If you know me personally or have followed my travels.. you’ll know that I don’t normally stay at hostels. In fact, the first time I used a hostel was two years ago in 2011, when I was kind of forced to after I got kicked out of that farm in France (read about how that changed my life). Yes it was kind of cheating since I got a private room in one of the ‘best hostels in Europe’ (Villa St Exupéry Gardens in Nice) but it opened my eyes to and destroyed all the silly stereotypes I had about hostelling.
With the help of Hostelbookers, I designed my solo Portugal trip around some carefully handpicked hostels. I was really excited (I HAD THE MOST AMAZING TIME).
Ale-Hop Albufeira Hostel
In Albufeira where I spent two nights, I picked a really new hostel called Ale-Hop – it only opened this year in July! The name is actually that of a shop that sells ‘bits n bobs’ and other souvenirs, and the hostel is located above it. They’re so new that they haven’t got a proper website yet, but you can check out their Facebook page.
The owner, João, welcomed me at the shop. In fact, the Reception = Till = Reception. He showed me around the building and I was placed in a 6-bed female dorm with ensuite bathroom.. except that, there were no other guests in that room so it was rather a treat for meeeee 🙂
I was really impressed the moment I stepped in. Not only was everything shiny and new – the beds were all made and it all looked super cosy.
I introduced the room to Goliath (my pet mouse), freshened up (read: replaced my face) and went down to find dinner. João recommended a good restaurant called ‘O Alentejano’ just down the road that served traditional Portuguese food.
I love dining alone! It gives you so much time to concentrate on eating and to fully enjoy your meal. I think it’s one of the best forms of ‘me time’ ever.
For my first meal in Portugal I had bacalhau (salt cod) – of course, I love it.. almost to an obsessional degree.
^left: fish soup (soap de peixe) / right: almond tart (tarte de amêndoa)
EVERYTHING WAS SO GOOD. So good that I went back again the following night. I know.. how unadventurous of me 🙁
But the upside was that the owner was so happy to see me again! We spoke a little. He opened the restaurant about five years ago and lives in a nearby village, where he grew up. I think his name was José. You can actually see him in the photo above – he’s the dude standing on the right side near the seated woman!
Restaurante O Alentejano
129 Rua da Liberdade
I had a wander around the town and quickly realised that Albufeira was ‘very touristy’. Dominated by British tourists, even the streets were occupied by things like pubs screening English football and I spotted many groups of erm, British people. Haha! I guess it is in Algarve what Magaluf is in Mallorca.
I decided to go back to the hostel and spend the rest of my night on their roof terrace:
It was quiet. Possibly because it was a Monday night. I had the whole place to myself. It was fab.
Look at the view!
^The thing about being alone is that you end up with some quite lousy self-timer shots of yourself
I put on some music, watched my light-up toy bunny, and had a naughty little joint… (again – this is an honest blog)
It was a warm night. It as a happy night!
The Next Day
I took my time getting up – hey, I was on holiday! Used the free wifi to look at maps and plan my route a little bit. I even painted my nails 🙂
^Me in the ensuite bathroom, which had two toilets and two showers. All were super clean and nice and new. I especially enjoyed the large mirrors..
^I bought these sunnies from Topshop before my trip.. I thought they were cool but now looking back at them, I’m not so sure… I guess I needed to see photographs of me using them first?
I’m a lucky girl though – the lovely people at VisionDirect had a pair of sunglasses of my choice shipped to me in Portugal. I picked something rather classic – a pair of RayBan Clubmasters. Initially they wanted to send me some contact lenses to try.. but I have perfect eyesight. I did experiment with coloured contacts – FreshLook contacts to be precise -when I was younger but I never got over the whole ‘putting something foreign in my eye’ thing..
ANYWAY, I was really pleased! The Raybans arrived at a friend’s address in Porto, where I would visit later on in my trip.
As you can see, I made good use of the extra space available to me 🙂
I loved the colours in the room. I felt like I was in some sort of school dorm!
I thought the place looked much better with daylight, so I took some photos before I waltzed away to the beach.
^The hostel can be accessed via a small lane next to the shop. Guests are given a personalised security pin which can be entered onto a keypad at the door!
I think ultimately the best thing about the hostel is its location. You can’t beat it really. It’s right in the centre of everything. It’s not what you would call a ‘party hostel’ and there are no organised social activities etc. It’s a place you can go to unwind and have a quiet time after a long day out – which was perfect for me.
I know it was helped by the fact that I had a six-bed room all to myself, but I genuinely enjoyed staying here!
Special thanks to Daniela, one of the staff, who was ever so helpful and patient with me. She was allllways smiling. I can’t wait to go back to visit againnnnn 🙂
Nights here can be booked via Hostelbookers. They have private double/triple rooms too. Rates start from £15pppn in an eight-bed dorm.
Ale-Hop Albufeira Hostel
Rua 05 de Outubro 23