We got some very good and relieving news today. Our friends near Barcelona, Spain are safe and healthy.
Former hosts check in: Spain / Italy news
We were a little worried. We had not heard from Vittorio and his wife Loretta for a a couple months. They are a kindly retired couple who rented us a lovely apartment in central Barcelona back in 2018. We’ve kept in touch since then.
Further, they are Italians – with family in the north of Italy. They can live, work, travel anywhere in the European Union. And they travel a lot. Early this year that had been in both Germany and Scotland. With the coronavirus raging in their home countries we were concerned.
Thankfully, Vittorio responded to the recent Easter email we sent out to many of our former Airbnb hosts wishing them well and thanking them for our travel memories and inquiring about their circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic.
…We sincerely hope the COVID-19 situation causes you and your families as little hardship as possible. But we know there will be disruption – especially with Airbnb business. Please know you are in our thoughts and hearts. And we pray for the health, safety, peace, and prosperity of everyone to whom we are sending this note...Email to our former hosts
He reports that he and Loretta are well and sequestered in their home near the beach in Tarragona, Spain — about 40 minutes by train south of Barcelona. Loretta only goes out once a week for food. And he is keeping busy restoring an old Fiat sports car in the garage. Fantastic, news.
In addition, their adult son, who lives near Milan in northern Italy is also isolated and safe and working from home. Ironically, Vittorio and Loretta had scheduled a two-week trip to the USA in early March. But they cancelled those plans due to the virus. Vittorio says they would likely have been unable to get back home to Spain had they gone ahead with their tour of NYC, Washington, and the east coast.
Athens, Greece report
Another big city Airbnb host who we enjoyed spending time with was Val, from Athens, Greece. His apartment was a great value and very convenient. We also did some sightseeing with Val and met for several lunches and coffee.
Val says he is well and believes early measures taken in Greece – and especially Athens – have kept virus cases relatively low compared to other European countries. He says his biggest current issue is the apartment bookings he has for the next three to five months. Like many places, visitors can’t get to Athens now and people with future reservations are considering cancellation.
Similarly, our first Airbnb host in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Boon, is expecting that his rental condo will be unused for the next few months. Boon’s place was on the 37th floor with an amazing view of the KL skyline. He was a super host who showed us around, met us for meals, even invited us to visit his home and family.
As with the other hosts, we’ve kept in touch. In fact, we seriously considered meeting Boon’s family again in Manila, Philippines this past December, where his daughter took part in the Southeast Asian Games as a gymnast on the Malaysian national team. She even won a medal! Sadly, our travel schedule didn’t allow us to get there. But we sincerely hope Boon and the family stay well and keep winning in Kuala Lumpur.
A suspected virus case
We’re glad to have heard from the folks above. They all live in big urban centers where there have been virus cases. And while we feel for their economic loss, we’re happy to hear they are healthy.
In fact, all respondents to our Easter greeting have reported no medical issues – except one.
Zelma was our Airbnb host in Casablanca, Morocco. She is now living in Paris, France.
Here is part of her response regarding her situation:
“Very weird time, I maybe got the covid but here in France no test was given, just to stay home. I feel better but today again beginning to cough maybe it is just a cough, but with this virus around us it’s not a good thingLetter from Zelma, a former Airbnb hostess
Hope it will go away again.
I am with my two boys at home. And I really appreciate these moments with them. Thank you again for having sent news.
I did think of all of you who came to my place and was wondering if everybody was OK.”
I did send Zelma a follow-up, wishing her a speedy recovery and the best for her sons. France is another country with many cases and deaths. It is nice of Zelma to wonder about her guests. But understandably, Airbnb becomes a low priority for a mom who is ill.
Hopefully, we won’t get any more news of sickness when more former hosts check in. There have been a few other ‘no problem’ replies – and more will probably come. I will post something more in a week or so.
In the meantime, we’ll enjoy remembering all the different people and places in the very best way. Healthy!
As always, be thankful and generous, happy trails, & more beer.
Life is NOW!
Thanks for reading, “Former hosts check in with coronavirus news.”
We advocate for travel, once bans are lifted and borders are open. Until then, we are staying “home” at an apartment rental in the Philippines. Read that story here.
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