Saturday, October 3, 2009

Europa Hostel, Brugge

Lets talk about Europa Hostel in Bruges. I have discovered that to get your name added to the Hosteling International list, all you need to do is pass the guy a tenner when he comes to check it out. That's all there is to it. That's all there can be to it. I mean, look at this place. Look at it.

Well, you can't look at it, and I don't want to go around taking pictures, so you'll just have to trust me here. It's crap. That's all there is to it. In the washroom is there soap? Of course not! And are there paper towels to dry your hands with? Nope, there's one of those circulating cloth towels instead. Saving the environment, one passed on disease at a time. You know, it wouldn't be so bad if there weren't brown spots on it, that circulated as you rotated the towel.

And then we check out that the showers. Are they fantastic? Are they wonderful? Are they at least clean? Nope. The taps are rusted, the walls have rust all through the wall where the pipe runs behind, and the shower floors are definitely ones you want to wear your flip flops in. Beware the feet herpes. They're almost as bad as feet harpies. Queen of the harpies! Queen of the harpies!

Alright, well let us look at the beds. Hmm – not too bad, and the sheets (starched, and god awful, seemingly ripped to size from a giant piece of fabric) – are included. As is the pillow and blanket. Breakfast, too, is included. And the price, at seventeen euros a night is not one to be scoffed at.

But there is no common t.v. room. It's all in the open on tiled floors and the man behind the counter controls the remote control. And let us not forget that this is a hostel that caters to high school students, and travelling families the world over.

Now, this is the problem with Hosteling International hostels. If you were looking for a large groups accommodation, wouldn't you go to a well known name such as that? And if you had young kids with you, wouldn't you do the same? Of course you would. Such is the curse of Hosteling International – and thus the reason why I shall avoid them for the rest of my trip – if it can be helped. To the Let's Go guide for all my hostel knowledge.

Now – this hostel has a bar in it, open at night. And the price is right. But there is no one at the bar. And everyone here is underage. If you're the type of person who brings the party with you, then this might be the right place for you. But for the solo traveller? Perhaps you should stay away. There seems to be a really good hostel in the middle of town – they run a bar that's popular with the locals too.

Still – with free internet, all this places sins might have been forgotten, with the exception of one. And it's a big one. The doors lock with real keys. Real keys that have a large obnoxious key chain that can't be removed. It's sized like the old BMW chains, you know, the super fat golf tee things? Yeah – the ones that don't fit comfortably in any pocket? But that's fine. I can deal with that. However, the doors literally lock and unlock. They do not just get opened, and then auto lock. So when you enter the room, you need to remember to lock it from the inside. And when you leave, lock it with your key from the outside.

My schools classroom has had the relock feature for years. And do you know why? Because without it, people would just wander into the rooms and steal stuff. Ohh – isn't that an interesting concept! So it's not enough for you to lock your room when you leave. You need to hope that all the hung over, late sleepers, remember to lock up the door too. Which they never do. Because they assume that it auto locks, and no one is neurotic enough to check up on that except for me.

(ALF is on JIM now. They just showed a preview for the video game WET. Is that game banking on the attractive female character to get it some decent sales? Because if that's what it's going for – it should fail. Unless it's made by the people who made XIII there is no excuse for the god awful Wii graphics showing up on the 360, and PS3. It could have survived as a lanch title, but... Hey, I forgot that ALF's theme song was in the form of Blair Witch Project footage.)

So that's that. This hostel is so close to being fantastic – yet... it falls short in a vast number of ways. And, after last night, I'm more than a little grumpy because, you see, a monster lived under by bed. A monster!

Next entry!

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