Yes, it has finally happened… the unthinkable, the unimaginable, a truly sad event. The closure of one of London’s most loved and beautiful old Youth Hostels.
Located in the middle of Holland Park, between Notting Hill Gate and Kensington High Street, the youth hostel has provided affordable hospitality for generations of students from all over Europe and the UK, as well as providing a safe, happy space for wandering back-packers such as myself.
Without it, London will never be the same again and I am so sad.
One may ask the question why? The answer is confused, but probably down to political skullduggery of some kind involving the YHA (Youth Hostel Association) and the local mafia (oops did I allegedly say the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea?).
Well, I’m sure you can guess. A combination of vulgar free market ethics and a spineless YHA management has taken away this sanctuary, an oasis in the most expensive Borough in the British Empire, and turned it into a new private (wouldn’t Mrs Thatcher have loved that?) hostel with very high prices indeed.
A viking cannot fight this kind of thing, for removing its head would surely allow another to grow in its place, such is the nature of local politics and money; a sewer from the depths of Mammon. No, this time just a good party and a thank you to all the wonderful staff has to be sufficient.
Keeping positive and smiling through adversity is a major part of the Viking Way. We do what we can… we even fight if we have to, and then we move on. I for one, will never forget the fun of meeting other wayfarers, or the smile of Sally and Patty when they welcomed this tired and weary viking as she walked the beach between voyages.
Hostelling is a great way to meet amazing, eccentric, real people from all nationalities and walks of life and to make wonderful friendships, even if only for a few days. For me it has been an honour to sleep in dormitories with seven others, and listen to their incredible stories.
So, it is farewell to Holland Park Youth Hostel, to all those who graced her, on either side of the reception desk.
May the Gods be with you all…