Saturday, 22 December 2012

soul kitchen; a hostel for the wandering sole

A place Mai and I have always wanted to visit, but never thought it was possible was Russia. With an easy and relatively inexpensive overnight ferry from Helsinki to St Petersburg, a 72 hour visa free trip wasn’t that out of reach after all.  Stepping out in to an icey cold climate of -16 for the first time was a bit of a shock. We didn’t really pay attention to where the hostel was and ended up walking around in this cold for about half an hour. We then realised we were unnecessarily reversing the directions (thinking we were somewhere else) and the hostel was right near where the bus dropped us off. Convenient. Our hands were numb, mouths were dry and I’m pretty sure my nose was running but then freezing on impact with the harsh Russian air.

Expecting Russia to be expensive we checked into the cheapest decent hostel we could find,  but this was actually the cheapest we’ve paid so far. Even more surprising was that this hostel was the freakin’ bomb. At Soul Kitchen you’re not traveler  you’re a travelling friend. You get free fresh towels, free tea and coffee (not the shit stuff either), a kitchen like your Grandma’s and a lounge area comfortable enough to call home (in fact, it was much cooler than any home I’ve had).  There’s was something on the social calendar every night/day (the first night was Wii games and another morning we had fresh cooked pancakes).  The beds made you feel like a princess (not so good if you’re a man but when in Russia, right?)…with curtains, your own charging station and a big lockable drawer. The hostel opened in June and is run by a young Russian couple (you could probably classify as semi-hipster) who have thoroughly thought about it. There’s a really community feel about the place and they even give you a handmade map with all the local cafes, bars and nightclubs (the ones that cool young people go to, not tourist destinations).

Soul Kitchen Hostel was on this beautiful street!
We were absolutely starving and went to Zoom Café just near our hostel to get a big bowl of Russian soup. It’s so cold outside that you can really only stay out for 10minutes without ducking  a shop or café to get warm.  After a quick drink at a local bar called Clean Plates Society (a funky place with great food and good tunes) and the Laundry Bar (a place to drink tasty home brew AND do your laundry) we returned to the hostel to Wii it up. 

I think we have a knack of rocking up somewhere when its dead. There was the couple who ran the hostel and another Canadian guy. We had a good time anyway, we drank beer and tea (a good mix) and chatted about Russian culture and the history of the building the hostel was in. It’s super old (I can’t remember exactly how old) but there’s been a few interesting discoveries while renovating it like a secret room full of bricks and an extra window that could only be seen from the outside (causing quite a bit of confusion when they had to count windows for fittings). Apparently previous owners found a room full of silver! 

We absolutely loved Russia and can confidently say that it was all because of the lovely hostel we stayed in. The world would be a better place if we had more hostels like Soul Kitchen. Seriously, check it out: 

Thanks guys, would love to come back one day! 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Just put this on my list of places to go! sounds like you and Mai are having an freaking awesome time!!!

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