PDA

View Full Version : Youth Hostels



changeng
09-05-2014, 06:56 PM
Seeing as we are having a few travel threads, I thought I'd post this.
Who's stayed in a youth hostel association hostel in the last 10 years?
They've come a long way from the grungy 30 bed dorm with grotty kitchen places of the 80's.

Where was your best experience and your worst?

I stayed in an old palace in the hills outside Florence once. It had been one of Mussolinis houses.
The dorms were sex segrigated in those days but the shabby splendor was something to wake up to.
The gardens and fountains were roughly maintained and there was a bunch of us made friends there, some lovely kids, Italian, french, American, Australian and a funny English boy called Giles that wore one of those "English gentleman abroad" white panama hats and spoke Oxbridge. Lisa from Baltimore, Genvieve and Thomas from Lisle.
Every day for a week we would go our separate ways and then pick up something to share for supper out in the gardens at night..Gorgonzola, watermelon, fresh pasta and prosciutto..local wine.that kind of thing .

Lovely.
I wonder where they all are now?

BrianW
09-05-2014, 07:10 PM
Maybe if I traveled alone, but then I'd feel like a creepy old man. ;)

changeng
09-05-2014, 07:15 PM
Maybe if I traveled alone, but then I'd feel like a creepy old man. ;)

Not at all. There's loads of families and older men and women use them. It's lovely connecting with the younger users and your own kids get to meet others and make friends from all over the world.

Probably one of the best ways to introduce your kids to people different from "us" :)

I probably wouldn't use the ones in big cities though. They are clean and safe but tend to be more crowded and institutional.

purri
09-05-2014, 07:18 PM
Many here are so so.

The Bigfella
09-05-2014, 07:19 PM
Many here are so so.

Speak for yourself

The Bigfella
09-05-2014, 07:31 PM
I've stayed in hostels in Cairns (good), Darwin (bad) and Dili (pretty good) in recent years. Beyond that, I've camped, stayed in guesthouses, hotels, private homes or huts and more than once, slept straight on the ground (yeah - sober). Even slept on the concrete in a bus shelter once.

These days, there's quite a mix of ages there. Oldest guest I can recall is a 68 year old - a seriously nasty piece of work.

As I recall it, all the hostels had a choice of accommodation. In Dili, it was around $12 for the mixed sex dorm. I put up with that for one night then up-scaled into a room of my own at $25 night.

Funniest experience? Watching a sub-30 yo Canadian guy telling the 68 yo Hungarian/Argentinian/American that she was "a nasty old woman".

edited to add.... couldn't tell you whether they were accredited or not. The Dili one was the only one in town, the Darwin one was the first one that had a vacancy, the Cairns one is a biggie... multi-story, a major enterprise.

S.V. Airlie
09-05-2014, 07:32 PM
Maybe if I traveled alone, but then I'd feel like a creepy old man. ;)Never did feel that way! Went or stayed at quite a few! In Scotland there were 3 grades of Hostel; Rustic, bare essentials; groc., and then, top of the line!. In Germany, they were strict. In Italy, anything flows literally!

Flying Orca
09-05-2014, 08:45 PM
We like 'em - Oystagirl worked for Hostelling International for some time, resulting in lifetime membership and great discounts. A private room can be a less expensive alternative to a hotel, especially in an expensive city overseas. I'm not fond of dorms and haven't stayed in one for several years now.

S.V. Airlie
09-05-2014, 08:50 PM
It's the warm water!

Flying Orca
09-05-2014, 08:51 PM
I'm not sure the type of traveller who gets so pissed he loses bladder control in his sleep qualifies as "grown"... :o

S.V. Airlie
09-05-2014, 08:52 PM
Not ALL hostels have just bunks!

S.V. Airlie
09-05-2014, 08:56 PM
They were the bearded guys who were at the hostels when I was a teenaged bike tourist.... All up and down the N.E coast.... Same thing everywhere.I guess I should take offence here but, I won't.

slug
09-06-2014, 01:43 AM
I assume that youth hostel means hostel. A hostel is a hotel that doesn't have a bathroom in each room. Many times I stay at a hostel when overnight traveling. One star hotels...the next level up , are hard to find these days.

The Bigfella
09-06-2014, 02:11 AM
They were the bearded guys who were at the hostels when I was a teenaged bike tourist.... All up and down the N.E coast.... Same thing everywhere.

It seems like the common factor in all those incidents is.... you

stevebaby
09-06-2014, 02:21 AM
Never did feel that way! Went or stayed at quite a few! In Scotland there were 3 grades of Hostel; Rustic, bare essentials; groc., and then, top of the line!. In Germany, they were strict. In Italy, anything flows literally!There's a hostel in Tongue where we stayed for a few days. It was originally a shooting lodge and it was very comfortable with no other guests! There are some beautiful coastal walks and the pub(s) are only a 20 minute walk. Most of the other hostels in Scotland were spotless and quiet. Some can be quite a distance from the pub though, but horses for courses.
The private hostel I stayed at in Edinburgh was very different. I had to step over one of the other guests to get up the stairs as he had collapsed and blocked the way. he was still there when I came back fro the pub a couple of hours later.
The Japanese hostel I stayed in was actually a "business hotel" so just like a regular hotel room with private bath. Business hotels in Japan are good value and I never had to book.

skuthorp
09-06-2014, 05:52 AM
Not for yonks, but at one time I used them frequently both here and OS. Mostly fun and some frolic if I remember rightly.

S.V. Airlie
09-06-2014, 06:49 AM
There's a hostel in Tongue where we stayed for a few days. It was originally a shooting lodge and it was very comfortable with no other guests! There are some beautiful coastal walks and the pub(s) are only a 20 minute walk. Most of the other hostels in Scotland were spotless and quiet. Some can be quite a distance from the pub though, but horses for courses.
The private hostel I stayed at in Edinburgh was very different. I had to step over one of the other guests to get up the stairs as he had collapsed and blocked the way. he was still there when I came back fro the pub a couple of hours later.
The Japanese hostel I stayed in was actually a "business hotel" so just like a regular hotel room with private bath. Business hotels in Japan are good value and I never had to book.I tried to get into the one at Inverness! After biking from the Isle of Sky to Inverness, I was kinda pooped! It WAS FULL! Had to bike another 30+ mile to he one in Strepheper ( spelling phonetically) I was no longer pooped I was exhausted!:)

Willin'
09-06-2014, 09:37 AM
Over the years I've stayed in so many, from a mere tent/camping site with hot porridge for breaky on PEI, to a shared cottage on the Coromandel, to bunk beds in a converted Army Barracks in Marin County, to a full single wide mobile unit near Cape Tribulation. Never failed to meet interesting people or come away with good travel advice.

More and more the young'uns are accepting of us geezers that are trying to squeeze in the travel we missed out on in our misguided youths.

elf
09-06-2014, 10:04 AM
I stayed in them in northern England a few years ago. They were universally very agreeable, but the rural ones were more to my taste. I'd have gone that way on this trip if there had been any to stay in. There is only one, near Ruby Beach, and the man who runs it is pretty unusual (has a medical pot license and grows it in his greenhouse etc.). He was not very organized but extremely generous - quoted me a price for using his washer and dryer and then wouldn't take the money. I had to remind him that he had every right to expect to be paid for my use of his water and electricity out there in the middle of nowhere.

But across northern England the hostels were well run, comfortable, clean and pleasant.

Back in '68, the first time I went to Europe, there was quite a variety of them. I stayed in a big one in Vienna that summarily kicked us all out, after taking our money, because it had been reserved by a boy scout troupe long before we were charged to stay there. Stayed in another in Frankfurt where the loudspeaker system came on in the dorm at 6am and told us how to fold our blankets at the foot of our bunks and which exercises to do before getting dressed. Stayed in a charmer in Innsbruck run by nuns, for women only, where the curfew was 8pm and I had to get special permission to attend an organ recital at a local church.

I'm all for them.

Donn
09-06-2014, 10:11 AM
Never...ever. I'm youth hostile.

S.V. Airlie
09-06-2014, 10:13 AM
Why don't I question that?:)

Hwyl
09-06-2014, 10:15 AM
We stayed in many in NZ, experience ranged from wonderful to grotty, with the median being pretty good.

pcford
09-06-2014, 11:57 AM
Never...ever. I'm youth hostile.

Oh, donnn...the young are hardly the only group on which you visit your dyspepsia.

changeng
09-06-2014, 05:05 PM
Never...ever. I'm youth hostile.

Actually Donn, you might enjoy it. I've found the kids that use the YHA (and I stress the YHA) to be universally polite and nice kids. Dunno why this is.

S.V. Airlie
09-06-2014, 06:36 PM
Donn should try an elder Hostel. They have wheel chairs available and no kids!:)

S.V. Airlie
09-07-2014, 06:32 AM
Are we talking about official YHA hostels, or the more laid back (and inconsistent) independents? The last time I used a YHA hostel was 1991. The accommodation was fine, but getting locked out in ****ty weather from 10am to 5pm in Bangor, Wales, was a major PITA. And it was a bank holiday, so everything was shut.

PeteOnly been at YHAs.

The Bigfella
09-07-2014, 11:03 PM
Hostels aren't all beer and skittles. I reckon that this shot tells a tale.... or two

http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff112/igatenby/Cape%20and%20Asia/hostel_zps69a81c70.jpg (http://s240.photobucket.com/user/igatenby/media/Cape%20and%20Asia/hostel_zps69a81c70.jpg.html)

I was reminded of it by Jamie's mention of bicycling. The Belgian guy sitting on the step had been bicycling around the world for 8 years. We'd met him at the backpackers' in Dili and bumped into him again on the road east of Dili, here at Manatuto. I asked him over dinner, as he was talking about his 8 hour days on the road how often he stopped to talk to the locals... "and why would I do that?" OK.

He also told us about how much he hated the call to prayers in muslim countries... and how he'd made a point of stopping at mosques to eat his lunch on the steps during Ramadan. Prick.

That place rated as a real dive. It was actually the priests' accommodation at the local church. We paid $5 a night.... which was about $4.99 more than it was worth.

Louvre windows with ripped apart screens... mosquitoes galore (and they carry some nasty diseases here). Cold water only... out of a bucket, because none of the plumbing worked. The priest seemed to fancy his chances with my female pillion passenger... and she was quite worried, as he put her in her own room... one that you couldn't close the door to. I turned over in bed about 3am, and my bed collapsed onto the floor. Its probably best if I don't describe the condition of the mattress.

The nuns do it much better.

Same country, but the other end of it, much more remote. We couldn't find a guesthouse with a room at Suai... and were told that the nuns ran a hostel at the school next to the boarding school for girls. The hostel was at the site of a massacre of churchgoers by the Indonesian army and their local militia just 12 years earlier. 200 unarmed people were shot dead here, including the three priests.

http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff112/igatenby/Cape%20and%20Asia/nuns_zpsa55023d2.jpg (http://s240.photobucket.com/user/igatenby/media/Cape%20and%20Asia/nuns_zpsa55023d2.jpg.html)

We had to sign the book. The last visitor was from the Kiwi embassy... a month earlier. Great room. Cold water again... from bucketloads carried up by the schoolgirls.... Oh, I should point out too... never a moment without the nun's eyes on us.

S.V. Airlie
09-08-2014, 07:10 AM
The independent ones I stayed at in the UK were mostly pretty good, generally a few dollars cheaper, and let you stay in the day room instead of kicking you out. You could trade a mornings work sweeping up, for a nights accommodation in most of them.
They generally had a slightly more bohemian clientele than the YHA'sAs I mentioned, in Scotland at east, there were grades; '1' was the least as far as groc. etc.'2', and '3' were graded on size, a warming shed to dry stuff etc! All were clean but, a '1' was fairly primitive.

Flying Orca
09-08-2014, 08:34 AM
The private hostel I stayed at in Edinburgh was very different. I had to step over one of the other guests to get up the stairs as he had collapsed and blocked the way. he was still there when I came back fro the pub a couple of hours later.

Our hostel in Edinburgh was certainly the noisiest I've stayed in, at least when the clubs emptied out... :D

Paul Pless
09-08-2014, 08:50 AM
The Belgian guy sitting on the step had been bicycling around the world for 8 years. We'd met him at the backpackers' in Dili and bumped into him again on the road east of Dili, here at Manatuto. I asked him over dinner, as he was talking about his 8 hour days on the road how often he stopped to talk to the locals... "and why would I do that?" OK.

He also told us about how much he hated the call to prayers in muslim countries... and how he'd made a point of stopping at mosques to eat his lunch on the steps during Ramadan. Prick.that's some company that you keep

stevebaby
09-08-2014, 08:52 AM
Our hostel in Edinburgh was certainly the noisiest I've stayed in, at least when the clubs emptied out... :DThat sounds like the one I stayed at. Was it 4 floors up a circular staircase to get to it?
There were some compensations though. There was only one large shower room so men and women had to share. Everyone had to get undressed in the shower cubicles and the shower curtains were semi transparent.:D
There was also a large fridge in the office and beer was a pound a can so by the time I crashed into my bunk I didn't care about the noise. I was single then of course.:D

Flying Orca
09-08-2014, 09:00 AM
That sounds like the one I stayed at. Was it 4 floors up a circular staircase to get to it?

Not circular, but it was a very old building, 2' thick stone walls, on the Cowgate IIRC.

Lew Barrett
09-08-2014, 03:57 PM
I haven't stayed in a hostel since 1972, and didn't use them much then either. My first try was when we'd arrived late in Amsterdam and couldn't find a hotel, so took a chance and stayed (me, my ex wife and 2 YO daughter) at the "Sleep In." Unfortunately, we discovered we were itchy a couple of days later for observable reasons, but that was easily cured with off the shelf remedies that could be applied in the shower of the hotel room we made sure to get the next day. Doing all our laundry was a side benefit. The clothes needed washing anyway. Sleep In was entertaining in a perverse sort of way, but it was not technically a hostel, more like a crash pad.

We stayed in a much nicer place in Oberalp (Switzerland) on the same trip but found that reasonably priced hotels (at that time) cost little more and were considerably more convenient, especially as we were traveling with a child. Hostels have not been on the menu since.



Never...ever. I'm youth hostile.
Good one!

Hwyl
09-13-2014, 05:15 PM
Are we talking about official YHA hostels, or the more laid back (and inconsistent) independents? The last time I used a YHA hostel was 1991. The accommodation was fine, but getting locked out in ****ty weather from 10am to 5pm in Bangor, Wales, was a major PITA. And it was a bank holiday, so everything was shut.

Pete

Should have called me, it's where I spent my first three decades. The weather is often ****ty.