So I follow all the instructions to my Luxembourg Airbnb after I get off the bus. No problem. I get to 100 bel view. There are 5-7 apartment buzzers. None say Xavier, none say Xax. Now what? I drag out my computer and sit on the doorstep in the drizzle. I confirm the address and the name. I ask a passing woman. She speaks no English or French, but she confirms that I am at the right address and that there is no one with that name listed on the door. She has no cell phone. I try to text the number on my phone. No dice without Internet. I sit down to examine the details again - did I miss something? No, I can't find any more info. A lady about my age, who lives there walks up. Hello, I say, allo, I repeat, but her blank stare assures me that we are not going to communicate verbally. I show her the address on the computer screen. She smiles and nods emphatically. I show her the name. She looks puzzled. She glances at the names on the buzzers. She frowns and shakes her head. I point to the phone number and look very pathetically sad. She hesitantly pulls out her cell phone and I smile and not emphatically. She dials the number and talks for a minute. She hands the phone to me and says "English.. Ok". The voice on the other end is curt, "who is this!!?" It demands. I am Elaine, your Airbnb guest for the night. "You are supposed to come AFTER 7pm". "You said I could drop off my bags at 10 a.m.”. "Humph says the grinch. It says after 7pm. Humph. I'll come down". Click. I hand the phone back and thank the woman and nod. The hall light inside comes on and she smiles and nods back and goes inside. A man appears a the door and opens it and sticks his head out. "Give me your bag" he demands. "It's quite heavy, I can carry it up" "humph - I am with my family, humph".
“It says after 7pm” He says emphatically. “It says that for a reason. I am with my family.” “I asked if I could drop my bags and you said I could at 10am. It is 10 a.m.” “So what are you waiting for, give me your bags and go away”. “Could you give me the internet code so I can send a message to my husband to say I arrived safely?” “I don’t know it… Get back inside” he snaps at a young face that peeps out the door! “Here, he shoves his phone at me, call your husband, use the internet, whatever” This went on like this and he finally put my bags in the apartment and gave me the internet access. I was really shocked and angry and upset and just kind of all around freaked out by his behaviour. It is funny, I had had a bit of a premonition about it at one point, and I thought everything would be ok because I didn’t really have any real needs, just drop my backpack and get out of his hair. But this weird bipolar behaviour of really nice and really angry and annoyed was just unacceptable. I went towards the centre of the city and stopped for some internet at a little cafe, ok a chain restaurant, all right, all right, I stopped at a McDonalds in Luxembourg. They have free wifi, and after the free wifi information rape experience in NYC, I just wanted something I could trust.
I met the loveliest couple in McDonalds. They had a cute little toddler. They both speak great English. He was originally from Vancouver, and she was originally from China. They said that 80% or more of the people in Luxembourg are from some other place. The cappuccino wasn't bad in the European McDonalds. I talked to them for an hour or so.
I felt better after that. I went to the centre of town and visited the old city. Very beautiful. There’s not so much to see in Luxembourg City, I mean there are more ruins, viaducts, bridges and churches, but I had gotten a feel for the city. It is quite a charming place.
I had thought about it a lot, and I decided to contact airbnb about the problem man. I outlined the issues and sent the email. I contacted Greg and he called them and together we worked through it. Airbnb called Xavier, and he said he had changed his mind about the 10 am drop off time, which they told him had to be communicated. They said he agreed to cancelling the reservation, which was good, because I had decided it that I wasn't willing to sleep in such an uncomfortable environment. He said he would be there in at 4pm so I could pick up my bags, and we arranged another airbnb. I hoped that all airbnbs in Luxembourg were not like him.
He tried to be so acidicly sweet when I returned for my bags, “Oh, you called airbnb did you? I was going to give you a discount for your troubles you know. You were all freaked out, screaming at me and I was trying to calm you down, but you were so out of control this morning that I was scared”. “Really?” I said. “You can’t treat guests like that, I am a host and you don’t even have the right name on the door”. “You shouldn't have called them” his eyes glinted in narrow strips. “I don’t really want to talk to you”. He was still holding my bag, “Airbnb said that they have never had problems with me and I told them how crazy you were yelling at me this morning and I agreed that I didn’t trust to have such a terrible person in my home”
I was shaking when I left and so glad to be out of there. I would have rather slept on the streets. I wondered what had made me leave my bags there this morning, and I understood how vulnerable people feel when they travel, especially when they are alone. I had only a few minutes to make the decision. I had no idea if there was any other airbnbs or even hotels available, I had no idea how I felt about such an encounter. I needed time to think about it and decide that I had not overreacted. I also didn't want to explore the city with all my bags.
I realized as I waited for the bus to take me to the other airbnb, that I would have still had to wait almost 3 more hours to have checked in for his obscene check in time of 7pm. Even hostels that are closed all day let you check in at 4 or 5pm. You never really think of it when you are booking - I mean, yes, you want to be out all day, but the check in time is only in very tiny print that you notice later, after you book, and you don’t really think about how many hours 10am until 7pm is, wandering about a small village. Lesson learned, I will pay more attention to reviews rather than location. Other people have had problems with him too.
The people at the new airbnb were lovely. I felt welcomed and at home immediately. They were going grocery shopping, and even though I didn’t need to buy anything, they let me tag along and chat. I am so glad I changed to this airbnb. I would have had a very emotionally uncomfortable night in the last one.
Beautiful little streets of Luxembourg
Very pretty countryside city - so many parks and so much green space.
The buildings on the other side of the river looked like palaces, but I looked them up and I think they are just a bank and similar things, unless I had the map upside down or something...
Ok, I don't see the name Xavier ... do you? He said "I told you Carriere, you know, like Carrier, it's like an English word, you should be able to understand that... oh, yes, I see, now that I check, I didn't tell you, but that is your mistake because you didn't ask and you travel without a cell phone which is stupid because how do you expect people to get in touch with you when I don't want you to come here".... OMGG, I am so glad I came early so I had a chance to get out of there, Now I know why the obscenely late check in time - that's so people feel that it is already almost 8pm and they are too tired and don't have options to find a place to move to that will take them bey the time they figure it all out at 10 or 11pm. Rant over.
Really colourful buses - so pretty, so fun!