The Really Weird Hostel in Zurich
Hostels are a great way to save money and meet new people so I was very excited when I got a last-minute room for 10 nights in a hostel in downtown Zurich, right next to all the restaurants and bars. My reservation was lined up well so I packed my bags and finally arrived at the hostel to check in and check out the beautiful city of Zurich.
But when I arrived, two men opened the door, smiled at me, and beckoned me to come in. They were standing in a dark, dingy hallway that lead to the hostel upstairs and I felt really uncomfortable, not knowing what was going to happen. There was also a piece of paper taped to the wall with the hostel’s name on it, so that sent a huge red flag. I politely told them to hold on and went online to check the hostel’s reviews again. I was at the right address and there were several reviews of all kinds, so I took a deep breath and decided to go inside, where (thank goodness) I was greeted by a less dingy reception room and was told the hostel was under construction, which was why it was really dusty.
I’m not sure if what I did was stupid or brave. What would you have done?
Anyway, I went out for the day and when I came back, they had a room ready for me and I felt much more comfortable seeing other people there, including other women. I got into my room and it was a typical hostel dorm, and at this point I was very relaxed and quite satisfied with the central location. However they didn’t have a key for the room – apparently theirs had all been taken – so we had to keep the door unlocked. OK. Sketchy, but OK. I was in a room with five other women so I could deal.
So the next night, the owner of the hostel comes in at midnight, turns on the light, and wakes us all up to – I don’t even know. I was a bit POed and tried to pretend I hadn’t woken up. I think she was asking everyone how their stay was going. What. the. hell.
The hostel was around there, somewhere.
The next morning, I went to catch my ride to Jungfrau and couldn’t get out of the building because a drunk man had passed out, barricading the front door shut. I tried to open it without disturbing him but eventually had to use more force to get him out of the way. I’m sorry he had a bad night, but I had a bus to catch. He looked at me angrily and then went back to sleep so I guess I didn’t do too much harm. I’ve never had to deal with that before but I guess it could happen to any hostel.
That night, a bunch of older men checked in and were yelling away because they didn’t know the difference between a hotel and a hostel, and didn’t like the dormitory-style rooms. Later, because we had the door unlocked, one of the men walked into our room in the dark and when he sat down on the bed, he realised he was in the wrong place, shouted, and ran out. Of course that was going to happen eventually.
And I guess from that, someone in the room then wanted to lock the door because when I got home the next night at 2:00am, the door was locked and someone had to unlock it to let me in. I felt really bad but it would’ve been preventable if I had a key. The next day, the owner came in to talk to me about being disrespectful and being out too late. There was no written rule that I had a curfew, and it’s a hostel. Youths come and go as they please. I felt targeted and then met some other people at the hostel who’d had similar issues. One was told he needed to shave, and the owner actually got shaving cream and a razor for him. She tried to shave him herself but he got her to stop. Another guest was older and was asked repeatedly why she wasn’t married. The owner would “pray for her to find a husband.” Wow! What a way to run a business. The Swiss I met there thought it was weird, too, so it wasn’t just culture shock.
The thing is that even though this stay could’ve gone a lot more smoothly than it did, it was one of the most unique experiences I’ve ever had in such a small place and even though there was no common room, it brought a lot of people staying there together. We’d see each other in the hallways, introduce ourselves, and immediately go into all the weird stuff that had happened during our stays. I’m still friends with some people I met there. And now, I have another story to talk about and honestly, it makes a good laugh. That’s what hostels are all about, right?
What’s been your weirdest hostel stay?
Posted on Sunday, April 1, 2018 in Stories