Hostels are weird places because, unlike hotels, you’re often living in close proximity to the people in charge of them, and, unlike hotels, you’re not really paying them enough to pretend they give a shit about you. They’re the kind of places where you can hear people having sex at 1 in the afternoon in the room next to you, or someone half-playing ‘Ode To Joy’ on a shitty toy keyboard at 3 at night. I CAN’T WAIT TO GET THE FUCK OUT OF THIS PLACE. SERIOUSLY. 

When I first arrived in Madrid, I stumbled into a hostel near Principe Pio late at night having typically not organised myself to book one in the three weeks before I knew I was coming here. I got a room with a TV, a shower, a sink and a double bed all for 25 euros which was pretty decent. However climbing under the covers was not a pleasant experience: even for a long-time smoker the tobacco-soaked odour of those bedsheets was hard to deal with. 

The worst hostel I remember staying in was in Marseilles in 2009. The mattress and bedsheets were more stained than not, the loos were holes in the floor and the flies had more claim to residence than we did. It was made barely tolerable (or possibly worse, I don’t remember) by the generous amount of weed my friends parlaid for 10 euros from a homeless French man and his (homeless French) dog. (I must stress the dog played no part in the transaction, barring the possibility that his intermittent yelps represented some kind of street psychic haggling advice undecipherable to us). 

Anwyway, I high-tailed it out of that Principe Pio hostel and have spent the last few weeks living in a combination of hostels, flats and bnb’s, until I finally found a flat. It’s a little more expensive than I was hoping, and it’s a little further away from the centre than I was hoping, but it’s bloody marvellous. I feel like I can see all of Madrid from my window. 

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