12.07.13. After a 5 hours train ride from the drab city of Bangor, I arrived at Marlais Street in Roath, Cardiff. This is not a typical place for finding accommodation as a tourist, but I was here to couchsurf, my first time doing so.
A youthful looking girl alighted from her bike in front of the house, and this was swiftly followed by another latin American guy- clearly foreign, coming in from the opposite direction, also entering the same house. “Oh, are you here to couchsurf?” said the girl. “Are you hosted by Tom or Anton?”
I met Tom, my host for the 2 nights, a 21 year old student studying to be a doctor. Soft spoken, Tom is intelligent, articulate and almost seemed too worldly for his age. I wished I was like him when I was his age.
I was introduced to the rest of the gang, the owners of the house, all in their early twenties- Lizzie, Anton and Amy, whom I met at the door. By the end of my stay, I also met people from Argentina, Germany, Ireland, Sweden and Belgium. We played a few games of Kubb and frisbee at the park nearby, and had home made Pizza for dinner. It was clear these guys took the idea of Couchsurfing like a storm.
The rest of my time was spent exploring Cardiff. Bustling and compact, the capital of Wales is a cosmopolitan city that seems world’s apart from the rest of the country. I spent most of my time at the beautiful Cardiff Bay, basking in the excellent sunny weather and good live music.
My hosts could not be more different from me, but it was still a very enjoyable experience. I didn’t think I missed too much of my student life after this. But all too often I was reminded of the stage of life I’m in as well as its priorities. How different they must have been compared to these cheerful, devil-may-care students, I can only imagine.