I know what you may think. ‘’Oh, she’s working for the organization – of course she’s gonna write only the good things about a hotel and conveniently hide the downsides’’. I think so myself as I read all kinds of product reviews and holiday destination blogs. But i am leading my personal blog as well, funded by no one, freedom of speech all the way and available for all the lucky people who will have me as their future employee to read. So the following content is just my opinion – and I did my best to keep it humble!
The first time I went to Lillehammer Stasjonen hostel was ‘’So…where is the hostel? All I see is a neat café on the train station. Are we at the right place?’’. Apparently, we were. Google maps said so, the Hostelling international flag firmly agreed. My questionable common sense did not, though, therefore – as probably many others- I went to the café to ask where is the hostel.
‘’You are standing right in it, this is our café/restaurant. The rooms are up the stairs on the train station building!’’. Okay? My dazzled look seemed to be quite a common occurrence as the lady just smiled at me, watching me take slow steps in the shown direction. So yes. The hostel is in the train station building, it might not be very clear where the rooms are – but that’s where the staff is going to direct you.
I am not going to make an extra point on the fact that the location is divine and there is no need to drag your luggage uphill – yet everything is on a walking distance in this lovely tiny city. There is pretty much no point you cannot reach – and if there is, you can simply hop on the bus since it is also an important bus station.
The Christmas holidays went by and the way lead me to the hostel again – this time for a bit longer and I was able to have a better overview. The first thing to see about the hostel is a beautiful café/restaurant with the bunch of deserts and drinks and the area leads to a nice modern fireplace with the comfortable couches next to it. If you look around, the area has many benches instead of regular chairs behind the tables. These benches are often decorated with pillows which creates a really cozy feeling and makes you want to just stretch comfortably over it.
The next thing that blew me away was the choice of food in restaurant. Yes, food is my weakness and easily impressed when it fits my taste. I would not call the dinner ridiculously cheap; it is not expensive either though. Anyway, it is definitely well worth the money. Good and healthy balance of proteins, carbs and vitamins in every meal, decent portions, professionally served and decorated plus very tasty. In my experiences the food served in Norway can get a bit clumsy when it comes to spices, often not generous enough. But here there is no need to think about adding salt to it or any other kind of improvement. You can order a warm meal or take a daily soup every day between 11.00 and 21.00.
Trout with potatoes and veggies
That being said, the breakfast is the dream come true and I am not exaggerating. Having been in plenty of hostels until now, Stasjonen beats all of them big time. The choice of food every day is simply amazing and we’re talking about three different sorts of bread, all of them fresh, prepared sandwiched, waffles, pastry, fruits, vegetables, different salads, smoked trout, turkey, yoghurt, scrambled eggs and much more. There is nothing more I would have wished for. And the breakfast hours between 6.00 and 10.00 also give you very little chance to remain hungry, regardless of your daily routine.
Oh, plus free coffee/tea refills. At any part of the day, as long as the restaurant is open.
Moving on to the accommodation, there is something very special about the hostel rooms. Some of them are thematically oriented. One of them is called The Amnesty international room, they also have Doctors without borders room. What is inspiring is that 50 NOK of the room booked goes to these organizations. Another one of them contains second hand furniture (Fretex room), the one next to it contains some furniture from the German city Oberhof, which is Lillehammer’s fellow city. The rooms serve some purpose and they are fantastic to look at and give you some sense of purpose while staying.
The guest common area/kitchen is not the biggest I have ever seen; it is however the coziest. Maybe I am just under that impression because I connect carpet flooring with coziness, but that factor along with comfortable couches, modern kitchen and variety of board games got me sold.
When it comes to the staff, I find them extremely nice and helpful. They gladly answer all my intruding questions and I got many information on how the hostel works. What I find the best is the hostel manager, his open-minded attitude just fascinates me and I got the impression by the other staff – most of them said ii directly without me even asking – that they are very happy to work here and for him. That creates the whole new level of the hostel atmosphere and is a key for the guests to feel good.
So, at the end of the day, is there anything bad I could say about the hostel? No. I enjoyed every second of my stay here and I am still enjoying it.
I hope you will stay tuned and read my furher traveling tips and blog articles on what I’ve discovered during my stay here!
Sandra Meglić, an EVS volunteer for Hostelling international
Project funded by Erasmus+ and Aktiv Ungdom