What it’s Like to Sleep in London Stansed Airport, and Other Adventures.
I went to London last weekend and it was much more of an effort than I expected, not in a negative way though. It was the first time I had hopped on a plane to a different country with no concrete plans aside from the hostel I was staying in. Let’s talk about that hostel for a minute. My friend and I arrived at about 10pm, thus receiving the last choice of beds in the 18 person male/female room. Have you ever heard of triple bunk beds? Apparently they exist and I slept on one, thankfully without injury. There was free breakfast, relatively clean bathrooms, and Scary Movie 2 playing in the common room, so not too many complaints. One unfortunate event in the series of my London adventures was that the Tube line that went to hostel was conveniently shut down for two days. We managed with replacement buses and touristy fold out maps.
While in London we did loads (notice the Irish vocab) of exploring the city. We saw everything from Big Ben to Borough Market to Wicked to this amazing dried fruit store where they aggressively gave you samples (it worked). On our last day, we got on a tour bus to Stonehenge and Bath. Stonehenge was definitely worth the trip, even if the visit was short. It was also an opportunity to see how much foreigners love taking selfies in front of ancient stones. Bath was beautiful and we had cream tea at the Jane Austen center. The photo above was taken by a stranger in eccentric clothing who gave me birdseed. Good times.
Because we took a discount airline from a not so centrally located airport, our flight was scheduled to depart at 6:55am. Rather than sleeping for about two hours in the hostel, we decided to save the money and camp out in the airport instead. When we got to Stansed Airport around 11pm, the waiting area was already full to the brim with other likeminded travelers. It took some serious searching to find a bench that we could only sort of fit on comfortably. People had come prepared with sleeping bags, yoga mats, and pillows. Burger King was open all night and there were surprisingly no screaming children. This experience could have easily been very sketchy, but it wasn’t. Everyone respected each other’s space and just wanted to sleep, not steal things. At 4am, there was a mad dash to check in and go through security. We were then ushered into another waiting area with way more shopping options than any reasonable human needed that early in the morning. Finally, our gate was announced, we made the flight back to Cork, and it was raining. Obviously.