Wednesday, 25 June 2014
More details and where I stayed in Calgary, Vancouver, Houston, and Durango.
I used Airbnb properties a lot on the May trip and only had one slightly bad experience - in Calgary. I won't even post the link to that property because I can't recommend it.
The owner seemed to think that an open cat litter box just inside the front door where people came and went was just fine. What? Do you have a problem with animals in the house, she asked? It states right in the profile that there are animals, she said. No, I said, I love animals, but an open litter box in that location is just unpleasant, not to mention something of a health hazard. I wouldn't subject my own friends and family to that, let alone paying guests. She didn't get it, and claimed that there was no other spot to put it. C'est la vie.
In Vancouver, I stayed for two nights at an older, 1930's row house in the Mount Pleasant section of Vancouver, and area that was great for walking and stopping at interesting shops and cafes/restaurants. Hosts were a younger couple who were very nice. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/2045298
In Calgary, for one of the other nights, I stayed at a good, comfortable house that we had stayed in before. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/764034
In Houston, I stayed with an older, single retired man, a long time resident of Houston, and his dog Duke in gorgeous area of Houston called The Heights - leafy, green and very interesting architecture in that area. It was very comfortable and I had my own ensuite bathroom which is always nice. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/598228
Gwen and I stayed at a Wyndham hotel in San Antonio using my time-share points. It was fine, but nothing special and I am always annoyed by the salespeople there trying to get me to go to a breakfast presentation when I am only there for 2 days!
We stayed in Durango at Hostal de la Monja, a hotel housed in a beautiful 200-year-old building across from one of the Cathedrals and right on a walking street, closed to traffic. It used to house nuns at one time. The rooms were very spacious with 20 foot ceilings, two double beds, and air-conditioning. It was a treat to be there for two nights. There is a lobby bar and restaurant - breakfast was included. The staff were wonderful and there was parking behind the hotel in a secured lot. http://www.hostaldelamonja.com.mx/
We absolutely loved Durango, a colonial city dating from the 1500's. It has recently become a tourist destination for those who live in Mazatlan due to the opening of a new toll highway and the second largest suspension bridge in the world between Durango and Mazatlan. It cuts the time of the journey from the border of Texas to Mazatlan by about 4 hours I am told. We found it to be well-maintained with actual clean, modern bathroom buildings and SOS phones placed frequently along the way. Not to mention incredibly scenic.
Durango was VERY clean and orderly. Everyone we met was so pleasant and helpful, and happy to see tourists from north of the border in their city - something they are not used to yet but they seem to love the fact that we want to visit the city - they are very proud of it. The architecture, museums, walking streets and parks are all so worth going for. We had dinner at two different restaurants that we just have to go back to. One called El Esquilon and the other La Fonda de la Tia Chona. Unique interiors and ambiance and excellent food for such reasonable prices, especially when compared to prices north of the border.
I tried a dark, rich mole sauce that had the taste of a hint of dark chocolate and cinnamon, on chicken in Tia Chona, and a lighter-flavored yellow mole at El Esquillon. Both were delicious.
Have to go back!