Across Northern Europe: Couch Surfing Europe

Europe is the world’s great couch surfing destination since so many travelers everywhere call the continent home. On my around-the-world trip I theorized you could spend 80% of your European nights crashing with friends you’d met elsewhere. On this trip, which ends today, I’ve spent just over half my nights sleeping gratis. But the last night riding the wave of others’ kindness had to be the most interesting.

I met Lonnie and Tania on the bus from the airport in Rio de Janiero. They thought I was French and a bit forward but they didn’t know where they were going so they got off the bus with me at Calle Nove and we spent a week at the Wave Hostel playing cards and drinking acai together. A couple months later they had an apartment in Buenos Aires with a spare couch. It was a small couch to be sure, so I found a folding chair to position at the end of the couch and rested my legs on it when necessary.

But Lonnie and Tania left South America and came home to Copenhagen where I found them here this month using just half their beds.

Speaking of Copenhagen friends, I met Emily on a ferry to Santorini, Greece where her family has a house which I haven’t had the pleasure of. But she came back to Denmark too and I met her for drinks last night. Lonnie and Tania were resting up for a night out and I was going to call them from Emily’s phone a bit later.

Emily and I sat down for a drink near Norreport and when I asked to use her phone it was gone.

“I’ve never lost a phone, how strange,” Emily said, taking it amazingly well.

This development meant Lonnie and Tania couldn’t call me and they weren’t answering my payphone calls either (turns out they were set to silent, sadly). The thing about relying on the kindness of strangers is it doesn’t leave you a lot of options at 2am when you can’t reach them.

Maybe it’s worth mentioning that Emily and I had hardly traded an e-mail in the last two years. But since I was in Copenhagen I figured I’d say hello and she had a little free time so we decided to meet up. But now she was without phone and I was without couch. So she hailed a cab and took me to her guest room and in the morning Lonnie answered her buzzer and made me some toast.


Previously on Across Northern Europe:

  1. Shining a Light on Iceland
  2. Lonely Love on Iceland
  3. Iceland Gone Wild
  4. A Trip to the Airport
  5. Why Bother Going to Berlin?
  6. A Perishable Feast
  7. Globians Film Festival
  8. The Elusive Dutch Drivers License
  9. Terror in Berlin
  10. Authentic Belgian Beer
  11. Two to a bed in Bruges
  12. A Coda to Travel Love in Amsterdam
  13. A second thought on museums in Amsterdam

Brook Silva-Braga is traveling northern Europe for the month of August and reuniting with some of the people he met on the yearlong trip which was the basis of his travel documentary, A Map for Saturday. You can follow his adventure in the series, Across Northern Europe.