I was pretty much wasted when I finally made it to the Ostello in Bassano, after 100km through Valsugana and the Brenta valley with my bike. I have started early in Trento and came in with sun set and only when I pushed my bike into the hallway and fell in one of the sofas I realized how groggy I was and that I needed a minute before I could show passport and check into my room, but the guy at the counter came with a coffee and told me to relax and asked whether I wanted sugar. Now – this is a very friendly way of saying “wellcome!”.
Later he and his trainee showed me the kitchen and the place where breakfast is being served in the morning and helped me with the bags. The hostel is situated in what used to be an orphanage and is right next to a church – the entire building comes across pretty ancient, which adds nicely to the atmosphere. There is ample room to sit and hang around, there is an OK guitar and a ukulele with a string missing (and another guitar with no strings at all).
If you travel alone, a hostel ideally is more then just a cheap way to spend the night, but rather a place, where you get in touch with other travelers. If you travel in winter and off season, the probability to meet fellow long distance bike travelers isn´t too high, but the Bassano Hostel was the first place where I spend the evenings in company – and it turns out the Hostel is a unique microcosm and that I am in fact the ONLY traveler – and all the other residents are staying there, because they took over jobs up in the north – but are collectively from far away – like Napoli. Since they all live there for some time together, meet for breakfast and use the kitchen jointly it comes across like an odd living community, a residential home for single men, … I was happy to be invited for dinner and spend the evening with two of the residents debating politics, traveling, music. Sharing food and wine and stories – now, this is exactly what a youth hostel should be like - and it does not matter that basically none of the residents was either young (me being the oldest) or on holiday.
It may all be different in summer when Bassano is packed with tourists and backpackers, but the atmosphere, the hospitality and the friendliness of both the stuff and the guests in January 2019 was just amazing and I hope to come back to this place some day in the future.