The receptionist woke us all up on the hostel couch at 10:00am and sent us to our actual beds. Then maid woke me up at 10:30 when she came in to clean and kick me out of my bunk to check out. I drunkenly looked at bus tickets again and decided that though it was a third of the price of flights, a 16-hour bus ride seemed pretty perturbing at this point. I found the cheapest flight to Amsterdam going out the same day, and BOOKED! I have a free place to stay in Amsterdam, so I wasn’t worried about the higher airline ticket pricing since I won’t have to pay for hostels the next few nights. I was still so tired that I asked one of my staff friends if I could sleep in her bed in the staff room for a bit. We ended up sleeping until 4:00pm and woke up from snuggling all the hostel staff, ready for my next destination.
I had to repack my stuff because EasyJet already screwed me with a bag-fee when my backpack didn’t fit in their little carry-on compartment. I threw some things away, and gave some to workers. Staff members told me I was a “hostel legend” and mentioned the possibility of me working there in the future. This made me happy because I’ve actually been considering working at a hostel for parts of my trip in order to help me extend my travels as long as possible. Hostels usually require you work a minimum of one month in exchange for free room and board. I would definitely love working at this hostel (and the one that offered me a job in Budapest), but I’m trying to flee winter and not have to buy a whole new wardrobe. The timing isn’t quite right.
In order to spend as much time with these fellows as possible, I strapped on my backpack and headed to the beer garden with them. I got two iced ciders and a giant meat-pocket/kebab. We played card games and laughed about our travels and mutual experiences in Prague. When it was time to leave, everyone got up from their seats to give me a giant group-hug and cheek-kisses to send me on my way. I was sad and regretful about leaving my friends, but I’ve been here for about a week, and so it was time to move on. I’m glad I discovered this place–I know I’ll be back someday. Lesson learned: never get too attached to people or places while traveling.
The airport Uber was awkward because the guy spoke no English and stuffed me in the backseat of his minivan rather than letting me take the front. He kept slamming the breaks and speeding up so I felt nauseous the entire time. I was so relieved when I got my feet on the ground again, arriving two hours early, which is honestly too early here. Airport security is so easy, it literally takes you 5-minutes to get through, they only use the small metal detectors, and you don’t even have to take your shoes off! The Amsterdam airport is one of the coolest I’ve entered, as it contains a shopping mall, a huge food selection and even two grocery stores! Thinking I’d have to leave the airport to catch the train, I sheepishly asked the way to the station. With huge rolling metal louvres, the train station was actually connected to the airport, so that was an easy transfer.
I arrived at Central Station to meet the cousins-of-cousins I’m staying with. I’ve never met them before, but they graciously opened their home to me. They met me at the piano-bar in the station and showed me to their sweet little houseboat in the center of town, only 10-minutes away. We blew up a mattress in the living room because they were already hosting a neighbor in their spare bedroom. They kept apologizing, but honestly their house was so cute, their mattress was so comfy, and the soft rocking of the river put me right to sleep. I was just happy about having a nice place to stay on such short notice (I literally asked if I could come stay with them yesterday, so I was perfectly content with anything they had to offer). They took me in and rescued me out of the rainstorm happening that night.
Alena Horowitz | Miss Potato