I`ve just finished my first Thanksgiving meal of turkey, mashed potato, sweet potato, stuffing and some other stuff I don`t recognise but it tasted good. All for free I might add and totally unexpected. Another random hostel event. Hostels rule. So I thought I might write about them.
Some people were surprised when I said I`d be travelling alone for a good chunk of the trip. Truth is, while I`m staying in hostels, I`ve never been alone. Where else can you walk into a group of people deep in conversation you`ve never met, join in and it not be weird. Come to think of it, I`ve learnt more about other countries from people I`ve met this way than visiting the country themselves. I`ve learnt Swiss card games (they have 36 cards and weird suits like acorns and shields), the outrage in Slovenia about the banning of smoking on public transport and the best places to visit in the States (funnily enough, it`s always where the advice giver comes from).
What I`ve really liked about hostels is the little things at each place. Most of them have extras, free or not, the make the experience so much more fun that if you stay in a hotel. I never thought I`d watch the Sound of Music with 30 other backpackers in the town it was filmed in (and watch half the girls mouthing the words to the songs - I know they wanted to sing a long), paddling down a river in the Czech Republic after dark with 6 Aussies and a token Canadian and having a ball or enjoying a free BBQ in Vegas next door to a quickie wedding chapel. There`s of course the obvious downsides, people making noise when you want to sleep, total lack of privacy (although after the 200 person showers in Sweden privacy is an abstract thing to me now), and all the rules in US hostels and the old(er) guests who enforce them. And right now there`s a french couple dry humping on the table next to me (don`t get me started). Worst thing though is leaving a hostel you`ve had an awesome time at and knowing it`s pretty unlikely you`ll see those people again.
OK, so whats my point? Hostels are good (newsflash). I never realised that hostel living would be such a big part of this trip, but I`m glad they did. Now, time to have my first try of Pumpkin Pie.