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Travel: The Walrus Hostel in London, England
Major props to this hostel's location... right on the Thames – well, like, five minutes away if you're walking – and near enough to the London Eye. You're right by Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, and you can always stay on your side of the river for a walk down England's "Left Bank" (right?) towards Shakespeare's Globe, the Millenium Bridge, Southwark, and Tower Bridge.
The rooms are pretty damn dorm-like, which not everyone will be into – the cheapest room, which is the most popular for that reason alone (this is a hostel, after all), houses 16 people. Not a big deal, because everyone's in the same boat, but the locker situation can be a little hairy.
Because of a lack of storage room – a lack of any storage room – for most people, everyone just kinda tosses their stuff on their bed and leaves it there during the day. If there are Americans in your room, then you'll be fine... they always seem to have their stuff stolen, which decreases your chances of becoming the victim.
When it comes to leaving your stuff on your bed while you're out... does it make you feel more secure, because everyone's doing it? Hell no. You never know who's in your room.
But it will make you feel less stupid if your stuff gets stolen. It could literally happen to anyone.
Just imagine you're leaving your snowboard outside before you head into the lodge for lunch. Somebody could steal your stuff, but...
*If it's really a problem, the staff are super-helpful and will store your stuff for you during the day. If you have a laptop or cash or anything of insanely irreplaceable value – your passport might qualify? – I'd recommend this. Just do it. No hesitation.
The reason you'll stay here. The beers are perfectly English – full of taste and nice and big – and well-priced, at least for London. It's also a real pub, so it's not one of of those hostels that shows you to an empty basement bar and forces you to have fun with people you don't know.
There are regular Londoners coming in here, most of them having fun because they've never seen a pub in the middle of England's biggest city with whole pints for under 5 pounds.
The layout is beautiful. The crowds spill out onto the streets. You'll at least feel like you're getting the real "English" nightlife here, which is really all you need, right?
I've only ever heard, "London is the most expensive place in the world" and it might be true. I dunno. I come from Canada – we're no walk in the park for your wallet, either.
But, at 18 pounds a night in the middle of summer?
Yeah, it's pretty reasonable. You won't find a better deal. And even if you do, is it worth saving a buck or two a night?
*HostelBookers lists a Monday night in November for $29 for the 16-bed dorm room, and $42 for the 6-bed dorm room (the smallest).
Stay here. Live here if you can. Save 20 pounds for the pub at night. Make sure you ask someone where to east... ask for the best fish and chips and maybe a nice big pot of broth, or whatever the English eat. Tell them you want to watch a soccer game somewhere.
The hardest part of discovering London is discovering London. There's so much to do here and you know it's all around you... you just have to find it, and they don't make it easy on you.
But they will, if you ask them.
(*Originally published on Kolby Does Europe...)