help-content

The How To Travel Series

It’s not common to everybody – some need a little help

Recently we have been sitting together at wombat’s head office and had a chat about good old times.
9 out of 11 officers have a vivid wombat’s history, having started at wombat’s as a receptionist or bartender. We all know how to hostel and how to travel.
Everybody can come up with a silly story or with a top ten of stupid questions. It’s shocking how many people don’t know how to do the most basic things in life, when they are already out there exploring the globe. For years we have been wondering about people who came up to reception and tried to make us believe, that their duvets wouldn’t fit into their covers. Only to find out, that they tried to stuff them into the pillowcase. Once five guys came to the hostel bar paying drinks and cheering for a sixth guy, who turned out to be a Marine. Bartenders thought it was a stag do or a birthday party, but it turned out this guy just helped the others to make their bed, as they were struggling hard.

Laundry, please?

All of us had a moment when we were surprised by somebody in his twenties, confessing that he had never made his bed before.
The tons of questions regarding laundry. Or more specific the simple use of a washing machine. Some guests attempted to bribe receptionists to do the laundry for them. We once had a guy who spent a whole day waiting in the lobby and everytime he noticed, that somebody was changing money for the laundry at reception, he jumped at them and asked if they could do his laundry too.
He broke into tears when our receptionists kindly told him to do his laundry himself and even offered him detailed instructions. He was just too afraid to shrink his clothes.

How to travel

Yet there are also less particular questions and topics, that our fellow travellers need some explaination for. Questions like ‘How does public transport work here?’ or ‘Which is the strongest Cocktail in your bar?’ or ‘What’s the easiest way to see most of the sights here?’.

So we decided to dedicate part of our video content and a whole section of our Youtube Channel to this help content. Subscribe and we’ll keep you posted and entertained with little help videos. Our coworkers won’t run out of funny hostel stories to tell.

 

carnival in Venice

Opening 2019: wombat’s VENICE Mestre

Carnival Mask

Venice, finally!

Ever since wombat’s started expanding, Italy was high up on the bucket list. We’ll be opening wombat’s VENICE Mestre this summer and after 20 years in business wombat’s finally sets foot on Italian soil.

Carnival, masks, bridges, canals, gondolas and culture. Overcrowding, floods and high prices. Venice is a unique city, one that has a lot to offer and also a lot to deal with. It has been attracting travellers for hundreds of years and yet it still offers a lot to discover. Venice is definitely one of the destinations where avoiding the beaten path really pays off.

We can’t wait to finally open our wombat’s in this unique city.

Relax in Venice

wombat’s VENICE

As you know, style is at the fore of wombat’s, with a unique design of each hostel reflective of its cultural location. The interior of the new wombat’s is inspired by the city of bridges and the lagoon. By the contrast between the functionalism of a hostel and the opulence of this precious city. Breaking down the abundance of Venetian decor to its core and spreading the elements throughout the hostel. Be it the colours and shapes of the facades, the ornaments or the blue of the water, we want our new hostel to reflect the feel of Venice.

It will be nicely pepped up with graphic design elements inspired by the Italian futurism and decoration elements that honour the traditional role of Venice as the Mediterranean trade hub. We have a lot of love for Venice and we really want to show this in our hostel located just at the doorstep of this a great city.

Among all the lovely details there’s one thing that makes wombat’s special; The hostel atmosphere that we all love, travellers sharing not only a space, but an experience. Creating an authentic home away from home.

wombat's VENICE

wombat’s VENICE main entrance. We just recently added our logo.

You’ll find no more than eight beds in a dorm. The spacious dorms and private rooms are decked out with modern interiors and ensuite bathrooms. Private locker boxes and key-card only access ensure extra security. Want to post that selfie? There’s decent Wi-Fi throughout the entire building. Run out of clean pants? There’s a self-service laundry. Starving or want to impress your roommates? Cook up a storm in the guest kitchen for self-made feasts. Hungover or need fuel for a Venice expedition? There’s an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet to fill yourself up. Not hungover yet? There’s a bar with happy hours for beer and cocktails.

Why Mestre?

wombat's VENICE

Easy to find. The writing faces the rail tracks.

We’re thrilled about the opening, but we are also well aware of our responsibility. Venice faces a huge problem with the overcrowding on the main islands and we’ll also bring in lots of travellers. That’s why we want to help our guests to open up for a more responsible tourism with respect for the cultural heritage of the city and the lagoon.
We want to embrace all possibilities to explore off the beaten paths and stay open for authentic experiences.
Our new hostel is not only inspired by Venice, it is also located just at its doorstep. Venezia-Mestre is the part of town that lays on the mainland and connects to the islands through Ponte della Libertá. Mestre is actually home to two thirds of the population of Venice. Mestre is less a facade and more a very down to earth Italian city. In a way, even the Mestre also reflects that contrast between the opulent and the functional.
Nevertheless Mestre is also and foremost a traffic hub with an international train and bus station. From the main entrance of wombat’s you will find a pathway directly to the platform number one, where all trains to the islands stop.

 

More than just Venice

However, the proximity to the train station connects you to more than ‘just’ Venice. The charming cities of Trentino and Padova are also only 20 minutes away. If you would even consider to take a train ride of roughly an hour, you could reach gems such as Vicenza, Ferrara or Verona (home to the love story of Romeo and Juliet) for a day trip.
We have the feeling that this area will develope beautifully within the next couple of years and we’re happy to form part of this.
It is indeed a great alternative to staying on the islands, as all international trains and buses stop in here.

See, wombat’s VENICE Mestre got you covered.

 

 

 

Secret City Trails

Secret City Trails

Secret City Tour Berlin

The Secrets of Berlin

You love discovering cities but classic city tours where you just check off the sights seem quite boring to you? If you’re more into exploring a city with all senses we have the perfect tool for you! Instead of walking around without being involved, your city tour converts into a game! Also you don’t have to pre-book your tour and stick to fixed times, just start the game when you’re ready. So forget POKEMON GO and discover real hidden treasures in cities across Europe with Secret City Trails!

 

Secret City Trails Munich

The Secrets of Munich

 

Secret City Trails takes locals and travellers on urban adventures in 24 cities across Europe. During the experiences players explore a city’s hidden gems and unlock stories and recommendations to cafes and restaurants while they solve a trail of riddles via a web app (works in browser of any smartphones, so no downloads are needed). Solving the riddles puts people in the present and requires focus on what’s around instead of on your phone. The city discovery games are an entertaining, interactive, instantly bookable, affordable and independent way of seeing and enjoying  a city.

How it works

The game can be played alone or in a group of up to 5 persons. First of all you need to choose one of the 24 cities and book it online before you receive an email with a unique link to play. By adding the discount code wombats you’ll get off 10% a game at any city!

After that, the starting point will be revealed in the email. As soon as you open the email link in your smartphone’s browser and tap ‘Play Now’ the game starts and you receive your first riddle. Now it’s your turn to search for answers to the riddles on streets, hidden courtyards, alleys, unknown galleries and even lovely shops and cafes. Answer correctly and unlock the next riddle, as well as stories and recommendations to cafes, bars, shops and more. There’s no limit for incorrect answers and you get encouraged to try again. If you’re stuck you can ask for a hint. There’s one for each riddle and it will get you nearer to the location where you can find your answer. Asking for a hint will cost you 10 minutes of ‘penalty time’ though. If you’re really stuck or lost, you can choose to skip a riddle. This will result in 20 minutes ‘penalty time’ which will be added to your overall time. Your total time will be revealed after the last riddle when the game ends.

Secret City Trails Vienna

The Secrets of Vienna

We had the chance to try Secret City Trails in Vienna and we absolutley loved it! Not only that it’s great fun to solve the riddles and explore many places, you also perceive the spots completely different. By focusing on the details to solve the riddles you will realize things you have never seen before! You also get to know many facts about the buildings and the history which was really interesting and we didn’t know yet. Unfortunately it started to rain heavily on our Secret City Trail tour so we had to interrupt it for some time. But this wasn’t a big problem as you pass many cute cafes and bars on your tour and there’s also a break after you solved half of the riddles. At the end of the game you will receive a map with all the locations you have passed, so that you can come back to those places at any given time.

Attack of the 50 Foot Socialite

Street Art Map Berlin

Berlin is the perfect city for everybody who is crazy about culture and art! Countless museums, galleries and daily new exhibitions leave nothing to be desired. But even Berlin’s streets themselves are art: street art artists from all over the world, as well as local stars of the scene, have turned Berlin’s house walls into canvases and decorated the city with larger-than-life works of art. There are so many things to discover all over the city! But what is the best way to go, to see all of Berlin’s street art?

How about an interactive street art map? The guys from DEFSHOP have put together on a map the 46 best murals of Berlin so you can see at a glance where they are and how to get there. The only two things you have to do is first, to choose one of the 4 routes in the menu of the street art map and second, buy a metro ticket. The selected murals can all be reached using a single underground or suburban railway line. By clicking on the icon, you will not only find the exact address and the nearest S- or U-Bahn station, but also more detailed information about the artist and exciting backgrounds to the artworks. The perfect way to do a street art tour on your own and get to know Berlin’s most beautiful murals!

The Routes

As already mentioned there are 4 different routes to choose from. The first one is the U1 route which goes through the heart of the city and contains 14 murals. The secound one is the U8 route that leads from the North to the South of Berlin and hides 11 murals. Number three is the city railway route that runs right through Berlin along the Spree river. Last but not least you can take the Tegel route, situated a little off the beaten track, in the very north of Berlin. The underground line U6 starts right where the street art objects are located and the 6 impressive murals lie close together in a residential area.

Greifswalderstraße - Herakut                                       Well done Steak - Art 071218

Schwedterstraße- We are                                               Oderbergerstraße- Dedicated to

All in all the interactive street art map is a great tool to discover the abundance of street art in Berlin for free and with no long journeys. It should be added, however, that you cannot download the map. So you better have a look on the map before you start and plan your route as it might not work on your way. You also should keep in mind, that the murals are not exactly located at the S- or U-Bahn station and you have to walk a bit to reach it. Some of them are also very hidden so keep your eyes open and don’t miss it!

Winter in Vienna – sightseeing tips from our expert

ice skating Vienna city hall

Christmas time is over, but the winter has still taken over Vienna. But that’s no reason to not enjoy the Austrian capital. There are plenty of things to do and to see in this great city in wintertime! Our wom-walk guide and Vienna expert Charles collected some recommendations for sightseeing and activities in Vienna in winter.

Sport – Ice Skating

ice skating Vienna

“Eistraum” Vienna (© Stadt Wien Marketing)

As long as it is cold it’s time to discover the many natural ice skating facilities and ice rinks. Put on your skating shoes, step on the slippery surface and learn how great fun it is to skate outdoors in the centre of Vienna.

At the Wiener Eislaufverein (Vienna Ice Skating Club) you can rent skates, learn to dance the Waltz on the ice, try the “Eisstockschießen” (the Austrian version of curling) or just enjoy to skate in the beautiful neighbourhood of the Konzerthaus. It is situated at the Lothingerstraße 22 in the 3rd disctrict, next to the U4 metro station “Stadtpark”.

And you should try the “Eistraum”: From 18th January till 3rd of March you can skate in front of the Viennese City Hall – a truly unique Vienna winter experience! Especially at night (till 10 o’clock) this might be the best ice skating experience you ever had; it’s not just for nothing that it’s called the „Eistraum“, which means „Ice Dream“. For more Info check the Eistraum website.

Sightseeing – Vienna from above

It is rather difficult to get up anywhere in the city centre. Nevertheless, there’s a place I can definitely recommend for great panoramic views.

Another great view offers the café/cantina on the roof of the Palace of Justice, which houses the highest courts of Austria. You find it at the Schmerlingplatz 10, next to the Parliament and U2 metro station Volkstheater. At the entrance you will be checked like on an airport, but once you are inside you can enjoy the beautiful interior of this 19th century palace. Take the elevator up to the cantina: it is quite fancy, but you can enjoy good food and great view over the Ringstraße Boulevard and the Old town of Vienna.

So much for today, folks. For any further infos just contact our reception staff in the hostels or talk with me during one of the free wom-walks.

Yours, Charles

Charles Sperl

Skiing - Day Trip from Vienna

Skiing – Day Trip from Vienna

Do you love skiing and really don’t give a damn about our environment?

Well, then here’s the perfect day trip from Vienna for you.
Austrian Airlines, American Express and ski region Hochzillertal-Kaltenbach partnered up for a tempting offer.

You could go to nearby ski regions from Vienna by train or bus within 2 hours, but you could also do this:
Catch a flight from Vienna at 6:35am, fly out to Innsbruck/Tyrol, enjoy a day of skiing and get back to Vienna by 19:55pm.
Sounds crazy? Indeed it is, but the weird thing about it is, it’s actually offered as an affordable package.

The package includes in detail:
Flights including taxes (Carry-on Luggage max. 8 kg)
Transfer to and from the ski region
Ski- or snowboard hire on site
Ski-pass

The whole package is available from €169
This is probably the best deal you can get for a ski trip from Vienna. The ski region offered is spectacular and compares to the ski regions outside of Vienna (Semmering mainly) like a Dodge Viper compares to a Buick. Just to give you an idea, the day pass alone is worth around €50. So, price-wise this is a ridiculous offer, really.

When is it available?
Between December 2018 and April 2019 only on Tuesdays and Fridays due to availability.

How can you book it?
You can try to book via http://www.abzumschnee.at/home/flugzumschnee/angebote/33, the website is only in German though.

You could ask our receptionists to book for you, but we will talk you into another day trip, as we do care about our environment and flying from Vienna to Tyrol is just impractical.

Seriously, this offer is as good as it is insane and it will leave you with the ecological footprint of a chain-smoking, truck-driving Tyrannosaurus Rex. So, please, spend €50 less and catch a train to Semmering. That might be less spectacular, but way better for your karma.

Christmas market at Vienna city hall

Christmas in Vienna

Christmas away from home can be hard for some people. Fortunately, wombat’s Vienna did everything they could to make it feel like being home for my holidays last year. Upon arriving on Christmas Eve, there was a nice Christmas tree, and Christmas cookies at reception. I love Christmas cookies, so this already made me extremely happy!

Wombat’s Vienna Naschmarkt is a stone’s throw from the U-Bahn station, making my walk through the Austrian winter extremely short, which I very much appreciated. There is also an open air market right across the street, which has dozens of shops to buy warm food and groceries. After I checked in, the friendly staff gave me two free drink tickets (bonus!) and informed me that because it was Christmas Eve, they would be serving a warm punch at the bar tonight for free. Who needs presents when you have warm punch?

I decided to go on the free walking tour wombat’s has the next day. It was extremely cold out, but there was still a big group bundled up and ready to go! Our tour guide showed us around to a lot of the local sights, and I made friends with a few of my tour buddies!

Vienna is a beautiful, charming city and happens to be home of the original Wiener Schnitzel! There are several restaurants that specialize in schnitzel, so I would advise to do your research to decide which one to go to! Figlmüller seems to be the most popular, but make sure to make reservations in advance, as it fills up very quickly! I would also recommend enjoying some delicious Viennese coffee while you are there.

Nightlife is pretty diverse in Vienna, so I asked the wombat’s staff where to go based on my preferences. Turns out Christmas in Vienna has some special options in terms of nightlife. They had some great insight and made some recommendations that turned out to be just what I was looking for. I also spent some time at a couple of the Christmas markets, which are my favorite part of Europe in December. Nothing beats a mug of Glühwein (warm mulled wine) when it’s snowing outside.

It was cool to finally visit one of the original wombat’s on my trip around Europe. There is definitely a wombat’s theme, but each location has their own local flare. The most common similarities though, are the fantastic locations (both to public transport and activities) and the amazingly friendly staff. Thanks for making my Christmas in Vienna one to remember!

Grafittis in East London

East London – Off the beaten path

London’s East End, formerly known as “that part beyond the Tower”, is a vibrant area, comprised of a number of boroughs. With an area full of artists and hipsters, the home of the cockney dialect and a history that dates back to medieval times, East London holds many places that are ‘off the beaten track’ and perfect for backpackers to discover.

Hang out in Hackney for the day and enjoy an up-and-coming neighbourhood. Check out eclectic shops, great streetscapes and stop by the Wilton Way Café for great coffee and music to relax after your walk.

Want to run away with the circus? Check out an experience day at Circus Space where participants can get a taste for various circus arts including trapeze, tightwire, juggling and acrobatics.

Getting a drink in London can get a little expensive, but that’s where Happiness Forgets comes in. A little hard to find, this basement bar is located at Hoxton Square and offers a dark, cozy atmosphere and reasonably priced high end cocktails from 5 pm to 11 pm every night.

The house at 19 Princelet Street has a long and often interesting history. It has been a family home, a workshop for weavers and a synagogue. In 1969 a man disappeared completely from the third floor. Due to it’s age and condition, access is very limited, so be sure to check ahead to see when public visits are possible.

Wilton's Mahagony Bar

Wilton’s Mahagony Bar is great for a drink and if you’re lucky enough, you can enjoy some live music.

If you enjoy theatre and music, you need to visit Wilton’s Music Hall. It’s one of the oldest surviving grand music halls in the world and it opens its stage to artists of all sorts. You can also just enjoy the atmosphere with food or drink at the newly renovated Mahogany Bar, the oldest section of Wilton’s, built in 1725.

Hidden throughout London are images of the 8-bit video game monsters Space Invaders. Created by a French artist, some can be found in East London. There are more scattered around London, Hong Kong and Paris.

Graffiti in East London (Lost Souls)

If you’re into street art, East London is the place to be.

Take a walk around and check out the graffiti and street art. You can see one of the last Banksy pieces in East London, along with many other talented artists. There are many organised tours or you can try a self-guided tour.

If you prefer a more macabre tour, you can try out a Jack the Ripper self-guided tour. Visit the places where the murders took place and imagine London’s East End in 1888.

Get back to nature in the city with a walk over the green bridge, which connects Bow Common to Mile End Park. Continue on to Victoria Park in the north or walk the Regent Canal along the west side of the park.

Finally, take some time to visit the free Museum of London Docklands, to learn some of the history of the area from Roman and Viking use of the area to more modern times. You can also shop at Canary Wharf, the modern shopping, food and entertainment district build on the old West India Dock site.