Saturday, December 31, 2011

London for Christmas!

Just got back from a trip to London with the family for the holidays.  We stayed for a week in a 2 bedroom apartment in the Notting Hill neighborhood of London, which I found on the AirBnB website.  AirBnB is a site that allows owners to rent out rooms, or, as in our case, whole apartments or houses to travelers, with a whole suite of tools (payment online, reviews, communication with the landlord, etc).

This is the place.  It's an interesting experience, renting an apartment where the occupant is just traveling for the week.  Overall it was a positive experience, and I'm planning on using AirBnB again, but there's a few things I'm going to remember for next time:

1.  The photos that are posted online are just an approximation of what the place really looks like.  It's like photos that someone posts on a dating website - very carefully chosen to make them look good!  In real life, it will ONLY ever look worse than the photos.  In our case, the apartment itself looked fine, but the entryway was very grungy, and the photos don't show that the faucets rocked back and forth.

2.  Location is very important if you're going to be a tourist somewhere (and, frankly, in every case).  Based on some comments and reviews, I had assumed that it was pretty central.  It was reasonably central, but not enough.  Every day we made the same trip - southeast, into the central touristy area of London.  We probably should have found something closer.

The positives were - it was great to have 2 bedrooms and a kitchen.  We always ate breakfast at home, and had a few dinners at home as well.  There was one really memorable restaurant meal - a Thai place just down the road.  I'm drooling, remembering the yummy, spicy Thai food, which I've really been missing here in Switzerland!  They had a great kids menu as well.

We did a good amount of the major tourist attractions.  The highlights were the British Museum, which Kenny absolutely loved - he's very interested in Roman artifacts, and has asked me a few times, "Mom, how lucky would you have to be to find a Roman coin?"  Peter wasn't nearly as interested and as a matter of fact, was asking to go home continually while we were there.  I guess there's not much to see at his eye-level, plus he has a cough and probably hadn't slept too well.  I picked him up quite a lot, but he's not so light anymore, and I can't do it for very long.

We went to the Tower of London, but if I had to do it again I probably would have skipped it, because the lines were so very long - not just to buy tickets, but to get into various attractions inside.  We didn't see the Crown Jewels because the line was too long.  This is Peter waiting while Eric buys tickets.

No comments: