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I’m so glad that I ended up going to Marseille. It’s really lovely, and almost a bit Spanish, at least definitely more Mediterranean than other parts of France. Really nice set up along the coast. Beautiful mountains. The city is a little gritty and dirty, but hip and cool and pretty multicultural. I’m glad I couchsurfed, too, because my host I think was a huge part of why I loved my time there so much. I was a bit nervous, not finding many hosts in France on the couchsurfing site, but Will invited me to stay with him and had great references, so I went with it. He met me at the metro stop and took me up to his place in a nice quiet area of Marseille, not far from the Notre Dame de la Garde. He had recently started hosting couch surfers this summer and is really, really enjoying it, which was quite apparent from his collection of photos and letters of previous guests, and we had a bottle of wine and some snacks and conversed about our lives and couch surfing experiences. He feels like he has friends visiting all the time, with how much he hosts, and it’s really adorable. I think he gleans some travel experiences from these encounters, but basically he loves people, and meeting new people, and hearing their stories. He shares his guests’ stories almost as if they were his own, which is pretty cute. One of his guests has called him a couch surfing fanatic, and I see why, but I encouraged him that it was not a bad thing, because he was a little worried that fanatic had a bad connotation, (his password for the wifi was ‘I love my couchsurfers!!!’) but he really is just hosting as he would host his friends and he wouldn’t understand how to do it any differently; it’s natural actually, and really a passion for him right now. He doesn’t see anything strange about how he hosts, but he acknowledges that he’s never seen couchsurfing from the other side, that of a surfer, but he definitely plans to travel and see some of the people he’s met.
We had a good night of chatting and he was off the next day so we went around the city, and he showed me a lot of things that I probably would have missed had I been on my own. We talked easily throughout the day and had a great lunch. I told him I loved tapas and small bites so we went to this Lebanese place, and although I spent a lot more than I usually would on my own on a meal, it’s nice that I saved money couchsurfing so that I could have a good meal and not beat myself up about it. We walked a lot along the coast, but he also took me a bit through the neighborhoods and popular parts of the downtown area. We had a good beer and more good conversation, and he was really encouraging about my French and that I spoke actually really well, which was nice to hear after feeling so self conscious. We both were pretty tired and got an uber back to his, (the uber was really nice and had candy), and he made us some soup and tea with biscuits. We decided to watch some Netflix and chill out and picked Fundamentals of Caring, basically because I love Paul Rudd. It was a really cute, simple, and happy film, and we both enjoyed it. And to me, it was adventure therapy to a tee, and inspired me all the more.
The next day I had to myself to wander and I went to the contemporary art museum and just relaxed before catching my flight. And I watched the sunset from the Notre Dame de la Garde with a bottle of wine and croissants and fruit and it was a lovely way to spend my last day in France.
Will and I talked a lot about not having too many expectations and just being happy with how things work out, and that really rang true for me in Marseille, since I didn’t plan to go there, but ended up with such a great time. It was a great way to end my time in France and I’m so thankful.