Making new friends

A month ago I got an email from Alena in Koice, Slovakia asking some questions about doing an internship in Ann Arbor. She hadd somehow come across my blog and seen that I had worked at Menlo. We wrote back and forth a couple of times and I asked her if she knew anybody in Prague. She had a friend – who had a friend – who lived in Prague and thats how I got to know Ilja.

Dinner with Jana and Ilja

Yesterday we met Ilja for some food and pivo and had an excellent evening. His friend Jana also joined us as we spend a couple of hours in a very small pub that used to be the watering hole of Emil Holub. Jana and Ilja made a good efford in teaching us the sounds and words of the Czech and Slovakian languages although most of it seems forgotten today.

Later on Ilja invited us along to a party at some friends place. Here is a picture were we get ready to indulge in some Slovakian slivovice:


All the Czechs (and Slovakians) Ive met so far has been very kind and helpful – Im really looking forward to living here for the next six months. Dkuji!

Mi casa es su casa

Last weekend two guys from Madrid stopped by our place for a couple of days. I didnt know them and they didnt know me but they found me on the website Hospitality Club (HC) where travellers can find free accommodation. Ive been a member of the site for two years but so far I hadnt used it myself and wasnt home when people wanted to stay at my place. This time it worked out – and it was a blast.

The cool thing about HC (and other sites like CouchSurfing) is that everybody gets something and it doesnt cost anything – social software at its best. When I travelled to America in 2000 I tried to use Servas – an off-line predecessor of HC started in 1949 – to find some people to stay with in US. The idea was great but in practicality too cumbersome for me. With HC its fairly easy and relatively safe to meet local people and get cheap accommodation.

Nacho and Alfredo are studying aerospace engineering and architecture and they had found some cheap flights to Malmö. So they had a few days to visit Copenhagen. They brought along some Mahou Negra cerveza (thanks!) and local red wine and then they cooked a traditional Spanish omlet. Here they are in action:

Spanish cooking

They stayed with us from Saturday till Monday so we went to a private party Saturday night and to Sunday Reggae at Rub A Dub (thanks for that idea, Alice).

Reggae Sunday

Nachos and Alfredo invited us to a party at their apartment the 16th so now we just need to find cheap tickets to Madrid