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mercredi 11 mai 2016

Is there a “best by” date to book a stay in a hostel?

L’article qui suit a été rédigé par Jacquie Bridonneau, que je remercie. Une traduction en français suivra dans quelques jours. Vous êtes invité à présenter (sous la forme de « commentaires »), vos propositions de traduction, observations, etc. Il en sera tenu compte. Vous m'autorisez à utiliser vos contributions comme je l'entends, sur ce blog (en mentionnant votre nom) et ailleurs (en mentionnant votre collaboration une fois pour toutes).


Last week I drove up to the Netherlands for a couple of days with one of my friends, who’s a few years older than I am – OK, to be honest, we can say that we’re both gray-haired grannies, just to cut down on the suspense! She’s been retired for a while, meaning that with all the economic austerity programs here in France, while prices have been rising, pensions have been staying flat, so purchasing power is at the best, stable, but in reality, has plunged or at least slipped down for many people.  As we were trying to get the most out of our vacation budgets, she suggested that we stay in a youth hostel for our first night of our trip in Delft.

Well, I must admit that this was something I had never done.  Having been insomniac for most of my life, sleeping in the same room with other people, some of whom I don’t know, was part of my definition of hell on earth.  Hearing them toss and turn, snore, and even worse, having them hear me toss and turn and trumpeting away! But what the heck I figured, why not give it a try, so I booked us two beds in a room with eight beds plus a bathroom – and then spent days wondering if I had made too rash of a decision.

Thanks to Joséphine, my GPS, (those who live in France will recognize how I am referring to it as my guardian angel), we arrived almost right to the door, as the hostel was on a canal in a small pedestrian road. We rang and Carola, the owner/manager unlocked the door for us and showed us into the little dining room/lounge, and then showed us our room – four bunk beds with linins provided and a full bath.  It was Spartan but clean! There even was a roof patio, but because of the cool weather, we couldn’t use it.  We settled in, and took advantage of the fully equipped kitchen to heat our pizza and crack open a bottle of rosé wine to go with it. Life was suddenly looking much better.

There was only one other person sleeping in our room, so objectively this probably won’t happen again if I chose to stay at a hostel in the future, but what a great experience! And at only 23 euros per person to spend the night right in the middle of Delft, within walking distance of everything and just a few doors away from the Vermeer Museum, this was a true bargain. It was not the best night I had ever spent, but I made it through, and probably wouldn’t have slept much better in a regular hotel at several times that price. We made ourselves breakfast the next morning, went sight-seeing in town and took off to our next destination, the beautiful Keukenhof gardens, where I had booked us a B&B in the outskirts of Amsterdam.

So I’d say that whatever your age, trying something new, and here it was simply a hostel for myself, is great fun! No, it’s never too late. Your “best by” date is just fine. We both felt like two “little old ladies from Pasadena.”

For those looking for a “home away from home,” as they say on their business card, here are the Hostel Delft contact details: Voldersgracht 17, 2611 Delft – info @ hosteldelft.nl

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