Monday, September 10, 2007

Flat hunting in London

I’ve just spent the weekend in London. I am changing jobs and start working for a new company on October1st, hence moving to the UK by the end of this month. I am very excited about this move, starting a new chapter in life. It will be the first time I live abroad.

I had some handover meetings with our PR agency at Piccadilly Circus on Friday and then went to my hotel near Gloucester Road and crashed… Still jetlagged from my New York trip, I ended up missing a salsa night in London, which I tried making up for by going to Salsa Palladium on Charing Cross Road near Leicester Square on Saturday night. It turned out to be a big disappointment and a waste of time – it was horrible, horrible, oh and did I mention horrible?! Most people who were there were absolutely shitfaced (pardon the language, but some colloquial slang seemed appropriate here) and could not dance. It was hot like a sauna in there and the floor was extremely sticky, and what’s more, they didn’t play one single salsa song during the full hour that it took me to queue for a Mojito at the bar, drink it while watching the swaying people on the dance floor and saying no to several guys who wanted to dance reggae ton or Latin disco with me… I then finally agreed to dance one merengue and one half-disco/half-salsa song before I couldn’t stand the place any longer. Remind me to never ever go to this place again! For a place called “Salsa Palladium”, I have never been farther from a salsa experience…

The rest of the weekend I have explored a couple of different parts of London and gone flat hunting – guess I need to start changing vocabulary now to more British… normally I would say “apartment”. I’ve seen some different places in the South Kensington / Earl’s Court area as well as Covent Garden.

Covent Garden Market

Martlett Court in Covent Garden

Although I haven’t yet quite found the type of flat I would like, I am confident it will work out by the end of the month. I met with a rental agency near Gloucester Road called Foxtons and the broker told me that flats are advertised and gone pretty fast in London, but if you’re willing to make fast decisions after you’ve seen a place you like, have your references and down payment (standard seems to be that you pay one month’s rent in advance + 6 weeks’ deposit) ready, you can actually get the keys and move in within a few days. Quite different from Sweden, where you usually have 1-3 months’ lead time… In Stockholm there can be several years’ waiting line for popular city areas, at least if you’re doing it the legal way....

Victorian style property in South Kensington

Left: Typical British phone booth. Right: Natural History Museum

Left: Victoria & Albert Museum. Right: Holy Trinity Brompton

I have grown very fond of the South Kensington area with its Victorian buildings and museums like the Natural History Museum, the Victoria & Albert and Science Museums. I hope to get a place in this area. The rents are in general three times higher than those for similar space and standard in Stockholm (well, the standard is perhaps not exactly comparable – they do things differently in the UK) but in order to do London properly I feel I don’t want the long commutes from any of the suburbs, so I guess I just have to suck it up and pay the price…

You can see more photos from London in my Flickr album here>>

1 comment:

Henrik Bornäs said...

Hej Mimmis...skall du lämna oss i Kista och Stockholm :-( Jag hoppas att du får det bra i London och att jobbet blir en framgång. Vad är det som du skall göra i där? All lycka och vägång skall du ha /Henrik