The birthplace of hosteling! An ancient German town with a towering castle, romantic fantasy-laden forests, and a townsfolk appreciation for unreasonable amounts of jaegermeister. I arrived by train in the early afternoon and ventured into the town by foot. I was not fluent in the Germanic language but somehow was able to articulate the key words "taxi" and "I do not want to sleep on the streets." After much deliberation and manic hand gesturing a taxicab appeared and I was whisked off to the world-renowned "Altenburg Castle Hostel."

The original Hostel is now a museum, so I stayed in one of the many remodeled buildings around the castle grounds. I wish I could remember more about the room but after I dropped off my bags, I walked down some cobblestone paths to find a place to eat and was swarmed by a gang of youths wanting to 'practice their english' and feed me shots of jaeger. Seven hours later I woke up on the bathroom floor of the "Feedback Pub." No recollection of getting there and none of my newfound friends were to be found. I stumbled out into the morning light and did a quick 360 degree spin. In my mind I was turning gracefully like Baryshnikov. To the school children bumbling to class I was the cautionary tale of "why ten shots of jaeger is nine too many." Finally I spotted the Castle hostel hovering in the distant. I stumbled through gardens, scaled walls, mumbled sentence fragments to light posts and eventually found the entrance to the Hostel. Checkout time was 11 a.m. I rested my head at 10:15 a.m. It doesn't take a mathematician to calculate the headache I felt in the morning. Regardless, I loved this town! The people were friendly. The architecture was stunningly beautiful and the rich nature made it a perfect getaway from city-life. Next time I come here though, I'm just going to detox and relax... well maybe after 'just one drink.'

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