The Hostel Life for me – a retrospective

It’s been a month since my last blog post and it really is about time I posted again. Not being able to think of something to write about, I found this old unpublished post in the vault, whilst doing a routine clean-up of PDAs, phones, and memory cards. I’d written this just after I left Mostar, Bosnia, and started on into Montenegro. It has been tirelessly restored by a dedicated team, and is reproduced in its full form, here for you.

Excluding the quick 10-15 minute power naps on the bus this morning, it’s now hour number 33 since sleep was my nearest and dearest friend.

After the tour pretty much wiped out any energy I might once have owned, we left the hostel en masse for the nearest alcohol we could find… Small twinges of bad ideas probably began around to be realised around that 30 minute argument between the police and the bar owners over whether they should close the bar, since it was well past last orders.

Or perhaps it all started before that, when Aaron convinced me that the 7am bus to Budva, Montenegro was a really good idea. Riches lie there. Milk, honey, that sort of thing. The alternative was a stop at Dubrovnik, which I was a little opposed to having already spent a couple of nights there back in 2004.

Although, the point it all started spiralling into the pit of really bad ideas, actually, if I’m completely honest with myself – was probably around the time we all decided that ending the evening by visiting Mostar’s only nightclub was a really good idea..

This is a weird travel-circuit – there are very few hostels, and there are very few directions in which interesting things lie. Split, Sarajevo, Mostar, Dubrovnik, Budva. The only choice most travellers in this area have is whether they’re going North or South. Both Montenegro and Albania only have 2 “real” hostels in the whole country, I’m assured. The others are clearly mere pretenders. Not hostels at all. 5* hotels masquerading as traveller meeting points, with golden bunk-beds stuffed with goose feathers from paradise, I would assume.

Most people I’ve spoken to about my holidays have asked me if I wouldn’t prefer travelling with other people instead of on my own. If you’ve never stayed in a hostel or you enjoy the opportunity to meet with large groups of complete strangers with very different backgrounds. Now’s the time to try.

What I’m trying to say is… It probably all went wrong, when I went clubbing.

I’m not much of a dancer. The best places to drink only really serve beer, they have warm fires, a pet cat, a quiet jukebox lightly humming any number of rock classics, they’re often found on the back of a mill. They most certainly don’t have bubble machines. See, there are two types of people in this world. People who love clubbing, and the people like me. Fortunately I wasn’t the only person like me in our group, as quickly became apparent after a few beers. “What the fuck are we doing here?” asked Welsh Alun. “You’re right, I hate clubbing”, I replied. Our separatist group quickly grew in numbers, as we all stubbornly stood near the bar enjoying ourselves clubbing only through the act of collectively hating it. Still not leaving, of course.

And so it turned out to be quite a memorable night. We got back to the hostel in the very early hours. Others helped me to stay awake so I could catch my bus at 6am, including a trip into Mostar so I could actually see the place “by day”. Before it becomes hour 34, and the hallucinations get stronger – I think I should probably go and find my golden bunk bed, and catch a little sleep.

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