Monday, January 5, 2009

Collingwood backpackers

Before I leave Melbourne I just wanted to mention my hostel.

I nearly didn't stay at Collingwood as I went to the wrong address when I arrived - typically for me I did not read the directions properly and went in totally the wrong direction!

When I did eventually find the place (after rechecking online at a very expensive internet cafe nearby) I was greeted by a locked door and a sign that said reception was closed. Again I nearly said 'Fuck it I'll go somewhere else' but instead I rang the number on the sign and got through to Paul.

Paul is the owner/manager of the place and greeted me at the door before proceeding to chat for about 20 minutes about Melbourne and what you can do here. It was all very well to get the information but I didn't even get a chance to unload my rucksack which was still on my back while he happily talked away to me.

I was eventually shown to my room - an 8 bed dorm just below stairs in the small courtyard. I later discovered the room was known as the holding pen - where people go until they are deemed ok to go into general circulation by being allowed into a room upstairs. I actually loved it - there was only one other drunk person in the room when I arrived in he left the next day which meant I basically had the 8 bed dorm all to myself.

My first night in the place was a bit of a baptism of fire. I met two american girls Netanya and Brie and an English guy called Napthan and was immediately invited out for a couple of drinks with them. The two girls where great but the English guy was a complete wanker. I should have know he would be trouble as soon as we walked out of the hostel as he decided to smash his beer bottle on the road and then proceeded to stagger drunkenly up the street after us.

We went to Brunswick Street where other people from the hostel were already out drinking. I was introduced to so many people whose names I completely forgot once I was told them. I then started chatting away to some of them before they left to go back to the hostel leaving me, the two girls and dipshit Napthan.

On the way back to the hostel Napthan and Natanya got into a big argument calling each other all the names of the day. I was really worried for Natanya as it looked as if he was going to hit her at one point but in the end nothing violent happened.

After that I was in two minds as to whether or not to stay for any longer in the place. Luckily I decided to stay. It turned out that everyone knew Napthan as a nut job in the place and he was eventually thrown out by Paul after trying to start I fight with another backpacker. The place was so much better once he was gone.

Over the past month and a half I have come to think of Collingwood as a home from home. I have met a lot of great people here and Paul the owner has been fantastic with information and cynical banter.

It's not the best kept hostel I have been in but that is part of its charm. I don't think I will be sorry to leave Australia but I will be sorry to leave Collingwood Backpackers.

So thanks to all the friends I have met here - Hopefully I will see some of you back In Ireland, England or even Germany!

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