Couchsurfing, a platform that promotes accommodation in the most diverse places in the world for free, right?
It is much more than that.
After discovering the surroundings of Lake Constance with my friend Francesco Serpa, it was time to go to Switzerland, one of the most expensive countries in the world.
Again with a sign indicating my destination, I crossed the border and stood ready on the road.
Less than 15 minutes passed until a Swiss with a strong accent, but good heart stopped for me, straying out of his way to get me closer to my host in the largest Swiss city.
1 in 3 inhabitants of Zurich (which is not the capital of the country) is a foreigner, which means that the city does not have a single face, and this can be seen in the place I stayed.
Rudolf, a 69-year-old Swiss, had already hosted Fernanda Eisfeld in 2014 and was very receptive from the beginning. Together with me and my new friend, 6 more people were in the same house. A Chinese woman who lived there, 3 Colombians and 2 Turks who were there enjoying the good company and presence of the host. Total multiculturalism.
Walking around the city Rudolf presented several interesting ideas. One of the most important was that of zero waste. A bakery had the slogan: frisch von gestern. Or in good English, fresh from yesterday, which means breads and sandwiches from the day before that were great for consumption and are sold for half the price, rather than being discarded. Another technique is dumpster diving, literally a dive in the trash. Markets throw away much of the perishables at the end of the day, even if they are in good condition but not the best appearance. It’s amazing how good are the things that can be used from these “wastes”. A simple trip to this sub world can guarantee food for almost a week.
After knowing where Einstein studied, seeing Roman baths, sampling chocolates and ice cream (sponsored by our host), and swimming in the clean canals through the city, it was time to return to the residence.
Arriving there a climate of apprehension.
Apparently the Colombians were involved in a money laundering scheme and had been illegal in Europe since October of last year (approximately 9 months). One of them was arrested by the police and the other two were fearful. Poor Rudolf, dealing with these problems, even having helped them with the greatest care and taste. He still tried to help them again, but there was no way. They fled early in the morning and escaped from the police. In this action-drama mood, I embraced the kind and tattooed gentleman, and left for Lucerne.
Couchsurfing is not a free place to stay, it is a platform for making friends and collecting experiences.