I’m up earlier than usual to pack, wash dishes, and clean the room before leaving. I want to get my bags to Kingston where I’ll be staying for my next week in London and leave myself with plenty of daylight to continue on the Capital Ring Walk.
The 12 miles would take an hour by car for a more direct route, but I’m on the train that will go north to Clapham Junction before going southwest to Kingston upon Thames, and will also take an hour, if everything goes as planned — it does.
I find the place in the rain and it’s dirty. I take pictures of the bedroom and bathroom that are downstairs and send them in a report to Airbnb. It takes them 2.5 hours to tell me that they’ve contacted the host to remedy the situation.
Meanwhile, I’m at the shopping plaza near Zach’s place wondering if I’ll have to worry about finding another place to stay tonight and the awkwardness of dealing with a host who offered such an embarrassment in the first place.
Zach decides to clean since his cleaner didn’t yesterday. This shouldn’t have been something for me to deal with, and when I return to the room I’ll be asked to update Airbnb and tell them that there has been an improvement, but I don’t think he should rent like this in the future.
This has dampened my day more than the morning full of rain. I felt that Zach might feel judged and ask me not to stay or that if I decided to leave I wouldn’t be reimbursed and would have to pay more for a last minute place, so I decided to judge his cleaning skills later, knowing I’ve been in dirtier hotels.
After an afternoon along the river and amongst shop windows, I’ll ride to Waterloo to meet Radu for dinner as I still wait for my room to be cleaned. He notices that I like to take pictures, so we walk through Lower Marsh to The Vaults, a tunnel full of graffiti, till we see the London Eye lit up pink.
We get a cup of mulled wine to keep our hands warm as we walk the length of Southbank before settling on dinner at Ned’s Noodle Box or Ned’s Noodle Bar on Belvedere Rd if you’re looking on Google. I’m sure the food was fine but the company was better.
We continue our walk along the river before wandering inland for a night of darts and snooker with some other people at The Windmill Pub until the 10pm curfew is enforced.
We walk back along the Thames and part ways at Waterloo station after Radu has ensured I’m safely on my direct train with a ten-minute walk in my near future. I’m hesitant to return, but I do need sleep.