Arriving a bit worse for the wear, after my overnight layover and breeze though Copenhagen I wasn't quite sure if I was yet ready for London. My cheap Ryan Air flight actually dropped me at Stanstead airport, a good hour bus ride outside of town, but connections to the city were easy. Of course, throwing this trip together on a whim, I had made little plans past where I was going to sleep at night so I opted to take my time, grabbed a spot at the airport Costa, coffee very much required at this point, and tried to figure out what to do the next two days. Per the recommendation of a travel blog, whose name I've since forgotten, I opted to stay at one of the St. Christopher's Inn hostels, and quite arbitrarily chose the Shepherds Bush location, so after killing a bit of time at the airport I caught a bus into the city, transferred to the metro and made my way there.
Of course, they were strict on their 1:30 pm check-in policy, although I'm fairly confident my bed was ready before then, but killing 30 minutes in the bar area didn't kill me. My room was empty when I got there, but there were signs of others, loads of dirty clothes and food scattered about and all signs pointed to boy roommates. I'm never really picky about the all female dorm, and generally opt for mixed rooms as they seem to have a better atmosphere, but this time I was beginning to doubt my decision. A new roommate, from Colombia arrived shortly after I did and although we did the brief introduction thing that's pretty much where our interaction ended. I wanted to lie down in bed and sleep until morning, but I was in LONDON! Instead, I threw together a day bag and went out to explore my side of town. The weather was cool, but bearable, so I didn't want to waste it.
I saw no need in more public transportation, after my 24+ in transit I was done for a while and instead went by foot to Notting Hill. I'm not sure what drew me here, maybe it was just the recognition of the name, likely in part to the movie, but the internet seemed to agree. I read it was a good neighborhood for a stroll, removed from the tourist mess of downtown, and that's about all I was looking for that afternoon. England was one of my first destinations of confusion, everything was in English and slightly familiar, but still drastically different. Notably the architecture, quite evidently hundreds of years older than anything you'd find in the US, that and the cars, which were of course driving down the wrong side of the road. My head was stronger than my legs and the enthusiasm for walking began to wear off, thankfully Hyde Park was only a few blocks away and provided me with plenty of places to explore, benches to relax on and people to watch, always a favorite past time.
As the sun began to set the temperature was going with it, and this was my cue to head home. I had just enough energy to make it back by foot, and the falafel wrap I had along the way gave me that extra boost to get there. When I returned to my room I was met by roommate, three big guys, not including the Colombian I had met earlier. One of the three was friendly, a middle aged guy from Australia who was eager to hear about my travels and share all his snacks, but the other two didn't do much talking. It was still early so I assumed at least one of them would be getting ready to head out for the night, but my assumption was wrong. Before long all three were in bed and ready for lights out, I had been skeptical about the set up but it seemed things were going to work out just fine for me.