Not long to go now and we will be in Pisa, it’s probably time we start to think about our accommodation, where shall we stay?
A quick glimpse between me and Dale is enough for both to agree on trying to couchsurf, why not?
Our experience with CouchSurfing until that point had been very limited, we did it only once during our trip to Amsterdam and guess what? WE LOVED IT! Not only did we love it, our host inspired us so much telling all about his travelling experiences, that we couldn’t wait for this crazy RTW trip to begin.
Once our mind was already made up, we decided to start searching for a nice host in Pisa that could possibly have us for a day or two.
We knew it was not going to be an easy task considering how touristy Tuscany’s cities are and how many requests the couchsurfers over there might get per day, but this didn’t stop us from trying.
To our surprise, only after two refusals we found somebody that, in a really friendly manner, accepted our request. AWESOME! It wasn’t that difficult overall. 🙂
What made us choose this host?
When we sent our request, what caught our attention the most on our hosts’ CouchSurfing profile was the ‘Interest’ section which said:
‘We like arts, music and football. We like to talk about almost everything, as long as it isn’t shoes and macrobiotic diets.’
It was like love at first sight for us! It seemed like their interests were made to go with ours, plus, considering the Euro 2012 was still on during our visit to Pisa, we were hoping to get the chance to watch the football all together, we couldn’t hope to find any better than that.
Since our arrival, Claudio, Enrico and Leone were more than welcoming, friendly and really helpful by giving us tips on where to go, what to see in Pisa, where to eat and how to move from Pisa to other locations. Highly useful considering we wanted to have some day trips whilst we were there. They made us feel part of the house life and got us involved in their lives: we dined, we drank, we joked, we laughed and we also watched the Euro 2012 games altogether (as we hoped so badly). It was a great fun!
We loved sitting with them and their friends watching the football, commentating, sharing opinions and different views. ‘Why didn’t that player score? Why didn’t the coach make any substitutions any earlier and waited so long?’
For the English match Dale even wore his English Top (he’s a proud English supporter no matter where in the world he is, but more than anything, he absolutely adores football). (Dale – I’m British first, English second may I add).
That turned out definitely better than me & Dale sitting on our own in a bar that showed the games. The atmosphere at our hosts’ place was definitely more personal. A WIN!
Whilst we were there, for a couple of nights Claudio and one of his friends needed to work till late to produce a video. This meant for them a lot of editing, brainstorming and hours of hard work without catching any sleep until the sun rose. When there is music involved, Dale feels like it’s his duty to join in and give his opinions, he literally can’t help it!
So there they are, all three of them (Dale, Claudio and his friend), at 2am searching for the right tune to add to the video they were putting together. (Dale – I tried but came up with nothing I’m afraid).
This was just another little event that made our stay in Pisa such a pleasant experience, something that wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t use CouchSurfing.
Why did we use CouchSurfing?
We see CouchSurfing as an alternative way to experience the places we visit.
It’s a mistake to think at it as a source of “free accommodation”. The main important thing for us is that it gives us the chance to mix and get to know the locals more. Do you know a better way of getting to know the culture of the places you visit?
In every travel guide one of the TOP TIPS is to meet the people that live there because they – in most of the cases – know the area better than anybody else and will be able to help you discover it in the right way.
We had only 2 experiences of CouchSurfing so far and we definitely cannot complain. You must understand though that you are a guest in somebody else’s house, that your host has a life, a job and more than probably other things to do, you cannot expect for he/she to be your babysitter or tour guide.
We like to do something for our hosts in a sign of gratitude to show how much we appreciate their hospitality. It doesn’t have to be anything too crazy – making dinner (if they let us) is our favorite way to say “thanks”. Luckily, people say that I’m a good cook and, lately, even Dale, made few attempts to cook some nice dishes which I have to admit went down pretty well!