At the ‘on arrival’ training, we had a small activity regarding cheap traveling. Yeah, we all like cheap things, and if they’re free, then it’s even better!
So, yes, let’s talk about CouchSurfing, this great alternative to save money when travel ling. I haven’t tried it before coming to Spain and I was a bit frightened by the idea of living with unknown people. But you’ll never know until you try it, right?! And so I did!
Firstly, create an account and choose the destination. Secondly, ask the available hosts to offer you a cozy bed, or just a couch, and then wait for their answer. Some people reply fast, others don’t ever reply. So, it’s a kind of lottery!
My destination was Benidorm. My brother told me several times to go there and on November 23rd I went to this famous city by car with my host (I will call him J.). Casually, he was in a village around Murcia that day and gave me a lift to Benidorm.
One of his friends was celebrating their birthday and I was invited!!! Well, I didn’t know anyone - not even my host - but Spain is about getting out of your comfort zone, trying new things, so I said yes, why not?
Therefore, that was me in a car going to a party in a mountain village. Bizarrely, I was feeling like I was about to meet some old friends. Spanish people give you this kind of sensation, and I was really happy when we got there and J. introduced me as his Romanian friend. That was a great sentiment, he barely knew me but already considered me one of his friends.
Those people really reminded me of my gatherings in Busteni (a mountain town from Romania) where we would meet and spend time together: hiking, cooking and all this kind of stuff. The atmosphere from La Nucia was the same. I enjoyed it a lot, but it was also very tiring because nobody spoke English so I only used Spanish. But hey, Spain is Spain and I had to speak Spanish.
A big paella (this is what we ate).
After the party, we went home and I met his family. I felt a bit awkward like I was going to meet the family of my boyfriend. Everyone was there: mom, dad, his sister and the next day I even met his uncle. In that lovely house, I ate for the first time ‘dulce de membrillo con queso’ (quince paste with cheese). What a delicious combination! His mom used to make this kind of paste and store it for months. So, she also gave me some.
His dad was very happy to hear that I was Romanian because he had many work colleagues from my country and he knew some words. He also told me about the differences between Castilian and Valencian. It was super fun to find out that in Valencian they say cama (bed in Castilian) to leg. Or that carrot is ‘zanahoria’ in Castilian, but in Valencian, it’s ‘carlota’. Super funny! Fortunately, all people from Spain speak Castilian so you won’t encounter any problem if you come here and don’t speak their language (it’s considered to be a different language, not a dialect). I am always interested in love stories and his parents told me theirs. They were very cute, easy-going and open-minded. It really reminded me of my family. Another thing that I tried was a sweet and delicious sparkling white wine called Barbadillo Vi.
The next morning, we went to Finestrat, a small village with a wonderful beach. The goal was to reach the famous Playa de Los Torres (Torres Beach).
Playa de los Torres
From there (La Cala de Finestrat) we started a beautiful walk following the path. The track is well marked and about halfway through we saw the tiny cove of Raco de Conill down below - a nudist beach.
After almost an hour we arrived at Playa de Los Torres, a magical place where I wished I could remain. That stunning route ended with a tasty rotisserie chicken, just like I used to do back home during weekends.
All in all, my first CouchSurfing experience was more than your average trip. It was more than discovering the town and its surroundings because I had ‘a local guide’ who made me feel like I was part of their family. So, after experiencing this, I recommend taking a dive into any new adventure you think you might like!