Humor Travel Life
If you’re looking to save money while traveling abroad, hostels are a great way to go. In this review of St. Christopher’s Inn, a Barcelona hostel, I’ll share my honest experience and opinions to help you decide if this sounds like a place you’d want to stay at during your Barcelona visit.
How Much Does It Cost To Say At St. Christopher’s Inn Barcelona?
Specific rates will vary depending on when you travel and the type of room you reserve. Generally, you can expect lower prices in less-busy travel seasons and rooms with more people in them. Conversely, you can expect to pay more for booking a single or private room. The cheapest rooms will be the 12-person dormitory-style room.
For reference, I stayed in Barcelona in April around Easter and in a 12-person dormitory female room. My 3-night stay totaled about 197 euros, with my nightly rates ranging from 62 to 70 euros. However, I stayed at this hostel again the night before my flight home, and the rate for that night was just 29 euros.
What Is There To Do At St. Christopher’s Inn Barcelona?
Like most hostels, St. Christopher’s has tours of the city, pub crawls, and nightly events. They also have a rather large bar and social area where people can drink, mingle, and watch sports.
What I Liked About St. Christopher’s Inn Barcelona
What I Didn’t Like About St. Christopher’s Inn Barcelona
What was once a sleepy downtown is now a thriving Midwest hub. The city of Grand Rapids is filled with new, high-rise apartment buildings and exciting businesses. From locally-owned boutiques in Eastown to trendy bars and restaurants downtown, GR is more alive than ever. And what better way to show that off than with the best instagrammable spots in Grand Rapids? These top Grand Rapids photo spots will provide you with stunning backdrops, bold colors, interesting art, and more.
La Grande Vitesse
Starting off the list is Grand Rapids’ artistic claim to fame and a long-standing symbol of the city. La Grande Vitesse – or the Calder sculpture – is located downtown in Calder Plaza. It was created by American artist Alexander Calder, whose iconic red sculptures can be found in museums, galleries, and gardens all over. What makes La Grande Vitesse so Instagram-worthy isn’t just its ties to the city (though that’s certainly a major factor), but also the variety of options you can use for your photo. Of course, there’s the obvious idea to take a photo of the sculpture in its entirety. However, if you want to mix it up for additional shots, you can utilize the beautiful bright red of the sculpture as a colorful backdrop. Simply walk right up against the sculpture and frame your photo so that you only see red in the background and boom: Instagram ready!
Corner of Monroe Center and Ottawa
This corner in front of Madcap Coffee in downtown Grand Rapids provides a great urban backdrop for your photos thanks to the gorgeous architecture of the buildings and the brick road that runs along Monroe Center. You can opt for either portrait style or a regular background, but my personal recommendation is using this backdrop in portrait mode. For the optimal shot, stand across the street in front of the Grand Rapids Art Museum to get the full backdrop behind you.
Located on Pearl St. in front of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, Ah-Nab-Awen Park is a perfect spot to capture a beautiful view of Grand Rapids. There is plenty of interesting parts in this particular viewpoint that will create a beautiful photo for your Instagram, including the Grand River, Pearl Street Bridge, and city skyscrapers and buildings. Your ideal photo times will be either a sunny day or at night to capture the city lights.
Follow Your Heart Mural
Murals are wonderful to photograph and as Grand Rapids grows, so does its access to beautiful artwork. The reason I picked this one in particular is because it also represents a positive, uplifting message with the phrase ‘Follow Your Heart’. This mural can be found at 368 Diamond Ave. SE – an eclectic, growing neighborhood just outside downtown. Created by artist Dave Battjes, this mural is somewhat hidden on a side street, which means you won’t have other folks walking into your shot and you can take more time so that you get the perfect image for your feed.
Spain 2023 Part 5: Madness in Madrid
The last leg of my Spain adventure was Madrid, Spain’s capital city.
My Madrid journey began with a two-hour train ride from Córdoba. I sat next to a man who had apparently decided to bathe himself in cologne that morning. However, I also sat across from a Spanish family with the most adorable little girl.
I arrived to my hostel slightly early, so I had to store my backpack in their luggage room while I explored around town. I started out by making my way over to the Royal Palace. As I walked through Madrid, I was immediately struck by how pretty – and busy – it was. Seriously, there were people everywhere. Probably didn’t help that it was a Saturday either.
The great thing about so many of these European cities is how walkable they are. Madrid is one of the biggest cities in Europe, and I could walk everywhere. Literally, the completely opposite of Los Angeles, which is immensely spread out.
The Royal Palace, my first sightseeing spot in Madrid, looked very similar in design to Buckingham Palace. I even got to see the changing of the guard. While I’m sure they’re proud of their position, I couldn’t help but wonder how boring that job must be. All they did was have to stare with a serious face while tourists stand around taking photos of them.
I hadn’t booked tickets to go inside the palace, but if that’s something you want to do, plan accordingly. The line to get in was really long.
Next to the Royal Palace is Almudena Cathedral, a famous cathedral in Madrid. While people seemed to be fighting tooth and nail to get into the palace, it was a breeze visiting the cathedral – free entry and zero lines. Like the other cathedrals I had seen so far on this trip, this one was huge and breathtaking.
After Almudena Cathedral, I walked along Gran Via, Madrid’s (very) busy shopping street. While there are plenty of stores, it was just too overwhelming with the plethora of people.
Another cool thing to know about Madrid is that they have a neighborhood called Barrio de Las Letras (Literary Neighborhood), which is where famous writers used to hang out, such as Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote.
After getting settled into my room for the night, I got to talking to two girls from Amsterdam. Since my dad’s family is from the Netherlands, I always kind of geek out meeting people from there and have become pretty adept at deciphering a Dutch accent. I had to admire their stamina; they were in Madrid for four days, doing nothing but partying all night and sleeping most of the day.
I didn’t really have much a second day here in Madrid but rather a half-day. However, it was a good day to be there. Every Sunday, the city hosts a massive flea market called El Rastro, and it was literally just outside my hostel. I’m telling you, these hostels are in the be locations.
There were lots of great products at the market, and they aren’t expensive either. While I would’ve liked to purchase something, traveling with just backpack kind of limits you. Silver lining is it’s good for my budget, though.
Final Thoughts While Leaving Spain
After Madrid, I spent my last night back in Barcelona before catching my flight home the following morning. As my time here in Spain was coming to a close, I was filled with thoughts at how I felt more closed off since my last time in Europe, which was likely due to the Covid-19 pandemic – that feeling of getting used to keeping your distance around people.
And it was that last night in Barcelona that threw all those thoughts out the window. I was sitting alone in the bar/lobby of my hostel, hanging out with a glass of a wine, when a girl from Denmark came over and asked if she could hang with me. I thought that was so cool, and I immediately said “yes of course.” We ended up chatting for the next three hours about everything from sports and travel to politics and healthcare. It was incredible, and I’m so grateful to her for making that effort. While there is so much to love about travel, perhaps one of the best parts is meeting people from all over the world.
About the author
Jill Zwarensteyn is a writer and comedian who has been featured on Amazon, truTV, The New York Times, Matador Network, BUST Magazine, Sleep Advisor, Tiplr, ARTRPRNR Magazine, YourTango, Thought Catalog, GoMad Nomad, Mashable, The Daily Mail UK, the Cannes Film Festival, LaughFest, Women's Lifestyle Magazine, and the Funny Women Festival LA. For more info visit: http://www.jillzwarensteyn.weebly.com