"Insanity doesn't run in my family.... It practically gallops!" - Cary Grant in "Arsenic and Old Lace" (1944)
Venting an overflow of dsyfunctionality inspired by the Boy (aka my son) declaring "I really don't care... Blog it."


Hanging at the Hilltop Hostel

The Boy, his girlfriend (aka The GF), and Yours Truly fled the state this past week for some long overdue downtime. We hit the road to Washington DC… home of monuments, museums, memorials, and the Cherry Blossom Festival. I considered seeing if The Boy would like to try his hand at interstate driving, but was dissuaded from the idea by the three car wreck in my rearview at just that moment. Nothing like hearing a “whoompf” and seeing bumpers flying in the air to wake you up in the morning! We were stopped for another wreck at the time, but luckily had just enough room to pull up and avoid being the fourth car in the stack. At least we got our close call for the week over early!

After a long (9 hr) drive, we arrived at the Hilltop Hostel in Tacoma just outside DC. Our first hostel experience was definitely a fun one! The hostel is in an older, three-story house with tons of character. We were given a brief tour of the facilities, sheets for our beds and shown to our rooms. When I first made our reservations they were for just The Boy and myself, so I’d booked us into a private 2-person room. Since The GF was joining us, we’d kicked The Boy out into one of the co-ed dorm rooms.  If you can handle walking up stairs to your room, bunk beds, and a relaxed college dorm like atmosphere complete with classic rock playing from the speakers, you'll love this place!  The Boy and The GF especially enjoyed the game room downstairs where it's a tradition for guests to write or draw on the walls. 

Menus, souvenirs and thank yous
from guests festoon the wall
Over the course of the week, we hung out with fellow travellers from all over the globe... kinda a surreal extended family feel to it in a way.  There was the Japanese historian in town to explore documents at the National Archives for his next book in a spirited conversation with the out-of-work mason from the midwest about role of oil resources on World War II.  Over here we have two groups from the UK, both traveling around the US but in different directions, comparing notes on various cities' hostels and social scenes.  The young man from Germany here for an internship shared his bottle of wine with myself and a couple of the staff. The au pair who was going back to Sweden in a couple of weeks talked about how she'd miss the family she'd been with the last two years, but was looking forward to going to university on her return. 

One visitor was there from my hometown looking at apartments as she had accepted a job in DC and another was in town for an interview.  There was the young man from Korea that watched "Gran Torino" with me one evening, laughing at the interplay between Clint Eastwood and the Hmong grandma.  A couple of girls from China laughing with a staff member in the dining room and the mother of one of the staff shared memories of her life with me on the back porch one sunny evening. 

The last morning at the hostel I was debating on getting up, listening to the early risers moving around when I heard the shower in the bathroom next door to us turn on.  Suddenly the air was filled with exuberant, full-throated song!  I'm still not sure what language it was in, though it sounded slightly middle-Eastern.  The GF and I both started giggling as we gave up on sleeping in. 

Easter decorations were starting to spring up all over the hostel by the time we left.  "Leaving so soon?  Awww, you're going to miss the Easter Egg Hunt!"  Next time I'll have to stay longer obviously... and there will be a next time. 

Next Post:  DC in Springtime


  1. Cool! That sounded like a great place.

  2. Wow! Now that sounds like a wonderful place to stay! What a great change from a regular hotel room.


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