Meet Freddy. Freddy used to be a French project manager, but he got fed up with his job, so he decided to pack up all his stuff and move out. After working in London as a bartender for a few years, he wound up in Valencia (Spain), where I met him under most unusual circumstances.
More or less on a whim I had decided to spend a week in Valencia, as it was one of the major Spanish cities I hadn't seen yet. I bought a ticket on the slow train (which is cheaper and more interesting than the fast train), jotted down the addresses of some decent hostels, and as the train was pulling out of the station, I posted a last-minute couch request in the Valencia CouchSurfing forum. I had five hours to go before getting to my destination, so plenty of time to figure out what to do.
About halfway through the train ride, I got a text from Freddy: "You can stay here tonight. I live near the bus station. Text me for details." Ok, cool. So I had just secured a place to sleep for the night, and gotten the opportunity to meet someone interesting. I send a text to confirm, and quickly got a reply, a tiny part of which got me just a wee bit worried: "...no water yet. Fountain ok." What the hell did that mean? But I like to be adventurous, and you'll never experience anything interesting if you don't take some risk. So I went there.
Today I met a guy named Cash. Not sure if that's his real name, but it's what everybody called him. Cash is my friend Sibel's landlord and flatmate in Barcelona, and a colourful character. We got talking when I was over visiting my friend.
Now Cash is a veteran globetrotter, so naturally the conversation geared towards travel and ways of experiencing a new place. I told him that I like to travel off the beaten path. "Off the beaten path," he replied, "there exists no such thing. Every place that has something worth seeing has developed a tourism industry along with it. There is just no way around it. Independent travel has become the path!" The man does have a point.
That's the question. I've been playing with the idea of starting a blog for a long time now. According to this statistic, there are already 240 million blogs out there on the 5 largest blogging platform alone. That's not counting the millions of blogs on smaller platforms and on independent websites (like this one!). At least one out of every 10 internet users has a blog*. So is there a point to adding yet another blog to the internet?
I just returned from a week of hiking in the Swiss Alps. Never having been to Switzerland before, all I knew was that it's expensive, that they make delicious chocolate, and that the people speak some form of German (which is unintelligible to normal German speakers). I was pleasantly surprised by many things, about which I might write another blog post soon. This post is about something unrelated to the country, though, but very relevant for hiking fans and travellers in general: what to pack on a hiking trip?