Travel: Abnormal Abodes

Sitka’s Geodetic Survey House
*Photo from 2011*

Staying in Sitka is always fun because I seem to end up staying in unusual types of housing. A few summers ago I spent 5 weeks in Sitka for work and was housed in an old Geodetic Survey House. The house’s basement not only still had seismograph machinery, but it also contained some of the Sitka Historical Society collections. Trust me on this one- carrying a load of laundry down wooden stairs and past shelves of boxes without knocking any special collections to the floor, and then making your way around machinery protruding from the floor while your view is blocked by what’s in your arms, is no easy feat. The house is also on the Historic Walking Tour of Sitka, so it wasn’t unusual to have tourists peering in our windows. It made for an interesting summer. 

Our home for a few nights

For this visit to Sitka we were lucky enough to be offered housing on our friend’s boat, a trawler. The boat was cozy, but more spacious than I had imagined. The galley had a kitchen, dining area and the steering wheel. There were two steps down to the bathroom, bedroom, and front hold. We had electricity and potable water so we weren’t exactly roughing it. I was a little skeptical at first about short showers because we only had 5 gallons of warm water, but the second morning I was able to shower, wash my hair, and not run out of hot water! I guess humans can adapt quickly.

Much more spacious than I imagined!

While we stayed on the boat it was moored in Sitka’s central harbor, but one of the nights our hosts took us and a few family members out for a dinner and cruise so we did get the full boat experience. We motored out to a secluded cove. While underway, some of the the men shucked oysters on the back deck, throwing shells overboard. Then the oysters were cooked in the boat’s small oven. We all enjoyed a dinner of oysters and veggies while anchored in the cove, before returning back to the harbor late in the evening. (Confession- I wasn’t brave enough to try the oysters.)

The view from our back deck

This got me thinking about the different types of housing available to travelers. I’ve stayed in hotels, B&B’s, farm stays, a row house in London (which is different than the ranch style house I live in now, so yes it counts), and now a boat. This led me to scanning Airbnb for some of its more interesting options. I came upon cave houses in Greece and have added this to my bucket list of places to stay.

What’s the most interesting type of abode you’ve stayed in and where was it? Tell me about it!

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