Hostels are weird places, but in order to travel for extended periods, I must use them almost exclusively, unless I'm able to hit up friends of friends of friends for a place on their couch.
The obvious pros and cons are:
- Easy to meet fellow travelers
- Free and comprehensive city maps and lots of suggestions for what to do
- Cheap cheap cheap
- Helpful staff with no sales incentive to help navigate the city
- Usually: free breakfast, free wifi, free tea/coffee/water
- No privacy
- Possible dirtiness
- Shared bathrooms
- The fear your things will be stolen
- Noisy dormmates with little regard to the time and whether or not you are sleeping
...and sometimes you get a weirdo.
While in Kotor Bay, Montenegro Ross and I had an entire eight-bed dorm to ourselves. This is the equivalent of hostel gold, folks. That never happens. Anyway, it was too good to be true of course because a quirky, older Northern Irish man named Gavin checked in sometime around 8pm. I knew he was 'off' from the get-go, but we were polite and invited him to join us on a walk to the grocery store. Afterwards we joined the entire hostel for social hour in the lobby and sometime around midnight I went to bed.
Use your best Northern Irish accent for this next part, folks:
I was awakened at midnight by Gavin who simply said, "Katie". I said "what?" and he said "nothing".
Again at 2am..."Katie..."..."what?"..."nothing."
And then at 5:45am..."Katie..."..."what?"...
..."May I lie with you?"
Though he was very polite and indeed used proper grammar, I couldn't help my knee-jerk reaction to shout "No!", and didn't close my eyes again until he got up and left for his bus at 6:30.
Ross said I sounded offended. I was.