Back to Blues from the inverted pyramid and we check in on the laundry situation at the front desk. There’s a key to the machines in the basement. I go downstairs to check it out. This place looks like a dungeon. I fiddle with the key for a bit in the cell-like metal gate. Got it. I have to duck my head, clearance is pretty low. It’s super dark, where are the lights? Phone flashlight on. Found em. There’s just one flickering florescent light. Isn’t this how horror movies start? I get the laundry situated and get the hell out of there.
McBurger and I get set up in the common area with the compy to do some blogging.
Just a few beers in and a young guy comes right over to us and introduces himself as Emil. He’s from Austria and is going on vacation before doing community service. “You get busted for drunk driving or something?”, “What?! No! I’m only 17. Everyone in Austria has to do it. I’ll be working for the Red Cross as a responder medic”, “Damn dude. Sounds like you need a beer.”
We tell Emil that we just came from Austria and have been there a few times now. He asks if we got to a place called Hallstatt. Sadly, we did not. He says it’s a beautiful lakeside mountain village that not many people used to know about but now has exploded in popularity, mainly with the Chinese. They see it as a fairy tale place and now there are so many tourists the poor little town is overwhelmed. “The Chinese are mounting a vacation crusade on it”, “Guess we’ve got to get back to Austria all over again.”
McBurger has taken Emil under his drink wing and is getting him round after round whether he wants in or not. “Oh no! What are you doing? You guys are crazy”, “Drink up, Champ!”
There’s a girl on the sofa chuckling at our shenanigans. We invite her to our table and she sits with us for a bit. Her name is Alexa, she’s from Toulouse, France. There’s just one other person in here, a tall freckled red-headed dude, might as well get him in the mix too. “Oh have you run out of conversation? You need a new person?”, feisty, can’t place the accent, “Ya man. We know everything about these two. Bring in the new guy.”
His name is Dominic and he’s from the Netherlands. Alexa and him go back and forth on places she’s been there. Dominic is super sarcastic. Something they mention triggers a nugget and out of nowhere Emil pipes up in the middle of their conversation, “Do you know what a tramp stamp is?”, “Haha yeah. Lower back tattoo”, “Yes yes! In America they call them ‘tramp stamps’. Well in Austria we call them ‘Ass Antlers’!”
No holding back on that, everyone is cackling. That was unexpected. “Ass Antlers?! That’s amazing”, “I know. It’s so good. Ass Antlers!” What a term. Everyone’s still laughing about it.
These drinks seem to be doing the trick here with young Emil. “Ok, this is it. My last beer. I will finish it before James!”
Moments later, “Oh god, I’m going to be so hungover tomorrow”, “Finish it up grasshopper! I thought you were gonna be done before James.”
He tips up the can and drains it and says, “Emil is dead now”, “Ha! We’ll miss him”, “But he finished his last beer before James!”, “Haha that you did. Prost!”
Emil takes off and we’re left with just Dominic now. Alexa bounced earlier. We talk about our trips and whatnot. He says he takes little trips here and there on weekends. “That’s the bonus of living in a centrally located European country”, “Yeah for sure. That’s exactly what we’d be doing”, “So move to Europe then!”, “Fuck. Now you’re talking!”
Dominic wants to do the free walking tour tomorrow and tells us he’s going to bed. Soon after that Emil makes a surprising return. “Not dead after all!”, “No, I feel great”, “That’s drunk talk if I’ve ever heard it”, “I’ve broken one of the Six Ds of being a student abroad”, “Oh yeah? Aren’t you just on vacation though”, “Ya but I remember as a student abroad there were Six Ds”, “What are those?”
The Six Ds of being a Student Abroad – Austrian Edition
- No Drinking
- No Driving
- No Dating
- No Drugs
- No Decorations
- No Downloads
“Sounds mighty boring. I suppose all of them could get you in trouble. No decorations?”, “Yes. Tattoos. Parents really don’t want that”, “What?! No Ass Antlers Abroad?!!”, “The real Triple A”, “Hahah no Ass Antlers Allowed!”, “And no downloads?”, “Illegal gambling and pirated stuff”, “I don’t think Murphy and I would be very popular with Austrian parents.”
We chat for a little bit longer but Emil swears he’s not having another beer. He gets a water. That’s actually not a bad idea. And Emil is out. Good kid.
McBurger and I are officially more popular with European teenage boys than Iron Maiden, The Sword and Kvelertak combined.
We kick it with another beer for a bit and chat about what to do tomorrow. There’s still a few things to see around the city. Could get out to the ruined castle on the Danube and hit up the Slovak Pub after. Yep, sounds perfect.
Some time later…
I wake up and Murphy is sawing logs. I have to piss with a vengeance. Staggering around, I can’t really recall the general layout of this place and instead of walking into our bathroom I find myself in the hallway in my boxers. Door closes behind me. Oh fuck! I don’t have a key. I bang on the door a bit to try to get Murphy up. No dice. I bang harder. BANG BANG BANG. Still no dice. I crank it up a notch and start kicking the door with my bare heel. BOOM. BOOM. BOOM. The door to the room next to us opens and a cute chick comes out and gives me the shittiest look ever – like, “Are you fucking kidding me?” I’m waking up the whole hostel except Murphy. Shit.
I get into the elevator, still only in boxers and bare feet, and go to the front desk. “Sooo… a funny thing happened…” The girl at the front desk starts laughing – “You locked yourself out?”, “I sure did.” She says “Don’t worry, this happens all the time.” She guides me back up and lets me in. What a nice evening.