Warning: The following post contains mature themes and lots of Pink Palace Ouzo. Those related to me or under the age of 18 should not proceed.
Solo female travel can be tricky, but solo female travel at a party hostel can be even trickier.
Walking into a club by yourself? Awkward. Walking into a club by yourself wearing a pink satin sheet that barely reaches your inner thighs? Mortifying. Please hand me a shot of ouzo immediately.
First, let me introduce the Pink Palace. It's a hostel located on Corfu, a mountainous, pine-covered island in northwestern Greece.
The first day was blissful – I spent it sunning myself on a rocky beach with the turquoise Mediterranean lapping at my feet. The Pink Palace truly has some of the best beachfront property on the island.
The Pink Palace is run like a compound. You stay at the Pink Palace, as well as eat every meal, party and do all of your activities there.
The first day I asked the woman at the front desk if she had any recommendations for a good lunch spot. The woman eagerly responded, “You don't have to leave! We have a very affordable lunch right here!”
When I assured her that I wanted to try something in town, she responded grimly, “Well I'm afraid I can't recommend you anything.”
It was kind of like that movie The Island. This is the world. This is all that there is.
The guests at the Pink Palace were overwhelmingly Canadian, with some Australians and Irish as well. There were so few Americans that I was specifically introduced to the one American girl on staff. I think it was the first time in my life I've ever heard, “Wow, that's so cool! You're from Michigan!”
I met a group of Canadians the first night at dinner, and they were sweet to include me with the group for the rest of the trip. One cute Canadian even taught me to play pool.
Luckily, my visit coincided with the bi-weekly pink toga party. Here's the drill – rent suspicious-looking sheet, have staff tie it on you, adjust sheet to avoid public nudity, have boys buy you ouzo shots and let employees smash plates on your head.
And yes, I had a plate smashed on my head which surprisingly hurt. I guess it's my fault for not drinking more ouzo.
The next morning I signed myself up for the booze cruise, an all-day boat trip run by the Pink Palace. It was basically a herd of drunken twenty-somethings jumping off of rocks and exploring bat-caves while under the influence of box wine. Naturally, “I'm on a boat, motherfucker!” was blaring in the background.
So in the photo in the left you will see a pale girl in a black bikini on top of the rock. That's me. By that point I was just so thrilled to get off of that rock that I was barely scared of jumping; I was already so high on adrenaline from the harrowing climb-up.
Oh and on the right is a Spanish model named David who didn't speak of word of English.
Our conversation started off like this:
“So what is it that you do, David?”
Me giggling, “Oh, well of course you are.”
As the only person on the boat who spoke Spanish (I'm not bragging, seriously…) I helped interpret for David and the other booze cruise guests (Okay, I'm bragging. Mainly because I had a reason to talk to a Spanish model.)
Towards the end of the day people started to get really drunk and things started to get weird. Really weird. Let me just say this – after witnessing a few bacchanalian, man-on-man events, I practically wanted to jump ship.
A lot of people asked me if had fun at the Pink Palace. Yes, I had a blast and I'm glad I went. (Did you see that model?) One disappointment was that I was there in the middle of July and the Palace was a little dead; the occupancy was only about 200 out of 700.
As for absorbing the local culture? The only Greek culture I absorbed was via pink-colored ouzo shots. The Pink Palace bus driver was also named Socrates, if that counts. And while I like a good party, I was ready to move on by the end of my stay.
The rest… you'll just have to ask me in person.
The Pink Palace is located 13 kilometers away from the Corfu airport. The hostel offers free pickup from Corfu port, airport, or bus station for stays of two nights or more.
Dorms are available from €18 and €23 with breakfast and dinner included.
Make sure to purchase travel insurance before your trip to Greece. I've used World Nomads for years and highly recommend it.