There’s only one word to sum up Birmingham Backpackers Hostel – Amazeballs!
I cannot believe how much of an ace time I had there. All my friends remark that I become uber-excited upon describing the hostel to them!
Upon walking in the hostel which is about a 10 min walk from Birmingham New Street Station for the gapyear.com meet, I was absolutely taken aback by the uniqueness of it all. The common room is actually fantastic, multicolurful, cheerful and a buzzing place to be. Which makes it a stark contrast from outside where it was damp, rainy and dark!
Around the common room or the Room of Requirement I should call it as there’s everything you could possibly want such as books, dvds, magazines, posters, and even a cinema room…yes you saw correct.. a cinema room in which there’s a big projector set up! The next morning whilst talking with fellow gappers, I needed the toilet and I inwardly grimaced as I would have to climb up to the top to my floor to use the toilet and I wished there was one closer…I looked up and hey presto! There was a men’s toilet right in front of me the entire morning which I didn’t even notice! That’s because there were so many things to look at across the room…you really need to go and see for yourself!
As I walked in, I was greeted by a grinning spunky lady called Sam who ran the hostel behind reception…well bar! She reeled off the do’s and don’t and supplied me with keypad entry codes for the hostel and my dorm room. I went up the rickety staircase after taking another look at the common room, which was filled with many people across the world on their plush beanbags or mismatched furniture talking to each other or glued to their laptops, skyping back home. The next day, I spoke with a portuguese man from Lisbon while we waited for our bread to get slowly cremated. I asked him what he has come to UK for to which he replied he wanted to see the best British cities:
I suddenly cried out ‘Birmingham?!’
Here was a man from the beautiful city of Lisbon and he’s come to Birmingham?!
(I did actually go to Lisbon two years later and well… See More: Why I Hated Lisbon)
I told him what he could do in Birmingham such as have a walk along the canal or go to Bullring etc to which he seemed to appreciate. Whilst telling him, I realised I didn’t know Birmingham very well and perhaps I was being unfair on the city..so I nearly asked if I could go with him! But unfortunately, I had to be back at Leicester later that day. But I will visit properly again!
Using the keypad, and with a deep breath, I went into my dorm room to which I was suddenly greeted by an enthusiastic South-Western girl called Natasha, who I found out was here for the gapyear.com meet also so I introduced myself,. She asked me where I was from…’Leicester’…blank stare…’near Nottingham?’…blank stare…’Northampton?’…more blank stare….’England?’..she flickered and laughed ‘I’m from South West I don’t know!’
I quickly needed to get ready and found a top bunk bed free…ah….I suppose I’ll have to get over my fear of top bunk beds. I fell off a top bunk bed 4 bunks high when I was 10 years old and dislocated my shoulder! Awesome!
Whilst getting ready, I realised that I was woefully unprepared for staying in a hostel particularly if I was wanting to stay at hostels abroad in the future…I found out that I had no padlock with me to lock up my stuff in one of the lockers available in the room. What to do? Could I trust the other occupants of the room not to go rummaging in my bags? Not sure, I decided to take my valuables and stuff them into my tight jeans…so I would be ‘bootylicious’ for the evening!
Also, I was unsure what the equitette of staying in a hostel…what should I do to stop any offence happening and no, wait…there’s a shower in the dorm room? This perplexed me. There’s no bathroom attached to the dorm room…the shower is in fact IN the dorm room…the door was shaded out to stop any perving of my wonderful body but I was wondering how I would be able to step out and avoiding flashing myself to any girls who may scream….with delight.. You might be telling me,
‘Ed! Just put a towel round yourself!’
Yes, I could do that but how could I get changed in the room? Hmmm…but no time to think I needed to meet up with the gappers.
I was glad that I put my stuff on my bunk because apparantly it’s a unspoken hostel rule that your stuff needs to be on a bunk to be claimed by you. If you don’t then don’t be surprised to find another person sleeping in your bunk. This is exactly what happened to a fellow gapper when after we returned from a night out, he found a girl in his bed (turned out she was in the wrong room) and he put his bag on the side of the bed prior. As it was late at 4am he decided to bunk up with his fellow gapper…I’m sure if I was the girl I would be very concerned seeing 2 grown men climbing into the bed above you..and wonder if the bunk can hold both their weight….what did you guys think? 😛
Anyway, Natasha and I entered our dorm room after having quite a few to drink at 4am and I’m sure our fellow dormers appreciated Natasha’s LOUD giggling and my LOUD cursing as I hit my big feet against all the bunks to get to mine, if they weren’t already woken up by Natasha pulling the door shut loudly sounding that a gunshot has gone off!
I slept really well and I got up to find my phone’s battery had died. It would have been nice to have a ledge to put my phone to charge rather than on the floor. So therein lies a lesson, I need to co-ordinate my charging times!
As I got up early, I could have kissed Sam for laying on a great breakfast of toast, fruits, cereal and loads of juice, coffees and teas! As I settled into a plush sofa with my tea (sadly not Yorkshire Tea) I talked with Andy who found the girl in his bed and we chatted a while whilst waiting for the others to wake up from them stupor and join us. I looked round and thought to myself…could I run this place? I think I could!
What I have learnt:
1) Buy a Padlock!
2) Don’t be a prude about Privacy
3) Co-ordinate charging times
4) Talk to International travellers about places you actually know!
5) Apparantly bring Earplugs…snoring is the worst criminal thing you can do in a dorm room….unless you are woken up by a cursing bigfoot giant!
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