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Hallo, hi, hola, oi, salut and привет! I'm Frans, originally from Heidelberg in south-west Germany. I worked as a volunteer in Ecuador for a year in 2012/2013, which made me connect entirely to one of the most beautiful places on earth and to one of the richest cultures the world has to offer. When I came back to Europe I started working as a flight attendant flying all kinds of routes out of my base of Vienna, Austria – which also contributed to me as a traveler in the way that it made private travel easier and more affordable. After I somehow managed to stop taking this highly addictive mixture (at least for a while), I'm back on earth for my university studies in Cologne/Köln. In this context, I spent eight months in Brazil: first studying abroad in Belo Horizonte, followed by an internship in Recife. My friends are now spread out over the entire world and they are more welcome than ever to visit me at my new base. Obviously, this includes you as well – the friends I don't even know yet.
I am a very curious person and always especially interested in everything new concerning knowledge of languages, history, cultures... This applies to food too! For every host or surfer who is going to cook for us: absolutely no worries about what I might not eat. I bet I will! (That being said, offering to cook is no prerequisite for being hosted by me. Let's rather be honest about our strenghts and weaknesses. ;))
Why I’m on Couchsurfing
There are lots of beautiful places on earth. There's also a lot of places that most people would not consider exactly beautiful. I find that the potential to make a visit to most places unforgettable and unique lies within its humans. Couchsurfing is a brilliant way to find the people who possess this potential, the residents who help you discovering the genuine spirit of the place they live in. Writing these lines, I'm realizing that this fully applies to the city I live in, Cologne. Travel hint: This is proven best during Carnival.
- beach volleyball
- latin america
Music, Movies, and Books
My time in Latin America made me love wonderful rhythms like Bachata, Salsa (teach me dancing!) and Reggaeton, even though I feel slightly embarrassed to say that out loud (everyone who has ever seen a Reggaeton music video or made an effort to understand the lyrics can see why). Oh, and I love Brazilian Forró!
Caribbean Soca, Techno/Minimal and beats influenced by Eastern European music from artists like Shantel and Rotfront are among my favorites, too.
One Amazing Thing I’ve Done
Humpback whale watching off the Ecuadorian coast (on my birthday, to make it even more unforgettable), and blue whale spotting on the Azores Islands. It is pretty crazy to see animals appearing out of the ocean just a couple of meters away that are way bigger than the boat you're on.
Hitchhiking in Kurdistan Region, Iraq on the truck of a great guy from Syria crossing through a scenic landscape. Somehow managed to communicate with each other all the way to Erbil without having any common language – and whenever we got stuck he called his sister in Germany to translate for us.
Pretending to be the pilot of a small Piper aircraft on a short flight from Guayaquil, Ecuador. Fortunately, a friend of mine was sitting next to me who knew how to bring it back down in the coastal town of Salinas – where he lost its key at the beach. We sort of hitchhiked on the airfield and were lucky to find a ride back on another plane.
Admiring some of the most scenic approaches out of the airplane cockpit – into Innsbruck, Austria, Lugano, Switzerland and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Two of the most beautiful compliments I have received in my life:
- "Você sorri mais que todos os alemãos que eu conheci." – portuguese for "You smile more than any other German I have met."
- After having one of my cappuccinos made of home-ground coffee and milk foam: "I didn't drink coffee, but now I do like it!"
Kaieteur Falls, Guyana
Chapadas Diamantina / Guimarães / dos Veadeiros, Brazil
Iguazu Falls, Argentina/Brazil
Teach, Learn, Share
Some advice ahead of your visit...
- DB Navigator is a must-have app for both looking up public transport connections and buying tickets. You save 30 cents on every single ticket for Cologne (which still costs a hefty 2,70€). Consider buying a 24h ticket that can be purchased with a discount for 8,36€ via the app as well. Android: https://bit.ly/3cb86A7, iOS: https://apple.co/2I0beAV
- Note that single tickets are valid not for one specific connection or until one specific station, but for 90min from the moment of purchase within the municipal area of Cologne.
- Connections from and to Köln Bonn Airport (CGN) are frequent, fast (8-12min) and available throughout the night as well. Also, direct connections take you to/from Düsseldorf Airport (DUS) in ~45min.
- There are luggage lockers in both the central train station (Köln Hbf) and the station closest to my place, Köln Messe/Deutz.
- There are two major bike-sharing companies; both cost 1€ per 30min. As you ride anywhere pretty fast in Cologne, this is always cheaper than single tickets for public transport. Nextbike-KVB makes the most sense for short time visitors as there is no sign-up fee: https://bit.ly/3caUrJr
- Taxis are expensive. If you still have to take one or just want to be prepared for it, I suggest creating a FREE NOW account (Android: https://bit.ly/2T2qQKP, iOS: https://apple.co/2TfxaNT) and entering the promo code 2ixyxgsyb, which gives me 10€ in credit and 20€ to you, meaning a free or very affordable ride within the city. Uber works, but is almost no less expensive than a taxi.
*Points of interest*
I created a map on Google Maps that displays a lot of interesting spots for visitors plus cafés etc. in Cologne and around. My top favs are marked with a yellow star. I encourage you to take your time to browse through them and I'm thankful for any further suggestions.
What I Can Share with Hosts
- some of my time (during the week usually less; on weekends we might be able to do more things together)
- usually breakfast, including a very decent espresso/cappuccino
Countries I’ve Visited
Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guiana, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Vatican City State, Venezuela
Countries I’ve Lived In
Austria, Brazil, Ecuador, Germany