OK, so far so good, but what about the human menu? Would I prove that I’m the only woman over 60 abandoned in a sea of teenage angst and acne? Soon other guests began to filter in. At first, all I saw were strapped-up youngsters with serious pec appeal and tan blonde gap year girls in tight shorts, which made me feel as old as the many ruined monuments of this Unesco World Heritage Site. But eventually five or six solo female travelers entered the lounge, all over 50 years old. I sat down to chat.
Adventures with the young at heart
Jenny, a science teacher from Canada, was here to walk the El Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail. “I want to savor life’s experiences now,” she told me. “Why wait?” She had seen too many co-workers retire, only to be struck down by cancer before going on adventures. She also revealed that she is introverted. “I usually find it an effort to talk to others, but solo travel pushes me out of my comfort zone.”
Sandra, a Liverpudlian, listed her reasons for traveling solo. “I was recovering from a breakup and all of my divorced friends suddenly remarried. I wasn’t ticking the right boxes – relationships, kids, promotions – so I made my own boxes and I’m ticking them now.
The community aspect of hostels means it’s easy to make friends. Home-cooked dinners, game nights and concerts by local bands bring travelers together. Jenny and I grabbed hotel bikes and cycled up the coast to swim at one of the many golden beaches.