In Europe, Hostels Grow Up
ALMOST three decades after the fact, I can still recall with frightening clarity my first time at a youth hostel. What was billed in my “Let’s Go Europe” book as a “historic” Irish hostel in a “castle,” turned out to be a crumbling tower with no heat, stone floors and mildewed mattresses. I vowed never to stay in a hostel again. Yet having heard that the hostel scene, while still being unbelievably cheap, had changed significantly over the years, I decided to try again — only this time, rather than being accompanied by a cute male hitchhiker, I had my teenage daughters in tow. And so it was with great trepidation that I approached the London Central Youth Hostel on a Friday evening in mid-March.