|The Astronomical Clock in Prague's Old Town Square,|
a 10-minute walk from my hostel and one of my
favorite parts of the city.
Don't get me wrong, meeting other travelers is the best part of staying in a hostel, but the idea of sleeping in a room with an unknown man and no one else had my internal solo female traveler alarm clanging a warning. I try to stay in female-only rooms whenever possible, but Apple Hostel didn't have any rooms designated as such for the time I was there.
|My first full day in Prague, during the boat portion|
of a walking/boat tour of the city center, with Karlův Most,
Malá Strana and the Hrad behind me.
A key turned in the lock while I was contemplating putting my shoes back on to head out for an hour at a café before dinner, and I bargained with myself: if he set off any "creepy guy" signals in my head, I'd ask about switching to another room, but it was unfair to judge a fellow traveler without even exchanging a few words of conversation. I took a deep breath and fixed a cautious smile on my face as the door opened.
Rather than short and frail, my new roommate turned out to be a tall German with a proclivity for skiing, mountain climbing and hiking. Oops. But he also seemed to tune in quickly to the fact that I wasn't entirely comfortable and set about making casual conversation. We discovered common interests in our mutual love of the outdoors and languages (although his near-native English was light-years beyond my limited German), and spent a pleasant hour talking about places we'd been and others we hoped to visit. We didn't spend much time together during the few overlapping days of our respective stays, but he was a pleasant roommate and seemed careful to respect my personal space and to avoid doing anything that might make me nervous, which I greatly appreciated.
|I loved all the colors used in Prague's architecture, like on|
these buildings, seen through an arch of Karlův Most.
(For those curious about Apple Hostel itself, it's a decent-enough hostel within walking distance of both Wenceslas Square and Old Town Square. The rooms are clean and spacious; the only thing that made me a little nervous was that the top bunks didn't have rails around them or anything to keep people sleeping there from falling out. The breakfasts provided when I was there were fairly stale and I preferred to seek out my own. The communal bathrooms were kept in decent shape, although the showers were slow to drain and the shower setup will give Americans pause: three beach-style shower heads along one wall of the shower room, with no dividers between them or between that section of the room and the sinks. I'd stay there again because of the location, but if I found something in the same price range that seemed nicer or more welcoming, I wouldn't hesitate to try that instead.)