Couchsurfing in Barcelona
The framed pictures all over the house intrigued me; portraits, city landmarks, some in black and white but mostly all unconventional. “These are beautiful!” I exclaimed. My host told me that they’d all been taken by Manuel. That’s how I learned that my Couchsurfing host’s biggest passion was photography.
I was in Barcelona and had decided to try Couchsurfing first, before traveling to the coastal towns. I had been in touch with the couple for a few days before my scheduled arrival and they had given me all the details and directions to get to their place. I later found out that the neighbourhood was considered to be quite trendy and fashionable. I had come across so many restaurants and bars while looking for their house. I got a bit lost trying to find their house, and reached it well after the regular dinner time. But, I hadn’t expected them to be waiting to have dinner with me. ‘How kind of them’, I thought, as I finally met them, and saw the delicious food they had prepared. Over conversations about travel, Couchsurfing and their pet cat Pelluchi, I relished the olives, stuffed peppers, tortillas and delicious Romesco sauce they served. I craved that sauce for days afterwards.
While talking to my hosts, I got to know that Manuel loved photography, but had never exhibited or sold his art. Instead, he worked at someone else’s studio, and just took pictures for himself in his spare time. I thought of my friend in Switzerland, who works in art and public relations, and promised to connect the two of them. Three months after my visit to Barcelona, I actually met the couple again at an art festival that my Swiss friend was organizing, in Switzerland! I was glad Manuel had gotten the chance to exhibit his work, and even happier to meet my hosts again. He gave me a few of his Polaroid Barcelona pictures as a gift, and we spent the evening enjoying the exhibition, watching the performances and having dinner.
Over conversations about travel, Couchsurfing and their pet cat Pelluchi, I relished the olives, stuffed peppers, tortillas and delicious Romesco sauce they served. I craved that sauce for days afterwards.
I am glad that I got to meet such humble and wonderful people via Couchsurfing. One day I was pick-pocketed in Barcelona, and they were the only people I knew in the city. I informed V, who works in a library, and she was instantly ready to meet me, lend me money or help in any other way. Though I managed things myself, it still felt very reassuring that if something went wrong and I got into more trouble, at least I had a friend in the unfamiliar city.
I had another interesting experience while staying with them. You see, I have never lived with cats. So, understanding them, communicating with them or getting them out of the shower were all very new concepts to me. Pelluchi turned out to be a water baby and refused to leave the washroom – even if someone was using the toilet! That someone was me of course, and I was home alone with him when the hosts left for work the next day. I struggled to get him outside so I could shower and spent a lot of time trying to do so.
Who would have thought that staying with locals for a day would result in so many emotions, experiences and a long-term friendship? On that trip, there were just so many unexpected things that happened with me. I hope I get to revisit Barcelona soon and meet them again. Any tips for dealing with cats are of course welcome, and would be greatly appreciated.
Couchsurfing in Barcelona photo credit: pixabay.com