My time in East London had come to an end and I was moving on to the next hostel. Just to change things up, really. So I checked out and spent a little time pouring over work in the coffee shop next to the hostel before setting out to find the new place I’m staying in South London.
I took the London underground (which I’m pretty good at now) down to Pimlico, which is in Westminster London. The hostel is kind of in the middle of nowhere. I walked through Chelsea taking a tour of the nice homes. They have “caution: old people” signs with pictures here instead of the children signs you see everywhere else. I walked by a Gordon Ramsay restaurant but I didn’t eat there because I’m not crazy (I mean, I don’t appreciate good food enough to justify it).
Anyways, this hostel is nice. Has a Thai restaurant and bar on the ground floor, free towel, free drinks all day, and nice spots to work. It’s also right on the Thames, so I was able to walk across the street and sit by the river for a bit.
But mostly I just hung out for a bit, had a couple cheap beers, and got some work done. There was an “open mic” night in the restaurant area, but they were pretty terrible. Like, most of them were terrible. So I hid in the corner, finished a beer, and went to bed early.
I was a little concerned because this hostel was a little more expensive, but another bonus is that it they have a way better breakfast. Free omelettes! So I had a cheese and pepper omelette, some toast, and some coffee and tea while I hung out in the restaurant area and planned my day on the computer. That planning didn’t really take much.
Camden Market – Saturdays are big market days. This place (and my next one) doesn’t have a great food storage area, so buying fresh fruits and vegetables is kind of out, unfortunately. So I decided to go to Camden, which advertised a lot of vintage clothing and jewelry. There was a lot of cheesy meme-like clothing, but there was some good stuff here as well. I walked around here in the morning, but as usual did not purchase anything.
After Camden, I decided to head back over to Notting Hill and look at the Portobello Market again. The first time I had down it I was carrying all my bags and couldn’t really go in to any of the shops, and this time I was not tethered by belongings, so I was able to do a lot more looking around. I thought I might try to find a vintage lighter, but didn’t see anything that caught my eye. Still, there was an opportunity to see a lot more cool antiques and it really is an interesting market. So I was glad I had gone back.
Since I had been fairly thrify during the day (and didn’t buy a beer in the hostel for the couple hours I sat there on my computer), I decided to go to Pizza Express for dinner. It’s actually a sit-down place, and I got a fancy pizza and a glass of wine (I think the first one I’ve had on the trip). I got a pizza with caramelized onions and goat cheese and spinach. It was pretty good.
Being Saturday night, I was thinking I might go out and have a night on the town. But I’m 28 and I had a glass of wine so I’m pretty beat. 8:18pm isn’t too early to go to bed, right? All those antique markets and glass of red wine got my old man mode in full swing.
I took a walk down to Victoria Station the long way along the River Thames to try to book a ticket to Stonehenge, but the bus was full (I tried to book last night, but their website didn’t like my CC for some reason). Alas, I decided to stroll around in the dreary British weather, as a more usual atmosphere enveloped London than the miraculous sunshine of the past few days.
So I wandered through Green Park and St. James Park again, and then by Buckingham Palace again. I had skipped the Churchill War Rooms on my first trip, but now I decided to go ahead and do it.
The Churchill War Rooms and Churchill Museum was basically the underground bunker for the WWII strategy team, including Churchill. The museum itself is pretty cool, with the rooms mostly restored to how they were at the time, and the museum added on covered the entire career of Winston Churchill. A nice mixture of high-tech displays and artifacts from his life.
Then I wandered down Regent Street, which is the main shopping center in London with a lot of the major flagship stores. Didn’t go in any – not a big clothes shopper. And certainly not a clothes shopper if I have to lug them back to the US after paying for them in pounds. I took a “shortcut” and in about 2 minutes I found myself surrounded by massage parlors, sex shops, and a couple strip clubs. That was confusing, so close to the major shopping circuit. I’m SURE those massage parlors were legit.
I took an evening stroll over the Chelsea Bridge over to the South of the river and walked through Battersea park. It looks like it’s probably a bit more active in the summer, but there is a nice pond and benches and everything there. And it’s well-maintained. Not nearly the activity that is in the main parks, but still a nice little escape from the city.
Tomorrow I head back up to Hyde Park to live in luxury for my last couple days.