My oldest friend, Cathie, and her son, Josh are here with us this week, all the way from New Zealand. The neighbours are fascinated of course and it struck me that since our arrival in sleepy Alino two years ago, we have introduced some real exotica to the locals.
We use a website called ‘Workaway’, a site which matches up travellers with room and board in exchange for work. In this way, we have accommodated Canadians (it’s true what they say – they are adorable); Mexicans; Germans; Spaniards; French; Australians ; Greeks (the least said about him the better!), Brits and Irish. These have been, generally speaking, very successful, amusing and mutually beneficial arrangements which have also provided our neighbour, Stefka, the opportunity to practice her ten words of German and French many times over! The neighbours are also thrilled and amazed that these travellers work for free! (bez platno? Tochno?!) No greater ruse could be imagined here.
I doubt very much that in Alino’s long history that anyone ever imagined our little village hosting such a diverse group of people from all over the world, but we are delighted to share its beauty and quirks with them.