The worst-rated hostel in Paris
A dorm room at the hostel
Look, we’re not sure this place even still exists, but if it has been shut down it would be for a bloody good reason. When we checked in to this hostel in 2014, it was Patrick’s first impression of Paris after Lucy had been rambling on about it for years. It was located just out the front of Gare du Nord (yeah should have sent off alarm bells already but whatever, it was cheap).
We had to politely pass through a gang to get to the front door. The group of aggressive youths looked us up and down before letting us through. The manager of the hotel was a heavily botoxed 30ish-year-old man who tried to charge us double the amount. The room was falling apart with hallway roofs collapsing, none of the toilet lights worked (and the locks didn’t work either), and there was only one physical key to share between all members of the dorm (so you had to negotiate who was going out and at what time). Reviews of this hostel included rats, bed bugs, sexual predators and scams – we aren’t surprised by any of this.
We promptly left and moved into Number 2.
A 12m2 Parisian Attic Next To A Jazz Singer
The kitchen (if you can call it that) that we used for three weeks in Paris
The view from the attic made it all worthwhile
This place was kind of weird, but in a cool way. For three weeks we were bunched up together in this apartment which totaled 12m2. Yep, that’s including a bathroom and “kitchen”. For these three weeks we dealt with only one hot plate and a shower that you couldn’t even slightly bend down in. The AirBNB listing specifically stated that only “slim people” should stay here, and we would have to agree.
It was up four flights of curvy wooden stairs, and the stairs happened to be the only place the WiFi worked. The lady next door would sing beautiful French jazz music every evening, which was probably the only perk of the painfully thin walls.
An Indian Palace (Complete with a King)
The exterior of the palace (currently under renovation)
During our Indian adventures in December, we stayed in a former palace in the rural Rajasthan town of Tordi Garh. If this wasn’t enough, a man who was the direct descendant of the line of Kings for the region, spoiled us with his company for the night.
Little did we know that his company came with a collection of hundred-year old embellished Royal guns, historical canons and dozens of swords dating back to the 13th century. He went on to tell us stories about how many people each sword would have killed and in which battles.
We definitely slept with one eye open this night.
Sub-zero Conditions in Nagarkot, Nepal
Warming our hands up during the one hour of electricity
When we were visiting Nepal it was in winter, so things were pretty cold but this didn’t stop us from visiting the mountain town of Nagarkot. The 2015 Earthquake heavily affected Nagarkot and there was a substantial amount of damage still remaining. We stayed in a lovely guesthouse run by two very dedicated gentlemen who had to cook our dinner on a wood fire due to the energy and fuel crisis.
The energy crisis extended to heating, so there was no available method for heating rooms during the sub-zero nighttime conditions. The guesthouse was able to afford to turn electricity on for an hour before bedtime, so we huddled around the little bar heater as much as possible. The rest of the night was spent sleeping in many layers (including rain jackets and shoes).
Opposite a drug den in Edinburgh
This was our first ever AirBNB experience and it wasn’t exactly the best, although we did learn a lot about how people conduct drug deals. This learning curve happened because our room was in a fifth floor apartment overlooking a drug den. We overbooked our time in Edinburgh so we had plenty of spare time to peek out the windows and watch the comings and goings. Not exactly how we had anticipated spending our time in the gorgeous Scottish city.
Sharing a cabin with massive geckos in Cambodia
Koh Rong Samloem is the place of fantasy: empty beaches, no WiFi and total disconnect from the world. One thing we didn’t quite get to grips with was sharing our cabin with massive geckos. We got quite a shock when we saw the first one, eyes bulging out of its head as it decided to stay directly above us as we slept. Having no electricity doesn’t exactly help in locating said geckos during the dark of night.
Empty passenger boat to Split
The view from the ferry coming into Split
We had been reading all these blogs about having to arrive early for passenger ferries so you can snag yourself a good spot. People said things about sleeping in the lifeboats and shotgunning the outdoor benches, but when we got on the boat … there was nobody else in the seating area. We ended up having a whole section of seating to ourselves (we counted 164 seats), so we actually had a ripper sleep.
Rooftop in Chefchaoeun
The blue city of Chefchaouen is an awesome place to visit when in Morocco
Waking up to the sound of goats in the morning was a lovely touch to our experience sleeping on the roofs of the blue town of Chefchoauen. Although we stayed in this cheap hostel which seemed to attract a huge number of dope-smoking travellers with COPD, the only beds they had left were on the roof in between the smokers’ area and the toilet. So we had to spend the night having people running back and forth between the bathroom and the terrace trying not to vomit prematurely. We promptly moved to a much quieter rooftop at a much nicer riad.
Sleeper trains in India
We were too scared to get a photo of the guy with the gun, so here’s some other train snaps
Spending the night in a sleeper train in India had to be one of our more interesting sleeps. The train journey was incredibly long and the bunks folded down from the walls, with no doors or privacy whatever. Young men and women would come through the carriages carting chai and samosas to feed the masses. We tried to sleep as many other fellow passengers looked strangely at us with large inquisitive eyes. When we woke up we realised that the train guard sleeping below me had a huge AK47 pointing upwards at my bunk the whole night.
A rehabilitation hostel in Krakow
View from our dorm in Krakow
Another story where staying in the cheapest hostel turned out to be regretful… We checked into our hostel in Krakow and were surprised by the weird amount of old men everywhere and the lack of other backpackers. This was made very evident when the creepy men in our dorm room would look at us at night or when we were getting changed. That is when we decided to check translate the weird red sign out the front of the hostel front door, only to discover that it said “End-Stage Rehabilitation Hostel”. Never again will we confuse youth hostels with rehab hostels.
OCD host in Rome
We stayed in a gorgeous AirBNB near the Vatican in Rome but what we didn’t anticipate was the OCD host. Whenever we went out we would come back and our laptops have been cleaned, clothes folded and life organised. We weren’t allowed to cook, clean or wash our own clothes in case we messed something up.
Moonrise in the Sahara is pretty epic
When your only mode of transport is a very disgruntled camel
Spending the night in the Sahara Desert was a unique and amazing experience. Staying in a bedouin camp with the stars overhead, we spent the evening cooking, singing and sandboarding down the dunes.
Homeless in New York on Halloween
Before things got very real in New York
When we were in New York we went to a Halloween party at New York University and things went dramatically wrong. We needed to go back to our apartment but managed to lose each other in the subway (without phones), and then realised we had lost the apartment key. We waited on the freezing streets for our friend to return from another dorm and hopefully let us sleep on her floor, but she never came back. When the sun was rising the next morning we realised that we actually did have the key and had just spent a night unnecessarily on the freezing New York streets.
Spending Patrick’s 22nd birthday in a questionable hotel
Down some weird alley way in Bangkok we arrived at the only hotel we found left on booking.com that wasn’t a million dollars a night. The place was falling apart. Nobody at reception for ages. The doors left wide open, luggage just left unattended in the reception. As we were taken to our room we noticed signs everywhere saying “rent by the month, the night, or the hour”. Hmm. The room was crap with the ceiling mouldy, sheets dirty and all whitegoods covered in a brown grime. Above the cracked toilet was a pleasant sign heralding the warning “do not flush condoms down toilet. Break plumbing”. Well sh*t, where were we?
We had no time to switch hotels so we just put up with it. We went out to avoid spending any time in the room, only to come back to an empty reception (again). When we got in the elevator out walked the manager with his hand on the ass of a tall women dressed in leather. And then he proceeded to have the nerve to ask us if we were guests, otherwise to please leave. Not the best night to end our Asian Adventures or Patrick’s birthday, but a memory all the same.