Category Archives: Spain

Ghost Hostel

Since last June, I’ve stayed in a crap load of hostels. Hostels in cities, jungles, villages. Some with single beds, double beds, or even 16 bed dorms. Some with great Wi-Fi, horrible Wi-Fi or none whatsoever. Some were squeaky clean and others had cockroaches. Some were definitely a lot better than others, but they all got the job done. But I’d have to say the hostel we stayed at in Algeciras, takes the cake for being the weirdest, creepiest hostel I’ve ever stayed in.

Looks great doesn't it? This picture is from their website.
Looks great doesn’t it? This picture is from their website.

In Valdevaqueros, I booked a place online that I thought looked great! A hostel just footsteps away from the beach, with a bar downstairs where you can enjoy a drink by the ocean. Perfect! I was pretty happy with my decision. So the next morning we packed up and went to Algeciras for a change of scenery. A taxi driver took us across Tarifa to the city of Algeciras. Algeciras is close to Gibraltar which is also another major tourist destination. The hostel he took us to was called Hostal Bahia and just like the description said, it was only footsteps away from the beach! But unlike the pictures in the description, there was a huge ship loading port that destroyed any peaceful view of serenity. Anyways, we were maybe a half-hour earlier than check-in time but headed to the entrance to see if we can get our room a little earlier. The door was locked. As a matter of fact, the place looked closed. All of the lights inside were off and there was no one inside. What gives? There was a stranger who was fixing the roofing on the outside, and from what I could make out from his spanish, he told us that the hostel wasn’t opened yet and we should come back later. Okay. Luckily there was a restaurant just across the parking lot that we could eat at while we waited. I asked for a menu and couldn’t really make out anything on the menu. My spanish wasn’t as great as I thought but from the items I could understand, they were all mostly seafood items. I randomly chose something and when the waiter brought it out to me, it turned out to be cubes of a really chewy fish. Yuck! I tried to eat one cube and decided that was all for me. Plenty of time went by where we felt like we should be able to check in, so we paid our bill and left. We went back to the hostel but found it was locked and barren just like the first time. What the heck? We didn’t know what to do but wait a little longer. That’s when the stranger from earlier told us that the owners weren’t here today. I showed him the e-mail from the hostel I saved on my iPad that had our booking information. He then called the owners on the phone and handed it to me. The guy on the phone apologized and told us we can go inside and find our room. He told me the pass-code to the door, “3457” and in we went! He instructed me that there was a room key and two towels left for us behind the front desk. I said thanks and handed the phone back.

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We walked inside the silent, empty hostel and walked to to the front desk. And just liked the guy told us, there was a room key with two towels that had my name on it. We went up to our room and along the way noticed how eerily vacant and quiet it was. But we found our room and left our bags. We wanted to investigate the hostel and see if there was ANYONE else around. We looked everywhere and came to the conclusion that we were the only ones in the building. Not even any staff! We even went into places we weren’t supposed to go in. This hostel was still under construction and some parts were left unfinished and had a creepy, dark feel to it. The bar near the entrance was locked, but as we looked around, we found a pair of keys in one of the drawers in the lobby.

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Turns out that one of the keys unlocked the door to the bar! I went inside and even went behind the bar and into the kitchen. No one. All I found were butcher knives laying across the bar front.

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After investigating a little more, I went back to my room to take a little nap. I figured by the time we woke up, there would be some people here or at least staff members. But still when we did wake up there was no one and it was dreary and raining outside – the perfect start to a horror film. We were hungry and since there was no one in the restaurant downstairs, Chris and I ventured out to find some food. We walked thinking we would eventually find a decent restaurant but in this part of Algeciras, there was nothing at all! We walked for almost two hours before we finally found a decent place that was a little more upscale but did the trick. We eventually were the only customers in the restaurant.

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We didn’t want to walk back in the dark so we called a cab that took us back to our ghost hostel. What was freaky is what the cab fare ended up totaling…

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If that wasn’t foreshadowing bad things to come then I don’t know what would! The place was empty except this time it was completely dark inside. If I were in the middle of a scary movie, tonight would be the night the first kill would be made! I saw that the bar area was completely flooded and that someone (or something) has been inside because there was trash on top of the counter. Weird.

We went to bed and woke up the next morning to pack our bags and leave. Originally I thought I would stay a couple days here but Algeciras and this hostel stunk so bad that we wanted out! I found a cool hostel in Tarifa near the bars and beaches we could stay at for the rest of our time in Spain. When we checked out there was no one there to ‘check us out’, so I just left the key on the desk and peaced out! The ghosts would probably come by later to get it.

Across The Gibraltar Strait

The plan to go to Spain was kind of unplanned. For the most part, the idea to go was always in the back of my head. I figured since we were SO close to Spain, we may as well go! It was only a 35 minute ferry from the coast of Tanger to Tarifa (one of the ports of Spain). Spain would be the eleventh country on my worldly trip so we decided to make it happen! What would we do there? Whatever we pleased. Our number one priority? Relax the heck out!

It wasn’t a smooth trip to Tarifa. We took an overnight train from Rabat to Tanger where I found it difficult for me to sleep because I didn’t want to accidentally miss our stop. The trains in Morocco barely announce what city you’ve arrived in, and when it does announce, it will say it French or Arabic which doesn’t help me at all! My paranoia kept me up for most of the night. Eventually we did make it to Tanger around 7 am and immediately found a taxi guy to take us to the Moroccan port. We got there quick but apparently a boat was about to leave really soon! A guy who worked for the ferry company ran with us to get our tickets, ran to the security check point and to the ferry gate. At the end, he wanted money for the tickets but I told him I only had my card and no cash. So I had to run all the way back to the ticket office and pay with my card and all the way back to the ferry gate and finally onto the boat that was just about to depart! Not to mention, I had my bags on me the whole time so running around a ferry port so early in the morning wasn’t exactly fun. But at least we were on the ferry sooner than we anticipated. We found a good spot to sit and Chris immediately passed out!

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Once we landed in Tarifa, Spain, the language barrier immediately switched from French and Arabic over to Spanish. I can speak and understand a little Spanish so I was more comfortable here. We walked with our luggage to find a place that had Wi-Fi so I could book an accommodation for us. I’ve been using Booking.com ever since I was in Asia to book hostels and hotels. I’ve used them so much that they started giving me pretty good discounts on lots of places. I found a cool place near a beach called Valdevaqueros that had a kitchen and most importantly, air conditioning! It was a little pricey but it looked well worth it, so we found a cab and he took us a few kilometers along the southern coast of Spain to Valdevaqueros!

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Our hotel was pretty sweet! It had a pool, a few decks, and a great view of the beach. There was a dog that hung around which I believed belonged to the hotel owners. He would constantly pop over our place!

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In the distance we could see a bunch of kites near the shore. Not small kites, but the big kites you use to go kite surfing. We settled our bags and everything, took a much needed nap after traveling all night, and headed to Valdevaqueros beach to see what it had to offer.

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There were kites everywhere! I never seen so many kitesurfers in one place! Turns out, Tarifa is one of the biggest destinations in the world for kite surfing! I wanted to try it but it takes days worth of training to become even a little decent at it. Unfortunately we didn’t have the luxury of time so all we could do was watch and awe.

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tarf

We didn’t do too much for our first day in Spain, especially since our agenda was to have no agenda. We headed back to our hotel and chilled out there for a bit and took advantage of the internet to catch up on blogs and with friends and family back home. Later on we headed back into town to find some grub. We found a nice spot that served up burritos which we were both hankering for. I ordered a pop and the waiter brought out a can of coke that read “Daniel” on it. Chris got one that read “Lauren”. I guess in some countries there are cokes with names of different people for whatever fun reason. I saw it as a sign of great luck that out off all the coke cans, I randomly got the one that had my name on it!

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We figured since we had a kitchen, that we should take full advantage of the stove and microwave. We also thought it would be cheaper to buy our own food and cook it rather than eating out all the time. We bought cereal for breakfast and pasta with veggies and sausages for dinner. It was pretty easy to make (Chris made it all. I did a great job at supervising!) and it was actually pretty good!

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Around 6;40 pm, when the sun began to fall, we found that our terrace held a great view of the sunset from the distance! It was also a great place to hangout.

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Yeah…Tarifa. Relax your heart out and eat great food. As much as I wanted to stick by that motto, I couldn’t help but want to see MORE! There was another city on the opposite side of Tarifa called Algeciras that I wanted to check out. Had I known, how creepy it was going to be, I would of stayed put right here at Valdevequeros….