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Things to do in Amsterdam, The Pig Newsletter
issue#30 January/February 2010

Pig Amsterdam News


Flying Pig Wintergame

First of all: HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all!!!! We hope 2010 is going to be a fantastic year for all of you with loads of traveling and family and friends!

For Ricardo the year starts good; he is the lucky winner or 2 free nighs at the Flying Pig Hostel of his choice. He had the highest score playing the Flying Pigman Game in our last ezine. If you haven't won this time, don't worry. Just see it as practice, since we will do more games this year; new chances!
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Europe's Famous Hostels

Check out the best bits of the Europe's most famous hostels with one click!

You might know the Flying Pig Backpacker hostels are (proud) members of the ‘EFH’ – Europe’s Famous Hostels.

This association is often recognized as ‘the best hostels in the European travel world’. If you book any of these hostels, you will be guaranteed with a memorable stay, while still keeping yourself on a cheap and reasonable budget! Each of Europe’s Famous Hostels is independently & locally owned, assuring a local traGet to know our friends in Europevel experiEurope Famous   Hostelsence. They all must adhere to the highest level of safety, & quality while preserving a local flair.

The hostels are located in Amsterdam, Bad Gastein, Barcelona, Berlin, Bruges, Cardiff, Corfu, Dublin, Edinburgh, Interlaken, Lisbon, Loch Ness, London, Munich, Nice, Prague, Riga, Rome, Salzburg,Valencia, Vienna, and in the future, more hostels more hostels will join.

Now, they have a great new feature: each hostel has made new videos showcasing the best bits about their locations so that you guys can see where you’re heading to. All you have to do is pick out the hostel you’re interested in from and drop the name & 'famous hostels' into a YouTube search bar!

Check out the Euro Youth Hotel in Bad Gastein. This former 3-star hotel is located right in one of the best and biggest ski resorts of the Austrian Alps. The vibe is laid back and international. Hang out at the bar, club, restaurant or roof terrace and meet new people, drink Augustiner beer (imported from Munich!) and eat one of the best Schnitzels you'll ever taste.

St. Christophers Hostel in Paris

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Column: The life of a Piggy

Being away from the pig

by Aly Coy
Aly Coy

After the goodbye parties, the hugs and kisses, the final words of wisdom followed by a last smoking-room-joint, you are off into the world. 

For the people who leave The Pig but still stay in Amsterdam, they are constant visitors to their old comfortable place of work. For the people who've been away for a while or at home in their far away places, they crave sitting at the bar and the carefree lifestyle. 

Being a part of the 'ex pig crew,' who stop by as pure leisure instead of for a shift, brings mix feelings. You're unburdened by someone puking down the stair case, but you oddly miss being part of the clean up crew. 

You also feel you have to limit your visits to not seem too desperate in your new life away. You also stop yourself from walking behind reception to grab a pen or make a guest a new key card. You resist going behind the bar to make a coffee while the bartender is restocking. You politely ask a current employee and gesture as if to get your wallet while they give you a funny look. 

An ex pig still feels completely welcome, but just a tad out of place. It's an in between of guest and employee. A pig in limbo. Usually when you're at The Pig you're working and have a purpose around the hostel, or living there so naturally would be situated at the bar for hours. Being neither, you personally feel more like a loiterer than a helpful piggy sticking around to keep up the 'office morale.' 

No one would make you feel like that of course, If anything people are happier that you're still there, even after the grand goodbye. 

Your presence is never looked down upon, but you have the slightest feeling that you don't want to overdo you welcome. You don't want to push things the way you could while working. To abuse the perks that came freely while a pig, and comes more as a favour when an ex. 

When you're out of the city you find yourself wondering what the piggies are up to, who made what for staff dinner this week and what the new whappers are like. On a Thursday night you can somewhat picture what's happening with the predictability of the unpredictable. 

You get messages from current piggies saying how much they miss you, but you know new pigs will come along and the existing ones won't forget you, but they will get on without you. 

Having international pig friends, makes it easy to travel the UK, Europe and the rest of the world. When you finally break free from Amsterdam's grasp you can visit them on your travels. They greet you with open arms and you talk of The Pig and what's the same and what has changed. You make plans to meet for New Year's Eve or Queen's Day. 

When you are at a new job, you are constantly comparing things to The Pig. You catch yourself saying 'well, at the hostel we did it like this,' and bringing up stories- "one time, at The Pig..." 

When people ask when you're heading home, you subconsciously reply, "Well in April I'm going back to Amsterdam for a month." 

You find yourself on the top of a mountain in the French Alps rather than under sea level in Holland. Knee deep in snow rather than puddles, and in a place where people pray for clouds and curse the sun when it melts the blessed precipitation. 

You're in a village with fifty houses and no local speaks English, other than the dedicated British seasonairs who've stayed for all seasons. Rather than having hundreds of flats within your internet range, your computer struggles to find even one wireless connection. Locals travel by ski rather than bike, and a baguette is used for a regular sandwich. Their version of a toastie is a crepe, and yet local bar's tap beer is still Amstel...

Weed and hash are not only hard to come by, but sworn to secrecy and discretion. French laws are strict on our beloved soft drug and you find yourself sneaking around when even talking about the subject and not having the resources to try out a bud en Francais.  You're at a loss for the common pass time and find yourself thinking clearly and dreaming again. 

The Pig is one of those places that remain in your thoughts for weeks, months or even years after you leave. You see pictures on Facebook of staff parties and know that you would have been there for such night. Everyone at 'home' is supportive of whatever decision you make and always show they're thinking of you, from email to naked calendar.

The Pig is unique in its staff and clientele, so you have to accept that it might not be the exact same in other places. It's important to know that the vibe will be there whether you're a witness to it or not. And to not focus on what you're missing, but what you're enjoying at the time.