Taking on The Pink Palace, Corfu’s Infamous Party Hostel

Taking on The Pink Palace, Corfu’s Infamous Party Hostel

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. (more…)

First, let me introduce the Pink Palace. It’s a hostel located on Corfu, a mountainous, pine-covered island in northwestern Greece.
Pink Palace

The Palace is basically a massive party hostel where the branding goes like this – everything will be pink, and everyone will be wasted.
Pink Palace

The first day was blissful – I spent it sunning myself on a rocky beach with the turquoise Mediterrean 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.

Keftedakia
The lunch I rebelliously procured in town.

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.

The Pink Palace

Pink Palace

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 Pink Palace

The Pink Palace

The Pink Palace

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.

Pink Palace

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?”

Soy modelo.”

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.

How to Couchsurf (And Why I Love It So Far)

How to Couchsurf (And Why I Love It So Far)

This year for my 22nd birthday, I asked my parents for a trip to Greece. My parents were okay with paying for the flight as long as it was cheap- so off to Corfu I went for 130 euros. (more…)

How to Couchsurf

For the first three nights I stayed at the Pink Palace - an infamous party hostel I had heard about for years. The hostel was everything I expected; rowdy, alcohol-stained and full of Canadians. I had rightly assumed I wasn’t going to learn anything about Greece there (besides the shots of ouzo I was being handed left and right) so I checked in advance for Couchsurfing hosts in Corfu.

A few days before  I left, a girl named Marina accepted my Couchsurfing request. She seemed like a fun, well-read and overall, trustworthy Greek girl. I decided the plot of Hostel happening to me was unlikely so I decided to stay with her. I had no idea how to Couchsurf- but hey, what’s travel without some new experiences?

How to Couchsurf

How to Couchsurf

Staying with Marina was better than anything I could have hoped for.  She took me out for cocktails at a bar next to a Greek fortress. She introduced me to all her friends. She taught me how to pronounce all the names of the Greek gods and goddesses in Greek (I’m a nerd, yes). She made me pasta with her dad’s homemade olive oil. She took me out for ice cream topped with the ever-ambrosial Greek honey.

How to Couchsurf

How to Couchsurf

To top it all off, she basically brought me back from the dead. I had tonsillitis and a fever of 103 degrees while I was staying with her (this may have had something to do with binge-drinking at the Pink Palace for four days). She not only took me to the hospital and the clinic, she also made me teas with her magical Cretan herbs. She even gave me the one fan in her house to use during the 110 degree nights.

How to Couchsurf

How to Couchsurf

Crispy-skinned bass on a breezy Greek night. Heaven.

By the end of it I was petitioning for Marina to become the new patron saint of the island.

This review of Couchsurfing may be a bit premature (advocating staying with strangers after one experience) but the concept is so brilliant- stay with a local host for free and learn all about the local culture. And make lots of friends.

Here are some tips to have a successful Couchsurfing experience yourself. All you have to do is create and build up your profile and then send out Couchsurfing requests.

1.       Have at least one profile picture, but having two or three is better.

2.      Fill out your profile. You want to seem trustworthy and like a real person.

3.       Check the reviews of whoever you’re staying with.

4.      Check to see if your friends already have accounts (use the name search). They can provide you with your first references.

5.       Use good judgment. As a solo female traveler I will only stay with a female host.

6.       Make sure you review your hosts and your host reviews you- the more reviews the better.

7.     Go to the couchsurfing events to meet people.

8.       If you enjoyed your time with your host, add them as a friend. That way you can keep in touch with them and they can keep in touch with you, in case either of you are in the same city again.

Have you ever couchsurfed? Would you consider trying it?