I have stated before in Tale from the trail (4): things are not always as they seem that I learned the hard way that things are not always as they seem. Well, it happened more than one time…
For those of you who read all my posts: I am not as naive as I sound, I swear.
When I finally reached the hostel that particular day I was wet, cold and tired. It had been a hard day of walking and I yearned for a cup of tea and a warm bed. Unfortunately, what I thought was a hostel proved not to be.
I quite quickly noticed there were only men there and that the atmosphere changed a when I entered. They were all friendly though and I was so happy to be able to take off my pack I didn’t question it further. One of the men was making tea and asked if I wanted a cup as well. I eagerly said yes and he returned with two delicate cups with flowers painted on. I remember thinking it was funny. In Belgium a guy would never pick those cups.
We had a nice conversation and I talked with them about my travels. When I asked if I could in fact stay in the hostel that night they all looked at each other and said it was up to the boss. At the same time the boss walked in and told me kindly but firmly that staying here was out of the question. It turned out that I was at a halfway house and that all the men there were fresh out of prison. I must admit, I was a bit shocked.
One of the men who worked there said he would drive me up to a place he knew for sure was a hostel. The only thing was it was at least 30 minutes away by car, but he ensured me I would be able to take a bus in the morning to start hiking again. It seemed like a fair deal to me so after finishing my cup of tea we set off.
In the car he explained that he had been in prison once as well and that he was now working in the halfway house in hopes of showing other people that there was a future after prison. He was a kind man and not only did as he had promised, but went inside with me to ensure I had a bed and a roof over my head. I slept in a ‘real’ hostel that night and took a bus down to the coast path in the morning.