Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Couchsurfing in Romania

I had originally wanted to couchsurf in Timisoara and Iasi. Let me tell you that finding someone in Romania is much more difficult than finding someone in Italy, for example.

I had high standards. First, I wanted to surf with a woman or family. Call me old fashioned, but there's something odd about staying over a guy's house if you don't know him and even more so if you're pregnant.

Second, I wanted them to have good reviews.

I found one person in Timisoara and a family in Iasi. I emailed them both around May since I'm way too organised for my own good and like to plan ahead. I had tentative dates, but had to check the train schedule and book the tickets once I got there.

The woman in Timisoara cancelled on me since she was going out of town. I was kind of glad since I was having second thoughts about couchsurfing. I cancelled on the Godun family in Iasi, but they talked me into it. I had a great time. It was my first time couchsurfing and I'd do it again. You can read about my experience on Day 18, Day 19, and Day 20.

Be sure to read about what has happened so far. You can find everything in the quick summary of dates.


Thursday, 15 September 2011

Freeborn Hostel in Timisoara

Finding hostels outside of Bucharest was challenging. Thanks to the Thorn Tree forum at Lonely Planet, someone told me about Freeborn Hostel. The website was iffy, but there wasn't a lot to choose from, so I booked a room.

It was semi easy to find. There was no sign out front, but luckily I had their address. I arrived super early in the morning, around 6:30am, but there was someone there to greet me.

The hostel is relatively new, but absolutely fantastic. There are 3 rooms. One has 3 bunks, one has 4 bunks, and the other has a queen sized bed. It was very colourful: green and yellow, bright, and sunny. Best part was there were huge closets, so you could put all your stuff inside and lock it.

Outside they had a bench and small yard where you could dry your clothes. The whole hostel is rather small, but cozy. It's an apartment, so in addition to the 3 bedrooms, there's a small living room with a computer and free internet and a TV with Wii. There's also a small dining room.

The owners are very nice. They are two brothers. One of them was in Spain, but I met the other, Raul. They're young and decided to open a hostel after travelling in Europe and realising that there aren't any hostels in Timisoara. It's risky, but I'm sure they're going to make it work. Another woman, named Claudia was also helping out and giving tours of the city. They all spoke English very well.

Their prices are very good, especially for the treatment and service you get. I was offered to try tuica, a famous Romanian liquor, but declined due to being pregnant. Raul's mother also came a couple times and was always offering food. They also know a lot about Timisoara and have a good map with recommended places to see and eat at.

My only complaint was that since it is an apartment, there's only one bathroom. The toilet, sink, washing machine, and shower are all there. It wasn't that bad since there were only a couple people staying at the hostel, but it might be an issue if it's full. The good news is that they're planning on expanding to the second floor, so should have more bathrooms.

Be sure to read about what has happened so far. You can find everything in the quick summary of dates.


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