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Trip Report We saw a fox on Great Ormond St (and other sights up and down the Thames)

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We were aiming for The Lamb, on Lamb's Conduit St., the first Sunday evening of my two weeks there, going east on Great Ormond St, when a red fox trotted from behind, passed us, and continued unhurried into the night. London is like that: full of unexpected delights.

Our daughter H is enjoying her semester at Regent's University, and months ago when she was considering whether to commit to study abroad I must have promised to visit, because that's what she tells me. One must keep one's word.


First I stayed by myself in the Princess Hotel on Argyle St, just a block and a half south of St. Pancras.
Basic single room including breakfast and VAT for a laughably low £40.00/night. My lower level room was spotless, with a comfortable double bed, desk and chair, dresser and mirror, TV, radiator heat. The window faced an alley, with some discarded chairs and things piled up no doubt temporarily. It was wonderfully quiet: bird songs were the most frequent sound. Down the hall each way were immaculate white-tiled bathrooms maybe ~15 feet distant, and I never detected human presence in either.

Also close by was the breakfast room. The day before one decides on either full English or "continental", and picks a time slot. The hotel was full of Danish students my first day, so I picked first seating at 0700, then stuck with that the rest of my stay. When you enter the Romanian-speaking principal kichen woman verifies your room number and you can specifiy how you want your eggs, then within minutes places the classic eggs n beans, bacon, (canned) mushroom, white toast assembly before you. Coffee, tea, OJ are self serve. The coffee is not perhaps the most excellent I've ever had. And the Continental's croissant resembles a piece of flattened and rolled Wonder Bread. Never mind: at that price you can treat yourself to capuccino and pastry at the nearby Patisserie Deux Amis, 63 Judd St, with its white tablecloths and excellent fare.

One benefit of traveling alone is the chance to eavesdrop, and I take full advantage. Also, here the food is adequate, but not so swoon inducing that it distracts from the human drama. The young Italian man who tends the desk on nights comes down to the breakfast room after he gets off and jokes around with the three kitchen women, who mother him. They are very sweet together.

Marta mans the desk during weekdays, is efficient and polite. Sam, who lets you in during the evening, greeted me by name whenever I entered, printed out walking directions to Sadler's Wells for my daughter, and generally made me feel at home. Bless them all.

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