The Couchsurfing Experiment
This, our third night in Eger, will be our last. I've grown weary of forking over US$25 a night for our college dorm accommodations, and will be pulling the plug tomorrow morning.
With town and castle exploration, fireworks, wine tasting, and many miles of walking behind us, we're in need of some serious rest. If we stuck around for another night or two, we probably wouldn't even leave the room to do much more than gather food.
Thanks to the range of Tatiana's diminutive laptop, and my lack of digital morals (read: I broke some router's wireless encryption), we've had free Wi-Fi in our room since night-one. With this speedy connection, I've been busy in the evenings plotting our next jump.
I told Tatiana that I wanted to give Couchsurfing a shot, as hunting for rooms during this peak season of travel has not been a loved labor. And trading some privacy for conversation and a free place to stay was certainly a deal we were interested in experimenting with.
So I sifted through the Web site, filtering out people with whom we'd all have to sleep in the same room and those with anything other than a vacancy, and came up with a list of six different profiles in six different cities. Whoever responded to us is where we'd go. (If not, off to some random Romanian location it would be.)
Of the six inquiries, I received two responses within a 24–48 hour period of time. One was no-go—"sorry we left the vacancy light on, we're in Austria at the moment"—while the other was from Laszlo, in the small town of Sárospatak (back northeast, towards Slovakia).
I was actually quite glad to hear from Laszlo, as Sárospatak (with its proximity to the Tokaj, the other Hungarian wine capital) was my first choice of the six. Additionally, his profile specified that there was an empty family home in town that we could shack up at if we were two people or more.
Laszlo's responses to my e-mails were in well-written English, but the overarching tone was "I hate to turn away a traveler, but can it wait until next week?" He has the final exam for his degree on the 27th, and was wondering if we could postpone.
I reassured him that we were a very low maintenance couple, that he need not worry about spending study time keeping us entertained or our days full (as our son does enough of that already), and that Tatiana would provide food for his brain, should he like to join us for meals.
A lot of back and forth e-mailing took place tonight, with the end result being a solid yes from Laszlo (and permission from his father for us to stay at the now unoccupied home where his dad grew up).
So, I've planned out and shared our train schedule with Laszlo, written down his phone number, and repacked my bag. We've no idea what to expect, or what the living situation is going to be like, but we're certainly excited and ready to give this a try.
Luck to us.