I knocked on the door, haggard, hungover and tired from the flight. It was almost 24 hours of travel later when we arrived in South America and I peeked over at Joe to see if he looked like I felt. I should have known better since he always looks so unruffled and this was no different. Nerves shaking I anxiously awaited that first moment of face to face contact. The host and I had chatted online, but there's something odd about the first time you meet a stranger with plans to sleep in their house.
Rachel opened the door and smiled, welcoming us into her home, my tension melted as she showed us our room and gave us a tour of the apartment. Everything was just as it had seemed, and this was the first of what have been multiple positive experiences with Rachel & Hans.
Of the experiences we have had with the site, five times we've stayed with a host (we've actually stayed with Rachel & Hans three separate times!) and twice in our own apartment alone. I actually prefer staying with people since they can show you a side of the city you would never expect. It turns out that Rachel's husband Hans is an icon in the Pisco and cocktail world within Lima and they are currently in the process of opening a new bar. They gave us insight into this facet of the city we never would have seen.
Another great instance was in Bogota, I've heard people rant about how lousy Bogota is and that they wouldn't recommend staying longer than a day to anyone. We stayed with a wonderful man, Jack in his penthouse apartment for two weeks and never grew bored. He pointed us in the direction of countless things we “had to see” in the city. Jack and his girlfriend are also very involved in the local art scene with their own small art studio and let us tag along to several art shows as well as after parties and during the day showed us the best locals restaurants and juice spots. We left not having done a bajillion of the activities he recommended since we ran out of time.
"Woman in Front of The Window"
1990 Oil Painting by Fernando Botero
at the Botero Museum in Bogota, Colombia