Along the way I've picked up some hostel etiquette and I think these basic guidelines should be followed to keep hostel mates happy:
1) Don't pack your shit in plastic bags. Seriously, what could be more annoying than the sound of you rummaging through your things at an ungodly hour? It is like people seek out the most crinkly and loud sounding plastic bag and shove their stuff in it. I've seen people with all of their items in plastic bag compartments.
2) If you show up late and everyone is in bed with their reading light on or they are asleep don't turn on the main light! There is a certain way of life in hostels. People are trying to be tolerant of each others space and usually the crowd that doesn't go out to bars reads for a bit, then showers or puts on pj's around 10 and reads a bit more. Once one person turns off their light you'll notice others around you will too. When you turn on the light you totally disrupt our balance and routine.
3) Don't be the asshole who falls asleep with your reading light on. People really don't want to reach over you and turn it off or wake you up and ask you to turn it off.
4) If you need to have your reading light on for more than 30 minutes after the last person has turned theirs off go to a common space and do your shit. It's polite.
5) Invasion of the nostrils part 1, Please don't eat anything past normal eating hours. No one wants to smell your burrito at 2am. Gross dude.
6) Invasion of the nostrils part 2, This also goes for hairsprays, perfumes and anything else stinky. There is a bathroom for a reason. Why are you going to subject everyone else to your unnatural smelling products?
7) It's cool to turn the heat on a little bit but cranking it up to 6 (high) to try and heat the room faster then forgetting about it is rude. It also doesn't heat any faster. No one likes to wake up sweating and usually that cranky sweaty person is me. This still applies if you crank up the heat to dry your clothes and open the window. Then you are just wasting heat and pissing people off.
8) If you're listening to music on your headphones don't blast it. We can still hear it. I dig that Germans tend to like harder music but I don't dig it at 2am.
9) If you are leaving in the morning earlier than 9 or 10 am please pack your bags the night before. Before 11pm. Don't lay out the contents of your bag at midnight, pack and repack the next morning at 6am. I'm not sure what your major malfunction is but um, people are trying to sleep. If you're really that OCD about the way your backpack contents fall then take it all to the hall or a common room and organize to your hearts content. But please, remember your sleepy hostel mates.
10) Again, if there is a common area USE IT. Right now it's 11:30 and I'm on a comfy couch in a well lit room typing this blog. I'm not in the room because two of the girls have their lights off. Two Japanese girls just arrived and ignored this and turned on their laptops and started eating food so I just left. (I was about to go to sleep but decided to write this list to feel better). As far as I see it hostel rooms are for sleeping from the hours of 10pm - 10am.
This is a pretty general list and I know I am getting much better at living with people but I will say it takes some adaptation. I think these guidelines are just basic polite things to keep in mind. Also, hairdryers. I have ear plugs (thank god) but I can still hear the hairdryer next to my bed at 7am. I'm confused as to why people don't use bathrooms. To me it's common sense to take care of everything I can outside of the room when others are in bed.
All of these rules really come from not knowing your hostel mates. It can be different if you are friends with your mates as there is already some mutual respect going around - as well as a bit more tolerance. Most people though I have met I've only seen around for one or two nights. It's awesome to have the same hostel mate for more than 2 nights because you get to know one another and know their sleeping patterns and what to expect.
Anyways, I am really looking forward to my apartment in Prague. Tomorrow I leave Dresden and travel on the bus for a couple hours. We stop at a concentration camp, Terezin for about an hour and 1/2 and will be able to explore or take a guided tour for 5 euros. I'm happy about this stop because I didn't get to visit Saxenhausen while I was in Berlin. I read Daniels story today (quick read) which is about a Jewish boy's experience through the Nazi regime and how he lost so many loved ones and was dragged around to different ghettos and concentration camps throughout his life. Reading about those experiences is powerful and sobering.
After Prague I leave for Cesky Krumlov then Vienna. Originally in Krumlov I had a hostel but I found a hotel for 38 euros a night and decided to invest since I've done well the past week spending minimal money at the market. In Vienna I also have an apartment for 3 days that I had set up before I left so this means for the next 10 nights I am sleeping in my own room, alone. After this I have 2 days in Salzberg, 2 in Munich, 1 in Fussen and 2 in Paris. 1 overnight in Frankfurt probably at the airport and then a days worth of a plane ride and I'm home. I need to stop adding up the days in my head. I'm not anxious to get home or anything, I'm just a dorky accountant. I miss my kitties but I don't miss much else at this point besides a few people. If I could I would love to ditch my apartment, travel and work remotely. Haha, what a nice dream!
Besides days I am constantly reassessing my money situation. I think I will be able to pay for my apartment in Vienna in cash instead of the credit card I brought, which considering my CC debt it would be smart. Not going out and drinking really saves a ton of money! It's freezing here right now (seriously, it's about 40 degrees) or else I'd think about going out for a drink or some dancing. I will leave you with a silly picture of me eating ice cream in the freezing windy weather cause I am crazy like that. There is never a bad time for soft ice cream!