Although I’ve been a member of Couchsurfing for a few years I didn’t really get involved in it properly until last year, through my Canadian friend Jeremy. Luke and I started going along to some of the fortnightly meet ups in the middle of Melbourne and meeting lots of interesting people from around the world. Towards the end of the year it started to occur to me that I should probably actually have someone come stay at my house, so I picked a free Friday night and looked through the site for people looking for somewhere to stay. I came across the profile of Justin, a 34 year old guy from the UK who was traveling around Australia and NZ. To cut a long story short, he turned out to be an absolute champion and stayed with us the whole weekend, coming out to a doof (a party in the bush) that my friends were putting on and having a grand time.
So this weekend it was time to repay the visit and check out Justin’s home town of Saltburn. I’m always impressed by people who love the place they are from and I was keen to see what it was like.
We arrived mid afternoon, dropped our gear off at Justin’s quirky share house and then went for a walk down to the sea side to see Saltburn’s famous pier. What we weren’t expecting to see was some guerrilla knitting of amazing quality.
Apparently Saltburn has some secret knitters and no one has any idea who they are. Clearly they are extremely talented though.
Melbourne knitters, take note!
After a stroll along the pier we walked down the beach to a pub that was hundreds of years old (as they all seem to be) and was known to have been frequented by smugglers many years ago.
We had a drink outside in the sun and then walked back up into town to have an outstanding Indian meal with Justin’s friend Bacon. If there’s ever a nickname that’s going to endear someone to you immediately, this man had it.
The plan for the evening was to catch a train into Middlesborough, the nearest large town, meet up with a few other guys and go to a club/band night put on by a friend of Justin’s. Justin wasn’t sure if it would be a good night or if there’d be many people there so our expectations weren’t all that high, however it turned out to be a real blast.
The people were friendly, the djs played electro-swing, the band was quite a lot like the Cat Empire… the whole night was fantastic. One of those occasions where, by the end of the night, you leave feeling as though you know half the club. I very much wish I’d taken some decent photos and more than 10 seconds of video.
A few people ended up back at Justin’s but I was exhausted and went to bed pretty early, waking up in time to spend the afternoon with Luke, Justin and a bunch of people at a nearby house for two fellow’s 30ths. They had all kinds of games, like sumo wrestling, giant Connect 4, chess and cards for everyone to do. If I hadn’t been so tired I’d have liked to have been more involved.
When we got back to Justin’s that evening I went back to sleep, woke up for dinner then went to bed again and slept all night. I think a little of it was suffering from my cat allergies and the rest of my tiredness was due to old age ;-).
Sunday morning a bunch of a piled in the van and drove to Redcar, a nearby (and far inferior, according to everyone) town where there was a cafe that did amazing breakfasts. Everyone was completely heartbroken to discover, when we got there, that the place had closed down. Fortunately there was a pub around the corner that also did full English breakfasts so we ate until til we could barely move.
Honestly, for the sake of all the clothes I have that barely fit me now, I need to stop eating these breakfasts.
Soon enough it was time to farewell all the Saltburnians. I can certainly recommend, if you’re in this part of the world, spending a day or two here. Thanks for an amazing weekend, Justin!