Our backpacker’s accommodation in Caledonian Road, King’s Cross is VERY basic. A room with a double bed, two hooks on the back of the door, a rubbish bin, a mirror, a heater (not needed), and that’s it! At least there’s a window that opens. When we checked in just before 1 pm on Monday the window was propped open by an empty soft drink bottle, the floor was littered, and the bed was unmade. We bravely left our bags there, having spoken to a staff member who said she would clean it up shortly.
Around the corner we found a sandwich bar, purchased filled rolls, then headed down Euston Road to find somewhere we could sit down to eat them The courtyard of the British Library proved to be the ideal spot, and afterwards we went in to their “Sacred” exhibition which was on my list of ‘must-sees’. It was free, but you needed to collect a ticket first, I guess to regulate how many people were inside at one time. The focus is on the Abrahamic religions, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, and there is a most amazing array of old texts. Some fragments date back to the second century CE. There were books from the fifth century - I hadn’t even realised that books were bound that long ago. Beautiful mediaeval manuscripts with colour and gilding that seemed quite fresh. Many of the Islamic texts have no vowels – an early precursor of txting? There were also items depicting Life Ceremonies: marriage contracts, a Jewish wedding canopy beautifully embroidered, and Jemima Khan’s Muslim wedding outfit.
We returned to our hostel room to find it had been cleaned and the bed made The linen is peculiar. The bottm sheet has two pillow slips sewn in, which means you can’t bunch up the pillows as we are wont to do. I looked out the window and immediately saw a squirrel on the roof below. Our window looks out on the brick backs of buildings,with quite a lot of green, and the noise level seems very reasonable.
Instead of a key there’s a numeric key pad – quite handy as it means we can enter separately if we want, and you don’t have to carry a key when you go to the bathroom. It appears that they change the combination for each new tenant.
We had dinner at Cathryn’s flat with delicious fresh strawberries – the most flavourful I’ve tasted for a long time. The wine she served was “Chat en oeuf” The label showed a cat sitting on an egg, and a note saying that the makers support the RSPCA
We found the bed perfectly comfortable and slept very well, aided by the fact that Cathryn had lent us pillow cases, so our pillows could be independent. Being on the first floor (with no fire escape) we were able to leave the window open and enjoy the fresh air.
The shower was an interesting experience. The ‘Female Showers’ have one door to the corridor (no question of locking it), and three shower cubicles, absolutely no privacy, and nowhere to put your soap except in its container on the floor. I might have to buy a soap on a rope. You have to step out into the common area to get your towel, so it’s just as well I’m not shy The water was strong and hot and I could find no way of regulating the temperature. At least I’m clean – important when one is wearing the same clothes for several days.
“Our Overseas Experience
With hostel life, takes common sense.”