What I Like Wednesdays: Part I

I’m starting a new weekly post called What I Like Wendesdays for two reasons. One- it keeps me accountable and on a regular schedule, so I HAVE TO write on Wednesdays (I know, I’m bad), and Two- I like a lot of things that you should know about!

Today on What I Like Wednesdays we will chat about Hostels. I LOVE hostels! Maybe I should consider changing the name of this post…OK, anyway, there are so many reason to like/love hostels (not the movie…). If you have ever stayed in one in Europe, South America, Asia, or even in some metropolitan U.S. cities, you might feel the sense of comraderie that they provide, among other things. Everyone has different stories to share, yet you still feel very similar to the people you talk to, as if an instant bond connects you just because you’re staying at this hostel in this city on these days.

Hostels provide an affordable, unique way to see a city. You can share a room with those of the same gender, sometimes get a private room, or more often than not, share a room with men and women from all over the world. Complete strangers from the U.S., Australia, Israel, and Argentina sharing the same room?! Yes, that’s what makes it so exhilarating. When are you going to get another chance to talk to (mostly) young adults, traveling around this ever-shrinking globe of ours and hear their stories and learn how different, yet how similar, their lives are to yours?

You become instant friends and often set your sights on the city together. Many weekends while I lived in Budapest, I would travel alone by bus or train to nearby cities and settle into a hostel. As soon as I dropped off my stuff and got acquainted with my surroundings and the people, I no longer felt alone. I could gather some new friends for a night on the town, a discussion at a cafe in the middle of the town square, or I could do my own thing. The possibilities were endless! And the hostel atmosphere- well, that was different every place I went. And I loved it every time!

Some of my favorite hostels (so far) include:

Hostel Celica (Ljubljana, Slovenia) – the former jail.

Happy Hostel (Belgrade, Serbia) – how can you not like a hostel with flower carpets?!

Czech Inn Hostel (Prague, Czech Republic) – what a great name!

Hobo Bear Hostel (Zagreb, Croatia) – it’s like living in a cave…

Greg & Tom Hostel (Krakow, Poland) – free dinner and drinks. YES!

As you can see, all the hostels on this list are European. That’s because I haven’t yet traveled to other continents or stayed at their hostels (sad face) and only stayed at one U.S. hostel. I think the U.S. is vastly behind Europe, and probably Asia and South America in their availability and uniqueness of hostels.

That brings me to my next point- a hostel is coming to DETROIT! Can you believe it?! There hasn’t been a hostel there in over 15 years, and some smart young adults will be opening the doors to a Corktown hostel around April 2011. Read an article about it HERE. Their new website is pretty cool, too!

AND there’s more…there are efforts to bring a hostel back to Pittsburgh as well. I am ready to be a part of the process and hope this can happen sooner than later. Read about their efforts HERE.

P.S. Warning: Hostels are great, but you ALWAYS need to be careful of pickpockets and thieves anytime you’re traveling, especially when it involves communal living quarters. I have never had any problems (knock on wood), partly because I am ever the skeptic and very careful who I associate with, and partly because I have always been responsible and never let anything important out of my site (hello passport, wallet & camera!). So please BE CAREFUL anytime you travel, even to a fancy hotel!

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