Wanderer August 2014
YHA The Wanderer
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The Wanderer, Issue 20, August 2014
 
 
International edition
 
 
 
Welcome to the inaugural International edition of The Wanderer. As you know, YHA membership gives you access to more than 4000 hostels worldwide. To celebrate this, we’re jumping on planes, trains and automobiles and going abroad this month. With a little help from our friends at Hostelling International we’ve picked out some of the best hostels in Europe and further afield. Grab your passport – we’re ready for the off.
 
Prefer a staycation? You’ll find plenty of inspiration in The Wanderer archive.
  International Edition Map  
 
 
Guest Reasearcher
 
  Guest Researcher  
 
 
The creation of unique opportunities for young people is at the centre of everything we do. When Emily Hancock joined us for her work experience, the opportunity to work on the International Edition of The Wanderer seemed like the perfect project for this travel enthusiast. Emily joined the team as a guest researcher for this edition and we’re very grateful to her for all her input. You can read about Emily’s experience in her blog post.
 
 
 
 
 
Dublin International Hostel
 
 
Dublin International Hostel
 
  Through streets broad and narrow  
 
 
A former convent, the historic building makes this hostel a special place to stay on the Emerald Isle. Fill up on a free continental breakfast in the converted old chapel (complete with confession box) before making the 5-minute walk to O’Connell Street and Dublin’s bustling city centre.
 
 
 
Dublin International
 
Dublin International
 
O’Connell Street is the city’s main artery and has witnessed the major public protests, demonstrations and celebrations that make up the country’s turbulent history. As you stroll along the thoroughfare, taking in the atmosphere of this amazing city, be sure to pause to see the bullet holes in the pillars of the GPO, the focal point of the failed 1916 Easter Rising.
 
“As you stroll along the thoroughfare, taking in the atmosphere of this amazing city, be sure to pause to see the bullet holes in the pillars of the GPO, focal point of the failed 1916 Easter Rising.”
 
To learn more, take a trip out to Kilmainham Gaol (pronounced “Jail”). It was here that the leaders of the 1916 uprising were imprisoned and executed. And if you want to delve into Ireland’s history, a guided tour around this huge and fascinating building is the place to start. Get there on the Hop-on, Hop-off Bus - discounted tickets are available from the hostel.
 
With many free attractions, it’s entirely possible to do Dublin on a shoestring. We recommend a trip to the Science Gallery at Trinity College to discover awe-inspiring and cutting-edge developments. If you’re more arts than science, don’t miss the National Gallery of Ireland, Irish Museum of Art or Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane. The complete recreation of Francis Bacon’s studio at the latter is a sight to behold.
 
Dublin is of course famous for the ‘Black Stuff’. Take a trip to the Guinness Storehouse to discover the company’s development from its origins at St James’ Gate. Discounted tickets are available from the hostel. The seven floors of exhibits culminate with a perfect pint and panoramic views over the city in the GRAVITY Bar.
 
 
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Emily’s top tips:
 
  1  
Just round the corner from the hostel you’ll find ‘The Black Church’ mentioned in James Joyce’s Ulysses. It was once rumoured that the building was so called because the Devil would appear to anyone that walked around it backwards 3 times.
 
 
  2  
Watch professional actors perform works by some of the city’s most celebrated writers on the award-winning Dublin Literary Pub Crawl.
 
 
  3  
The Cobblestone on King’s Street attracts quality traditional Irish musicians. So for an authentic experience and choose this place over some of the more touristy spots (like Temple Bar which can be very pricey).
 
 
 
 
Berlin Youth Hostel International
 
 
Berlin Youth Hostel International
 
  Culture, creativity and currywurst  
 
 
Berlin has it all – a fascinating past, world-renowned arts scene, diverse countercultures, and an unparalleled nightlife. Where better to base your exploration than at this friendly and well-equipped 24-hour hostel in a surprisingly quiet part of the city centre.
 
 
 
Berlin Youth Hostel International
 
Berlin Youth Hostel International
 
All of Berlin’s major attractions are no more than a 30-minute walk from the hostel. Make sure you don’t miss a thing, begin with a 3.5 hour walking tour; New Berlin Tours excursions depart from the hostel daily and take in all the major sites. This completely flat city is also extremely cycle friendly so, if time is tight, hire a bike direct from the hostel and sightsee from the saddle.
 
“This completely flat city is also extremely cycle friendly so, if time is tight, hire a bike direct from the hostel and sightsee from the saddle.”
 
Head to the glass roof of the Reichstag for a panoramic view over the city’s classical to high modernist architecture; it’s free but book in advance to avoid disappointment. From there, it’s on to the Brandenburg Gate. While you’re there walk amongst the 2,711 concrete pillars of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe – a potent symbol and a moving experience. Next it’s on to Potsdamer Platz and the Kulturforum - home to galleries, museums, the State Library and one of the world’s foremost symphony orchestras, the Berliner Philharmoniker.
 
Be sure to make a visit to Museum Island and the Pergamonmuseum. You won’t believe the epic scale of the exhibits at one of the world’s biggest and best archaeological museums. It’s worth noting that most museums on Museum Island are free 4 hours from closing on Thursdays.
 
No visit to Berlin would be complete without a trip to the East Side Gallery - the 1.3 km stretch of the Berlin Wall is adorned with more than 100 murals. And at the end of the day, it’s back to the hostel to swap tips with your fellow wanderers over a beer in the garden.
 
 
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Emily’s top tips:
 
  1  
Snap up an iconic Berlin souvenir and pose for a traditional black and white photo strip in one of the Photoautomat booths; they’re scattered across the city and open all hours.
 
 
  2  
Street food is in abundance in Berlin. If you’re going to sample the currywurst, take a trip to Curry 36 – a Berlin institution, it even has its own merchandise range.
 
 
  3  
Visit between 10-19 October 2014 and feast your eyes on the Festival of Lights. This free event sees the city’s landmarks illuminated with spectacular lighting designs. Alternatively, 19 Sept – 5 Oct 2014 sees the return of Berlin’s Oktoberfest – younger sibling of Munich’s world-famous beer festival.
 
 
 
Cotswold
 
 
Great adventures start here
 
From hiking boots and outdoor protective clothing to travel and camping accessories, Cotswold Outdoor have all you need for your outdoor summer activities. Whether you’re cycling over the hills or hiking coast to coast we have over 250 of your favourite brands including The North Face, Rab, Berghaus and many more. With stores nationwide, you’re never far from the kit you love and expert advice to go with it.
 
YHA members receive 15% off* clothing and equipment, shop online or at nationwide stores.
 
 
 
 
 
Barcelona Urbany Hostel
 
 
Barcelona Urbany Hostel
 
  A ramble on Las Ramblas  
 
 
The Catalan capital is bursting with incredible architecture, colourful characters and spectacular sights. Where better to base a trip to this vibrant city than this innovative and ultra-modern centrally-located hostel.
 
 
 
Barcelona Urbany Hostel
 
Barcelona Urbany Hostel
 
Stay here and you’re within walking distance of one of Barcelona’s most striking buildings – Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. Though still a work in progress, this architectural feat is free to view from the outside.
 
Parc Güell is another Gaudi attraction that’s well worth a visit. Wander around the eccentrically designed stone structures and extraordinarily ornate mosaic tiling before making your way to the terraced area at the top to take a panoramic shot of the park and cityscape below.
 
“Stay here and you’re within walking distance of one of Barcelona’s most striking buildings – Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. Though still a work in progress, this architectural feat is free to view from the outside.”
 
Just a few metro stops from the hostel and you’re at Las Ramblas. Famed for its street artists and human statues, a stroll along this bustling 1.2km street is not to be missed. There are a number of cafes along the way offering ample opportunity to sample sangria and tapas – though be aware that you’ll pay premium prices for the pleasure. If you’re on a tighter budget, the Boqueria Market on Las Ramblas is one of Europe’s largest food markets.
 
Barcelona Cathedral is free to enter and can be found in the Gothic Quarter, just off Las Ramblas. While you’re in the vicinity, enjoy a relaxed stroll around its peaceful squares or people watch from one of the many bars or restaurants.
 
Barcelona’s coastline stretches for 4.5km and offers sun-seekers a number of sandy beaches. Barceloneta is closest to the city and is the most popular. If you’re keen to catch some rays, go early to grab a spot.
 
As the sun sets on your day, head back to the hostel to make use of its excellent facilities which include a swimming pool, sauna, gym and terrace bar overlooking the city. Enjoy!
 
 
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Emily’s top tips:
 
  1  
Camp Nou, FC Barcelona’s home ground, is one of the wonders of the footballing world. Whether you’re a super fan or someone with a passing interest in the beautiful game, be sure to take a tour.
 
 
  2  
The annual Festes de La Mercè is a week-long festival dedicated to the patron saint of the city (19-24 September 2014). There’ll be 600 events happening throughout the city, including street theatre, firework displays and parades.
 
 
  3  
Art lovers shouldn’t miss the National Museum of Art and its world-class Romanesque collection. Visit on Saturdays from 3pm for free.
 
 
 
 
Sydney Harbour YHA
 
 
Sydney Harbour YHA
 
  A roof with a view  
 
 
You’d think accommodation boasting a rooftop terrace with ‘gob-smacking’ views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House would carry a hefty price tag. Well, they do – but not if you choose this multi-award winning hostel in Sydney’s historic heart, The Rocks district.
 
 
 
Sydney Harbour YHA
 
Sydney Harbour YHA
 
Built over a site of special archaeological interest, the hostel incorporates the Big Dig Archaeology Education Centre that’s free to guests. If you’d like to learn more about the area, venture to The Rocks Discovery Museum; this free family-friendly attraction charts thousands of years of local developments and is a great place to start. The Justice and Police Museum close to Circular Quay offers a macabre insight into the miscreants and misdeeds that characterised Sydney’s darker past. Be sure to claim your YHA member discount on the admission fee.
 
“Built over a site of special archaeological interest, the hostel incorporates the Big Dig Archaeology Education Centre that’s free to guests.”
 
Though tickets to the opera may blow the budget, the one hour guided tour of the World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera House building is well worth the money and offers visitors the opportunity to explore the architecture and auditoriums of this iconic performance space.
 
One of the best things to do in The Rocks is simply wander around it – think leafy parks, artist galleries, cobbled streets and antique shops. Want a little more structure? The Rocks Walking Tour lasts about an hour and a half and takes in the hotspots. Enquire with the hostel about a discount for YHA members.
 
For a little rest and relaxation head to the 30-hectare Royal Botanic Garden and its glorious collections of Australian and exotic plants.
 
The hostel is only a 40-minute bus journey from one of the world’s best known beaches – Bondi Beach. White sands, turquoise waters and peerless surf – you can’t really go all that way and not visit now can you?
 
Sydney rocks! We’ll see you on the hostel roof for a schooner or two.
 
 
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Emily’s top tips:
 
  1  
Take the 35-minute walk to the Sydney Fish Markets. The largest in the Southern Hemisphere, there you’ll find a huge variety of fresh seafood and numerous cafes and restaurants (some selling fish and chips – perfect if you’re missing home!).
 
 
  2  
Visit two of Sydney’s time-honoured watering holes – The Glenmore and The Australian Heritage Hotel – and share tales of far flung adventures with fellow backpackers
 
 
  3  
Be inspired by the artists of today and spend a few hours at the fantastic (and free) Museum of Contemporary Art.
 
 
 
 
YHA Day
 
  YHA Day  
 
 
Over Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th September YHA hostels all over England and Wales will fling open their doors and welcome one and all to join in the celebrations for YHA Day. With more than 50 participating hostels, there’s bound to be something super going on near you. Take a look at all the family-friendly activities and extra-special events going on around the network and plan in some free fun for you and yours.
 
 
 
 
Support YHA for a sustainable future
 
  Supoort YHA for a sustainable future  
 
 
Last year, thanks entirely to your votes, YHA Snowdon Pen-y-Pass scooped top prize and won £25,000 from Hostelling International’s Sustainability Fund. Thanks you so much! We’d love to triumph again this year and win the cash for our amazing project at YHA Boggle Hole. Our plan is to install photovoltaic panels on the roof of the new annexe to dramatically reduce carbon emissions. Please take a moment to vote for YHA (England & Wales) before 28th October 2014 and help us secure an environmentally and financially sustainable future for YHA Boggle Hole. Vote now!
 
 
 
 
 
  Want to write The Wanderer?  
 
 
Are you a budding travel writer, a spare-time blogger or a keen hosteller with a hankering to get your reviews out to a wider audience? Well, we need you. The December edition of The Wanderer will feature 4 blogs written by people who have stayed with us. For your chance to win a highly coveted spot in The Wanderer all you need to do is submit 250-300 words about a YHA (England & Wales) hostel by 1st October 2014. For further details please see our website. Good luck!
 
 
 
 
Next month:
   
 
  The Urban Edition  
 
 
September sees a return to home soil and a visit to four UK capitals of culture. We’re not wishing the summer sun away but we want to set you up with plenty of ideas for when the weather isn’t so glorious. We’ll be hitting the city streets in search of art, history, theatre, music and nightlife. See you in September.
 
 
 
Next month
 
  Find out how were changing the lives one stay at a time
Find out how were changing the lives one stay at a time
 
Because YHA is a charity, when you stay with us you’re helping keep prices affordable, hostels beautiful and you’re even enriching the lives of young people. Find out more.
 
 
 
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