City: Krakow, Poland
Years on Couchsurfing: 10
Tell us how you first learned about Couchsurfing…
Back in 2007 I was about to move to France for an internship. Some of the people in the program already had previous experiences in Couchsurfing but it was my first time going abroad. I didn’t really consider it as an option at the time because I didn’t have any references, but once I went back to Mexico I opened my profile and began hosting.
So what made you get involved?
After that internship in France, I made a lot of foreign friends. I liked being in an international environment, meeting people from all around the world. In Mexico, when you’re from a small town or city, you rarely have the chance to meet foreign people, and Couchsurfing gave me the opportunity to do that.
How did you start?
At the beginning I was only attending the weekly meetings. Then I started hosting people. Then I began to organize my own events (the Lucha Libre meeting is still a thing, even though I left Mexico 5 years ago!) and finally I took over the weekly meeting in Mexico City.
Now that I live in Poland I’m a bit less active when it comes to organizing events because the community here is quite strong and I’m relatively new to the city, but whenever the other organizers are busy, I’m the first one they contact for assistance!
And what’s the coolest give you’ve ever received from a surfer?
A fish! A real one! We used to have a Siamese fighter fish, but it passed away and we never bought another. Once a Dutch guy and a Turkish girl who were surfing with us noticed the tank and bought a new one for us! They named it ‘Naranja’, Spanish for ‘Orange’, because it is the royal color of the Netherlands.
What is one book that you would say has inspired your travels?
The Little Prince – He’s always going to different places and is pretty curious about everything!
What is the craziest thing that has ever happened to you while traveling?
Back in 2011, my brother and I were being hosted in London by this Polish girl who was our Couchsurfer one year before in Mexico City. We stayed there for like 10 days, so we had the chance to attend the weekly Couchsurfing meeting twice. It happened that the bartender at the place where the meeting was organized was actually Mexican, which means we had the right, no, the OBLIGATION to drink for free! Anyway, we added the guy on Facebook and I discovered that we had a mutual friend. Turns out my best friend from high school is his best friend from University! Couchsurfing: the world is smaller than you think!
What is your favorite local cuisine from Krakow?
I always recommend my surfers go for what I call ‘The Polish Happy Meal’ which includes:
– Pierogi ruskie (dumplings stuffed potato and cheese)
– Tomato soup with pasta
– Kompot (a sweet drink obtained by cooking fruit like strawberries, apricots, peaches and apples in water)
What is the one place in Krakow every traveler MUST see?
Auschwitz. It is a day trip from Krakow and it’s not nice or fun, BUT.YOU.HAVE.TO.SEE.IT.
Is there any place in Krakow that you think shares the Couchsurfing values and is worth checking out?
Bonobo! It’s A café that frequently organizes meetings where travelers talk about their trips and show pics of them. I just got some good info for a trip to Armenia at one of those talks.
Amazing! And what is your go-to karaoke song?
‘Los Luchadores’ by Conjunto África. It’s a song by a Mexican band about the experience in a pro-wrestling arena and I think EVERYBODY in Mexico knows the refrain of this song!
And lastly, what is the one thing you never go on a trip without?
My digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera. Yes, I know, nowadays every cellphone has a pretty decent camera, but my seven year old DSLR is still a MUST for me as I have greater zoom and plenty of options to play with. And if there are no pictures of a trip it’s like it didn’t happen at all!