After a dissatisfying 4 or so hours of sleep, I am sitting on the couch of my accommodation. I can feel the eye bags carved into my face, my brain lagging severely as I try to calculate the simple maths of how many hours I slept.
I can hear Marko happily snoring away, cars zooming past our cabin situated on a busy main road and the pitter patter of clawed feet within the walls.
Yes, clawed feet. Claws. You read that correctly.
I recently laughed away to some YouTube videos by an American fashion/lifestyle content creator, Carrie Dayton, where she candidly discussed her rat infestation in her apartment. Well, in the last 24 hours I’ve quickly realised that living aside rodents is not a laughing matter.
Seeing as these unidentified rodents were centimetres from my head, my goal to get some restful sleep after a busy day of exploring was quickly thwarted.
Unlike my dear boyfriend, Marko, who can sleep through virtually anything, I cannot. I have super sensitive hearing, I can hear everything.
While I’ve thankfully adjusted to sleeping with some minimal noise throughout my travels, the animalistic sounds of clawing and chewing coming from some wall-dwelling creatures certainly made sleeping conditions rough.
I have recorded the sounds of these animals, I feel like a crazy person doing so but you know, I’ve had 4 hours sleep. I’ve also packed up my bags and I am waiting for Marko to be awoken by his alarm. We are checking out a day early.
In all honesty, I detest confrontations and even though Marko will be handling this one in his native tongue it will not stop the cringe factor for me.
Reluctantly visiting the resort town almost exclusively for drunkards
Marko and I have recently had a really bad run with accommodation. We have just returned from the resort town of Čanj in Montenegro, where we stayed while Marko did intensive training for an upcoming job role.
Please note that this town would have been the last place we ever would’ve picked to stay in this country. I had little interest in visiting that region. But we rolled with it, we had no choice.
You may have read ‘resort’ and thought I got really lucky there. But no.
This region of Montenegro is popular amongst a certain type of traveller that I really can’t relate to and definitely don’t want to be surrounded by. The party crowd.
And I don’t just mean the average drinker.
These are the type of people who start hitting the booze as soon as they wake up until they pass out at night. They have no qualms about making enormous amounts of noise at all times of day and night. They scream, sing and blast their atrocious music indiscriminately. For them, it is a great time.
(No, I am not fun at parties).
And you know, I am not opposed to anyone indulging in whatever they consider to be fun, as long as it’s not harming anyone and I don’t have to suffer because of it.
For the women operating my aparthotel accommodation, she looked drained and embarrassed as she admitted to Marko that she couldn’t handle a boisterous large group of guests.
She even went to the lengths of contacting the company that the people worked for as they were there on a work trip. But it made no difference.
The doors of our aparthotel were not even sealed properly, making the entire building a literal echo chamber. Every single decibel was amplified!
There were also construction zones all around the building, working from 7 am to sundown and a crying baby in the apartment across from us.
The noise never stopped.
We never complained because as you read I hate confrontations and I also worked out that the AC was great for white noise.
When we checked out and were asked ‘how was the accommodation’ by the owner, Marko did comment about the noise. The accommodation owner gave us a big discount by subtracting one whole night and apologised for the noise.
After staying in 70+ accommodations I’ve had a lot of different experiences
Neither of these two experiences are even the worst that I’ve had. I have stayed in over 70 different accommodations, throughout Europe and Australia, from budget hostels to luxury hotels.
I have to be honest, even though I didn’t particularly enjoy staying in hostels towards the end of my second huge European backpacking trip, I also kind of like them.
Why? Because with a hostel you know what to expect, generally. It will probably be noisy. It might be messy due to unruly guests. Some persistent creep may follow you around, making sure you are aware of his desperate need to sleep with anyone with a pulse. You might be woken up by strangers carelessly humping away in a bunk bed.
But you might meet a lifelong friend or other memorable acquaintances. I certainly have on numerous occasions. The receptionist might go out of their way to make sure you enjoy your visit to their country. Sometimes the breakfast might even be decent. You will probably also save some cash which will afford you some of the best meals of your life or some other unforgettable experience.
Regardless, when reading the reviews and after some experience in hostels, there are rarely surprises.
My WORST accommodation nightmare was in Dubrovnik
My biggest accommodation nightmare so far was when I stayed in a so-called hostel in Dubrovnik, the most popular destination in Croatia.
I usually lock in my accommodation at the last minute or up to 2 weeks in advance (max) before my stay. I do that because I like to have flexibility in my plans. This doesn’t always work out so well for me because I am sometimes left with slim pickings when it comes to very popular destinations.
I chose one of the cheaper accommodations available which for this part of Europe wasn’t particularly cheap. Pictures looked okay. Reviews were mixed.
It didn’t really look like your typical hostel but it had ‘dorms’, a shared bathroom and a kitchen for all to use which is always welcomed when you are staying somewhere that is known to be overpriced.
I didn’t have particularly high expectations but considering that I would spend most of my time sightseeing, I figured I could just put up with it, after all, I was only staying there for a few days.
The guy running the accommodation picked me up from the dock after my ferry that came in from Korcula arrived. This was a huge help, so immediately I had a positive first impression.
Perhaps things wouldn’t be so bad after all?
Sleeping with strangers (literally)
Upon checking into this accommodation, I was advised that I would be sleeping in a double bed. Next to a stranger. But don’t worry, it is another female. I was not happy with this, in fact, I was appalled. But I did not say anything because as you may have read previously, I don’t like confrontations!!
There was no locker to put my possessions in and the owner offered to lock my stuff in a broom cupboard which I did with my laptop.
I decided I would give it a go for one night. And move on from there if I must.
But then things got even worse
The cocky young-owner introduced me to the lady who cleans the accommodation.
She was meek middle-aged Russian woman, clearly partially blind, with one eye totally cloudy. She couldn’t speak a word of English which I had no problem with (you find other ways to communicate).
She was a live-in maid at the accommodation. To my shock, her bed was in the corner of the kitchen with a tiny TV and her few belongings at the end of her bed.
I quickly realised that I wouldn’t be eating at the ‘hostel’ and questioned whether I could even stay the night.
The owner wanted to casually chat with me about Melbourne while I sat in shock in the kitchen which was the only indoor ‘communal’ area where guests could sit besides the bedroom.
Did this guy know that a lot of guests would find this situation incredibly f****d up? I couldn’t tell you. But I can certainly tell you that so long as he was earning money he didn’t care.
Other guests were deeply disturbed by this guy and his accommodation. They felt really misled. It wasn’t a hostel but a dodgy setup to make money from tourists with a maid living in the kitchen in slave-like conditions.
During the night, while the tiny room with 5 people crammed in it tried to sleep, we were awoken by an argument.
A French woman had arrived, she couldn’t believe this accommodation she had been taken to. She clearly was not afraid of a confrontation.
She negotiated to stay in the private room next door to the ‘dorm room’. The next day when I spoke to her, she was justifiably super super super angry at the owner, as we all were.
I slept uncomfortably next to the stranger who was nice enough but I don’t like being accidentally touched by someone I don’t know while I sleep or feeling their breath on my body.
When I woke up, I quickly booked myself a hotel in the old town of Dubrovnik, there was a last minute deal. I packed my stuff and headed there as soon as I was able to check in.
I didn’t even bother trying to get a refund, I didn’t want to communicate with that man at all.
Later that day, I received a message from him asking if I checked out. To which I never replied.
Shortly after, I met my current boyfriend for the first time and I almost completely forgot about this situation until the more recent accommodation nightmare arose.
I looked up that same accommodation provider on Booking.com and they have deleted all the negative reviews and are now renting out the property as a whole instead of as a hostel/shared accommodation situation.
There is sometimes a silver lining to these little disasters
Marko spoke to the owner of the cute rodent infested wooden cabin.
I felt so horrible because the owner seemed like a really nice person and aside from rodents and the bathroom that had a stinky sewerage problem, the accommodation was good.
She didn’t allow us to pay for the night of accommodation and apologised profusely.
We had really been looking forward to this trip to Kolasin, a place full of natural wonders in the mountains of northern Montenegro. This kind of put a damper on the trip.
Regardless, we decided we would do a full day of sightseeing and head home instead of booking a new accommodation.
This ended up being for the best when we realised that we were could only really just afford the accommodation and we spent some of the money we had saved on some deliciously, hearty traditional food.
A detour through the Albanian mountains
We decided to trim down our sightseeing plans (which involved a much longer drive back home) and instead take the shortest route home. Taking the scenic route through Albania to get back to Herceg Novi seemed to be our best option.
While things were a bit sketchy in the area bordering Montenegro (a guy got out of his car to confront us in a road rage incident and a group of very very young girls pelted our car with rocks) once we passed through the border I was grateful to those wall-dwelling pests for changing our plans.
Shortly after passing through the border, we came across a river with light azure coloured water. I’ve never seen that colour of blue in a body of water, ever. Marko and I were euphoric, clambering on the rocks surrounding this river. We could not believe our eyes.
In this rural region, there was mostly farmland, some small communities and many charming small, stone houses.
As we drove along, I saw a mountain in the distance that looked very familiar.
The rocks of this mountain are distinctively light grey in colour. It ended up being the Prokletije mountain range. A fellow mountain lover on Instagram highly recommended that I visit there but I resigned to the fact that I had run out of time and may not see if for a few years.
By chance, I got to see it and I can’t even begin to explain how happy that made me.
We drove through the night, navigating the winding roads through canyons, avoiding the many risk-taking toads, listening to whatever we could tune into on the radio.
I couldn’t help but be reminded of our treasured time on the road in Italy, Croatia and Slovenia.
We drove past fields of fragrant marijuana, hidden in plain sight on the busy main road and more crucifixes than I could count, including a huge lighted one that could be seen from the air.
Things didn’t go according to plan. This was my second last day with the love of my life before the long flight back to my home country to face a difficult family situation and I wanted to spend it well.
I was so exhausted that I slept in the passenger seat and I am the type of person who typically cannot sleep anywhere but in a bed.
But you know what? I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Things turned out better than we ever could have planned. This region of Albania was the perfect combination of weird and wonderful.
Admission of something is not a complaint, it is simply telling the truth
I am telling you these stories not because I am an ungrateful misery guts but because these stories are the truth, my truth.
Travel doesn’t always go to plan and that is the truth. That is something that seasoned travellers know very well and something that new travellers should be aware of before they start their adventures.
Travel is much like normal everyday life in the sense that things won’t always go your way. But who knows what pleasant surprises could be in store for you, beyond your ‘failed’ plans.
Do you have any accommodation nightmares? Big or small?
Feel free to share them in the comment section down below! I am curious to hear what accommodation nightmares you have experienced in your travels and I’d love to know if things worked out in the end and how you dealt with the situation.
I am well aware that my travel nightmare stories from Europe are pretty tame considering some other stories I’ve heard from other continents that involve serious, traumatic crimes.
Nevertheless, when you pay for the service of accommodation, I think it is fair to have some basic expectations when you are parting with your hard earned money and to speak up when things aren’t right.
Disclaimer: The featured image for this blog post IS NOT the one mentioned in this story. It is from a super positive accommodation experience from my trip to Durmitor.