Connecting via couch surfing

It happened to us: A definite break from routine worth a blog post.  International cooperation in practice. What is this about? This week my family hosted four young  people in their mid-twenties from Poland. They were complete strangers who contacted us via a site called couch surfers on the internet which has over a million members.

We enjoyed having them around for three days.  A special time, as we don’t throw caution to the wind most of the time.

Initially, we received a message from one of them , Adrian, asking if we could host a guy and three girls in our house in Nicosia. .The site involved is aptly named  couch surfing and aims to help people travel economically and I think in an interesting way, by staying with local hosts. Your spare bedroom or even your living room couch can find a novel use for a few days.

This is a good idea and it has certainly caught on. It was the brain child of some young people who wanted to see the world on a budget and glimpse behind the tourist scene. This sudden offer of instant friendship is not something we are used to but like some other bloggers on Cyprus News Report we are all for friendship and international cooperation.

In fact this was the first time we experienced strangers from the site darkening our doorstep to stay and experience our country in this unconventional way. This unusual kind of friendship extends even across the divide between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. I see quite a lot of activity on the other side on the couch surfers site. I even got a request for some Cyprus postcards from Istanbul. Did I say Istanbul? Sorry I meant Constantinople.

We have an extra bedroom now that our eldest has flown the nest at 19 so we were able to give them a bed plus a spare bedroom. I cooked scrambled eggs for breakfast, something they requested and home- made moussaka on the third evening, just before they left, which they loved. On the second night we had dinner at a Syrian restaurant, a new experience for them.

The strangest thing was probably crossing over the divide to visit the house where I was born. I took them across the Ledra Palace checkpoint on foot, as my house is within walking distance from there, in a Turkish Cypriot neighbourhood – even back in the 1950s.  Then we drove to the North, taking in the arid Mesaoria plain, Famagusta, the St Nicholas Cathedral, now a Mosque and  the beautiful Salamis. They got a first-hand glimpse of our divided homeland.

Their last host after us is a Scotsman in his seventies who lives in Paralimni. Which shows you are never too old to couch-surf forming memorable, unusual friendships.Image

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