Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

Tag Archives: hostel

Short travel reflection: Accommodations

It is no surprise that accommodation is a big part of budgeting for frequent travellers. Many backpackers and globetrotters prefer a simple bed in a hostel room over the “luxury” of a hotel. In addition to the advantage of low price, hostels are great for socializing and getting to know your fellow travellers. Many people even find travel companions in the people they meet at hostels. For some, that is the best way to arrange accommodation. However, if I were to be completely honest, I am not a huge fan of hostels. I have had my fair share of experience with hostels, and while most of them have been positive and I don’t mind them, they are certainly not my preferred type of accommodation. As someone who has never been great at socializing and doesn’t care for going to bars and pubs, I tend to try to avoid crowds. And if I travel solo, then I REALLY want to be solo (as I have mentioned before) – if I wanted company I would have found friends to come along in the first place. That said, I still opt for hostels most of the time because they are overall so much cheaper than hotels, especially in cities like Paris. Smaller and quieter hostels suit me better than huge ones where parties keep people up all night, and where all I want to do is write and sleep in peace. There are times when I am willing to pitch in a bit more for the comfort and privacy of a hotel room, and I can still afford to do that occasionally as I can’t consider myself a “frequent traveller”, and I DO have a full-time job πŸ˜› Heh, perhaps I sound like an anti-social spoiled brat, but I do have to be quite honest with myself. Of course, options like airBNB are now much more attractive than hostels and hotels, and I have yet to try the much acclaimed Couchsurfing…

A room in a cute, minimalist hostel in Český Krumlov, Czech, December 2014

IDS 2013 part 4 – Geneva, post-training school

Finally, we get to Geneva, the fifth Swiss city in a year, for me.

I was supposed to go to Geneva in May 2011, almost two years ago, but due to some clumsiness in planning, I had to cancel the trip last-minute. Of course having the training school in Annecy this year meant that a Geneva stopover was inevitable since well…the return tickets were from Bordeaux to Geneva (go Easyjet!)

I gotta say, compared to the other Swiss cities I’ve been to (Basel, Interlaken, Zurich, and Lausanne), Geneva did seem lacking in characteristic. I partly blame the weather for this – not a fair evaluation of a city but…oh well. Anyway, the unique memory in Geneva was not in exploring the city itself, but being with my IDS-FunMates one last time and experiencing collaboration in a big group…at our hostel! You’ll see.

(Full photo album is on Facebook, as usual πŸ˜‰ Catch up on the entire series – part 1 in Lausanne, part 2 and part 3 in Annecy.)

Unlike Annecy, Geneva was met with gray skies 😦 I was so tired by the time I arrived in Geneva, after a whole week of running around. The combination of weather and fatigue dampened my energy quite a bit, which was why I missed quite a few places in Geneva – I was too tired to explore so I stayed back to rest while some of the others headed to the Flower Clock and the Reformation Wall. (By the way, yes that IS the Jet d’Eau behind the flowers, if you were wondering.)

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Holland part 3: Amsterdam and Den Haag

This is part 3 of a 3-part series on a weekend trip to the Netherlands. Click here for part 1 and here for part 2. If you just want to see pictures, click here. If you’re actually interested in a bit of narration, please carry on.

While nature brought us flowers and history gave us windmills, our journey wouldn’t be complete without a visit (albeit short) to a Dutch city or two. Now, the only knowledge I had of the Netherlands before the trip was Amsterdam, but my colleague, much more prepared than I was, suggested a brief trip to Den Haag, since it was on the way back to Brussels. I know the English name of the city is The Hague, but the original Dutch name of Den Haag is now stuck since it was all I saw on the road anyway.

After Keukenhof, the group of 5 set out on a venture to find our “hostel”, which was literally situated in the middle of nowhere. It would be more appropriate to call it a “campsite” rather than a hostel, because what we rented was a little cabin with 5 beds and no heating. Oh boy. Then again, with low cost being our main priority, the place seemed pretty reasonable.

The ride to the campsite was quite amusing. Apparently Ms. GPS decided to lead us into the wrong destination when we entered our coordinates for the first time, resulting in me going on tiny, winded one-lane roads accommodating two-way traffic, bike lanes that were wider than the car lane, and frustrated drivers passing me frequently because I was slow. Hey, cut me some slack, I didn’t want to fall into the river on my right, and it was entirely possible what with the narrow space we had on the road.

So then after a bit of wandering and finally entering the address of the place instead of the coordinates, we found ourselves parked outside our hostel. Hooray, no passengers have been hurt in the process.

Enjoying life in the wild, are we? Well, the place was adequate for the most part, except for the lack of heating which was more of a problem than I had expected. I had not heeded the advice to bring extra blankets, and so I was stuck with the default ones that came with the cabin. At least there was SOMETHING, right?

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