When you’re on the road for a while you can miss the fam at home. Sure, they’re only a Skype away, but you’re still talking to a computer screen. Sometimes you just want to be surrounded by people you care about and are comfortable with.
We haven’t had that sort of feeling in a while. It’s an often cold existence that we live.
And then, out of the clouds, comes Hostel Achalay.
Bariloche is a slice of the world that has to be seen to be believed. At the top of Patagonia, it’s a winter sports town that turns into a hiking Mecca in Summer. The mountains are vomitously beautiful, the lakes bring a tear to your eye, and the town’s other main industry is fucking chocolate.
A dream destination however you paint it, it follows that the hostel we called home for 5 days was also an absolute dreamboat.
The hostel is home. The people are family.
It’s hard to put my finger on what exactly made the place. Every morning you wake up to the smell of fresh-baked bread, rustled up by the caring staff, and paired with home made jam as part of free breakfast. Free breakfast also lasts all fuckin day.
It’s the sort of place you can imagine a freestyle bongo/guitar slow jam to break out at any second. They provide both the bongos and the guitar. They provide the atmosphere. It’s a recipe for a ripping time.
The rooms are all music themed and cute as hell, so you might find yourself sharing a room with Hendrix, The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. Bariloche is cold. The rooms are not. Those radiators are working overtime, and if you so chose, you could roast a pig in your room.
The owner, Pablo, gets in mostly volunteers as staff. I’d love to know his selection process, because he somehow gets the nicest, most welcoming buggers ever. And so knowledgeable. They seem like they’ve been living in Bariloche their whole life, but then you ask them, and they’ve been there 3 weeks. I don’t understand. It’s awesome, but I don’t understand.
The location is peach, right in the middle of town. Along with the chocolate, Bariloche has a surprisingly healthy artisanal beer scene, and there’s the delightful Manush microbrew pub just down the road. You’re also a stones-throw from the lake (which is great for throwing stones into), and a 3 minute walk to the main drag.
Hostel Achalay isn’t a hostel. It’s a home. It’s a homestel. We hadn’t felt this cosy and comfortable in a while. You’re just hanging around with your friends, chewing the fat and singing songs. I couldn’t have imagined a better stay.