Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hostel Review: Eastener Hostel [Berlin, Germany]

Eastener hostel is a small, inexpensive hostel with a kitchen and friendly atmosphere in Eastern Berlin. My room was smaller than the others, and luckily I had it all to myself during the week. The hostel also includes a public PC, kitchen, and there is a grocery store nearby. It was within walking distance of bars and cool music clubs. I saw a cool punk band at one bar, and a local tourist pub crawl came through the bar. Another band did a cover of Michael Jackson, something I have almost never seen in the US. A number of the bars/clubs were located in cool underground vaults and offered plenty of cheap beers. I was amazed when I walked in late to one of the shows, and they actually cut the cover charge in half. The eastern part of the city had a cool, young vibe, and I also stayed later at "The Circus" Hostel in Berlin.

Note: I visited this hostel in April 2007

Hostel Review: Bull Dog Hostel [Amsterdam, Netherlands]

The Bull Dog Hostel also affiliated with the Bull Dog "Coffee Shop", is the most commercial and character-less hostel I have ever stayed at. It is located in the Red-light district, convenient for tourists looking to take part in the vices of Amsterdam. I went to see a Jazz band playing in the Red-light district, but I turned out to be one of the only 5 people who showed up. I also went to see a show at Paradiso, which featured an opening rock band that was cool. There was some loud dance stuff playing after that, so I left early. I attended a film screening at the new Amsterdam concert hall that offered free drinks and h'ordeurves. I think it was a restored silent film, but the introduction was all read in Dutch. Luckily the film was captioned in English. I loaded up on free drinks, which was an awesome deal.

Hostel Review: Flying Pig Beach Hostel [Noordwijk, Netherlands]

I arrived at the Flying Pig Beach hostel over Easter Weekend, since the Amsterdam hostels were full. It's location also offered a quick trip to see the beautiful tulips that were blooming. The hostel was close to the boardwalk and the beach, and the hostel bar offered a great happy hour deal. The hostel had a very friendly atmosphere and contained a small kitchen for cooking while also offering a free breakfast. The hostel was small and didn't have many bathrooms, but had a certain gritty charm. The hostel was accessible by bus from Leiden, but wasn't exactly an easy find.

Boston boats

Boston Hostel

The Boston hostel located near the Berkeley School of Music was my first home in Boston while I frantically searched for an apartment. I would park downtown a few blocks away and hope all of my posessions would still be there in the morning. My job in Burlington offered me a reverse commute, but I would spend my evenings driving around Medford looking at places to sublease for the summer. The hostel reminds me of the uninspired decorating of a college student, but it did offer a nice breakfast to lift my spirits for the journey out of downtown boston (no small feat for someone w/o GPS). The people I met at the hostel seemed mostly on the way to somewhere else. Either they were headed to the hustle of NYC or a camp in Maine. I see Boston the same way today, a stopover in life.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Brugge, Belgium [Bruges]

Bruges is a beautiful old city with canals and cheap beers to die for. The local brewery is "De Halve Maan" brewery that offers what I think was called "Brugse Zot" that had a dancing jester on it. The hostel I stayed in, Snuffel Backpacker hostel, wasn't the greatest hostel ever, but it had a bar with cheap beers. (and you don't have to tip the bartender!!) Scratch that, it was the greatest hostel ever. The town, easily previewed by watching the film "In Bruges", has an old world charm and cheap spaghetti in a cup. A few girls I met from Britain informed me of the spaghetti deal. This was the first city I experienced the wonders of Belgian beers, and it will always remind me of that "ah-ha" moment when I found I truly love beer.