Sunday, October 31, 2010

Eurotrip Wrap-up and Hostel review

Well, for my last Eurotrip entry, I'll talk about my fun flight home, and what I thought about the hostels we stayed in.

Once Brent and I left Lagos, we headed back to Faro and boarded a Ryanair flight back to Dublin. There Brent stayed for a few more days, however, I made the tough choice of just staying at the airport and save money, as I was hurting for cash, and I needed it for things such as paying for my visa to TAIWAN where I would move a few weeks later after arriving home. After about 12+ hours in the airport, I was given a tough time checking through, and I was quite grumpy. BUT when I got on the plane, it was hilarious. During this time, the EURO reached record highs against the USD, so tons of Irish were going stateside to do some shopping. Lucky for me, I was seated amidst a group of middle aged Irish lasses who proceeded to get bombed the whole way to New York, and cheerfully bought me drinks to join in with them. hahaha. Needless to say when I eventually reached Halifax, my adventures were written all over my face! I loved Europe and WILL go back!!

NOW......About the hostels

London, England

The Smart Hyde Park Hostel - located near Hyde Park, and maybe a 5 min walk to the nearest tube. It's in a really nice area (upscale) but a little far away from some places. Very clean, free breakfast, courteous staff, washer/dryers to clean your clothes, etc. The rooms are a bit small, however, it was a good stay and good first hostel experience.

Brussels, Belgium

The Van Gogh Youth Hostel - Great location and close to the city center ( only a few minutes away from the main attractions). This hostel was pretty spread out, with two buildings across the street from each other. Great common area with delicious Belgian beer to be drank. The rooms were basic as we shared a room for 3. NO complaints.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Hostel Ann Marie - this hostel might take the cake as the WORST I experienced! I'll give it credit as it has a nice location fairly close to the Van Gogh Museum, but that's where I'll end any kudos. It's old and you just feel dirty. I actually wore my track pants tucked into sock when I slept. Bed bugs? Yah I'm assuming they have those. I dunno....You just feel dirty staying there.

Berlin, Germany

Meininger City Hostel - this was a great hostel to stay at! As I'm not sure of the layout of Berlin, it was a bit far from the train station, and a bit far to the main attractions around Brandenberg Gate, but it was a great stay. The rooms were nice, had a little kitchen for you to cook in, friendly staff, and had a HUGE BREAKFAST SELECTION! It was great. So much so that I actually made sandwiches for later in the day! Just make sure you get there early!

Munich, Germany

Wombats Hostel - It really seemed like a great hostel, but we were also there during Oktoberfest, which meant it was busy and messy as hell, with people who didn't even have a room staying there. It was really big. The rooms were spacious and clean, with a large bathroom. There's a small pub which was a good time. NOT sure if there is breakfast included. Super close from the Main station, and within a short walk to the Oktoberfest grounds! IF YOU ARE GOING TO OKTOBERFEST book at least 5-6 months in advance!!!! NO JOKE

Krakow, Poland

Tutti Frutti Hostel - Top 3 hostels I stayed at. Such a good time here. A bit difficult to find from the train station, but just ask to go to the town square if you're lost, and it's very close to there! Aside from the questionable name, this place is amazing. AWESOME staff. Huge Rooms, Good common room and kitchen. FREE breakfast....but make sure you're up early as it tends to go fast. Washer/dryers. Big bathrooms, great location. Honestly this place was really great, especially because of the staff.

Prague, Czech Republic

Elf Hostel - this little dingy hostel was decent, but also much to be desired. It was pretty small, however had decent sized rooms. Unfortunately, the common area was tiny and crowded, as well as the kitchen. Again, the rooms were big, with about 4 sets of bunk beds, BUT the mattresses that were used were literally cushions from a sofa or seat. MAYBE things have changed, but it was not a comfortable sleep. An early check-out was the consequence by us.

Vienna, Austria

Hostel Ruthensteiner - We stayed here for 3 nights and it is a place that I would definitely go back to. Very basic rooms, bathrooms, etc, but it was nice. Seemed like a huge place, with an excellent common area that was lively every night. The hostel also put on a really good pubcrawl that was definitely a time. There was both and indoor and outdoor kitchen(grill) which was pretty big as well. Definitely a good place to stay!

Split, Croatia

The Silver Gate Hostel - fantastic location and view from this hostel, large rooms however a little crowded in some, and decent bathrooms. The common area was pretty tiny and the hostel sort of forces you to go out and explore. The staff was definitely something to be desired....the guy was a wanker for sure. But overall it was a pretty good spot.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik Backpackers Club - fucking impossible to find!! Literally, if you arrive on bus, look across the water(on the other side of the cruiseships if they're there) and it's on top of that hill! Unfortunately we didn't know that. Also a little far out from the old walled city, BUT staying here definitely makes up for those shortcomings. GREATTT family who runs the place. Great rooms that are big and comfy. The mom will sometimes make traditional suppers if you'll pool some money together, and for us the Dad got wasted with us, sharing his homemade Bosnian moonshine! Great place to stay for sure.

Corfu, Greece

The PINK PALACE - I shouldn't even need to explain, but this place is unbelievable. First off, they'll pick you up at the port via the Pink Palace bus then take you there. Think a low scale resort. Basic rooms with single beds, but with A/C and private bathroom and balcony. It's a HUGE place. Complimentary OUZO shot upon arriving. THREE complimentary meals a day, including a 3-course dinner. Every Saturday there's a TOGA PARTY with flowing booze. TONS of activities to sign up for: Booze cruise, ATV/quad tour of the island, water sports, use of the industrial sized whirpool, bball court, beach. THIS PLACE IS AMAZING!!! honestly, and it's cheap as hell. Actually, the longer you stay the price goes down! Awesome spot!

Athens, Greece

Athens Backpackers Hostel - pretty decent spot. Lots going on here! Decent kitchen, bar/common area is a good time at night. Rooms are narrow, but enough space that it doesn't feel crowded. GREAT location to the main attractions (ex Acropolis), easy to find from the subway. Not much more you can really say. Just a solid hostel. Definitely no complaints

Pompei, Italy

AIG Youth Hostel (HI) - the face that this is a Hostel International might scare some people off, but it really wasn't that bad. Mostly due to the fact they are super strict with curfews, there's really not much trouble you're going to be getting into in Pompei, so it's a good place to stay. First off the grounds are massive, and the rooms are HUGE. So much space, even in the dorm rooms! Huge shower/bathroom area as well. Complimentary breakfast, however it's shit. Definitely a good place to stay the night, as I did, but nothing to write home about. PS if you miss curfew, then good luck trying to get through that massive door!

Rome, Italy

The Yellow Hostel - one of the more famous hostels in Rome, it has a good location, and really easy to find from the main station. Pretty busy place with lots to do, and there are a few more well known hostels neigbouring as well. The rooms are typical dorm rooms, with a locker under the bed. A little cramped, and the communal showers are TINYYY. I'm 6'1 and could barely turn around in them. But for Rome this place is decent. There's a pretty good pub attached downstairs. Make sure you sign up for the Spanish Steps Pubcrawl!!!


Florence, Italy

- to start with, it was a little out of the way from the Duomo and main square, however, it was just a short walk over the old town bridge which was a nice walk. It was in an unassuming building on it's own floor and was basically more of a glorified apartment. With that being said, we had a huge 3 bed room, actually I think dan's was more of a pull out, hahaha. The common room was big and comfortable, and it actually seemed like we had the whole place to ourselves! If you're looking for a no frills, relaxing and quiet place to stay, then I would recommend this place for sure.


Nice, France

Hotel Baccarat - after a nice little trot from the train station, this mini hotel seemed a little seedy, but was a decent place to stay. The rooms reminded me a lot of the Smart Hyde Park Hostel in London, being very cramped, however we had the dorm room of 4 bunk beds to ourselves, so we weren't complaining. There was internet downstairs, however, I cannot remember if it was free or pay. The hostel was a little bit away from the city center and beach, but it was a nice walk and seemed to be in a decent neighbourhood, so one can't complain.

Barcelona, Spain

Kabul Hostel - is conveniently located just off of Las Ramblas (the main street) in a nice little square, and in perfect location for all attractions. Upon entering the hostel we knew it was party time, as you enter almost right in the common room/dinning room/ bar of the hostel. Definitely a great spot! The hostel will organize pub crawls, play sporting events on a big screen, serve dinner (pay) and also serve beer (pay). It's a very big hostel, so you're sure to meet tons of people and find lots of great things to do in Barcelona!!


Madrid, Spain

the Euro Global Youth Hostel - is a small hostel with only about 3 or 4 rooms. I was in a large dorm room with about 5 or 6 bunk beds, while Brent was in a smaller 3 bed room. Small bathroom, small kitchen, but it was nice, and the people were friendly. Great location in the heart of Madrid.

Lagos, Portugal

RISING COCK HOSTEL. I can honestly say that this place was amazing. Lots of space, nice rooms, amazing staff, fun people, what more could you ask for? Well, aside from Selmo (the son of the family that runs the hostel) being a fantastic guy, who also runs the amazing NANABAH's restaurant across the street....best burgers ever!!.....Mama and Papa show up every morning to make FREE crepes for breakfast. YES i'll say it again, free crepes!! Now free breakfast at a hostel is good enough, but these are amazing!! Additionally, it's a convenient location to town centre, the beaches and everything else you want to do in Lagos. The hostel also organizes a Booze Cruise and can sign you up for a surfing adventure!


Well, to wrap things up, after 3 + months of traveling I was ready for a long rest and head back to the comforts of home. Europe was everything I could have imagined and then some! There are still a ton of places that I want to visit, and many places I will return to someday! Until then I'll just keep exploring the rest of the world

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