Hearing mixed responses on experiences in hostels, one always wonders how exactly their own experience will be. On my travels last year, I was rarely in the hostel and was always in a room with people in my group. This time, it was just me and my cousin, Ally, in a hostel just outside the city of Amsterdam.
Arriving, we find our room with two sets of bunk beds with one taken by an Australian woman named Jan. Talking with Jan we learned many Australian ad libs when we ate “brekky” (breakfast) together. I got quite the laugh when she apologized for getting my “thongs” (flip flops) wet. You can imagine my face before we figured out the inconsistency between our understanding of this word.
Around 20 kids seemed to roam the halls at night, screaming their lungs out and playing football. Was I that annoying as a child? We constantly asked each other where their parents might be. When did we get so boring? Excuse the meandering rant.
On our final night in the hostel before our train trek to Cologne, Germany, we decided to get some laundry done. Ally pulls out about 13 shirts, 8 pairs of pants, and an odd assortment of other articles to wash from our week there. So we condense our loads, buy our tokens for the washer/dryer, and start a load. With everything being in Dutch, it took us much longer than it should have to get a load started. The dryer had a dial of numbers 1-11. Thinking 11 is the highest number, we set it to 11 to get it most dry. Pulling the damp clothes out, we realized number 1 was actually “extradroog” or extra dry. After dropping a token with a search to no avail, and accidentally closing ourselves out of the locked laundry room, we bothered the receptionist a plentiful 4 times before they looked at their wits end with us two Americans.
In between loads we come back to our room to watch a flick when a man enters. We cannot understand each other at all and have to use Google Translate to discover that he is on training to work at the train platforms. After saying he will be sleeping for 6 hours and then leaving, he strips down to his tiny bare skivvies and climbs up the bunk, putting all his junk in Ally’s face.
Coming to terms with our new roommate, we finally finish our laundry and head back to the room to get some shut-eye. Suddenly, in walks in another man we had seen in the lobby who seemed to be sweating to some tunes in his headphones. He also strips to his undies right in front of us and climbs into the bunk above mine. In quiet hysterics, we furiously text each other our fears and escape plans while our moms are laughing at our fears in their cushioned home in America.
During the night, one male snored his face off, while the other chomped loudly for hours on food. I awake to the sound of his phone dropping to my bed which I then hand to him and fall asleep from my intense weariness, only later to be awaken again by a full beer falling into my bed. The college girl in me questioned drinking it but playing it safe I handed the Heineken can back up as well. Then, a water bottle falls on to me. At this point I am wondering if he has a whole convenience store up there or if he is the next thing to fall into my bed.
In the morning, breakfast settled my nerves. The one man left watched us pack for about an hour before leaving. Upon his departure we both exhaled sighs of relief. In reality, we probably blew it way out of proportion. However, I like that hostels bring you out of your comfort zone. If you’re trying to learn more about the world and meet people from all over, hostels are the way to go.