Any Dream can become True.
It all started in the Dreamtime, when a young Hungarian fellow was working in one of the first hostels in Budapest. One day he decided to go backpacking, especially after all those guests who planted their own travel bugs in his head. Opening a hostel was just a dream this time. A dream of a hostel where there are not just beds within bare walls, but more like a home, where he can greet his guests as his friends and these friends can make more friends among each other. He wasn't looking for a name either, he only knew that one day he will open up a hostel. During his journey he met a fellow backpacker who described backpackers as Aboriginals doing their Walkabout: You wander around and challenge yourself until you find your goals in life. He liked the idea, especially as he had so many friends from Down Under. So after his walkabout around Europe he decided to settle back home in Budapest and established the Aboriginal Hostel. A place where backpackers can become friends, let their hair down and put their feet up.
Many moons later the Aboriginal hostel is still running and providing the warm friendly, and comfortable setting that makes backpacking something special. After all, home is a place where you're always happy to stay.
Csaba has never been to Australia. He's never travelled outside of Europe and has never met a kangaroo. Since he has the hostel he can't even go, seeing as he chose the responsibility of taking care of his guests and running a hostel all year round. Plus, an entire continent deserves more than two weeks out of a lifetime. However the style of artwork produced by the aboriginal people of Australia really appealed to him, even to the extent that he did most of the artwork that appears on the walls of the hostel himself. Admittedly this causes a few puzzled expressions among the guests who visit our hostel and ask if the owner is Australian. It does, however, brighten the place up and gives an entertaining and interesting character to the hostel.
Apart from the owner, Aboriginal Hostel boasts local receptionists and expats, who between them know more about Budapest than Google could ever tell you, keeps things sparkling clean and responsible for the relief of boredom at night, and the regulation of alcohol consumption. Or deregulation as you might expect.
The Aboriginal began in an apartment with 15 beds. It has now grown to double its size, including three dorm rooms, private twin and double rooms, and three spacious ensuite apartments. There is a comfortable common room for all types of socializing, two internet terminals in a separate area, and a self-catering kitchen available 24 hours per day.
We stop short of making didgeridoos, but we can show you how to play them. Apart from making sweet music, each night there is something different going on in the hostel. Once or twice a week we like to get into the kitchen and create local meals like Goulash and Paprikas Krumpli for everyone to share. Other things to pop up are wine tastings, movie nights with hundreds of films to choose from, puzzles and games, and the ever-popular pub crawls and Karaoke nights. The fun doesn't stop in the winter cold either. We serve up hot wine or rum punch and play games like Uno, Dudo, Twister, Jenga and others as a welcome alternative to freezing in the biting weather outside.
Freebies are hidden treasures
Ask any traveller, and they will tell you that the best things on the road are free. One thing that will definitely curb the excitement of checking into a new hostel and arriving in a new city is discovering those hidden costs that some places apply. That's why our bedsheets, towels, internet and wi-fi are all free. Even laundry is free for anyone staying more than three nights.
Our kitchen is truly something special. It is FULLY stocked with every kind of cup, plate, glass, cutlery, and utensil you can imagine. It also has lots of tea, coffee and spices, all for free as well as the obligatory free food shelves. With such an awesome kitchen it's no surprise that a lot of guests choose to cook for themselves before joining in with our evening activities that help bring everyone in the hostel together. So many guests cannot believe we spend 5+ hours cooking over an enormous pot to feed everyone or put together an in-house wine tasting session. We're happy to accept small donations to help cover the costs, but we never charge a thing so that everyone will feel free to join in the fun.
Of course if people are heading out for the day or night there is always someone around to give free, impartial advice and a city map to help you get to the right place.
After your big night out there is nothing worse than being hungry (in Hungary!) tired and having to find something for breakfast. Everyone who stays with us only needs to look outside their door, as we serve free breakfast in our comfy common area from 8:00-10:00 every morning. Nowadays there are even waffles on the go!
During the communist regime Budapest was voted as the best place to live behind the iron curtain. Today even though the city has less inhabitants it is still a buzzing place, with an interesting mix intriguing history, inspiring architecture, spacious parks, and smoking nightlife.
During the day you can cruise the river, visit castles, museums, and monuments, explore the green areas, and soak in the thermal baths. At night the rustic ruin pubs, underground music bars and heaving nightclubs come alive as the city's population lets its wild side show. There really is a place for every taste in music and every kind of atmosphere.
To make sure you get the most out of all these attractions our receptionists can tell you everything you need to know about local transport, entry times and admission prices. At night there's so much to do it's hard to fit it all in, so once a week we do a pub crawl of the city's most interesting bars or take people out to whichever party seems like the most fun. Sometimes it's on a rooftop, sometimes it's in the thermal baths, sometimes it's on a boat, but there's always something going on.
At the end of the day travelling can ironically be very hard work, but what we're all about is providing a great place for people to unwind, relax and enjoy themselves. In short, not just somewhere to stay, but somewhere to live!
After 6 years and many happy stories the Aboriginal Hostel is still going and shows no sign of slowing down or changing it's identity as a home away from home. After all, home is a place where you are always happy to stay!
Photos courtesy of Aboriginal Hostel