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Letter: Good hostel guide

Letter: Good hostel guide

Sir: The genuine backpacker will shy away from hostels where there is no curfew, where revellers stay up late into the night, where alcohol is permitted and the sexes share rooms (" `Austere' youth hostels lose out as backpackers choose to take it easy", 13 October).

Last month my 26-year-old son invited me to Vienna for a week. We stayed in three hostels. One was a tired building with basic cooking facilities and queues for the showers. The remaining six nights were spent in hotel- standard accommodation, sharing rooms with delightful young strangers.

There were dormitories of 10, six and four with en suite facilities cleaned daily; crisp sheets and duvet; breakfast for 60p and one hostel remained open all day.

My dormitory mates were all serious backpackers - they walk all day sight- seeing, fall into bed, get up, grab breakfast and walk all the next day. Curfew? Thank goodness! Who needs late-nighters rolling in noisily when one is so tired? Mixed sex accommodation? What girl wants to share a room with male smelly feet and what bloke wants to wait for the shower? Travelling on tight budgets, they couldn't afford much alcohol. The rules were more than welcome.

In fact, this rather elderly youth hosteller was usually the last one to creep into bed at 10.30pm.