A Girl Should Be Two Things: Classy & Fabulous. - Coco Chanel


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Hostel World

For our entire trip, we stayed in hostels. This is how I do the majority of my trips. It's so much cheaper. Although we would have saved more money if we were able to couch surf. Oh well. I can say that we never spent more than $30 a night on a place to stay. That is awesome... especially since Europe is so expensive. The places we stayed were usually between $15-$20 a night.

The thing with hostels though... is you never really know what you are going to get. hotel's you do. Hostel's are a toss up. Each one is so different. I know... I have stayed in A LOT of hostel's in my day.  This trip I thought I knew what to expect... but even I was surprised by some of the places we stayed.

Like our first place. PLUS camping Roma. Allison booked this one and when she told me it was a camping site... I didn't quite know what to think about that. There were places to pitch a tent and camp, but there was also a little store, a restaurant and pool. Where did we stay on this camp ground? In a canvas tent. It was nice in the fact that it was cheap (11 Euro a night) and we had our own space. It wasn't a tent like you are thinking... it had a door that locked and a floor and beds inside. It even had electricity so we had light and could plug in our phones. However... canvas isn't much of a sound barrier. All of these tents are right next to each other, so unless you are Allison and can sleep through anything, you don't get much sleep. You get woken up at 2 in the morning to people that are drunk coming back to their tent and don't care to be quiet about it. You get woken up at 4am to people having sex in the tent next to you trying to cover up the noise with loud music. You may have your own space... but it doesn't feel like you have your own space. You may not be able to see the other people... but you certainly hear every person around you. We stayed here two nights.

We thought we would be able to couch surf in Florence. Didn't happen. I even have a friend in Florence that I thought I would be able to stay with... didn't happen. What DID end up happening is we wondered around the city with our backpacks on for hours trying to just find a place. After being frustrated with no success and with a guy trying to help us but only spoke French (we ran into him like 3 different times in different places) we turned to google to look up hostels in Florence. Thank goodness for my International plan... because we used it a lot. Looking up hostels, using Google Maps. It's a good thing for me to have since I travel so much. Anyway... we ended up finding a place called Tourist House Santa Croce. It was a dorm room that we shared with all guys that were pleasantly very quite... I didn't even hear snoring and even better... we had the oft of the dorm room, so we still had our own space. It was cheap and right in the middle of the city, close to the Duomo.. so it ended up working out great. We stayed there 2 nights and we really liked it there. It was a small place and the people that worked there were very friendly.

Next we went to Cinque Terre. We were not sure what we were going to be able to find there. We didn't want to go through the same thing we did in Florence and show up and wonder around for hours without a place to stay, so we looked online BEFORE we left Florence. We found another "Camp Site" like in Rome. Or... we thought it would be like Rome because it had the canvas tents again. It's cheap so we book it. They pick us up from the train station and take us to the camp site for free! Off to a good start. It is a bit more spread out than the one in Rome. More quite. No pool or store or place to eat. However there was an awesome place just down the road we could walk to for a place to eat, so I wasn't upset about that. The thing that DID through us off is that we had no electricity in this tent. This meant no lights and no charging our phone. We CAN'T have that. Sadly my power tower was also low. So what did we do? We found an outlet in the laundry room and hung out in there until 2am taking turns charging our phones. Other than that... it wasn't a bad place to stay. We stayed there two nights.

Then it was off to Verona. Found it online before as we were at the train station leaving Cinque Terre. It was a Bed and Breakfast Hostel. Ariel B&B. We were excited to not only have our own room, but our own bathroom. Also our first place that provided breakfast. It is in the middle of the city and walking distance from the train station which was nice. They gave us key's to the building and to the B&B within the building and then our room... and then they leave. So it is KIND of like having your own place. We had a balcony in our room and by the dining room which had a cool view of the city. We felt high class at this place. We stayed here two nights. Downside... there were a bunch of extra fees and it ended up being more expensive than we thought it would be.

On to Milan. Just for one night because our flight left in the morning. We found a hostel online that was another dorm room. The hostel was close to the subway which we got on from the train station. The hostel was called "Colours Hostel". Anything that has Colours in the title has got to be good. We were greeted by a gay Asian man. We loved him because not only was he super nice and helpful and funny, but he spoke great English and was able to give us great directions to the city so we could explore a little that night. The hostel was very modern... and colorful. It was quite big too. A lot of people in the common area because that is the only place you can get on the internet... the common area is big and they serve breakfast in the morning. With so many people in the common area... you would think it would be a great place to meet people. Everyone is quite and anti-social because they are just on their phones. Kind of funny. Kind of sad.

Our hostel in Athens started off bad because it took us 4 hours to get there from the airport. That was partially our fault from getting on the wrong bus from the airport to begin with that took us to the ship port instead of the center of the city. So after a couple of buses and several metro's and another couple of buses and 4 hours later, we got to our hostel. I forget what this one was called. We stayed there only one night... thank goodness. We were in another dorm... that was SO small and crammed and SUPER hot. You had to take cold showers in the tiniest of spaces... the entire thing was just not our favorite.

The next night we slept in the airport to catch our early flight the next morning.

Our hostel's on the Greek Islands were awesome. Allison booked both of these. Good work Allison. Our hostel on Santorini was cute. Looks like the rest of Santorini and had a cute pool. We had our own room and bathroom and even little kitchen area. Also had AC which is a huge plus. We were walking distance from a beach and 24 hour bakery and right next to an ATV rental, which we used to get around the island. It was awesome... even though we had a couple of surprise friends in our room (Gecko & Cockroach). We stayed here two nights.

Our last hostel in Mykonos might have been the most expensive. Or maybe as much as the B&B. It was nice though. Nice bed, bathroom, view from our balcony and AC. It was nice to have nicer places at the end of your trip... because you just get tired of all the dumpy places towards the end. Your patience grows thinner after a couple of weeks. ha ha.

I'm thankful there are cheap options when traveling... they all worked out for us and gave us a bed to sleep in and some interesting experiences a long the way. It also helps me be SO grateful to come home to my comfortable surroundings. :) All part of the experience.


William said...

What a variety of places to call home away from home! At least you didn't have anything stolen, right. We learned our lessons from the hostels in Costa Rica!
Love you! Glad you had a good trip :)

jamie hixon said...

I've only stayed in one hostel (New Orleans) and it wasn't my favorite so I swore them off. However, now it looks like some of those might be doable for Dan and I. Thanks for the run down, for real.