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  1. After 3 and a half years travelling with Hostelworld, these are my favourites…

    posted by Rebecca Keenan | 1 Comments

    After 3 and a half years travelling with Hostelworld, these are my favourites…

    Jul282011

    After three and half years of working for Hostelworld.com, I’m heading off on a wee trip. This time next month, I shall be winging my way to Singapore and from there I’ll be heading to New Zealand, where I’ll be living in Dunedin for a year. For my last post, Colm asked me to talk about some of my favourite things from the last few years. So, here goes...

    My favourite hostel...
    I absolutely loved my stay at Old Town Hostel Split in Split, Croatia. Dora owns and runs this hostel and she’s one of the coolest people I’ve met while travelling for work. She’s an absolute goldmine of information about the city, happy to recommend a huge variety of different bars, restaurants and more. As for the hostel itself, it's right at the heart of the city inside the walls of Diocletian’s Palace and is near lots of Split’s main draws including the Cathedral, Riva and more. Plus, the hostel has amazing WiFi, which for me is hugely important, especially when I’m working. At Old Town Hostel it’s fast and free and simple to connect to, which made my life so much easier during my stay.

    My favourite photograph...
    Another really difficult choice. It’s like trying to pick a favourite song or something - not easy at all. I have no idea if the photo I’ve decided on (see above) is any good or not. I just know that I like it. It was taken in Hamburg, Germany in Planten un Blomen which is definitely one of my favourite places in the city, It’s so peaceful and it’s filled with beautiful gardens and fountains, and is a wonderful place for a wander. I was there on a really sunny day, which probably helped endear it to me so much. For some reason, it reminds me of fairytales. I have no idea why, it just does, and I like that.

    My favourite city...
    I feel like maybe this should be a top ten list (or a top twenty?) because, despite coming from the middle of nowhere in Ireland, I am a city girl. But, as I only get to pick one city here, I’m going to have to go with Glasgow in Scotland (pictured above). This might seem like a strange choice to anyone who’s ever tried to fight their way through the crowds on Buchanan Street on a ‘grand soft day’ (in other words, when it’s spilling rain and your umbrella has been turned inside out). I love Glasgow, though, I really do. I think maybe it’s because I’ve had a long time to get to know it properly. The first time I visited was for a gig and at that gig I met my best friend, a Kiwi who was studying in the city at the time. After that first time, I’ve been back again and again, for shows and for short holidays and also for work. Basically, Glasgow has everything I love about cities. It’s easy to get around, there are some great neighbourhoods (including my favourite, the West End), the live music scene is amazing and the people are fantastic. So, while it might seem like an odd choice, I have so many wonderful memories of Glasgow that it is hands-down my favourite city.

    My favourite video...
    I’d have to say that I think my favourite video I’ve made is the Toronto video postcard. Up until that point of my Canadian trip, the weather had been pretty lacklustre, as it was autumn so there was plenty of rain and blustery days, not the easiest conditions to film in. When I got to Ontario, this all changed. It was blue skies and beamy sun pretty much all the way. Not only does that make it so, so, so much easier to get the shots needed but it also makes the finished product look pretty shiny. Toronto is such a cool city and one of these days I’m definitely going to go back.

    My favourite podcast...
    Of all the podcasts I’ve done, my favourite was recorded in Mossel Bay, South Africa and is all about cage diving with great white sharks. I spoke with Mike Ladley who’s the Education Programme Director at White Shark Africa. He really, really knows his stuff. It was so interesting to learn more about how these sharks work, what conservation efforts are taking place, plus lots more.

    My favourite country...
    Obviously, I love Ireland. Even though I’m leaving, it’s my home. In terms of countries I’ve visited, my favourite is probably Canada. I was there for nearly a month, checking out a series of cities to collect information, record podcasts, film videos and more. It was a hectic trip, no doubt, but it was also a lot of fun. From start to finish, I visited Vancouver, Montreal (pictured above), Quebec City, Ottawa, Toronto and Niagara Falls. It was such a successful trip and, I have to say, a lot of that was down to how friendly and helpful the Canadian people are. Not only was it really easy to get in contact with tourist offices (which can sometimes be a bit tricky) and to organise interviews and visits, but when I got to my hostels I found that all the staff were brilliant, every single one. They had so many great recommendations, and they were all just genuinely welcoming and friendly. On top of that, Canada is just such a beautiful country. I was there at just the right time of year to see all the famous ‘fall foliage’ start to show and it made for some breath-taking vistas, that’s for sure.

    My top travel tip...
    Invest in a pair of earplugs. No, really. That is my top travel tip. In the past, I've been at the mercy of many a loud dorm-mate and it’s not fun. There’s nothing worse than heading out to explore a fantastic city after a bad sleep and feeling cranky for the rest of the day. So, yes, having a pair of earplugs is invaluable.

    What I likedmost about working for Hostelworld.com...
    I’ve had the opportunity to try my hand at so many things while I’ve worked here – videos, podcasts, travel features, blog posts, pocket guides and social media. That was pretty amazing. Plus, I’ve spent the past few years visiting cities around the world, so that was pretty great. You can’t really complain about that. Mostly though? It’s just been great to work with so many incredibly talented people from all over the world. I’m going to miss my pod people but I’m looking forward to my next adventure.

  2. 1 Comment so far.

    Natalie said on 30/07/2011 at 1:20pm

    What a great job. I am a hostel person. I traveled through Europe for 3 weeks and stayed at many hostels. A trip of a lifetime:)

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