By HomeExchange Team Member, Yvette Wang
“Life is too short to drink heinous wine.”
Do you love wine? Do you consider yourself a casual drinker or a connoisseur perhaps? A good glass of wine can put a smile on your face, and a great wine will make you get up and dance (it has happened to me).
Do you know what can make that glass of great wine even better? Personalize it. Travel to where the wine is made and meet the people who have dedicated themselves to making it. Walk between the rows of vines, smell the aroma of the aging wines in the barrel room, and you’ll get a glimpse into the amount of love, effort and skill that goes into each bottle.
“Where do I go? Can’t I just stop at the tasting rooms on the main road? How do I choose a winery to visit? How do I know what’s good? Why should I bother?”
These are all valid questions. Let’s try to answer them and help you have the best experience possible when visiting a wine region.
These six island home exchanges stretch the imagination–as well as your travel budget.
It is the nature of islands to make us feel removed, buffered by water, swept away and surrounded by beauty.
These six island home exchanges stretch the imagination–as well as your travel budget–and broaden your horizons far past what you might think possible.
When the expense for accommodations is reduced to zero, your overall travel budgets expand greatly. Having a kitchen changes the dining experience so you can enjoy the produce from a farmer’s market. Your hosts may even have a few local pointers for eateries as well as dishes you can make at home. Enjoying a leisurely espresso from a fabulous balcony or alfresco dining by the sea becomes as easy and as inexpensive as a trip to the market. Some exchange partners are even interested in including cars in the exchange further reducing your travel expenses and increasing your adventure.
There are many flavors to “island getaways.” They may be Grecian antiquities, Caribbean luxury, or Irish countryside; each charming in its own way.
Which island adventure calls to your soul?
A worldwide tour of “Art Trends” around the planet takes us from Montauk to Singapore, from Malaga to Milan, passing through Paris; a hip and happening universe, in which Art is questioned, as it should be.
By: Mário de Castro
A tribute to the artistic genius!
The Picasso Museum in Malaga, inaugurated in 2003, is a moving tribute that fulfills the heartfelt wishes of the artist Pablo Picasso, who wanted his masterpiece represented in the city where he was born, on October 25th, 1881. Installed throughout twelve rooms of the Buenavista Palace, a National Monument and an iconic example of 15th century Andalusian Renaissance civil architecture tinged with Mudejar features, this museum is situated in the historical city center, just steps from the artist’s childhood home and the cathedral. Two members of the Picasso family, Christine-Ruiz Picasso (Picasso’s oldest son’s widow) and Bernard Ruiz-Picasso (grandson), donated part of their private collections. 233 masterpieces belonging to the museum are displayed, along with 43 others on temporary loan for 15 years. Retracing different styles, materials and precious techniques proprietary to the Cubism genius, amongst the paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics and engravings, one is astonished when contemplating “Maya with Doll” (1896-1897) and the portrait of “Olga Khokhlova with a Mantilla” (1917).
What is it that you love most about the Home Exchange concept? We have asked our Members on Facebook and here some of the amazing answers they’ve told us! Add yours as well in the comments below!
Elisabeth S, Spain: EVERYTHING! This weekend we have our exchange partners at our place and we will give them back all the love and hospitality they have us when we stayed at their home. I love HomeExchange!
Aurélie C, France: Travel further and more often, just with light luggage and our hearts, discovering a new way of life and philosophy.
Robin V, Netherlands: “That you come in places where you normally never would go and those yet prove to be great! 2 of those places for me: Annecy and Laos.”
Marta L, Spain: Host people and be hosted. Enjoy life anywhere in the world and feel like a local wherever you go. Show our children to have some respect for what is not ours. See the love with which other homeexchangers prepare the home for you. Have friends in each city you have visited. Be able to make others, have fun and get to know the city you live in. Everything, we simply love everything about home exchanges.
Marlene D, Denmark: “That it is based on faith in the good in other people. We have only had good and very interesting experiences. It’s a great way to travel with kids.”
Debbi, Belgium: “The human experience, meeting other people, the trust between each other”.
Dominique C, France: “Feel like a local and not a tourist!”
Sylvia N, Netherlands: “You never know where you end up! What an adventure in itself.”
Julie H, New Zealand: “Most probably, living in different parts of the world and enjoying all the cultures and languages.”
Marcella R, Italy: “The simplicity to travel which is open for everyone, even in places outside the discounted tourist circuits.”
Aurélie B, France: “Have plenty of space to really “live somewhere” and enjoy it (a lot more than in a RV-home or a hotel room).”
Florent D, France: “Discover with your family another ‘home sweet home’ “.
Martina B, Croatia: “We have been on weekend exchanges in destinations close by and had a great time. We would never go if there was no HomeExchange.”
Robert G, Germany: “I find it cool, brings me and my loved one to try new ideas.”
Vlado Š, Croatia: “You can save about 200€ per day on costs of stay and renting a car.”
Blandine M, France: “You can travel light, with the strict minimum: the family!”
Emilia B, Netherlands: “Super nice experiences, I’ve had a weekend in Amsterdam, been two weeks in Portugal and in September 5 weeks to Australia. … You meet special people and come at the most beautiful places…… I say yes!!!”
Marie-Claude G, France: “Discover how people from another country live”.
Monica M, Norway: “Have been a member of Homeexchange.com for 6 years and had 5 great exchanges-certainly our preferred holiday form!”
Milouse L, France: “Live differently!”
A home exchange experience can be a great way to study abroad at an affordable price. This is what Anna, thought as she embarked on her first home exchange in order to learn English in Boston.
Anna has been studying English in Barcelona for a long time and last summer she decided to put her knowledge into practice by spending 1 month in an English-speaking country. “I saw the opportunity of home exchanging as a way to travel affordably and improve my English skills, which was the main goal of my trip. So, I looked for an exchange anywhere within the United Kingdom or the United States, and after a few emails, I managed to organize two back-to-back exchanges in Boston for a month.”
Meet the Baumann family (from Wisconsin, USA) and the Bajeux family (from Chamonix, France), two HomeExchange.com families who agreed on a quite unique home exchange experience for their daughters: a language exchange to improve their English!
When we heard about the fantastic experience from the Bajeux family, we could not resist in asking them to share it with the Home Exchange community. The fact that their two daughters were welcomed by the Baumann family in Wisconsin for several weeks and had such a wonderful opportunity to improve their English is simply fantastic, isn’t it? It’s an old story, but they both remember it with great detail and affection…
The size of the bed, the use of air conditioning, some strange coffee machines… And many more! The so called “cultural differences” can be funny when traveling from one country to another. We have asked our community on Facebook to tell us some of the cultural surprises they have found during a Home Exchange. Here are some of their funniest answers…
Annabel Leroy The double beds, sometimes the mattress topper, the lack of shutters in the Northern countries… The very small holes in the Islandic windows, the huge ovens in Canada, and the tons of paprika left in the fridge by the Hungarians!
Dominique Caudel In the Netherlands, no shutters on the windows… So as we were sleeping in a bedroom orientated towards south, every morning I woke up very early — whilst I do love the complete blackness! After that, I always travel with my night masks just in case!
Ross Teasley We just returned to California after a 3 week exchange in Bordeaux France. When we arrived on day 1 in Bordeaux, I was thrilled to find our hosts had left us some great French cheeses in the refrigerator. (I’m a secret cheese geek.) However, when we returned to California after the exchange, I was stunned to find our French guests had left in our refrigerator a stack of plastic wrapped, single slice, yellow “American cheese” (a strange, chemical substance that does not qualify for the word “cheese”).
Delphine Prieur In France we find that the beds are too small for us (140cm) and they sleep with blankets and not sleeping bags.
AgNès NakaMori It was impossible for us in California to use the oven! It was so huge we could have baken a wild pig inside! We decided not to use the oven for the entire 3 weeks! In the other hand, having a huge washing machine and dryer was perfect!
Merche Mena In Denmark, we had to do laundry in a small house where all community washing machines were. It seems you do some social life while doing your laundry!
Marta Lamas Quintela In our home exchange home in Boston a month ago we had a transparent washing machine! I spent some time staring at it to see how the clothes were washed! So cool! And then in Miami, right after opening the door of the house, we heard a voice saying “Human presence detected”. It seemed the FBI but it was just the home alarm – Phew!
Marjorie Lin I think it is precisely these differences that make the home exchange experience a charming one. We sometimes do have some surprises but nothing serious and then we laugh about it
What about you? What cultural differences have you experienced during your trips? Leave us a comment below.
Photo by Manuel Sastre. Via Flickr, CC licence