14 Free Things To Do in Kyoto, Japan

For broke traveler like me Kyoto is heaven. However to find the free and cheap things under all the expensive ones can be tiresome. To safe you from this task here is my free tips to Kyoto. This free things to do in Kyoto, Japan list includes some of my favorite destinations in Japan and maybe in whole world. I even left some out of this list because I would talk endlessly about Kyoto. Still after almost two years I keep naming this city as my favorite travel destination.

(I will add some photos to this post later today or tomorrow… Sorry!)

14. Heian Shrine

White sand, bright red buildings and tourists with cameras. There is 600 yen admission fee to get in the garden but at least for me the free front area was enough. And you should not forget to walk a little farther away from the shrine to see the huge Torii gate and beautiful red bridge next to it. If you want to take photos without other tourists interrupting you, go just after the opening in 6 am. Because I am not morning person I almost visited this shrine too late. It closes already at 5 pm.

 

13. Kiyomizudera Temple

kiyomizu

The temple itself isn’t free but the area around it is enough to keep you occupied for a while. There is souvenir shops, free food samples, smaller temples, pagodas, old buildings and a lot of people. It’s easy to get lost here but you will definitely found something interesting on every alley. I recommend this for those wanting to free samples of local sweets because you can find those from almost all of the souvenir shops. Also if you are kpop, kdrama or Korean beauty product fan, there is interesting shops for you.

 

12. Nishiki Market

Maybe not place to do shopping if you are short of money but still forth of visiting. Nishiki market is street full of fish, sweet and food sellers. Some even have free samples. Opening hours depend on store but I recommend visiting either on morning between 9am to 11am or on afternoon between 2pm and 4pm. Most of the stores are open at that time and they have a lot of free samples. But if you are on budget and trying to find sales go just before closing time at 6pm.

 

11. Gion

gion

Have you ever dreamed of seeing Keishas and Maikos? At Gion it may be possible! It may be hard to spot them and requires some getting lost in smaller streets of Gion. However even lazier traveler may be able to see normal Japanese girls and boys wearing their kimonos. Just don’t be rude and ask before taking photo.

This is place to take pretty selfies and admire the architecture. If you are hungry -and out of money like me- just visit the shops on Shijo dori (from Kamo river to Yasaka shrine). There you can find free samples to try.

 

10. Philosopher’s Path

Beautiful walk starts from Ginkakuji and runs two kilometers along the river until Nanzenji neighborhood. Philosopher’s Path belongs to my free things to do in Kyoto list because it is one of the most beautiful places in Kyoto around the year. However I have two recommendations: spring and autumn… I visited during colorful fall and it was perfect. The trees surrounding this path are cherry trees so during spring and hanami this is perfect cherry blossom viewing spot.

This walk got its name because it is told that one of Japan’s most famous philosophers used to meditate and walk this path. Don’t settle for only walking! There is many pretty shops, cafes and restaurants that you can visit. Also many small temples and shrines welcome visitors.

 

9. Umekoji Park

Around Kyoto aquarium and Railway museum is located Umekoji park. Even if you don’t have money to those two attractions is just enjoying the park nice experience. When I visited there many locals were playing football and walking their dogs. Stop by to buy hot drink from vending machine and took small break from your day. This may not be the most interesting free attraction in Kyoto but good spot to relax for a while. Also the neighborhood around this park is beautiful. There is many small ponds and idyllic forest.

 

8. Nishi Honganji & Higashi Honganji

Honganji temple kyoto

Two huge (and free) temples in the center Kyoto. If you want to take look to older Japan and Buddhism, I recommend to visit these two. At some parts it’s prohibited to wear shoes so prepare pair that is easy to take off an put on. I didn’t want to include too many temples and shrines on this free things to do in Kyoto list but Nishi Honganji and Higashi Honganji are close to everything and easy to access. Also if I should recommend places for day trip in Kyoto, these two would be on my list.

 

7. Kyoto Imperial Palace

Kyoto Imperial Palace is free to visit and offers wide look to Japanese history. There is free English tours but you have to reserve place for one beforehand. A few years ago Imperial Palace was only accessed by guided tours that were hard to book but fortunately nowadays anyone can access the palace’s grounds. This makes it one of my favorite destinations in free things to do in Kyoto list. (I had so many problems booking that free tour during my Kyoto visit two years ago…)

In addition to the palace I recommend walking around the Imperial Park that has many smaller attractions. Also the neighborhood around park is interesting and has many things to see. For example river next to Horikawa Dori is worth of seeing.

 

6. Kamo River

free things to do in Kyoto

Join in the locals sitting on the bends of Kamo river. In Kyoto I lived right next to Kamo river so it has reserved its special spot in my heart. There is not many things to see when you first visit and you may even ask why would I include this normal river to my free things to do in Kyoto list. However if you sit down and look around, this is the best place to see local life and Kyoto’s true side. Fishers, families playing around, couples walking around, young adults drinking and having fun.

One of the best things is that Kamo river runs along the whole city and past some of the major attractions. You can walk from Fushimi Inari to Gion and back. If you have bike and time, try day trip out of the town. One man told me about his trip while I was staying in hostel and apparently if you follow the river you can see some amazing and beautiful Japanese views.

 

5. Arashiyama

free things to do in Kyoto

Arashiyama is huge area in west Kyoto. There is many things to see and most of them are free so it is good addition to our free things to do in Kyoto list. Firstly, just walking around the area is interesting experience. Remember to take good shoes because I totally destroyed mine here. Walk bends of the river towards the forest and you will see beautiful photographic spots. Not so many people go there but it is definitely worth it.

Then secondly be part of the tourist masses and visit souvenir shops you can find from the main street of this area. They have tasty free food samples. And thirdly go to bamboo forest (read below) and Kameyama Park. Kameyama Park is extremely beautiful during fall when you can admire the colorful mountains and river from its observation spots. It is accessible from Bamboo forest but not so many tourists visit here.

 

4. Bamboo Forest

bambooforest

This major attraction from Arashiyama deserves its own spot on my free things to do in Kyoto list. Why? It is one of the most popular destinations in Kyoto and maybe in whole Japan. If you have seen beautiful bamboo photos when looking up Japan, I bet those are taken in Kyoto’s Bamboo forest. If you want to have photos without huge tourist crowds, go super early. Also good tip is to walk and walk and walk. Most of the people just visit the beginning of this path in bamboo forest so if you walk more than them you will also find spot with not as many people.

 

3. Kyoto Station

happy_terrace_kyoto

Almost everyone visiting Kyoto will walk around station at some point. I recommend it as the place to start your trip whatever you are seeking for free things to do in Kyoto or want to use as much money as possible. It is a little hard to find but Kyoto station has tourist information with free maps, flyers and helpful staff members. It may sound touristy but there is no better place to start your trip.

When you walk up the stairs of station (often decorated with light show or other decorations) you will find observation deck that is often forgotten. This is good alternative for Kyoto Tower if you don’t want to spend money. If you want to see the station from high, find free Skyway path that walk above the station. Kyoto station has also three shopping malls and even if you don’t want to buy anything it is fun to just walk around. Also find food section and they usually serve free samples.

And the last but not least thing to see in Kyoto Station is just outside the front doors. Aqua Fantasy Musical Fountain Show has amazing name but it describes perfectly what this is about. Colorful lights, water and of course music amaze people on evenings.

 

2. Yasaka Shrine

Known also as Gion temple this shrine is next to Gion area and in the end of Shijo street. It’s big area with people constantly passing by. You can buy food and crafts from small stalls. One of the free and main shrines worth of visiting. At weekends you may see locals wearing pretty kimonos and visiting the shrine. Don’t just visit the main shrine but walk past it and wander around the whole area.

 

1. Fushimi Inari Taisha

Magical Forest Kyoto Torii

My ultimate favorite place in Kyoto, Japan and maybe whole world. I don’t even know why I have so utterly fallen in love with this mountain full of torii gates. It is perfect for everyone from photographers to travelers seeking for free adventure in Kyoto. Definitely one of the best free things to do in Kyoto.

Hike to the top and back requires good health (or many breaks) because it takes about two hours. Fortunately there is many break points and several vending machines. Just remember to take coins with you. In addition to admiring the red torii gates taking over all of the paths you should look for the amazing views to the city. Sunset from mount Inari is breathtaking. If you have more than enough time, try the not so popular paths and you may find secrets… For those interested I have written story from my trip to Fushimi Inari.

 

These were my favorite free things to do in Kyoto. Do you have any additional tips? Or maybe favorite places in Kyoto? All comments are welcome like always. Also if you are interested I wrote this short text about my home country Finland. Or if you are interested to read more about Kyoto, here is my top 10 things to do in Kyoto list.

I hope you are having an amazing day!
With love

Viivi Severina

10 Things to do in Kyoto, Japan

To my own surprise after  wondering what would be my top 10 places to visit in Kyoto most of them were free things. It’s not only because I’m broke and cheap (okay, maybe it has something to do with that fact…). Kyoto just has many free and beautiful attractions!

So here is my top 10 list of things to do when visiting Kyoto (most of them free or cheap). I spend almost two months in Kyoto so I visited most of them several times. If I had only a one day in Kyoto these are the ones I would be considering to visit.

10. Philosopher’s Path & Ginkaku-ji

 Whatever you were deep thinker or just doing touristy things around Kyoto Philosopher’s Path is something you shouldn’t skip. I recommend visiting during fall (the colors are BEAUTIFUL) or during cherry blossom season. Philosopher’s path follows small canal for two kilometers.

There is cute small cafes, shops and small temples to visit during your walk. Or if you are deep thinker you may want to follow the foot steps of Nishida Kitado who is one of Japan’s most famous philosophers and who used to walk this route and meditate. Philosopher’s path starts/ends to Ginkakuji temple that is place worth of visit on its own.

 

9. Kyoto Aquarium

Kyoto, japan aquarium

It may seem stupid to include aquarium in this list because you can find them from anywhere in the world. Fortunately I am not one to follow general opinions. I think I have said this before but if you want to make me fall in love with you just take me to the aquarium. Seeing colorful fishes, sharks, etc. is amazing what ever country you are currently.

Penguins, jellyfishes and pet a sea animals corner made me spend too many hours in this dark huge aquarium. There was also dolphin music show and a lot of souvenirs to buy. I recommend this for all fellow aquarium lovers!

 

8. Train Station

happy_terrace_kyoto

This may sound lame but Kyoto’s train station was one of my regular places to wander around. There is three shopping centers, countless restaurants and city’s best tourist information. One of my favorite things to do in Kyoto was to eat evening snacks in the free observation deck after I had bought them from the basement floor’s food stalls. (BTW. free food samples are offered there if you go on the right time.)

You can use hours after hours just getting to know all the shops and trying different foods. Get your the best city tips and current events from tourist information. And like I said that observation deck and its Happy Terrace are one of the secret wonders of Kyoto.

 

7. Manga Museum

My plan was to visit here on my last week in Kyoto but then I didn’t have a time. I can however recommend it for everyone because I did hear so many good reviews of it by the other hostel guests. Manga museum is just what it sounds like… building full of mangas you can read! Majority of the books is in Japanese but there is also section for other languages.

Manga museum is located in old elementary school so in addition to all the mangas you can experience the atmosphere of Japanese school life. Admission costs 800 yen (and special exhibitions have their own prices). However there is “special” days when the admission is free for everyone.

 

6. Gion

gion

Let’s play association game once again! When I say Japan what do you think? I would guess that at least some of thought beautiful geisha. If that is what you wait from Japan then going to Gion is your best bet of succeeding in ‘geisha hunting’. (Don’t hunt geishas please… They are working so if you see them be considering).

Gion is often referred to be the old district of Kyoto. The buildings are photogenic and the shops offer free food samples of traditional Japanese snacks. There is one ‘main street’ but don’t be scared to part from it and wander around the smaller streets. I don’t recommend eating here even if the restaurants seem tempting (the prices are totally touristy/expensive).

 

5. Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)

Travel Year 2016: Japan Kyoto

The Golden temple is one of the most touristy places in Kyoto. It is still worth of visiting. The main thing to see is the gold-colored temple in water. Just to take pictures with that temple is worth of paying the 400 yen entrance fee. -That however is just my opinion…-

Be aware that there will be a lot of people and possibly waiting to get in. In the end of this walk through the area you can find small food and souvenir stalls. Don’t just run past them even if I don’t recommend buying anything (the prices are high). Try the free food samples because they have some options that aren’t so popular in other parts of Kyoto.

Read about my adventure to Golden Pavilion

 

4. Kiyomizu-dera

kiyomizu

I tried to not put too many shrines and temples to this list but with Kyoto it is impossible. I would do own list for those because I visited so many on my time in this historical city. Kiyomizu-derra is place I hope I could have found earlier during my stay. It’s not even the temple that charmed me but the area around it. All the small shops, tiny alleys and old buildings. 

Even if you feel like paying the 400 admission fee is too much for you to handle I recommend visiting the area. You can’t see the main temple but there is a lot more for this place. There is also many pop culture (and kpop culture) shops for those who share my interest in this area.

 

3. Arashiyama

bambooforest

Arashiyama is area in western Kyoto. There is located two must to go places: Bamboo forest and Monkey park. Also the area of Arashiyama alone is fun to explore. There is a lot of souvenir shops, temples/shrines and free food samples. Just be careful or you will get hopelessly lost…

When you see cool Japan travel photos with bamboos I would bet they are taken in Bamboo forest. It is one of the places Kyoto is popular for. Warning: Its popularity means too much people and if you go wrong time you probably can’t take that perfect bamboo photo without dozen tourist heads disturbing you. I recommend morning or just before sunset. 

 

2. Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art

At first I was surprised that Kyoto doesn’t have that many museums. But after visiting the ones this traditional city has I didn’t have any more complaints. Municipal Museum of Art was amazing and I didn’t even go inside the museum. Unfortunately when I meant to visit I hadn’t checked the timing correctly and it was already closed. However you can always visit the museum’s garden and let me tell you it was enough art for me. There was countless amount of modern art pieces during my visit.

And when you are at it Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art is located perfectly. It is separated from Kyoto’s National Museum Of Modern Art by huge torii gate (see photo above). Close to the museum is also Kyoto zoo and popular Heian Shrine.

 

1. Fushima Inari

torii

My favorite place in Kyoto, Japan and maybe even in the whole wide world! If you have learned about Japan and/or about it religions you have probably seen photos of Fushimi Inari and its endless rows of torii gates. Fushimi Inari, Fushimi Inari Taisha or Mt. Inari is mountain dedicated for fox god. The mountain paths are surrounded by thousands of red gates that are donated by Japanese businesses.

Hike up the mountain is going to be tough so I recommend good shoes and a lot of snacks. Don’t be scared to take the not so beaten path because this mountain is full of surprises and secret wonders.

Read about my adventure to Fushimi Inari

 

I know, I know… Once again I was late with post. Sorry, but I think you are already used to me not following my own rules. I’m waiting excitedly the day when I can write all my posts on the right days. We are going there (slowly) so please bear with my laziness for a little while longer.

Like always comments are welcome! Have you visited Kyoto and what were your favorite places? Or would you like to visit there some day?

With love,

Viivi Severina

Golden Pavilion

Today I’m going to introduce yet another Wanderlust Wednesday place based to Japan and Kyoto. This place is mainly on my must recommend places because of its photogenic looks but also the amazing experience I had visiting there.

So let me recommend this place for you. It may seem too expensive to visit and there isn’t a lot thing to see. However if you want to brag with amazing photos on your Facebook wall this temple is good place to go and take the new charming selfie…

Golden temple autumn Kyoto

Golden Pavilion

Other Names: Kinkakuji

Where? Kyoto, Japan

How to get there? Direct bus leaves from Kyoto Station

When to go? I think the prettiest times to visit are when there is autumn leaves. Kinkakuji is open from 9AM to 5PM. Go early so you have enough time to get charmed by the golden wonder.

How much does it cost? 400 yen

Why to go?

Like I mentioned this temple is the place to take your best travel photos. Or well probably just that one photo with you standing in front of the water and golden building. If you are lucky there is no photobombing tourists next to you.

But in reality I’m just kidding. The temple did impress me. I would not recommend it for you if it was just for that one selfie. I hadn’t never seen anything like that. Beautiful gold pavilion.

kinkakuji3

My Visit to See Kinkakuji

I had some challenges trying to find the entrance. There was huge construction site between the bus stop and line for entrance. Finally I found the right place following group of students. The closer I got the more students I saw. Apparently there was field trip going on.

I walked confidently to buy my ticket, saw how much it costs and ran away in panic. 400 yen to see one building. Why would anyone pay that much? With that money I would pay that day’s dinner. I didn’t know what to do so I kept walking back and forth among the students.

kinkakuji2

Then I decided it was just money and walked again confidently to buy the ticket and went through the entrance. There was a lot of tourists and I was starting to regret my decision. Until I saw the Golden Pavilion. How can one building be so beautiful?

I took some photos and probably appear in dozen holiday photos others have taken. It was crowded in the perfect photo spot and guards were making sure no one stood on the walking path but rather on the photography area. The one selfie was quickly taken and I walked ahead.

There was some other buildings and things to see but nothing was worth of mention after seeing the main sight. In the end there was some small shops (and a lot of free food samples…)

kinkakuji_forest
The other things to see in the are we nothing when compared with the golden building.

It was hot day so after exiting the park I bought ice cream from vending machine. I had just eaten it and decided to leave when group of students (probably under ten years old but I’m really bad at guessing ages) approached me. Behind them stood their teacher who smiled warmly for me.

“Hello, can we ask questions from you?” one of the students finally dared to ask me. Their teacher explained that they were English students and had this mission to ask one tourist things about them. Of course I agreed.

kinkakuji

They asked shyly about my name, nationality and other things. I gave Moomin pins for them because I always carried them with me in the case I met someone special. After they had asked all the questions I of course got sticker decorated business cards from them.

It was fun experience and I got really surprised how good English they spoke. Perfect ending for my Kinkakuji visit.

Like always feel free to comment below your thoughts. What are some of your favorite destinations? Or maybe Kinkakuji is one of them?

Wanderlust Wednesday: Kinkakuji/Golden Pavilion
If you liked my post, please click this photo to share it in Pinterest!

With love,

Viivi Severina

Fushimi Inari Taisha

It’s time for first Wanderlust Wednesday! This is new blogging series that will have new post every Wednesday in my blog. (This is mostly for me to keep writing something every week… But don’t worry! I will still publish a lot of travel articles in other days too.)

The idea of this series is to recommend places for everyone to visit at least once in their life time. Kind of like bucketlist but destinations I have experienced and loved. The topics will be everything from countries to small attractions and even cozy accommodations. So follow my blog if you want more inspiration to travel!

Today I’m going to introduce one of my favorite places in whole world. If I could only do one trip before dying I would probably decide to go here. This place is beautiful, calming and full of secret trails. It’s full of tourists but also locals. So what place am I talking about?

Magical Forest Kyoto Torii

Fushimi Inari Taisha

Other names: Fushimi Inari shrine, Mt. Inari, Mount Inari

Where? Kyoto, Japan

How to get there? I always walked because my hostel was only two kilometers from the entrance (and I had a lot of time). You can also use train. It takes about 5min and costs 140 yen.

When to go? Fushimi Inari is always open. I loved the autumn leaves but don’t know about other seasons. I recommend going on early evening and walking to the top when it is still bright. Then stop at the observation/restaurant spot and admire the sun setting over Kyoto. (PS. At dark the place is scary but magical.)

How much does it cost? Totally free! Just remember take water and snacks with you because the ones they sell are pricey. And you may end up buying souvenirs from here or crave for ice cream on your way to the top. So you should budget some money to do that.

Why to go?

If I should persuade someone to visit Mt. Inari I would just show them some photos of the Torii gates covering all the paths up. Why I fell in love with this place, is a much difficult matter. So let me tell you one of the many tales from my visits to Mount Inari.

torii

My Story (To Get You Visit This Beautiful Place)

It was my second time on the top of Mt. Inari and it was starting to get dark. I knew the sun would be down before I would get back down. Fortunately the main trails have street lights so it was only a little scary to walk.

I was only one in sight but was able to hear other hikers somewhere far away. Everything glowed in green and red lights and big shadows came out of the shrines I walked past. There were no humans but several cats kept following me. If I tried to approach them they would run away and disappear to the darkness but soon after another cat would follow me again.

I was almost back to the main shrine and bottom of the mountain. There was more and more people around me, mainly locals at this hour. The cats were long gone because of all the talking, laughing and screaming. It didn’t seem so scary anymore. Then I decided to do something crazy that would either end up being catastrophe or once in life time experience.

fushimi_inari

There was small trail with weaker lights going steeply uphill and away from the way I was going. It took only seconds from me to decide and start walking there away from all the people. After me followed one family and two Japanese boys. We kept walking towards darkening forest and soon the family turned back because it seemed like this path would not go anywhere.

Then with flames that looked real fire lighted shrine came to our view. The boys behind me were laughing and having fun and probably wondering what I did here. I totally fell in love with the small shrine. Only for that my walk would have been worth it. The boys decided to walk ahead when I still admired the cozy shrine.

I had to do another bad decision. To walk more or to return back. The path going on didn’t have lights anymore. The forest was getting more and more dense and the only light I saw ahead was the phones of the two boys walking. Of course I decided to walk to the darkness.

I saw the boys turning and starting to walk towards me. I though maybe they decided it was too scary to go on. For me this trip was all about winning my fears so I took my phone and lighted  it up. At that point the boys realized I -the foreigner lost looking girl- had decided to walk more. They quickly turned and continued to walk towards.

japani 146

Maybe it would have been embarrassing for them to turn back if I was going on? Well, whatever the reason was they kept walking and I kept walking. Sometimes their light would get lost behind the trees and at those moments the darkness surrounded me. Scary.

After a long walk I saw light getting closer and closer after every step. Soon the two boys walked towards me, said soft hellos when going past me and continued laughing and talking. I decided to continue towards the light even if it meant I would now be totally alone in the forest.

fushimi_inari_taishaThe light ended up being yet another shrine and small waterfall. My night walk was becoming more and more worth the scared feelings. I think this was one of the most beautiful and peaceful sights I have seen. There is no words to describe the beauty I saw and unfortunately no photos because of the darkness. But maybe that is just a good thing so I was able to fully enjoy the moment.

So then I walked back the dark forest path and didn’t feel that scared anymore. I got safely back to the hostel and have now memory to last forever. I hope I can return here one day in the future… I returned to that exact spot later on but when it was sunny and warm. In day light it wasn’t as magical but still beautiful.

kyoto_sunset

This was my small story from Fushimi Inari. I would have hundreds of them to tell but we don’t have time for that. So instead I will just say that you should go and experience it by yourself.

Did I wake your wanderlust? Have you ever visited Fushimi Inari or is it already on your bucket list? I hope you enjoyed today’s subject.

With Love,

Viivi Severina

The Catastrophic Hostel Worker

I love volunteering in hostels but it’s not always fun and games. In my last post I shared one good experience I have had and today I have terrible volunteering story for you. It may not sound at first too bad but I wasn’t paid for working. Only thing I got out of it was small bed (without mattress).

 

Catastrophic First Week For Hostel Worker

My first days in Tokyo had been full of first times. Volunteering in hostel, solo traveling and trying to survive with my bad English. I had survived fine except the working conditions sucked but I naively though everything would get better.

It was my fourth morning and I woke early to be ready and clean. I felt quite good and nothing predicted the mess this day would turn out to be. It was sunny and I had only five more days until my day off. The cleaning went well. I listened music dancing and mopping around the empty hostel and took in the beautiful neighborhood from the house’s sun patio. Everything was perfect.

Until it wasn’t. I had to change linens on two rooms. The first one was easy. Empty room, two beds with dirty linens. The second one turned out to be my first nightmare of that day. One dorm room, four dirty beds and only one person leaving the room. My problem was how there was no way of knowing which bed I should change the linens.

As bright problem solver I decided to change all the four beds and go to get early lunch. My work day wasn’t yet over. I still had to wait for two people who were going to check-in. My boss had given me permission to be half hour away from the hostel when waiting for guests. So I spend exactly that time walking to nearby shopping mall.

Everything seemed fine again. I hoped I would spend more time on the city but I was still holding on to the promise of coming days off. So I returned and began my waiting. It wasn’t so bad to watch Netflix, talk to the other guest and write. So I waited until several hours later someone ringed the doorbell and I rushed happily to open.

Behind the door stood cute young Asian boy looking a little lost. I of course welcomed him in thinking he must be one of the guests checking-in. The answer I got was flustered “only Chinese or Japanese” and so I was in problems again.

I tried to speak with my hands, basic English words I hoped he would understand and trying to come up some way to talk with him. The boy looked more and more frightened after every moment and my own state of panicking was growing.

So I did only thing I know would solve the problem and went to ask help from my boss who in fact talks Japanese and Chinese and was in the room next door. Oh, the stupid me… I chose wrong option.

After knocking to her door I told to my boss that I needed translating help to talk with this guest. The look for me was deadly but she didn’t have other options than to come and solve the situation. She talked to him and then I showed him around the hostel. When I left the boy to his room’s door, we were smiling stupidly and wishing each other goodnight.

And then I returned to the living room where my boss waited for me arms crossed and angry face on. Then she shouted. Apparently I was useless and should never again ask her help in situation like this. She also dissed my English skills and working speed. Like usually I just kept kindly quiet and listened.

I though my bad day wouldn’t turn worse but of course it did.

I kept waiting for the second guest. I waited, waited and waited. The clock was eleven PM and I had been waiting for whole day. There was no way I was going to disturb my boss again so I just sat there in the living room and tried to find something to do. Then my boss came out to the kitchen to eat.

“The second guest of today hasn’t yet came…” I probably sounded pathetic but I had grown to be scared of that woman.

“She came already when you weren’t here and I checked her in.” Then she went back to her room and I was left behind to keep my anger inside. I had been waiting for hours that I would have spend exploring the city. She had been whole that time inside of her room and seen me many times. Why the heck hadn’t she told me that I was free to go?

That was first day when I started to seriously think about ending my volunteering and just renting a apartment. It took a couple of more days and bad experiences with my host before I sneaked out of the hostel and found charming dorm to live in.

.      .      .

So as warning example always talk more with your host before going. Ask specific working hours, look everything critically and hope for the best. And if you are not feeling good, safe or valued in the place no one is preventing you from leaving.

Have you had bad volunteering experiences? Or have you ever left the place you were supposed to volunteer?

Tomorrow I am leaving to huge summer camp so the next post is going to be written in forest. I just hope my internet will work. So on next Monday you will get pros and cons of being hostel volunteer. See you then!

 

With love,

Viivi Severina