The Venetian Hostel - My First Traveller's Hostel Experience

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Surrounded by a Polish, two Germans, an Italian and a Chinese, I wondered whom to answer first. I wondered where was Pritha. I was in desperate need of some help down here. I shot back a glance at the breakfast counter. No sign of Pritha. 

Till that day I have always despised hostels. To me, the definition of hostel had been 'Strict in-timing, tasteless food and Hitler-like wardens'. Well that was a college hostel in Chennai that I had experienced almost 9 years back. This one in Venice, was a different kind of hostel. The one I was in - Generator Hostel - is a traveler’s hostel that has chains all over Europe. 

Fighting a lot of prejudice, I had booked two beds in a 3 bedded female dormitory there, as the hotels in Venice were too expensive for our pockets.

Back to my story again…

I had just settled on a table with my breakfast tray, when the guy next to me asked me if I was Indian. As I turned my head to look at him, my heart stopped right there. If you know how a chiseled Italian man looks like, you would know why I had that reaction. But before I could find my lost voice and reply ‘Yes’ to him, an array of question was shot at me from at least 4 more people sharing the same table. I shot back a glance at the breakfast counter. No sign of Pritha. Fine! I thought… I have got to glorify India alone.

As a start, I shot a dazzling smile to the Italian man, batted my eye lashes flirtatiously and replied “Yes! How did you figure that out?

Indian women look very exotic! Beautiful eyes, beautiful hair, beautiful tan... cosi bella... cosi bella", he said, "Ciao, I'm Giovanni, from Napoli."

His voice sounded like music to me. I murmured a ciao to him. But before I could dive deeper into a tête-à-tête with the handsome Giovanni, I suddenly remembered that I have 4 sets of curious eyes on me.

‘Ok, Neighbors first!’ I thought…

I turned to the Chinese guy and said “No, I have not had the privilege to meet Shahrukh Khan yet, though I stay in the same city as his.

I looovvve Charukh Kan” chirped the Chinese.

I wanted to say ‘Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai’, but I shut my big mouth just in time and roared “Oh! I love him too!

I turned to the Polish girl. Her name was Ewa and that somehow kept reminding me of Wall-E. Ewa was sharing the dormitory with me and Pritha and had been talking only about sari since the time we checked in yesterday. She wanted to know how we tie a sari. Now how was I supposed to explain that to her on a breakfast table and without a sari? Technology came to rescue.

There are videos on YouTube that explain how to wear a sari. But of course, you need a saree for that Eeeewa!” I said laughingly. A split second later, I realized I had just called her Wall-E style.

Oh I already have a 9 yard sari! It’s a little longer than the normal ones right?” asked Ewa. She didn’t seem to notice that I had distorted her name. And I didn’t want to know where she got the sari from.

Yeah…” I took a wild guess and fervently prayed that the next question shouldn’t be about the standard length of a sari, for I had no clue about that. After all, my sari craze sets in only once a year during Durga Puja.

I turned to the Germans – Alex and Jerry. What exactly had they asked? I don’t remember! May be they guessed as much. They smiled in a friendly manner, turned the question & answer session to a two-way conversation and told me how one of their German friend had an Indian style wedding. The couple was just fascinated by a Hindu wedding that they had once attended and decided to get married that way.

Wow! I thought and here I was, someone who has always been fascinated by their white wedding gown.

And the conversations went on from weddings to Holi to tandoori chicken and what not. They were just fascinated by an Indian amongst them. It was amazing how I had been their center of attention for the last 15 minutes.

Just then someone from the next table asked, “How come you speak English so well?

Shocked, I looked around to check who had asked the question. But before I could answer, my new friends replied in chorus – “Like we all do!” 

Generator Hostels changed my perspective of hostels and when I am not couchsurfing while traveling, I choose hostels over hotels. It is a great way of meeting people and making new friends.

La Bella Vita...

That evening I stood at the Rialto bridge and watched the sun set over the Adriatic sea, with Giovanni by my side. Umm… And also Pritha on the other side, who kept rolling her eyes at me for bringing the Italian along.

So I whispered to her with a wink…

Babe, He is more Indian than you think!


This post has been written for Lufthansa for the campaign "More Indian Than You Think".

Enjoy the new Lufthansa TVC!!!

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