The time i went couchsurfing in Porto, Portugal.

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On my last day in San Sebastian my German friends said to me “let us go fastly to the supermarket.” When i laughed at them for using “go fastly” they replied “you are not used to hearing it because in Australia, you never do anything fastly.”

Hmmph. Well that may be the case, but i made my way from San Sebastian to Portugal faster than the germans made it to the toilet after one too many Sangria.

One midnight train was all it took.That in itself was a bit of a drama, we didn’t know which bed was mine and the conductor went through the laborious process of waking up every single underwear-clad passenger to check their ticket. Bewildered European men jumping out of bed in their tighty whities, i didn’t know whether to laugh or get off the train and run for my life. Finally we found my bunk (or shelf as i would prefer to call it). I was sharing with three lovely french women, one of whom simply would not sit down once i arrived, parading up and down the 30cm by 50cm floor space talking at me in French and kissing both my cheeks whilst i tried to wield my enormous backpack around her.

I was so excited to be lying down AND moving at the same time i couldn’t get to sleep. A mistranslation only hyped me up more when one lovely french madame promised me there were “some gifts for me” in the cupboard above the sink. Turns out “gifts” in French is a tiny tube of toothpaste and a bottle of water. Reminder not to spend Christmas in France.

8am rolled around and i was in the beautiful town of Porto. My lovely couchsurfing host, Rita (with a rolled R that i cannot possibly perform and thus am always pronouncing her name wrong) picked me up and took me on a tour of her incredibly historical seaside town. Her apartment is amazing, with 5 huge bedrooms right in the middle of town. “We pay 400 euros a

month”

“Each?”

“What?No.I would starve! 400 between all of us!’

This coupled with the 1 euro long necks that you’re allowed to drink on the street, in front of the bars, in fact they give you plastic cups to facilitate exactly this, made me feel like I could stay in Portugal for some time yet.

And Rita’s housemates!Some of the nicest, most charming boys I have ever met. Dimi, the video journalist, his brother Ival the illustrator who can’t stop playing his melodica and Adriano, the only hippie I’ve ever met who doesn’t take himself too seriously. He sat me down in the kitchen and painstakingly explained to me the processes offermentation, how to make your own peanut butter and the bread to put it on, how it’s not just what you eat but how you prepare it, all this to a girl who can hardly cook pasta.

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They fed me like a king (after I kindly denied the kind offer of the American we met on the street who promised me the dinner at the hostel was ‘freaking sweet’ and the ‘best meal in this town’ excePt for possibly, the burger joint around the corner from the hostel.)

After 4 glasses of port and a few cups of really strong liquor mixed with honey that they serve in all the bars here I was ready for bed. Tomorrow they take me to ‘ the cultural capital of Europe’ I can’t remember it’s name but it’s only an hour train ride away and DimI assures me it’s shit.

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