A Jugendherberge is full of the people
you never expected to meet
precisely because like you,
the guests have just come in off the street.
We sleep in a communal room
of four, of six or of eight
some of whom are early risers
and some of whom go to bed late.
You lay in your bed in the morning or night
and listen to everyone’s breathing
or snoring or scratching or wheezing or coughing
or hiccuping, snickering, sneezing.
We share the same kitchen, bathroom and showers
down at the end of the hall
or we lounge in the commons where WIFI is good,
socializing or making a call.
Breakfast is served daily at half after seven
and checkout is promptly at ten.
There are warm hard-cooked eggs, yogurt, rolls, jam and butter,
coffee, juice, cocoa and then
the house staff will bring out the cold cuts and cheese
and Birchermüsli if you’re lucky.
It’s comforting, clean, quite fresh and inviting.
There’s nothing I really find yucky.
So the Jugendherbergen are fun and convenient
if you’re hiking or out with your Velo.
Sure, I use the lockers provided in our room.
Not everybody wears a halo.
It’s morning and people are waking.
Outside birds are twittering sweetly.
I hear voices out in the hallway in German.
I’m eavesdropping, but discreetly.
In forty-five minutes or so we’ll start shuffling
in to the Frühstücksbuffet.
Soon afterwards I’ll pack my bags, fetch my bike
and then I’ll head out on my way
to the Hauptbahnhof where I’ll buy a Fahrkarte
and take the train down to Brienz.
and hopefully by mid-afternoon
I’ll have cycled my way into Spiez.