That First night, I just could not sleep… After walking all over the Queen’s city, drinking a few pints of pear cider, and being jet-lagged, I was physically exhausted. But the adrenaline pumping threw my veins prevented me from getting a good nights sleep. doubt I got more than an hour of sleep. I laid there looking at the ceiling, and wondering what would happen the following day, when I checked out of the Holiday Inn, and ventured into the low cost option of a Hostel. Would I find it absolutely miserable? Would I end up on the street because of poor planning? would I tramp all over the city again, or would I be disappointed by the sights because of high expectations?
This was the exciting part of this trip, the unknown. Some people reading might think, “What is so unknown about visiting a huge city like London, and staying in a Hostel, by yourself?” – While I’m sure some of my friends and family where wondering why would you want to stay in a budget accommodation? and see the city alone? Truth is that I would have much preferred sharing this experience with my wife, and or kids. But I still felt this was something I needed to do just to prove that I could do it. That it was no big deal, since people do it all the time. After all, when you plan a vacation getaway with the Family – you plan for convenience, comfort, it really becomes a different kind of adventure.
7 am came mighty early, and felt like I had only just drifted off to sleep. I certainly did not want to waste time exploring the back of my eyelids on this trip. So up and showered, packed up, and quickly sampled the free breakfast downstairs. After another quick walk around the neighborhood, and a visit to the Internet cafe, I returned to the Hotel, and checked out. A pleasant employee handed me my bill, with a Zero balance. I couldn’t help but grin, and blush thinking about the nice breakfast, I felt I had just gotten away with something.
The map I had referrenced indicated my next stop was not that far away. All loaded up, I headed down Cromwell street towards the Hostel (the ACE Hotel). Turned out the scale on the map was a little decieving and with a 45lb pack on my back, what looked like a 10 or 15 minute walk became a nice 30-40 minute workout.
When I arrived I’m sure I looked a little like a beached middle aged man. The hostel was a flurry of staff activity, they were busy running around and cleaning, updating, unloading boxes of supplies from a vendor truck outside. It seemed like they were getting ready for a tea party with the Royals. I didn’t see any other patrons… So I inquired about check in, eventhough check-in wasn’t for a few more hours, I wanted to leave my bag, and start some more exploring. The staff was very nice, we smalltalked a little, and I looked around and decided this place was pretty nice. They set me up in a four bed dorm with an ensuite bath. I found the room to be very adequete, there was another guy there from Germany but we didn’t get a chance to talk much. It wasn’t loud and roudy, there were actually several families with school age children staying there (apparently I had come to London during semester break) All in all I give the Ace Hostel two thumbs up, although I missed breakfast the next morning. Spending £20 vs £150 per night at the Holiday Inn, was in my mind incredible value. Suddenly this whole budget accomodation thing looked like a no brainer, why hadn’t I tried this before?