This post is dedicated to anyone that has had the unique experience of bunking with strangers in a hostel. Everyone has their share of stories to tell. I would like to think I’ve been a model roommate through my travels, but who am I kidding…we’ve all been THAT person at one point or another. So here are my top 5 hostel moments, which should serve as a cautionary tale that hostels and drinking go hand in hand:
5. Cork/London – This one is a tie for me. I couldn’t decide between two hostel moments, so I’ll share both (a bit of a cop-out I know, but hey, my post, my rules). One memory that stuck out in my head was staying in Cork with my sister. It was an all female room with 6 beds. I don’t know if anyone has been to Cork, but don’t go. The 6 of us were lured in with the false promise of the Blarney Stone and beautiful Irish countryside. Instead, we were rudely awakened by the view of Gary, IN of Ireland (my apologies to the fine folks in Gary). There must have been some kind of festival in Ireland because we couldn’t get out of the city as all other hostels were booked. So we were stranded in Cork for 3 nights. It really helped meeting fellow travelers in the same position as us. We ended up hanging out the whole time, going to see the sights of the area. The other #5 memory that just made it is in London. A bunch of us (half coming from France, and half coming from Nottingham, England) decided to meet in London for a long weekend. We all shared a hostel room (for 8 people), and all went splendidly through the trip. This isn’t a memory of a stranger so I couldn’t nudge out my Cork story, but a friend who will remain nameless met a gentleman at a local watering hole (Cheers) and decided she was going to walk him home at night to make sure he got there safe. The next morning, in a city that none of us knew…..I ran into her as if we were casual friends that saw each other every few years at the grocery store. She came trotting down the street in her flip flops (in 50 degree weather), and barely stopped to say hello as she went strolling on by. One night in London and somehow she already knew the entire Tube stop locations and knew where to go for some coffee. I adhere to the don’t ask, don’t tell policy, but she became a tour guide overnight.
4. Paris, France – My friend Larissa and I went to Paris for a few days, but we made no sleeping arrangements prior to getting there. Once we got to the train station, we decided our plan of attack would be to find fellow travelers and we would search for a hostel together. Don’t ask me how, but we found 2 guys in the train station that were also American, so we set off to find a hostel. After about an hour of searching, we settled upon a place in the 12th arrondissement. We hung out with them during the day, going to Montmartre, and wondering around the Eiffel Tower. At night though, we did our own thing. Larissa and I are what you would call nerds. We went out to dinner, but after that we ran out of an idea of what to do. The thing was we were sharing a room with these two guys, and didn’t want to seem like complete losers. So we were bound and determined not to get home before them….we did big time. I’m sure we couldn’t have been out past 11, talk about party animals. It was definitely an odd way to meet people, and then share a hostel with them. I’m not sure we were wearing our thinking caps that day.
3. Dublin, Ireland – It all started with the Jameson Whiskey tour….I blame the tour for all events that subsequently occurred. We had been in Dublin for a few days by this point and had heard that when we went to the Jameson tour, they would ask for volunteers and even before they explained what the mission would be, we had to raise our hands and yell, “pick me, pick me”….well sure enough, Lexie shot her hand up and made a spectacle, and that is how she became an official Jameson Whiskey taster. She still has the certificate, which I think she values as much as her college degree. We ended up asking the tour guide where to go for a drink afterwards, and he took us out to a series of bars. By the time Lexie and I returned to our hostel, it was a bit late….but instead of me being courteous to the other three people in the room, I decided to take it upon myself to wake everyone up to get their life stories. There was this poor Australian who had been sleeping soundly, and I must have asked him 50 questions about his travels. Lexie was mortified, but I think he was grateful as he said he had been traveling solo for months and was pretty lonely (I won’t even get into how uncool it is that we don’t get to travel for months at a time).
2. Lausanne, Switzerland – Leslie and I were here for a few days, and I think this has been my last hostel experience to date. We bunked with this girl, that is one of the oddest people we have met in our travels. She played some musical instrument and was trying to get money so she could go to a music school somewhere in Eastern Europe. I think she had been there, but ran out of money or something….who knows, who cares. Well, she was weird, but at the same time, we were out the night before with Marie till pretty late, so we felt bad that we came stumbling in during the middle of the night, and tripped over EVERYTHING trying to get into bed. So to make it up to her, we decided to befriend her the next morning. We tried talking to her as we were getting ready, but her music story was so confusing. Leslie definitely didn’t like her, so I will take all the blame for my awkward attempt at being friendly to her. We had an hour or so to kill, so we busted out a game of Memory. I still felt the need to be nice, so I invited her to play with us…mistake. She was really bad and started to sulk, I mean sulk! So Leslie and I dumbed down our skills and she started to win, but then she started berating Leslie. I thought Leslie was going to throw the cards in her face (which I was hoping for because that would be funny). I gave up after that, and didn’t care when we came in and turned out the lights at night. We gave her granola bars because she said she hadn’t eaten in days, and even made a reference that eating dirt wasn’t that bad….and we left her there. Good luck weird girl with your flute playing and odd eating habits.
1. Barcelona, Spain – We stayed at the Kabul Backpackers Hostel in Barcelona. It sounded fun, it ended in us leaving at 6 a.m. This hostel is very popular for backpackers because of the location, price, and the fact that they sell tasty 2 Euro sangria out of a vending machine. It was a party at the hostel itself. Unfortunately for us, the party didn’t stop. I know this is Karma from the previous stories I told you of my behavior in a hostel. You are going to say I deserved it, and will probably laugh at my misfortune. I implore you to feel a bit of pain for my poor friend Evelyn, who suffered the most on this trip. We had been tired and didn’t feel like going out, so after dinner, we came back and decided to get a good nights sleep. There were 4 of us girls together, but the room slept 12 (I think), so there were other males and females in the room. Everyone seemed pretty friendly and most of the others were also trying to get a good night’s sleep…until…..one by one, we slowly woke to the sound of running water in the room. The only problem was that the room didn’t have a sink. A guy who had been kicked out of a bar, came back and got put into bed by his girlfriend. He woke up and thought he had made it to the restroom, but only made it as far as Evelyn’s bed. I was Evelyn’s bunkmate that night, and can not tell you how happy I am to have chosen the top bunk. Some other people realize what happened and started yelling at the guy to stop, but he kept on going, and then went back to bed as if nothing happened. Our belongings were at the foot of Evelyn’s bed, so I’m sad to report that many things did not make it past the trash that night. The mattress was put in the women’s bathroom and after that, we decided that it was a sign for us to cut our trip short. We got up a few hours later, and got ready to hop on the first train out of Barcelona. I still remember poor Evelyn crouched in the corner of her bed with shock and terror in her face. To finish this tale, when we went to change in the restroom, a drunk girl was passed out on the soiled mattress.
Well there you go, my top 5 hostel memories.