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Servas International, has anyone used this service?

Servas International, has anyone used this service?

Old Jun 10th, 2007, 10:08 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,134
Servas International, has anyone used this service?

I think it is such a good idea and was wondering if anyone has had experience with the organization.
SeaUrchin is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2007, 07:07 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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We actually went through the interview process because we too think it is a fantastic idea. But, after getting approved, we never went any further than that with it because my husband got the idea that sometimes you as a host can get stuck with people who just want a cheap bed rather than a way to make friends and connections throughout the world. Lots of good things about it on the Rick Steves board i believe.
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Old Jun 11th, 2007, 12:16 AM
  #3  
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Thanks for the reply. I was thinking of contacting someone on my next trip to Italy. I will look at R. Steve's.
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Old Jun 11th, 2007, 07:31 AM
  #4  
 
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I traveled almost 30 years ago with a friend who was a Servas member, but I still think the information may be useful to you. We were just out of college and were traveling on an extreme budget (remain in Europe as long as the money lasts), so a free place to stay seemed to good to be true.

My friend had gone through the interview process and was approved. He'd plotted an extensive trip through Europe, lasting more than 3 months. I had a more limited time. We stayed with my friends in London and the headed to Paris.

We arrived in Paris with no place to stay and began calling people on his France Servas list. (At the time they would give you lists for up to five countries at once.) The list detailed location and host, and requirements of visitors (men only, number of vistors, languages spoken, how much notice). When I think about it now, we were pretty ballsy to arrive in Paris and hope someone would take us in.

On our second or third call, the woman told us that we could come and stay, but only until Tuesday since she had other people coming then. (This was Thursday.) We went to her place after dinner that night--she was a charming host and had a charming apartment in a residential neighborhood. We slept on a mattress on her living room floor. We were dumbfounded when after she fed us breakfast she handed us the keys, said 'see you after work,' and left us in her place. She included us in two dinner parties she had during our visit. The three of us spent Sunday together visiting museums, and then we took her to dinner at Polidors.

We left Paris and traveled the countryside for a few days. On returing to Paris we made arrangements for another Servas stay. In that case, we had our own room in a pretty nice apartment. The hosts were not as friendly, but perfectly accomodating.

My friend continued through Europe, staying with Servas hosts in Switzerland and Milan for particularly wonderful lengthy stays and forming laasting friendships with his hosts. I remember him describing a hike he took with his Swiss host, climbing a mountain path, topping a rise, and seeing cows with bells coming toward him across an alpine pasture, "just like The Sound of Music." He went back the following years and stayed with the same people, who had now become friends.

This is truly the idea of Servas-- to connect with people across borders. You are encouraged to spend time tallking and sharing with your hosts. When you become a member, you are encouraged, but not required, to host in your home town. Hosting can include meeting a visitor for coffee or spending a few hours showing them around in lieu of offering a place to stay.

It's not just a free B&B.

ellenem is online now  
Old Jun 11th, 2007, 09:28 AM
  #5  
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Thanks for the information and relating your experience. I wouldn't want to stay with them, I just thought it would be nice to meet people who have joined servas and are like minded.

I will look into this some more.
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