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The Party Scene

HUNGARY | Monday, 24 June 2013 | Views [2761]

On the train to Budapest I met two girls from Australia who where headed towards Pamplona for the running of the bulls. I had totally forgotten! A year ago I had started a list of festivals, events, etc I should try to see if I was in the right place at the right time. Somehow I'd only gotten three things on my list and Pamplona was one of them - but I'd totally forgotten about it. A couple weeks before a world renowned event is not nearly enough time to check for places to sleep in the city, especially if you're on a tight budget (and getting tighter).

Well, they said, first we're going to Retox. Retox? What's that? I asked naively.

It turns out there's a set of four hostels in Budapest that are joined together: Retox, Grande, Carpe Noctum and Carpe Noctum Vitae. Hearing this the faintest tickling of my memory began to trigger - two years ago I'd decided to go to Budapest after watching a random ad for a hostel some girl had made and posted on her blog. It was Carpe Noctum Vitae! Oddly enough the only one of the four with vacancies when we pulled into town the next day.

Party hostels are a weird vibe. Every night an activity brings everyone together (usually with copious amounts of booze on the line) and every night goes late. Like 3 o'clock is "heading back early". Everybody's usually hungover and sleep deprived most of the time, but friends are made quickly and no-one's ever too grumpy. People have a habit of not leaving - I met four or five people who had come for a couple days and were on their third week already.

As nice as it was to visit, the party hostel atmosphere is a raging maelstrom of hormones. Lots of guys, lots of girls, lots of booze and you can see where this is headed.

Aside from the drama (and gossip is much beloved here) I also encountered my first couple having sex in the dorms (honestly, I'm more shocked it didn't happen more sooner.

It was a surreal experience though - I was awoken early in the morning to a creaking and a rocking. From a dead sleep I rolled over, trying to figure this out. I was on the top bunk, it was gently rocking... I knew the guy sleeping on the bottom bunk, and he had been alone when I stumbled in the night before - I peeked down and saw that he was still by his lonesome, and the bed was still arockin'.

Well it wasn't him, it certainly wasn't me... Slowly I turned to look behind me. Four bald cheeks stared me right back, bouncing away, not a care in the world.

Never one to buck etiquette, I felt it would be rude to interrupt (almost as rude as what I would be interrupting...) so I laid back down and tried to put it out of my mind. From gentle rocking to angry swells, the frequency accelerated and I was beginning to get a little seasick when the storm finally subsided.

Then the kissing started.

I never got to meet the couple face to face (mystery nethers they shall remain), as I checked out later that morning. On my way out the door Alex from New Mexico was talking to one of the staffers, adding another week to his stay. Catching the train up to Krakow, I briefly wondered if the hostel one of my fellow guests had recommended would be more of the same, and if I shouldn't break out of the circuit before I got too caught up in it. Luckily, I'd booked the wrong hostel and it was deader than dead in there. Well, maybe not luckily...

Regardless, a week later in Berlin, I'd somehow managed to stumble into another late-night partygoers situation - but that wasn't the hostel's fault; that's just Berlin.

Tags: backpacking, hostels, party, sex, train

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