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25 July 2008

Just a thought: any footloose, dog-loving Hellenophiles out there? Who would want a free place to stay in Athens for two or three weeks in the fall (probably November)? [More:]

We have to go to the U.S. in the autumn, and I'm mildly stressing about leaving the Sky. I'd really love it if we could finagle a way to let her stay at home while we're gone... and it occurred to me that maybe (a kind, responsible) someone, or a couple, might want to swap a place to stay for dog-sitting services.

We're in downtown Athens, 20 minutes walk from the Acropolis, so the price of a hotel in this area would be quite high... and it's a really quiet, charming little neighborhood. So, I'm thinking maybe there would be somebody who would love to spend some time here and save a lot of money on accommodation.

The details are these:

Bright, cheerful one-bedroom place (queen size bed), with living room (two of them, really), bath with tub and shower, happy kitchen, and small terrace from the bedroom that leads down to a shared courtyard. Pretty, pleasant, serene, very safe neighborhood, and you don't need a car (we don't have one); if you wanted use of a bike, we could probably arrange that for you. Wifi, PC (maybe laptop too, if we don't take it with us), TV, stereo, heat, AC.

There's a (very) small grocery plus a small convenience store a couple blocks away (they speak English), and a supermarket a five-minute walk away. The nearest metro (underground), the Acropolis station, is about a 10-minute walk away, and the tram (takes you to Syntagma Square downtown) is a 5-minute walk away.

The dog is an angel - not a barker, very sweet and affectionate, not hyperactive or fearful, loves people but isn't a pest about it. And, honestly? Totally adorable. :) BUT, she is an escape artist - which means when you leave the house and she stays home, every possible way out has to be closed. She'll jump from places that seem too high; she'll squeeze through places that look too small. It's okay if someone is home, she doesn't try to get away - but when left alone she turns into Houdini.

This isn't a big deal, because the house is easy to secure, but one shouldn't even go around the corner to dump the trash without either taking her, or closing up (this only means closing a couple of windows and the french doors to the terrace). There is also a main gate, so even if she gets out, she can't get *out* - unless someone comes in the gate and she runs out at the same time. That's the danger.

As for pooping and peeing, she's house trained, and does this on walks, but will also go in the courtyard or terrace in an emergency (I clean this up right away). The Vet is just a couple blocks away, and speaks English. The upstairs neighbor is Greek Canadian, and English is her first language. (Most people here speak English anyway, or if they don't speak, they understand.) And, of course we would leave you with many numbers for contacts.

So, that's the basic info, and if anyone is seriously interested, I can give you many more details. I know this is a wacky longshot, but I thought I'd throw it out there. Obviously, this is for people who know they like dogs, and preferably have spent time with same. I'm not asking for any kind of crazy attention to the dog, though; I would expect anyone who wanted to do this to have a good time exploring and enjoying the city.
I am going to daydreaming about this for the rest of the day. I wonder if work would let me take upaid leave. I wonder how much the husband and my dog would flip out. I'm due to do something crazy this November.

posted by rainbaby 25 July | 09:06
I am also going to daydream about this for the rest of the day.
posted by box 25 July | 09:08
I, too, will be daydreaming about this. Really a lot.
posted by Specklet 25 July | 09:12
If I wasn't due to have a two-month old baby right about then, I'd be so there. Damn.
posted by gaspode 25 July | 09:28
Yeah, dreaming of a sunny Athens vacation.
posted by DarkForest 25 July | 09:29
Nthing the daydreaming.
posted by amro 25 July | 09:32
You guys? Daydream hard; work the possibilites. :)

I will also add that October and November are gorgeous here; my favorite time of the year. There's no way I would choose this time to leave, except we're going to Louisiana, and I wanted no part of summer in the swamp (I love la., I just hate the heat and humidity) - and winter is leaving it too long... my poor family has been waiting to see us forever.
posted by taz 25 July | 09:33
Would it be over Thanksgiving? That'd save days for USian working stiffs.
posted by rainbaby 25 July | 09:42
It's not off the table, though I would like to avoid it, probably/maybe, because travel prices to and within the U.S. will be maxed for Thanksgiving and Christmas, I suppose.
posted by taz 25 July | 09:52
That makes sense.

I have to contact HR anyway about adding the husband to my health insurance because he just got an appointment as an adjunct professor at a large state university (Pride, I have it!). I'm going to ask about unpaid leave/negative vacation balance just for the heck of it. Keep the dream alive! (But it's a loooooonnnnnggggg shot at best.)
posted by rainbaby 25 July | 10:18
I did it, rainbaby, when I was still living and working in the U.S.; I took a three-month unpaid leave. I can't even believe that once they figured out that they could survive, even minimally, for three months without me, they wanted me back. :)

Anyway, that was my first trip to Greece!
posted by taz 25 July | 10:24
taz--let me check with guy. Long shot for us, too, but hey, I need the break.
posted by crush-onastick 25 July | 10:24
If I win the lottery, I'm there. If not, alas, I am not.
posted by mygothlaundry 25 July | 12:18
Would it have to be the entire time? I'm pretty sure I couldn't do 3 weeks but 1.5 or 2 might be doable. I have a big place now that is shared with 3 others, but if we get this house (this damn house!), that would obviously be better on your end. I'm in NY. Also, we have 2 sweet 18 y.o. cats that would need medicating.
posted by Hellbient 25 July | 12:24
If i win the lottery, i'll bring you with me, mgl.
If it was doable for under 2k i'd consider it if something didn't come charging in to collapse my plans per usual. i never get to go anywhere. Maybe i'll renew my passport just in case.
Actually, since it will be post my birthday, maybe it'd be workable if i could find someone right to take care of the Bees.
i don't want to jinx anything by talking more. i've never even been to Europe.
posted by ethylene 25 July | 12:27
Hey, Hellbient may be on to something with the split time idea. It's a complication, sure, but two people doing a tag team transition - why it's so crazy it just might work!
posted by rainbaby 25 July | 13:10
Good grief, could Greece handle both MGL and ethylene together in one place at the same time? Or would this be the end of Modern Greek Civilization as we know it?
posted by essexjan 25 July | 15:48
From Chicago it's $600-1000. A lot more from Asheville. i bet it's cheaper out of DC or something. Maybe we could meet in Maryland.
posted by ethylene 25 July | 16:40
tag team might be doable, though more complicated, of course.

Hellbient, I think you're thinking I'm talking about a house swap? That's a very cool idea that I've thought about before, but actually this is just straight-up You Come Here and Stay For Free in exchange for Watching the Dog. (We'll be staying in central Louisiana with my parents, and in New Orleans with friends.)

I know it would be easy to find someone via Craigslist for this, but I want someone I internet-know. :)
posted by taz 26 July | 01:08
Hey taz, we don't internet-know each other very well but I'm in the UK and I could probably get to Athens in November for around 200. I couldn't do 2 or 3 weeks (I won't have that much holiday time left) but if you're looking for people for shorter lengths of time, it may be very doable.
posted by triggerfinger 27 July | 09:43
I could probably do two weeks (also in the UK).
posted by goo 27 July | 12:03
Cool! It's looking like a tag-team might be the ticket. I'm going to see about settling our dates a bit more, then talk to those of you who are thinking you are interested to see how the timing works for you.

Thanks, guys!
posted by taz 27 July | 14:28
Bunny! OMG! || Somebody tell me how to do this