My Two Cents On Online University

I get a lot of flack for online school. People think it’s easy, fun, “OH MY GOD YOU NEVER HAVE TO PUT ON PANTS”. It’s not. I mean, yes, sweatpants are fun. I can’t deny that one. But honestly, no one makes a college movie about the studying, and with distance ed that’s all your left with. So, it’s time online school gets the respect it deserves, and yes, people have said all these things to me.

Online University Comment #1: You didn’t get in anywhere else?

Okay, I get this one partly. The selection process does cater more to mature, working adults and a large part of my application process was life experience. However, they looked at my community college grades and made sure I was up for it.

Online University Comment #2: It must be so much easier!

I took a history course that had six textbooks for one semester. SIX. It wasn’t even a “pick and choose” type thing, it was a “you bet we’re reading every word in here, plus online readings, plus videos!” My friend who took the equivalent at her standard university had one textbook. ONE. The entire thing is readings and essays because it’s not like you’re going to get the information from your twice weekly lecture.

Online University Comment #3: At least there’s no group projects! 

I hate group projects. I know it’s supposed to be about learning to work together and all that, but there’s always that person who… well, I’m sure you know that person (if not, think about how you’re acting in group projects). Naturally, I was super excited about not having a group project ever again… and then I took a math course. You know what’s worse than a group math project? A group math project that has to be done over email when all 4 people are in different time zones.

Online University Comment #4: I would kill to not have to listen to people be stupid in class…

Yeah, so would I. Picture the people who ask a question for the sole purpose of getting to drone on about answering it. Picture that person getting to internet comment. Now, picture you “participation” grade depending on your response showing that you actually read twenty paragraphs of them.

Online University Comment #5: It must be so nice not having to get up and go to class. 

This is the tough one. Yes, it is nice that I don’t need to get up and make myself presentable, but you know what the hardest thing to do is? Getting up and studying when it’s raining and all you want to do is curl up with a cup of tea and a good book and/or it’s netflix equivalent. In college I would rent a locker and keep all my books there. I would be on campus all day and when I was home I would relax. That separation helped so much. When your study area also doubles as a cozy couch it’s really hard to concentrate.

Now, this isn’t to say it’s all bad. Online school has afforded me the option to travel long term and not feel like I’m putting off a goal. Also, it makes for some pretty cool course/trip match ups. Studying modern European history while backpacking Europe? Cool as hell, and everything takes on a much greater meaning. It’s like having the ultimate guidebook.

If you’re thinking about online school, I’m finishing my degree through Thompson River’s University, but there are tons of other ones depending where you live. If you do decide to go for distance ed it can give you some amazing opportunities, just know it’s not all textbooks at the beach.

For reals though, don’t bring a textbook to the beach. Trust me, it never works.

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My Two Cents On Online University

Art History for Real People

If you’re super intimidated by paintings, or if you *gasp* find art galleries boring, then I’m out to change your mind. My friend Payal is an amazing artist, and a makeup blogger on Fifty Foot Lashes. We’re conspiring together to write about art in an normal way- so for me on here I talk more about the history of the painting, why it’s important, why I like it, the museum it’s in, the city it’s in… stuff like that. Payal will be doing a makeup look inspired by the painting and talking about art in a way more intelligent way than I ever could. Some paintings will inspire a DIY on my crafts and sewing blog bows and buttons. DIY is expensive, my resources are limited.

Why are we doing this?

Simple. We love art. So much. Nothing kills an art lover more than people who say they think art is boring, or that they don’t understand it. And you know what? It’s not their fault. Art education is a bit of a joke the world over. It’s not some hoity toity crap where you need to wear a monocle and top hat- though monocles and top hats do sound fun. We have no format ideas, we’re just going to kind of do it until we hit a swing that works. So, with that spirit let’s talk about art.

This is a painting called Charles IV of Spain and his family, painted by Francisco Goya.

It’s displayed at the Prado in Madrid.

So what are we looking at?

First off, the dimensions of the canvas are three by four metres. This thing is huge. Imagine, if you will, walking down the aisles of the Prado then just BAM. Holy fejula! So obviously this is something super important because well, who puts that much effort into something that’s not. *This was before bronies.

Well, when you look at the plaque you see it’s Charles IV and his family. Spoiler: On the left there’s a sneaky self portrait of Goya lurking in the shadows.

He was the king of Spain in the 1780’s. There’s a lot to know about him. Fun fact, he cared more about hunting and left politics to his prime minister and his wife. I recommend the biography.com link for non-academic purposes. He loved Goya.

But let’s get back to the Prado.

Most museums publish a guide, and if you’re into art I’d definitely recommend the Prado guide. It’s incredibly well written and  the pictures are beautiful. I read through the things for the rest of my trip. It’s so good.

But that’s not what we’re here for today. Today we’re just going to talk about how to look at art. More specifically, how I look at art. I did my field school in art history, and I take any art history or museum studies class I can now. Keep in mind, I’m probably not the most technical person in any of these aspects; I just really, really love art and want to share it.

Sandy’s Steps to Sort of Maybe Understanding Art More Than You Did Before But Definitely Enjoying it a Hella Ton

  1. Read the plate at the museum or gallery. See all that information? It tells you the artist, the approximate year(s) it was painted, and what it was painted with. In this case, it’s 1800 and oil on canvas. This is good information for many reasons.
  2. Consider the material. I have a thing with materials. I like to know exactly what something was made with. It’s also a great way to make yourself sound like you know more than you actually do because you know materials. Also, it’s fun to see how a medium plays on different surfaces. Oil on canvas looks very, very different than oil on wood. Sometimes things impress you. For example, any time anything is pastel or watercolour I get super impressed by the artist because I think of elementary school and playing with both of them and just full on sucking. Sometimes materials get weird.
  3. Consider the time in history. So here we have 1800. This gives some context. Look at how they’re dressed. How they stand. Even the body types of the figures. Having a guide or really nerdy friend with you usually helps with this a lot.
  4. Consider the subject matter. This was commissioned as a royal portrait, so we’re looking at the king and his family. This isn’t always that obvious.
  5. Ask a ton of questions to yourself. Or out loud. Depends how comfortable you are being the crazy person in public. This is literally 80% of looking at what might be the most subjective subject in the world.

What do I mean by ask questions? I find that the two most important ones are….

What do I like about this painting?

I love the dresses. Damn, there’s something about the way they dressed back then. Would I have been able to afford to dress like that? Probably not. Definitely not. Look at the shoes on the guys, too. Guys don’t dress that flashy anymore. I love the navy and the gold together, it adds a ton of richness. I love how the gold and crystals really look shimmery and life like.

What don’t I understand?

I don’t get why they look like they all have super old people faces. Even the kids look slightly middle aged. I also don’t get why the one girl is looking away. Who is she?

Wait, What?! A SIXTH STEP?!

6.Write down the painting and google it later. Most museums have websites with tons and tons of info. I also find that the masterpiece cards blog is amazing for giving information without shoving it down your throat. Find the answers to things you don’t understand.

What did you like about this painting? What didn’t you understand? Let’s talk about it.

And make sure to check out Payal’s much better analysis and the makeup that she’d better be popping on my face soon at Fifty Foot Lashes.

Art History for Real People

Quick Little Request…

Hi All,

So the other night I went to pub quiz, had a few beers to celebrate not coming in dead last. On my way home I fell on some ice right on to my bad hip. I didn’t notice that my wallet fell out of my purse from the impact.

I spent all of yesterday having people tell me that it was as good as gone, that no one would return it, basically people suck.

I didn’t care about any of the cards, the main thing was I had a ring I bought in salzburg in it, and a ring my mom bought when she was 18 in Hawaii. I took them off to eat and put them in wallet to keep them safe.. I almost lost faith in humanity and was starting to accept I’d never see them again while still doing everything I could think of. I was seriously going to wake up at like 4 am tomorrow and sit on the corner just asking people who walked by if they had seen a wallet wednesday morning. I had posted a facebook status that one of my friends had seen and apparently one of her friends had posted something looking for someone who knew me so they could get it back.

I literally picked it up from her parents place on my lunch break at work.

Not only did it have my rings, but it had all the cash, it even had the damn scratch card I bought on the way to the pub.

Now, I’m a little bit creepy curious, so I decided to check up on her facebook. I saw she had started a go fund me because her parents cafe has been flooded by the trump tower construction (ugh.) and obviously someone so amazing has some badass parents. I’m going to donate as soon as they send me my new credit card. If you can, even like, a dollar would be amazing. God knows this girl deserves it.

https://www.gofundme.com/help-raise-money-for-damages

Also, the cafe got some really badass reviews, so when it reopens I’m so going.

I’m seriously in shock and like joy and elation over how amazing people are. So, donate and share it because this girl 100% deserves it.

See you in the new year x

Quick Little Request…

2016: My Year in Review

This year. Many argue the world went to hell quicker than a basket of chinchillas falling off a wagon into a bay of unicorns. The good thing is it’s inspired a lot of people to post things like, “despite the world pretty much imploding, there’s a lot of good that happened to me!” So, my year?

Well, first off, I finally came to terms with my pain and took steps to help it. I got K Laser therapy on my feet and calves, and I’m doing really, really well with it. It’s basically a cold laser that goes “hey cells! You know how to cure yourselves! Let’s do that!” I was super scared when I first got it because I thought it would be like laser hair removal which doesn’t hurt hurt, but it’s not comfortable. The K Laser is literally the most painless thing. It was great, and I recommend a chat with your doctor about it if you’re in chronic pain. Seriously, there were days I couldn’t even stand without being in excruciating pain. I still get issues, but I think that’s due to the fact that I have to rebuild my fitness and strength.

This year I also went on an awesome trip. It was my first short trip to Europe, and my first time there with friends. I stayed in my first (and last) Airbnb. It was a great trip that recharged me just enough to want to go on an even longer trip.

I also had a stay at a wonderful hostel in Shuswap and rediscovered my nature side. I’m already planning on going back for the Canada Day long weekend.

I got really into cooking. I’m loving cheese making and homemade bacon is amazing! I’m also really happy that you guys seem to like those posts!

This will also always be the year I got engaged. Wedding planning is going well, but there’s still so much to do.

Also this year I had a super big milestone in that I published two listicles on Matador Network. One on growing up in Vancouver  and one on learning to drink in Vancouver.  I’ve loved Matador for years so being able to type my name into the search bar and having stuff come up is actually amazing. I feel all proper and writer-y. I also did a guest post on my friend Tom’s blog, Something Pagan. I’ve really loved putting writing into a more collaborative space. It’s been great seeing the support that came when I put myself out there.

So, what’s happening for 2017?

I’m obviously getting married, so that will take up a big chunk of time. We’re at the point where we have a church, a reception venue complete with a menu, and my dress so that’s a pretty good start. I’m also looking forward to the honeymoon- we’re going to Australia so we can see Adam’s family before we move to Ireland. A big move and a big trip will also both take a ton of planning.

I’m also continuing with my degree and am adding a big museum studies tilt to it. I’ve always loved going to museums- in Paris I’ve been the first in and last out of the Louvre more than one- and so I’m thinking that it might be something I should look into.

I have some collaborations in the works with other bloggers, and I hope to write more. I also hope to be a bit more personal- I feel like I’ve lost a lot of that lately.

I’m finishing off the year by making a batch of my amazing eggnog so it’s ready for Christmas Eve. Between that and my signature cocktail of Crabbie’s I think I’m ready to bid this year adieu.

 

2016: My Year in Review

It’s Been How Long Since We’ve Talked About Books?!

FAR too long. I haven’t been keeping up with my round the world challenge as I’ve had some great books fall into my lap that I couldn’t resist. Also, the fun in reading is the spontaneity, so I want to keep that!

As per usual I’m not going to get tooooo into plot points here because you can definitely read better plot summaries written by other people. Know your strengths guys, know your strengths.

Let’s start this!

Please Look After Mom – Kyun Sook Shin

I asked my friend for the best book in South Korea and he recommended this to me. It’s about a mother who gets lost at a train station, and the book switches between narrators. There are parts of it that are written in second person, which I’m not generally a fan of, but… I can’t even talk about this book without getting a bit misty in the eyes. Guys, this book is SO good. It will make you cry and also really, really want to travel to Korea. But read it. Ah! SO GOOD! Just be prepared with tissues.

Smart Women- Judy Blume

My Mom picked this up at the library and I just can’t resist anything by Judy Blume. This book is about Margot and her getting over her divorce and bonding with her kids. Basically, if you’re like me and need some Judy read this.

Undermajordomo Minor- Patrick DeWitt

This book is about a guy named Lucy who’s a bit of a wimp. He travels to another town for a job and discovers that this town is weird as fuck. It’s set up in it’s own universe, it’s own time, but feels like medeival-y but not. This is one of those that I just could not put down, and can’t describe. I just needed to know what was going on; I needed to know why. This just… it’s good.

Cooked – Michael Pollan

I bought this because of the Netflix series. Now that that’s out there, have you seen the Netflix series?! I loved this book. It manages to be very detailed and precise but not preachy or text-booky. It feels like you’re just genuinely on a quest with someone who wants their questions answered. Also, the cheese nun is my new hero.

IMG_20160731_135802

Lily and the Octopus – Steven Rowley

Wow, okay, so this one… it got to me a bit. Like a lot. Full disclosure I got it free on goodreads and wow am I happy I did. This book… they don’t even really describe the plot anywhere because “the fun is in the read”. Don’t get me wrong, the read is fun, and I want to talk about this book but don’t know how to without spoiling it. I lost my dog last November and this book… it made me cry and miss him but also made me feel okay at the end? I read it on my weekend in Shuswap. I needed some alone time so when my friends went to town I stayed at the hostel to read. They came back to me sobbing but like… damn this book is good.

Me Before You – Jojo Moyes

I had seen this book flying around with it’s swirly print and wondered what all the fuss was about it. It wasn’t until my Mom got it as a gift from a student (she’s never got a book as a present before. We were both confused, but happily intrigued) and said I should read it. She told me it was a light read. In one way, it was. But… okay, I can’t give away the end, but I’m mad at this book. Like actual anger is radiating from me thinking about this, which is really good. Books that make you feel strong emotions are the best.

Tell me what you’re reading since I need more books to devour!

 

 

It’s Been How Long Since We’ve Talked About Books?!

Fall!

So fall happened in Vancouver. It went from 26 degrees to 14 pretty much overnight. I’m starting my cicerone (essentially a beer sommelier) journey, so I’m studying like a fiend. Also, I’ll be blogging more on my DIY blog as I’m going to be non stop crafting in service of planning my wedding (!!!). Adam finally proposed and it changes some things. The most applicable being….

The amazing around Canada trip has to be postponed.

We want to get married in Vancouver and many of his friends and family want a big trip, so for the most part it all works out. The thing is, not everyone can make it, so we want to have a reception in Melbourne, where Adam’s from. So, instead of planning just a trip I’m we’re planning a honeymoon, which by the way, is super weird. The tentative plan is to fly in to Brisbane (Air Canada just opened up a direct route) and then drive down the coast to Melbourne where we’ll spend some time with the family, and do the Great Ocean Road. After that we’ll hop on another flight and head to Ireland where we’ll spend an indefinite amount of time.

So, that’s what’s been going on. It’s going to be a very interesting year, but I’m happy at the end of it I get to spend the rest of my life with someone who thinks that packing up and moving to Ireland is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

Fall!

Where Do I Sleep That Night?!

I was bored and ended up on Buzzfeed, as you do, where I came across this article https://www.buzzfeed.com/scaachikoul/i-went-to-a-summer-camp-for-adults-and-it-got-weird?utm_term=.dcWp5O0QQ#.klZVwWKoo

For those who don’t want to read it, and honestly, it’s super tedious so I don’t suggest you do, the author is doing what started out as a review but turned into a weak expose on an adult summer camp. She ends up hearing of a supposed sexual assault on a drunk girl, then spends the rest of the time gossiping about it with other people while judging those who came there to party hardcore in the woods.

This article made me think a lot about hostels and bus tours. When I was eighteen I did my first trip alone and chose to go on a Topdeck tour.  It seemed like a good idea to have someone kind of holding my hand, but still offered me great independence. I loved the crap out of that trip. I met people I still talk to, I had a great time. It was a trip that fit well with my personality- lots of time around people, however the option to spend time alone in the day. I did my due diligence. I talked to multiple travel agents; I read every online review. I went into it with the expectation that I would party a lot; that cliques might form. This is what I feel the author of the buzzfeed piece didn’t do. Why would they send this author who is so clearly against the target market of the camp into it for an honest review? Why didn’t she read the multitude of yelp reviews (all of which are 5 stars, by the way) and see that every. single. one. mentions hardcore parties? What did she expect at a camp that advertises a late night open bar? Now, I’m not speaking to the sexual assault. I don’t know the girl, I don’t know what happened to her. She’s not speaking out and the author made no attempt to get her side of the story.

On my last long European trip there was a big group of Australians who did their very best to prove the Australian abroad stereotype right. There was also an Australian girl who said things like, “I’m not like other Australians. I like to be quiet and read a book. I’m not like those country people and it’s such a shame that’s what people think of us.” Honestly, as loud and annoying as the partiers were sometimes, quiet judgey girl was so, SO much worse. People like that are exhausting. Nothing is good enough for them, and I find I tend to get into the habit of trying to impress them which kills me because literally no one will ever impress that girl. Nothing will ever be good enough. I have a theory that people like her tend to read hostel reviews, see it’s a party hostel and stay there intentionally so that they get to feel superior about themselves.

So, in the interest of learning something I’m going to take you through my hostel review research comment reading process. I’m thinking about taking a trip to Dublin as I haven’t been there before. I don’t know the greatest place ever to stay there, so I’m going to plug things in on hostelbookers and take one at random.

First off, the most important thing to do before reading reviews is to decide four things to focus on. I present my list, in no particular order:

  1. A common room. This is important. I like to have at least one big night in every city so being able to meet people to go on said night with is key for life and predrinks.
  2. Great location or super close to transit. Obviously.
  3. A clean kitchen if they have one.
  4. Good beds and showers.

Okay, Kinlay House Dublin, let’s see what you’ve got. All reviews are taken straight from their review page exactly as written.

Liked: Gret location. Clean rooms, bathrooms cleaned often and to a high standard. Late check out for £5. Free breakfast was a god send, lots of cereals toast and toppings to choose from and unlimited tea and coffee. Comfy beds and lots of room and storage in the rooms. Overall great hostal and would definately stay here again.

Disliked: I stayed here with 12 others for my birthday and we had a room all to ourselves. We were planning on having a little drink before going out however no alcohol is allowed in the room and this wasnt stated when booking. It didnt really bother us to not drink before hand however i do think this should be stated. ALso check in isnt 12noon it is infact 2pm. This is also stated incorrectly online.

Customer would recommend this property

What I can surmise from this: Well, the positives are great. Honestly, I can’t remember the last hostel I stayed out where alcohol was allowed in rooms. I also can’t remember the last time I followed that. All in all, that’s not a big deal. Kudos to these guys for not rule breaking.

Liked: Good facilities, breakfast provided and good common room. Beds very spacious.

Disliked: Overcrowded at times but manageable. Check out time too early. Bed frames low quality, top bunk and bottom bunk can feel every movement.

Customer would recommend this property

What I can surmise from this: Breakfast seems to be pretty amaze to be mentioned in two reviews. As for the quality of bunks, I go into hostels expecting the worst of Ikea, so the spaciousness is nice to know.

Liked: Breakfast, fast internet, lots of charging outlets

Disliked: Lots of things hostels normally provide are charged here, e.g. Luggage storage, printing. Also this is not a youth only hostel

Customer would recommend this property

INTERNET! I completely forgot about that on my list. I’ve stayed in enough hostels with crap internet. I’m not sure why he mentions it’s not a youth only hostel. Most aren’t. I’m just confused as to why that’s a negative? Am I too old for hostels? This kid clearly has no idea whats up. Also, what hostel doesn’t charge you to print? Where are these magic unicorn hostels where everything is for free and there’s no one under the age of 25?

Liked: The hostel is very central, right by the Temple Bar area. Perfect for going out to explore Dublin and for nights out. The 24-bed dorm room was clean and spacious and overall it was great value for money.

Disliked: There weren’t many plugs in the rooms, and the plugs weren’t located conveniently by the beds. The washrooms and showers were not clearly indicated to everyone whether it was for males or females so a lot of people would accidentally use the wrong ones. The common area/lounge/kitchen is not open 24 hours. One specific staff member was rude to my friend and I, which makes me think customer service and communication could still be improved.

Customer would recommend this property

Great location! Again, what hostel has enough plugs? Complaints about gendering of bathrooms…? Who gives a crap?

Liked: Pretty good location -airport bus stop out front. rooms & bathrooms clean. Ok price

Disliked: Shower not warm enough but seemed ok after I told them. All toilet seats loose so slid side to side. No lift. No alcohol policy in common room & rooms (why not have a bar?)

Customer would recommend this property

Good on the hostel for addressing the shower issue but holy crap, the common room was dry?! hmmm….. That kind of goes against one of my four.

Liked: The old interior was lovely.lovley looking place.

Disliked: needs more seats in the common area.to many couches where one person would take up three seats.

Customer would recommend this property

Okay, so I was really waiting for one comment of this caliber. This person was mad someone would take up three seats and blamed the hostel for it. That is a person. A person did that. Be mad at people.

So, all in all, would I stay here? No. Not because it’s not a crazy party hostel, if I was staying here for 3 nights I wouldn’t drink on 2 of them. I just want the option. I know who I am, I know what I like. However, if everything was booked I ended up at this hostel I’d probably have a great time because I try to make the most of things… also it’s in Temple Bar so I’d definitely go to a pub… but it wouldn’t be my first choice.

Just as a comparative exercise I’m also going to take a look at two hostels in the same city- two I’ve stayed at.

We’ll start with the Hostel Leidseplein. I stayed here on my last big Europe trip. I booked last minute, so I didn’t do much research on it.  I’ll give my review after the others, and I’ll try to keep my comments on comments pretty neutral.

Liked: The staff were nice, the hostel entry was secure. The hostel had wifi and a computer that were both free to use. Luggage storage was easy, useful and free to use before checkout.

Disliked: The room as small and cramped. The bathroom was smelly, dirty and there was one between 12 in the dorm. The beds were small with no ladders for the bunks, making things difficult, Plug sockets were sparse in the room making charging a problem. Breakfast was bread (no toaster), tea, coffee, and some spreads. We were also charged almost an extra 10 euros than agreed. Location central but located on a busy street with tourist traps. Unsuitable for anyone with mobility issues (very steep stairs, no list).

Customer would recommend this property

Free wifi and computers are great. When my tablet broke, they were a godsend. I’m just putting this out there, I am not a fan of the ensuite bathroom. I think open floor plan bathrooms are so much better. That way you don’t end up hating the one guy who spends forever in the shower then eons doing his hair. The breakfast sounds pretty crap, but free, so. The money thing is worrying. The thing about tourist traps makes me wonder. Honestly, a lot of downtown any city in the world is tourist traps. Leidsplein is the main downtown area so… yeah. Also, Amsterdam is known for it’s super tall, very old houses. Stairs tend to rule in Europe.

Liked: location is excellent, and the rooms and bathroom are ok for the price.

Disliked: There´s no locker or anywhere to leave your things, and actually someone stole the cellphones of 2 guys in the room next door. Breakfast is extremely basic and they charge you for leaving your luggage in receptions after check out, even if it is for a couple of hours.

Customer would recommend this property

This contradicts the other review about free luggage storage. I’m going to put an aside about the theft thing even though I said I’d be neutral. Every day I left my dayplanner and passport with the front desk for free. It was super secure.

So basically, from the comments would you stay in this hostel?

Like I said, I booked pretty last minute, and I think my review will be biased towards just being happy to find a hostel. The jetlag hit me while I was staying here, and after spending one day in Leiden with a friend and her family (go to Leiden by the way. It’s 40 minutes from Amsterdam and is the prettiest, most like fairytale Dutch city I’ve ever seen), I spent the next day literally sleeping in the hostel. Breakfast, yeah, it kind of sucked, but I’ve had so, so much worse. I tend not to think of hostel breakfast as a thing- it usually is just bread and spreads. If you go in with low expectations, you get the fun chance to be surprised when it rocks. The addition of a toaster would’ve been nice though. When I was there people were marvelling over the fact that they had both vegemite and marmite. I found it secure enough- the fact that I could put my essential stuff behind the desk was great. The wifi, as I remember on my catch up to life day, was absolutely badass. The bathroom was pretty decent- they cleaned it twice a day. The noise… I mean, you’re in the same square as the Bulldog cafe and all the clubs. Considering that, it was pretty quiet for what I expected. I also loved that my bed was against the window so I got to watch and judge people. This hostel is great for when you want something central, clean and quiet. I’d definitely stay there again.

Now, another hostel I stayed at in Amsterdam. I ended up at The Hans Brinker on the aforementioned Topdeck tour when I was 18. It came with the tour company, and I didn’t choose it. Keep in mind at that time their marketing was “the worst hotel in the world” now they’ve calmed it down but it still focuses very much on the fact that it’s a budget place. Let’s look at the reviews.

Liked: Great bar, toilets in each dorm. HAPPY HOUR!!

Disliked: No ladder for bunk beds.

Customer would recommend this property

We know I like a good happy hour! The ensuite bathroom thing again. With the no ladder thing, this is actually weirdly common. Why hostels? Why?

Liked: Location was excellent, close to the nightlife and not a far walk to other areas.

Disliked: Some areas need improving.

I’d like to know what some areas are, walking distance is great.

Liked: It had a really great atmosphere, and is definitely one to consider if you are after a fun stay!

Disliked: The room was fairly basic, although it was sold to us this way so we expected it.

Customer would recommend this property

Honestly, I picked Amsterdam as the subject for this experiment because I expected some truly heinous reviews I could debunk, but the internet’s letting me down.

Liked: very good situation in the center of Amsterdam breakfast good bedroom clean and spacious

Disliked: very bad smell in the toilet and the shower

Customer would recommend this property

Clean is important. Sometimes you have to wonder if the smell is like a lack of air freshener thing, or like, a super hungover person was in there for 2 hours thing.

Liked: location..breakfast hall…..staff….

Disliked: appalling noise on first night…though staff sorted some of it out at 5 am for me..people fighting in next room..but other noise was appalling all night….the other three nights were quiet

Customer would recommend this property

Again, this is the fault of people. If one out of four nights was loud I’d count that as a hostel win.

Liked: Really most of things about this place is great: it’s superclose to the center (aprox 5 tram stops) near to Melkweg and Sugar Factory, clean, nice party atmosphere, linen and towels are included as well as breakfast (starts from 7:30). Reception was nice at every time of the day, gave directions, borrowed me a charger for my phone, I could use the safe deposit to leave my camera for the time of party. I loved happy hours at the hostel’s bar (prices are really low). I would say – the best choice in the city 😉

Disliked: Well it’s not a big deal as you can leave important stuff at the reception – lockers in rooms are pretty old and locking anything valuable inside is pointless as they work SO SO 😀

Customer would recommend this property

They lend phone chargers?! A lot of lockers at hostels suck. It’s nice you can leave stuff at reception.

Liked: I liked that the bar had cheap drinks and that the people staying in the hostel were lots of fun! I also liked that there was a club in the building and free breakfast.

Disliked: I disliked having to wait to enter and exit the building and the club was very loud in the rooms until very late at night (4 am) even when only a couple people were in there. I also didn’t like how basic the hostel was for the cost. Everything was quite old and not very comfortable. It is also quite far away from most of where things are going on. 15-20 minute walk to the bulldog and the red light district. The lockers in the room were also quite small.

Customer would recommend this property

You can’t complain about the clubs noise after saying you like having a club in the building. It’s one of the world’s trade offs.

So, as for my opinion of the Hans Brinker? I had SO MUCH FUN THERE. If you’re down to party all night, then this definitely will be your jam. Nothing was the best, but everything was clean, and the common areas were amazing. The most important thing? They never oversold anything. You knew exactly what you were getting. I think that if this was any other place reviews would be crap as crap can be. It’s a smart move on their part. I find it interesting that they don’t accept stags or bachelorettes, and also that they don’t let people over the age of 35 in the dorms. I know a ton of people who would stay there and have the best time, but honestly, I wouldn’t stay here again. Part of that is the new branding looks wayyyyyyy to annoying hipster for my taste, and also the fact that there’s some pretty legit ageism in the dorms. I think there’s better places to stay that are closer to the city centre, but…. a piece of my heart is still there.

So, this post kind of got away from me, but basically my point? Make a list of things that are important to you. Know yourself. Don’t trust an atmosphere rating because that really could mean anything. I mean, I’d give atmosphere of both hostels in Amsterdam 100% but they were vastly different. Also, if you want the quiet nights but might want to try the party once or twice… I’ve seen many a quiet hostel have an occasional rowdy night, however I’ve never seen party hostel go silent.

Choose wisely.

Where Do I Sleep That Night?!