Now what makes a great short stay hostel? Well for me it has to have fantastic cast of characters, people that have so much fun they stay WAY longer than they thought they would. Not to mention the place has to be fairly chaotic, hedonistic and without many rules bogging it down. With those, somewhat mischievous standards, there was one place that really stepped up to the plate for me – it was the Clown & Bard in Prague.
To be fair there were circumstances that added to the mystique of the Bard. I went there to meet a group of friends that I knew from working in Edinburgh, Scotland so having them as a base was great, it helped me to spread my wings and meet lots of other people. Every night the bar in the Clown and Bard thrived. There was such an eclectic mixture of nationalities too – Americans, Aussies, Kiwis, Brits, and Euros all coming together in this macabre nod to the UN. Perhaps, it was the way the UN should be with the nations sending representatives to get very drunk, sometimes on absinthe, and stoned as people smoked pot anywhere in the hostel.
The city had something to do with the fun I was having to though. Prague was so beautiful and interesting. At that time, it was one of the first I had been to in Europe… talk about doing some of the best first. Everything else after Prague had a lot to live up to. What was great fun was meeting different people in the hostel then spending time walking around the city with them. That was what I remembered and liked best the people that filled that place.
In terms of its physicality of the hostel the rooms were fine with nothing that special. The bar was where the action was each night. The enjoyable facet was seeing the different groups of people you had been meeting over the two weeks I spent there all sitting at their tables. In time, I was moving around all those tables with different friends sharing different in jokes I had built with them. I can say too that one of the guys I randomly met there is now a really good friend here in Toronto. That was the kind of place the Clown & Bard was, just a hostel that was amazingly conducive to meeting people. And really at the end of the day that is most important facet of a short stay hostel – connecting fast and in a meaningful way.