This solo Europe trip has been a one of a kind experience for me. I’ve never stayed in hostels before and now that I have, I feel that it’s time to reflect upon what I wish I would have known. You shouldn’t expect the same conditions at every hostel you stay at. I’ve learned that the amenities you are provided change drastically from location to location, hostel to hostel, and—as I shockingly discovered last night in Paris—room to room inside the same hostel.
In London, I stayed at St. Christopher’s Inn (Greenwich) and that was by far my favorite hostel. Despite being the cheapest and the most crammed of them all, it was the most comfortable. I mean, the 12-bed mixed room was tiny. Upon my arrival at night, I was tripping over how much luggage my fellow hostelers left on the floor and the climb up to my bed (which was almost at the ceiling) seemed almost impossible in the dark. Nonetheless, I had a curtain to make my bed feel like my own private little corner. No, the shower situation was not ideal. It was not the cleanest, but what are flip flops for?
When I arrived in Amsterdam, I quickly took notice of how much bigger Via Amsterdam was in comparison to my situation in London. They have a huge outside seating area along with a huge inside bar. When I got to my 8-bed room, however, I was disappointed. I had no curtain around my bed and I knew I would no longer have my own little private space. We also had our own bathroom. Yes, it was waaaaaay cleaner, but who wants to wait in line to use a shower? At the very least, in London, I could use the bathroom whenever I wanted to because there were multiple showers available.
It also didn’t cost to breathe in London. Laundry was free there. Via Amsterdam was MEGA expensive to stay at and the customer service of its employees was nowhere near that of the hostel in London. “Okay, shit happens” is the typical response you get from the staff. At the very least, the one compliment I will give Via Amsterdam is the blow dryer. The blow dryer was right in the room and it was fantastic!
Travelling to Paris, I was excited to stay at a St. Christopher’s Inn (Canal) due to my experience in London. Unfortunately, I haven’t been as happy here as I have been in London. Seeing that I got stuck in the rain/hail walking to the hostel, I needed a blow dryer ASAP for my shoes. When I got to the fifth floor, an awful smell hit my nostrils and it never left for the duration of my stay. I thought it’s because the hostel sits right on the Canal de l’Ourcq… Anyways, I went to the restroom and I saw no blow dryer. Someone later told me that in order to get access to a blow dryer, you must rent it from downstairs in exchange for your ID. Maybe this is to prevent theft?
This hostel has no lockers; instead, there are cages underneath the beds. It just so happened that mine was broken and I needed two padlocks to lock my stuff up. Going to sleep, I was so happy to have curtains again, but nope, I had another problem. Any tiny movement that I made, the bed made a terrible noise. I reported this to the staff the following day and my last night in the room was without any further annoyances. The bathroom situation is like that of their hostel in Greenwich, but instead of getting a completely sealed off shower, in Paris, they have stalls available and because of this, I had the utmost difficulty drying off with water puddles all around me. It was also hard to wash my hair because every few moments, the water would shut off and I had to repress the water button. Nonetheless, I would still take this over Via Amsterdam any day of the week.
My third night in Paris, I relocated to an all women 8-bed room on the first floor. I immediately noticed how much fresher the air was. Perhaps the higher up you get in this hostel, the worse the smell becomes? Anyways, I was soooo amped to be out of that stinky situation. Of course, once again, I received a shitty cage that wouldn’t lock no matter what I did and thankfully I was relocated to another bed inside the same room. Later that night, I came back to the room and since people were sleeping, I did not want to turn the lights on. I got to my bed and tried turning on the light (every bed typically gets its own little lighting), but most unfortunately, I was shit out of luck. The staff said they couldn’t help me fix it until tomorrow. Also, the laundry here is even more expensive than in Amsterdam; I paid €7 just to wash a few things!
On the brighter side of things, Paris is beautiful. From the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, Arc de Triumph, Eiffel Tower and the Louvre to the long walks along the Seine River, Parisian charm is unlike any other. It could have rained less during my stay here, but what can you do?
I am looking forward to taking the bus to Bourges later today. Bourges is a city south of Paris that is known for its gorgeous architecture and rich history. Wanna know another thing I’m looking forward to? My own room at a 2-star hotel… LUXURY AWAITS!!!