So I am always looking for the cheapest way to travel and this past weekend I went on a trip to Berlin, Germany to visit a wonderful friend of mine.
In order to save 80 bucks I ended up choosing a route like this:
- Thursday night (Thanksgiving): Fly to Barcelona, landing at 11pm
- Friday morning: From Barcelona at 10:55am to Berlin at 1:55 pm
- Saturday: Enjoy Berlin
- Sunday: Flight from Berlin to “Stockholm” Sweden at 8:15 am. Take hour and a half bus ride to city center to realize I don’t have time to get off the bus. Catch next bus back to airport and fly to Barcelona again. Arrive Barcelona at 7pm. Take hour metro/train ride to get to where I’m going.
- Monday: Get up at 3:30 am to catch a taxi to the city center, to catch a bus to catch a flight at 6:15 am back home. Catch the bus from the airport, get home, shower, change and catch yet another bus to work!
Mondays are hella-long and I was exhausted from the get-go. End result: sprained ankle and non-ability to produce vocabulary by the end of the day.
What I did realize though is that if I choose to run myself ragged instead of opting to pay a few more euros, the entire experience changes when you stay at someone’s house instead of doing something silly like sleeping in the airport or going out all night until you need to go through security (I have not done the latter, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t suggested to me once!)
I by happenstance met another American at an orientation for my program here and this fellow American recently re-located to Barcelona. When the offer “If you’re ever in Barcelona..” was put on the table I grabbed it. It was a special treat to go out for a few Thankful drinks on Thanksgiving Thursday and have someone, make me toast, attempt to make coffee and show me the fastest way to get back to the airport the following morning.
It was an even better experience when on the flight back home all the other roommates organized a dinner and invited some friends for an International Sunday Night Dinner. I learned about culture, language, geography and I’m pretty sure I can also say we reviewed the Scoville Scale!!! We drank home grown wine and had a Christmas/Reggeton/Bachata dance party that lasted until midnight.
It was my lovely host, that referred to this experience as CouchSurfing. While I didn’t use couchsurfing.org this time, I did sleep on a couch. Even better than sleeping on a couch instead of an airport: I made some great new friends and I’m planning my next trip to go back and visit them.
So to wrap this all up what I’m saying is, step out of the airport, get to know some people. There are feeling great ones out there ready and willing to open their homes and lives to you! Go couchsurfing.