Back Tracking (aka Filler Information)


Because someone (my friend Sandra) asked for more info...I forgot to take a picture of the "hotel" room we had in London. You're not missing much. Lets just say it wasn't what I expected. I mean, I had read that hotel/B&B rooms in Europe are small and extremely pricey. I thought I was prepared for that. I figured $140/night for a small room (with restroom facilities) probably wasn't too bad.

Those reports I read, were seriously misleading. When we got to the area of our "hotel" (by subway, during morning rush hour, with 5 suitcases/bags and no sleep) we ended up walking completely around the block before finding the place. Now, how do I describe it correctly...Imagine (if you will) a block long, 4 story, 100+ year old building. There are several "stoops" leading to doors and outside most all doors is hanging a sign that announces which "hotel/B&B" it is. The picture above gives a small idea of what I'm talking about. Ours was on the corner so you can't see all the prior signs/stoops.

We enter the hallway, the proprietor greets us and puts all our bags in his office...with everyone else's bags and his desk and chair and couch and table...and the room is no bigger than 6'X9'. He nearly had to crawl over things to go the 4 feet from his desk to the door. At that point we discussed breakfast and as I mentioned earlier, we ended up eating with the clown.

At 1pm (check-in time) we arrived back, registered and Savior (that's his name) grabbed my largest suitcase, swung it up over his shoulder and said, "Follow me to your room." I quickly latched on to another bag and my camera backpack and started climbing very narrow stairs, up and around in several circles. We were going to room #205. By the way, in England they count ground level as floor #0 so we were actually 3 flights up. As a math guy, this makes sense. As someone new to the area it gets a bit crazy. Anyhow, I digress. By the time we got to our room, I was panting and my calves were killing me. He hands me the key and says, I'll go get your other bags and leaves me to open the room.

At this point I'm being generous in my descriptions. A 1.5 foot long hallway leads to a 8'X10' room (I measured with my out-stretched arms). In the middle was a full sized bed (mattress on a wood base). There was also a small built-in cabinet with openings large enough to put 2 of our 3 suitcases. A third opening housed the bath towels. On top of this cabinet was a 13" or 15" TV and a small oscillating fan. Between the door and the cabinet I described was a small (1'X2') desk table/shelf with a chair. On top of this shelf was enough room for a small tray with an assortment of teas, coffees and 2 cups plus a gallon sized, plug-in, warming jug. I kid you not. I was paying 70 pounds ($140) a night for this.

Oh and we got the deluxe room because it had a bathroom en-suite. I'm sure I'm about to be too graphic for some of my more delicate friends and I know I'm no small boy but the truth was that I could NOT stand in the bathroom, bend over and drop my drawers to sit on the toilet. Not enough room. It was THAT small. And then, when I did "settle in" I had to rest my left arm on the midget sized wash basin because it was right in front of me. To make matter worse, every time you flushed the toilet it sounded like a barge was coming down the river blowing its horn. The next morning when Diane took a shower she ran out of hot water and had to rinse off with cold. I later figured out it was a problem with the faucet handles and not the amount of hot water. I didn't even try to shower at that point.

We ate breakfast in the kitchen on two mornings. It held 4 four-top tables. The full English Breakfast was delightful (ok the sausage was marginal but you could substitute bacon) and the staff was very friendly.

On the back side of this building (opposite of where we were) a Motel 6 franchise also had a suite of rooms. The area was old. Seriously, some buildings had signs showing they were 100+ years old. The neighborhood was very mixed ethnically. But we were right across the street from St. Pancras rail station which was absolutely gorgeous (pictures to follow). We were also 2 blocks from the British Library and a couple of blocks from Shakespeare's house/museum. It's just an OLD city with OLD stuff. The photography around the place was to die for and there was some sort of park or green space in nearly every block.

All in all, even though I was not prepared for the cost to size ratio it wasn't a terrible place to be. We felt reasonably safe and comfortable - as long as you didn't have to get into the bathroom.

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