I’ve been on the road for about 6 weeks, and up until now Ireland was winning hands down over England in terms of places to see, people, and overall experience. So far my experience in London is swinging the pendulum back towards England.
I was originally only going to be in London for 8 days, but I’ve already decided to extend another week. There’s no way I can see everything in just a week, and I don’t want to run around like crazy (plus the poker is good…)
No matter where you go, your first impressions of a place are always colored by where you’re staying. The Safestay Hostel at Elephant & Castle is one of the cheaper hostels in London, but don’t let the price fool you – it’s the best place I’ve stayed since I started my trip.
Recently renovated, the rooms are huge, there is a great bar and common area in the basement (about 10x bigger than the common rooms in previous hostels), and it’s location is perfect. It’s not in a touristy area – it’s in the east end – which makes it feel like I’m staying in a real neighborhood. The local restaurants are great, and it’s a 5 minute walk to the Elephant & Castle underground station. From there, you can get to just about anywhere in the city.
Here’s a couple of photos I snapped of the room itself:
The rooms themselves also have a lot of amenities I haven’t seen at previous hostels:
1. Complete privacy curtains that can be drawn across all of the open sides of the bed.
2. A reading light for each bed
3. Enough plugs for everyone (some of the places in Dublin had 4 plugs and 6 beds)
#1-#2 combined are a great upgrade for me personally. It means I can read for a while in bed without disturbing anyone else.
The London underground system is fantastic. In Dublin, I spent a lot of money just getting around the city as the intra-city buses were a hassle. In London, I bought a 7 day pass to most of the London underground system (it’s set up by zones), and I’ve been cruising around the city for a few days without issue.
As a tip, spend some time looking at the underground map (the zones in particular) before you buy your 7-day pass. I think I could have saved $15-20 by getting a pass that supported fewer zones than the one I got.
Victoria & Albert Museum
This is just a teaser of the V&A Museum. I spent almost 12 hours there over two days, and feel like I only absorbed 10% of what I saw at best. Enjoy the preview – my next post will cover it in more detail:
I played poker on Wednesday after my camera battery died while at the V&A (the reason I went back a second day). I ended up winning $700, so that puts me +$3,300 on the trip. If you ever play poker in London, I can highly recommend the Grosvenor Victoria Casino. These are the same folks that put on the tournament series I went to in Coventry, and “the Vic” is the best place to play in London.
Goodbye for now,