As I planned the Hippie Hajj trip I’m taking next month (more on that lata!), I realized something. While I have sung on rooftops about my love for Couchsurfing, I haven’t shared that many details about my individual stays. And so on this Travel Tuesday I decided to share my Toronto Couchsurfing review so you read firsthand of another amazing, unexpected experience!
Toronto Couchsurfing review, Act I: The Layover
Call me weird, but I absolutely ADORE those long, awkward layovers. Why? I have plenty of time to get out to the city and explore it in a whim! SO, when I had one of those overnight layovers on my way to Montréal, I was excited to contact Toronto Couchsurfing host Art to have some fun 😀
First off, he picked me up at the airport. How sweet is that? Second, because his roommate was away for the weekend, I got to have my own big bed and bedroom. Yay! Happens to me more often than not when Couchsurfing and I absolutely love it.
In the few short hours I got in that big city, he showed me all around Little Italy, we ate at some amazing halal place, and then…
OMG, that was incredibly fun. It felt like I was in the middle of Eastern Europe, in a warm toasty basement with long-lost friends. Don’t ask me for the name of the bar…*hides* I forgot! Sorry! One of the few things I remember is that we started drinking a lot of vodka, a lot of artisan beers, and between Latvian, Russian, Spanish, and Spanglish, we all kind of understood each other. We were meant to go salsa dancing afterward, but with bars closing at 2 AM around there (BOO!), we just went back to his place.
Good, because I would only have 3 hours of sleep before going back to the airport 😀
[no, he never tried to make a move on me. He was respectful. It was great.]
Toronto Couchsurfing review, Act II: The Opera Singers
“No f**ing way.” I was definitely going to miss this one. After several people misled me around the massive Montréal bus station, somehow I made the Toronto bus by the skin of my teeth. Outside, it was about to drive away, but someone was kind enough to stop it. And to offer me a rock star seat with a table and all:
“Feel free to sit here!” or something like that he said. I was partly deaf from the hasty jaunt, my apologies. Anyway, after introducing ourselves, I found out Mr. Jonathan happened to be an opera singer, on his way back to Toronto to record his very first album with the CBC. Friggin’ sweet.
After he found out I was a couchsurfer who wouldn’t meet her couchsurfer host for another couple of hours, he offered lunch and a place to stay. Yup, that was my second Toronto Couchsurfing experience on the same trip! Out of the blue, when barely making a bus 🙂
And it got even BETTER: his other friends were just as fun, and they showed me several different neighborhoods around the Annex. I even got to meet his opera singing uncle, who had a SWEET place in downtown Toronto and bake some traditional Italian recipes for us (all while drinking great wine, of course):
The rest of my days varied between scrumptious brunches and gay bar hopping. One at which, by the way, on a Thursday night I won the dancing contest (and a free shot. Haha).
OH! And on my last day, when I was supposed to check into my hostel and go to TBEX ’13? Jonathan allowed me to accompany him to one of his opera rehearsals before recording his album. I got to go inside the Conservatory of Music (I think that was the name?) and watch his one-on-one. It was amazing! He wasn’t happy with any of the clips I recorded, so I’m sorry about that 😉
In conclusion: STAY with couchsurfers in Toronto!
I’m sure I wouldn’t have found 97.9% of the places I experienced in Toronto if it weren’t for my Couchsurfing hosts. Sorry my stories were not that full of details… I guess when you’re having so much fun, you forget to take notes/many photos!? (This is horrible to say as a blogger, but that was the DETOX trip…!)
Have you also had great Couchsurfing experiences? Share them with us!
Check out my other Canada travel photos on Facebook, by the way ;D
Sounds like you lucked out in Toronto! Glad you had a great time here!
I sure did! Can’t wait to go back to Canada — hitting Vancouver next month btw!
Wow. I love this story! You gotta love the little, serendipitous moments while traveling. This is exactly the reason why I’m obsessed with Couchsurfing too.
Happy travels Maria!
I have these type of moments all the time! Ever since I joined Couchsurfing 😉 thanks for commenting!