Thursday, May 21, 2015

Couchsurfing in Germany

I know this post is going to sound like an ad for Couchsurfing, but I promise, it's not! This is just me, telling my experience trying Couchsurfing for the first time.
While I was planning my trip to Germany, I was talking to my friend Basti about where to find accommodation and he suggested I try Couchsurfing. I had never done it before, and I thought I would give it a try. Free accommodation? Hell yes!

I tried and tried for a long time to look for someone who could host me in Munich and Leipzig, but I couldn't find anyone. Many guys offered, but being a single female, I was reluctant to stay at a strange man's apartment, so the search went on, until finally, I found hosts in both cities!

First, Kathi in Munich. I had just gotten off the plane, I was exhausted and wasn't quite sure where to go, so I texted her, and she replied right away, giving me very easy directions to her subway station, where she came to pick me up. Her apartment was literally a minute walk away from the station, which came in handy as I explored the city. She had me in her kitchen on a mattress and gave me a key to her place so I could come and go as I pleased. She even took me out downtown Munich, showed me around and then settled to a patio for a few beers. It was great! She helped me find my way around the city and without her, I think I would have had a much harder time figuring out this city. It came in handy when I returned to Munich at the end of my trip, since I already knew where things were and what app to use to figure out the public transport (having the options of tram, s-bahn, u-bahn and bus, it can get a little confusing).

Then, after Berlin, I headed to Leipzig, where my friend Basti lives, and met up with my couchsurfer host Vanessa. She came to get me at the train station and we dropped my things at her apartment, then headed off to do the one sight-seeing she thought was worth seeing... And of course, it started hailing while we were outside, but the second we got in a tram, sunshine and rainbows! My entire stay in Leipzig was like that. Rain for a hour, then sunshine, then hail, then sunshine again, combined with very strong winds. But we made do. Vanessa introduced me to some of her friends, we went to a bar to see some live music one night and the next we went to another university bar with more friends and showed me the best burgers in town. We spent all three days basically non-stop together and it was awesome :) I seriously can't wait to see her again!

Then, I met up with Tina. Vanessa had to work, so I needed a place to stay for the next two nights (which turned into one because of my tattoo appointment) and Tina took me in. We went out for brunch, then we went to a park behind the zoo and we could hear lions roar, which was pretty sweet. If I ever go back, I will have to go to the zoo (which is what I've been told by multiple people). Afterwards, she gave me a key, because she worked nights, and so she wanted to be able to sleep while I roamed the city with Basti and Vanessa. I didn't get to spend a lot of time with her, but it was still nice! She had a very comfortable couch and an adorable little dog that would just get way too excited.

I enjoyed it so much, that I ended up hosting two girls from Germany while they were in Winnipeg for their cross-country road trip, and we had a blast!
It may seem scary, to sleep on a stranger's couch, but so far, I've had some pretty memorable experiences and I definitely plan on doing some more couch surfing on my future trips. It's a great way to meet new people and make friends, but also see a city from a totally different perspective. Definitely try it if you have the chance.

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