , is clean and comfortable. I wish I could say that theirs is clean. It is true that the construction work was delayed and not over, as promised by the construction company, by early summer. As a result, our guests couldn’t enjoy their time on the patio. However, I have never heard of people whose only reason for coming to New York would be enjoying a patio or a backyard where they stayed. Speaking of backyard - our apartment is literally 50 meters away from Central Park, and some of our friends joke by calling it our backyard:) We had our apartment cleaned before Maria's arrival and after her departure (our cleaning lady said it was dirty but we did not expect Maria to clean it before leaving), but found hers with pet food all over, pets running around, terrible smell (probably pet food) every evening when we came back home. Our two bedroom/two bathroom apartment requires about 5 hours of cleaning, so to clean Maria's big house (3 floors), given that she has 2 cats and two more pets visit every morning, a lot more time would definitely be needed. WiFi - ours is perfect, we have two networks. Theirs only worked in the kitchen area. As a result, we almost never spent time in their living room. We left their furniture in the same condition at the same places as we found it upon arrival. ”
New York Apartment With a Patio near Central Park
New York Apartment With a Patio near Central Park
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We live steps from Central Park, next to Strawberry Fields, in a historic area of Upper West Side. Lincoln Center with its Metropolitan Opera and other famous Halls, the Museum of Natural History are within a short 5-6 minute walk. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum and Frick Collection are just across the Central Park, and a nice stroll may bring you to the Museum Mile in 10-15 minutes.
There are two subway stations near us: one around the corner and the other within a 5-minute walk. You will find yourself in Greenwich Village, SoHo or Downtown within 20 minutes.
Around the corner from our building you will find Columbus Avenue and within a block - Amsterdam Avenue, both filled with cafes and restaurants. A Belgian cafe across the street from us (a 2-minute walk) is our routine destination for coffee and pastries, sandwiches and salads. We alway leave a letter for the guests listing our favorite places whether it is a restaurant, a gallery, or a jazz club.
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