January 27, 2013

Hostels- A First Experience

Rather than crowd my Barcelona trip posts with my impressions of the hostel, I decided that it deserved its own post. So read of for general advice, my thoughts and tips if you decided to visit Barcelona.

I have never stayed in a hostel before, in fact I am used to staying in nice hotels or with family members when I travel. Knowing this, I braced myself for the worst. I mean, for 12 Euro a night, this was not going to be a Ritz.
My first impression was.. well, this will be interesting. I stayed in a 8 bunk room with 6 of my friends and were told no one else would be placed in the room due to the fact that we had reserved a 6 person room (I assume they had overbooked the 6 person rooms?). I chose a top bunk, which was extremely difficult to get into since the ladder was small and right against the sink. There was a fitted sheet and a pillow. A top sheet cost 2,00 and a blanket or towel 3,00. I chose to use my pashmina as a blanket rather than pay. The room had lockers that you put a 2 Euro coin in and locked, then you got the 2 Euro back every time the door was unlocked. I "payed" for the locker with a coin and shared with Cella.

Breakfast was included everyday and the hostel gave us cards to receive a free dinner with a drink purchase. The breakfast included juice, water and/ or coffee, a pack of donuts/ croissant (changed each day), a chocolate covered waffle, a small roll of bread, jelly, butter and a pack of cracker like bread things. Both mornings I ate some of it and put the rest in my bag. For dinner, the first night I got a sangria for 3,50 and a plate of curry and rice. The second night I got a 7-Up for 2,00 and got a plate of rice with vegetables. I traded some of my rice for Amanda's veggies and it was delicious! The hostel also offered free walking tours and bike tours (with a 5 Euro bike rental), which was really cool. Wifi was also available in the lobby.

Now, here is why I will NEVER stay at this hostel again.
It was cold. I swear they put the A/C on in the middle of the night! I ended up wearing a jacket over my pajamas the first night and then the second night I wore- running capris, fleece pj pants, 2 pairs of knee high socks, a pair of short socks, long sleeve shirt, short sleeve shirt and a leather jacket. It was that cold!
Next, as I said before, we reserved a room for 6, but they gave us one for 8. The manager told us no one would be put in the room, but at 2am, this was not true. Nothing is as terrifying as waking up to a 30 some year old Spanish man walk into your room in the middle of the night. I woke up and Cella, who was in the bunk next to mine, and I made eye contact, like "WHAT IS GOING ON??" The man went into the bathroom, at which point 5 of the 6 of us were awake. Cella and I went down to the lobby to talk to the man at the front desk. The night manager was annoyed when we told him the situation and he moved the man to another room. The next morning, the day manager marked down to block out our room and we had no further problems. Normally, I wouldn't have minded someone being placed in our room, it is a hostel after all. It was a problem because 1. we were supposed to have a 6 person room and not have anyone placed in and 2. he came in the middle of the night.
The last thing I did not like about this hostel was the people who stayed in it. I never thought older adults stayed in hostels, I thought they were students and young travelers with little money. I was wrong. This hostel contained a slew of 30 to 50 year old men and a couple that thought it was ok to make out next to me while I was eating breakfast (ew).
In the future I will be staying in a youth hostel, packing a blanket and be prepared for randos coming in the middle of the night.

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