I Chuck Norris and Canadian Fries I
Free accommodation with BEDFORAWAYFANS – how does it work? We accompanied Paulo, a supporter of Benfica, on his trip to Leipzig.
Berivan welcomes another music student. She is a singer and teaches her lessons at home, so that Paulo has to wait two hours as announced. The 37-year-old has never been to Leipzig before, but he knows where to go. Just a short look on the list his host sent him in advance: nice places and buildings to look at, some cultural stuff, an address for the best coffee in the whole city, a pub (of course) and some shopping opportunities. Paulo has decided to follow the recommendations by foot to use the two hours effectively. “Without Berivan I would have been just walking around without any target”, he says: “Nothing beats the experience of a true local.”
Paulo had never seen Berivan, they never met each other before. But because of the German girl, the Portuguese already had a detailed plan, as he left the Flixbus in Leipzig at 3 pm. He arrived from Prague, where he had watched Czech football. But now his most important game is on: Lisbon will face RB Leipzig the next day in the Champions League. Paulo is a Benfica fan. He had travelled all away matches this season and is now looking forward to the important game tomorrow.
THIS IDEA IS REALLY BIG
He is going to spend the night before the match at Beri’s house. They got to know each other via BEDFORAWAYFANS. “It was so easy. I entered Leipzig as my travel destination, took a look at the overview about all the local members and got in touch with Berivan”, Paulo explains. A few messages later, she accepted his apply for accommodation. Now he is standing in front of the multi-family house in the southwest of Leipzig and rings the bell. He has a backpack on with a stack of hard plastic beakers in the outer pocket. The faces of Bohemians Prague legends staring from the cups into the dark, as Paulo waits for the door to be opened.
The two greet each other and the atmosphere is relaxed, as Paulo gives a short report about his trip. Berivan declares that she, as a West Berlin native, has no relation to RB Leipzig at all. Her club is Hertha BSC, she also sympathizes with St. Pauli, but what she likes most is the platform itself. She doesn’t consider herself as a hardcore football fan, but she loves the aspect of sharing, getting to know each other and international exchange while avoiding expensive hotel prices: “I think this idea is really big. Do we want to have something to eat?”
MORE THAN 100 APPLIES FOR FREE ACCOMMODATION
We’re going to the Tram, and Berivan shows Paulo the cheapest ticket for his needs. The 24-hour-billet is best for him and valid until the match the following day. “Nice. Just saved money again”, says Paulo with reference to his free accommodation. At “Burgerheart” they make – to the delight of the author of those lines – one of the most decent burgers in town. Combined with beer, melon lemonade and Coke. The talks are about football and – of course – BEDFORAWAYFANS. In the first five months after the launch of the website on July 1st, there have already been more than 100 applies for accommodation. They are both sure to be writing history as two of the first actors in an upcoming big story.
Forecasts that are interrupted for a reason. The order is delivered: Chuck Norris Burger for Paulo, Berivan takes her Cheesy, and a large bowl of Canadian Fries for everyone. Even they are shared. The two talk about Leipzig, about German division and reunification. About football in East Germany, football in movies and the development of tourism in Lisbon.
Paulo pays. “In return for free accommodation”, he says. They go home by tram. Another beer, an interview with BEDFORAWAYFANS and a contribution to Paulo’s podcast. He is going to provide his first episode in January.
After a short breakfast in the morning, Paulo has to go. The two say goodbye, as Paulo leaves for an appointment at the main station with other fans of Benfica. He wants to tell them about his first BEDFORAWAYFANS experience. “The idea is brilliant”, he says: “Really everything went perfect.” He will keep in touch with Berivan. An invitation for Lisbon is already outspoken.
And that’s exactly what BEDFORAWAYFANS is about.