Apr 21, 2006

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia – Gasping, I race into the hostel's foyer. Edward's train beat mine to the station by 20 minutes. Our deal was "wait 15, then head to the Celica". Sod's law.

I am such a bad person. I don't deserve to breathe.

By sheer chance, he's strolling down the corridor. Even more amazingly, he's amused, not enraged.

"I am a highly trained travel professional," he points out.

True, true. But I am the worst friend in the world...


Our cell is pretty barren: a flimsy Ikea-esque table and sleeping loft. Bars still adorn the inner door. Here lies the charm of the Celica, a prison-turned-hostel.

Make that "art-hostel," because this is to the YHA what Eames is to a milking stool. Different designers styled each cell. Be the first kid in Ljubljana to collect all 20!

However elite, it remains a hostel, though. Communal bathrooms. Not enough hot water. Overconfident, overloud backpackers suckling water pipes.

"I am too old for this shit," Edward announces.

"Me too. But it's keeping us humble; it's a counterbalance to all those five-star resorts we review. Plus, as travel writers, we should check out the latest in hip hostels."

He shakes his head, incredulous. "I come from Alaska to Eastern Europe to save your sorry ass, you're not at the train station and you make me sleep in a cell?"

See? The worst friend. I was right.

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