Those of you with children in their late teens will surely understand the mild degree of apprehension I felt when my son Jack left home a few months ago to go on his travels, half a world away from me in the wilds of South America. We hope that our kids will be safe, well and happy, so I was naturally pleased when I heard reports from Jack of his visits to Machu Picchu and other places of antiquarian interest, while I was delighted to hear that he was getting on very well with the locals and with the other travellers he’d encountered from all over the world.
However, my joy was complete when I learned of his extended residency at the Loki Hostel in Salta, Argentina. I must confess I wasn’t aware of the place prior to Jack going there, but from what I can gather, it’s Argentina’s answer to Shangri-La, so if I ever find myself in the region, I’ll certainly drop in, while I couldn’t really care less if 99% (if not more) of the clientele are about three decades younger than me.
In brief, Loki is located in the countryside with a large swimming pool handily adjacent to the main building, although there are many other enjoyable facilities such as volleyball, football and archery on offer there. What interests me most is that I’m told there are often as many as six happy hours each day, but better still, as you may be able to make out from the photograph below, this enlightened establishment goes out of its way to cater to the hooligan element among its guests.
The sign on the bar in the photo (above) reads: “Blood bombs for everyone who throws Alex in the pool” – I don’t know who Alex is, nor do I have the faintest idea why a reward should be on offer for all those who throw him into the pool. I must admit I don’t know what ‘blood bombs’ are, either, but they’re obviously a highly prized alcoholic currency at Loki and after seeing the entrancing photo of twenty or so of them lined up on the bar prior to ignition, I now have a burning ambition to sample a few myself.
As you can see from the photo below, Loki keep a World Leaderboard to keep track of blood bomb consumption and while Israel has come a very respectable second, I would expect nothing less than to see the UK at the top, especially as I’m aware that my son has selflessly devoted himself to putting us there – ah, it makes you proud to be British!
Loki may be the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, but happily, there are other such places and I suspect they’ve existed ever since Dionysus emerged from Asia in a chariot drawn by tigers to introduce the art of making alcohol to the western world. Stonehenge almost certainly saw more than its fair share of drunken revels, a tradition that’s been enthusiastically revived in modern times, while I spent many happy years drinking in an exceedingly lively pub in central London a few decades ago.
I’ve had the pleasure of relaxing at a similarly entertaining place in northern Greece, but the best of them – by a country mile – was the hotel I stayed in St Petersburg back in August 1990, where I had the pleasure of the company of a large circle of Russians who were party animals like no others I’ve encountered.
Iuvenes dum sumus..”
From a 13th century manuscript of unknown authorship.