My #1 Hostel: a home away from home

The best decision I have made in my whole travelling journey was to stay in this hostel. A hostel that has an international reputation of its warmth and hospitality. Where you aren’t just another guest but a Queen or a King. Where even if you are just staying a single night, you will leave with an extended family and home. Run by one man, the man that has inspired glowing reviews across every online platform- Stefan.

This man was the heart and soul of this haven. This man taught me so much about hospitality, to him it wasn’t his job, it was his life and he was proud of it. He welcomed everyone in with joy and excitement and took genuine pleasure in his work. Staying with Stefan at Hostel Golden Bridge was, without a doubt, the best decision I made on any travel.

Squashed into a beanbag chair, inside everyday is giving me a lot of time to think back on my travels and appreciating all the unbelievable memories formed.

Hostel Golden Bridge was just on the edge of the Old Town in Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina. Bosnia is a welcoming, romantic and inspiring country. The two weeks I spent there were two of the best in my life and a large part of that is the people I met.

I arrived in Mostar in the dark, the bus stop was only a five minute walk from the hostel so it was easy to find. There were some other girls on the bus staying their too, we rang the bell and waited timidly for a response. Stefan came to the door, his hair was wild and he was wearing an infectiously genuine smile.

I got my passport out ready for the regular check in procedure- this seemed to amuse and confuse him. He laughed it off and told me not to worry- to take a seat and have a drink. In every other hostel I was to pay the full stay upfront as well as a deposit for the key. I was staying at Hostel Golden Bridge for seven nights and Stefan refused to take any deposit or payment until the morning I left.

The living room of the hostel was made up of a large round table surrounded with cushions. When we arrived we met three lads staying there who welcomed us in to the circle. Stefan poured me a shot glass of rakija and I, being much more innocent than I like to admit, thought it was water. The burning in my throat was my first clue otherwise. Stefan took a seat, rolled his tab and begun what he did best, hosting the party.

The three girls and I, who had just arrived, all four of us seemed to be quite shy by nature, didn’t quite know what to make of it. Clearly none of us were expecting such a wonderful atmosphere. We laughed, we drank and we learned all about each others cultures. I even learned how to say ‘I love you’ in Chinese.. I don’t remember anymore.. this was three years ago. I would really appreciate it if anyone who does know comments below 🙂

The next morning I woke up to freshly made coffee by Stefan. To anyone who hasn’t tried it, bosnian coffee is out of this world. I talked with the other guests about their plans for the day and ended up spending it with one of them- King Dom. We explored the city and ate fantastic food. Dom was older than me by a few years, and I being a 19 year old girl on my first backpacking trip, developed a serious crush.

We returned to the hostel just in time for dusk and Stefan was entertaining the new and slightly perplexed guests. That night he had a trip planned for us all. He didn’t tell us where the tour was going but his excitement made it impossible for anyone to turn it down so we all hopped in the truck and drove out into the night.

We were heading to one of the mountains that surrounded Mostar. We were lucky to have a skilled driver because as we drove further up, we all couldn’t help but notice more than half the road was crumbling down the cliffs. I drank more beer to keep my nerves at bay. After a rocky and quite unsettling drive we made it safely up the mountain. The view was breathtaking, you could see the entire city.

In the following days Stefan cooked for us numerous times, at no extra cost. He showed real glee when new guests arrived and shed real tears when they left. As some one that works in hospitality, if the person looking after you isn’t faking their smile, appreciate the hell out of it.

I have been looking at reviews at Hostel Golden Bridge and can’t seem to find any since 2018. So I am not sure if it is still open. If anyone knows differently please leave a comment below. For now, thank you Stefan, for making my week in Mostar unforgettable. I am wishing you all the best and sending love from the UK!!

Thank you for reading!! Is there anyone you met on your travels you are thinking of in these times? Anyone that has made a lasting impression? Mention them below and spread the love!!

Have you read my post about Stari Most bridge? The attractions that draws thousands of visitors to Mostar each year! 22+ Metres high, can I jump that?

https://elleontravel.net/2019/08/30/stari-most-bridge-mostar/


8 thoughts on “My #1 Hostel: a home away from home

  1. I love it when that happens! Once in a while you find an amazing hostel with just the right people in it at the right time and you have a new family for life! 🙂 Also Mostar is just lovely.

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    1. It’s an amazing feeling, This was the very first time I experienced that. It made it very hard to leave but luckily my hostel in Sarajevo was filled with incredible people too. Mostar is wonderful 🙂 when did you visit?

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  2. That sounds wonderful! I hope that this place is still open so that I can visit one day. What a glowing review!

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