I don’t know about you, but what I usually do before going somewhere for more than a day, I tend to find myself a place to sleep 🙂 Well this wasn’t really true for our trip to the Phillipines but that was a vacation, not an actual move. Yes, there is a difference. 🙂
So before the actual move we had everything planned for the first 2 months which made our lives easier and less stressful. Let me share …
OUR PLAN for 2 months
A night at a hotel was the best choice to begin with as we knew our first day would be tough and we wanted to get some sleep. Later on we went Couchsurfing for 9 days with 4 different hosts. That was way the best start of exploring a new country. I’d recommend that kind of experience to anyone for this way one isn’t isolated and gets enormous of precious information regarding life in city, country and mostly anything you can think of. It is also an option to make first new friends! 🙂
Then we booked AirBnb for 16 days and lastly we spend a little more than entire month in a beautiful house in Westboro (western part of Ottawa).
FIRST night – a hotel
We booked a night at St. Paul Residence via Booking.
Hotels in Ottawa aren’t cheap but my advice would be, don’t always let the price to decide. There are more factors to consider (close to downtown, reviews, quiet, cleanliness, etc).
We were really satisfied with our choice and especially that breakfast was included. Oh, the price was around $90 per night.
COUCHSURFING – the best way to travel
Couchsurfing is for free. You can offer a couch or surf on one, when you travel. It’s not “free of charge” that make CS so great but simply opening your home to “strangers” and making heart connections. We met 4 different locals in different parts of the city and we totally loved the experience.
To show our gratitude we give everyone a chocolate, ceramic ornament (made by me:) and a postcard from Slovenia. I just love giving people presents … ❤
First, we landed on a vegetarian couple’s “couch”. Actually we had the entire room and a queen size bed just for ourselves. Plus they lived in a nice neighborhood. They took us on two trips, first one to the Museum of Nature and second one to Quebec side of Ottawa river for a long walk. Besides they provide plenty of information on my husband’s job (software developer). We were so grateful getting a chance to meet them.
Our second host was a funny guy. He was very busy so we didn’t spend much time together though !!! when he was around he wanted to feed us all the time! We were grateful but we are not used to someone cooking and basically feeding us all the time. For example in the morning he made us oats porridge and watch us eat hehe, it was so funny. He baked us muffins, corn and some other things as well. OMG, treated like kings we were 🙂
The most interesting thing was that he left his house unlocked all the time despite his expensive equipment (he had a thing for luxury stuff)! (Just don’t ask me for his address, ok?).
Third hosts were a couple in their late 40ies. They both worked for government (which is VERY common here since Ottawa is a capital). He was doing some translations and corrections for the minister and she also worked in language related field. I was so thrilled that he checked and make some improvements on my resume. How nice is that!
During that time we arrange our bank account and prepaid cell phone package.
Oh and one interesting thing. During the night my hubby was woken up for the smell. Yup, stinky skunks were marching beneath our windows 🙂 Lol!
However this time we cooked for them in a sign of appreciation 🙂
Or last and the most crazy experience was with a French guy. He is probably super host for he is hosting people ALL the time 🙂 The most he hosted at the same time was 12 people! Can you imagine that 🙂 I don’t know how did they manage to take a shower and use a toilet (it is just one and they are both in the same room hehe).
However we slept in a basement in the same room with two french guys on inflated beds. At that time he also hosted his girlfriend and her parents from Brazil. They were all really nice!
The funniest thing happened during the night! A policeman and his dog came near the window for it is supposed to be a burglary near. But the thing that attracted dog was weed! Can you imagine that hehe.
It was enough, after 9 days, we wanted some privacy. Plus walking with suitcases was never much fun.
AIR BnB – the best “hotel” in town 🙂
That is a very convenient and inexpensive way to travel. You book a night (or more) with locals who share a part of their houses/apartments. That is a short term stay and gives you an opportunity to cook for yourself as well as having an interaction with locals (which is again a benefit for you can get hints and more information about life in that particular place) at the same time.
We stay at two hosts for 16 days altogether. First one was at eastern part of the city and we called him Mr. Muscular (he had a lot of muscles as he worked out in the apartment), but he was a really nice guy and let us name one of his fish – Mau Richar (Rainbow man) 🙂 We still hang out occasionally.
The second host was in Quebeck side in Hull, Gatineau. Houses and rents there are cheaper than in Ontario. We stayed at a lovely decorated apartment with a nice cat called Lolly. Since owner wasn’t there all the time we occasionally fed the cat. All she wanted was to show her that you cared by offering her food. What a cutie 🙂
At that time we started to look for jobs, checking the market for apartments etc. But we still “played” tourists, it was a nice time …
PROMO CODE for your first experience … http://www.airbnb.ca/c/bfojkar?s=8
WESTBORO – life in a house
We spend little more than a month in a lovely house in Westboro. How did we even get one and just for one month? Well, it was due to Couchsurfing. You see, CS is great 🙂
We wanted to surf with a lady who couldn’t host us for she went on holidays to Europe with her husband. I guess she liked us therefore she suggested whether we would like to rent her house for the time of her absence. We were so happy that we said “yes”.
We were situated in a nice neighbourhood with lovely&friendly neighbours. A house had a lovely backyard where I could do Qi Gong and feed little guys called chip monks. We were really really grateful! on top of that they lend us their bikes so we could travel around more easily. Before we relied just on our legs or buses … not so much fun 🙂
There is more and I could write forever … the question was … where to next … soon 😉