Well Mes Amis, I?m off on my travels again, not with Alan this time but sprog number 1, she?s just turned 13 and its half term so time for some of that parent bonding malarkey. Not for her the heady heights of Nottingham, but the sedate sights of Salisbury. Nor for her a weekend in the Hilton Hotel but a couple of nights in the local Youth Hostel. I?m not stingy but £14.90 for me, and £11/60 per night totalling £53.00 and including breakfast was far better than the £100 I would have had to pay for other B&B?s in the city. So what?s the Youth Hostel Association? Simply it was an organisation set up for travellers to gain a good nights sleep at a great price. Primarily it was aimed at student and other people travelling around the UK. It was luxurious but simple basics. Nut now its grown and grown and grown, there are over 80 in the UK and they?re also scattered all over the globe. You will find them in every major city but also in the most rural areas of the countryside. The clientele has changed too, now its not just the hapless Australians begging their way around the world. Now its everyone from families to tourists to pensioners having a weekend away. The facilities also vary greatly, some arrange lots of family activities, some are right on the beach, some are tiny, some are mad dive and some of the most rural don?t even have electricity. Enough of those though, they?re all on the website. So to the one in Salisbury. Its only a mile from the train station and 5 minutes from the main shopping area, but I?m sat in the garden, but whilst I can hear traffic faintly in the backgrounds and the occasional train this is far outweighed by the sound of birds and the rustling of the trees. The air is also lovely, clean and fresh. Right, now I?m out at Stonehenge whilst I?m waiting for the bus after our first night. The hotel itself is 200 years old and a quaint old-fashioned place looking more Victorian than earlier. There?s ple
nty of parking, green grounds, trees, benches and tables, a sunken garden, and to the rear Tulip Lodge, an annex. There is apparently also a volleyball court and camping facilities. Inside is just as pleasant, a welcoming hall with various doors leading off and the stairs. We?ve stowed the bags because we cant book in until 1pm, so hurrah!, it was time to explore! The Reception Maps to everywhere you can think of, drinks and snacks, shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, etc. And blissfully for my daughter who gets withdrawal symptoms if she?s away from the square screen, a computer with Internet access costing £2.50 for 30 mins. The Common Room Wow! So much better than my living room at home. 6 big squishy sofas, books, kids toys and big coffee tables, on which you can play games you hire from reception. Dining Room, Cedar Tree Cafeteria, Kitchen All in one big room, this was a big surprise too. There was a big spotless kitchen for the guests to use. This was fully equipped and they even supplied the washing up liquid. The Dining Room was also large and tastefully decorates, a coffee vending machine was also available. The Cafeteria is where we would fetch our breakfast the next morning. Laundry Does what it says on the door! TV Room Huuugggeee modern TV with not so comfortable chairs. 30 channels were available including QVC, Bid-up TV, CBBC and 2 music channels, ordinary channels too of course. And a big scary room which Lucy detested, consisting of a big table and chairs, it was quite dim and had horrendously noisy air conditioning. So there it all is, now to the experience. Our room was pleasant enough with 6 bunk beds in it. And in no uncertain terms told the kid I was not hauling my fat ass up that ladder. I got the bo
ttom bunk (That didn?t last long though, she wriggles so much in the night I though she was going to fall through on me) A downside of course is sharing a room with 4 other people you don?t know, thankfully all female. 2 were in their 50?s and a Japanese girl who spoke no English. Pleasant enough but they turned the lights off at 10pm, boring lot! For a quiet lot they made an extraordinary amount of noise in the night! One snored like a train, the other breathed like she was on a life support machine and the last had her keys attached to her wrist. It was a continual cacophony of noise as they all did it at different times, so I finally fell asleep through sheer exhaustion. Waking up was a pleasant affair with the birds singing away. There was a basin in our room which was mostly neglected for the bathroom down the hall. Which is shared and it is quite a bizarre experience going to the toilet with a man in the next one. They were spotless though. There are 2 power showers in separate cubicles, again spotless with not a hint of mould or dirt anywhere. Time for Brekkie in the Dining Room, it is included in the price so a real bargain. There was a selection of cereals and fruit juices, a full breakfast and a continental breakfast of croissants, cheese, various butters and jams, and fruit. All tasting delicious apart from the toast which was a little cold. If you are so inclined you could order a picnic lunch at a reasonable price of £4.10, packed full it was too. Check out I at 10.30 and if you are staying more than 1 night you do have to re-check in, but you can keep your things in the room. Did we enjoy it? Absolutely, 2 nights away with breakfast for £67 which included joining the YHA for £15.00. Anywhere else would have cost me £50+ per night and not had all the facilities we enjoyed. Of course its not for the bashful as you never know who you?re in the room with, but we did meet some fantastic people.
In fact we enjoyed it so much we?re giving the holiday camp a miss this year and are going to work our way through Cornwall down to the Lizard stopping at several Youth Hostels on the way! I can thoroughly recommend this to anyone. Happy travelling people, perhaps I?ll see you on the way