To and Fro
Getting around London can seem a little bit intimidating, but it’s surprisingly easy. My first official day in London, I was on a mission to master the Tube. By that night, I felt confident in reading the map and figuring out how to get from point A to point B. Here is what I learned about the Tube my first week here in London:
1. Make sure you have your oyster card out both to enter and exit the stations. I didn’t think about having it out for exiting, but of course you can spot who doesn’t know what they are doing when they are at the exit and looking for their card.
2. Stand on the right side of the escalators and walk on the left. If you are standing on the left, it can be very frustrating to those who are trying to walk up or down.
3. To tell where a train is headed, look at the station at the end of the line. All you have to know is if you’re going north, south, east, or west and it’ll be easy to know which train to take.
4. Each stop is announced right before the train stops. If you are listening, you will never miss your stop!
5. It’s an unspoken rule that you don’t eat on the Tube. I’ve never seen anyone eat on the Tube, and when I ate a sandwich I was stared at — lesson learned!
The busses are a bit more complicated than the Tube, but with the app Citymapper it’s easy to figure out. Each bus stop has a letter and the busses announce the street or landmark coming up before they stop. I always try to get a seat on the top deck if the bus is a double-decker. There are great views from the top of the bus!
The most common mode of transportation in London is walking. Everybody in London walks everywhere! It’s refreshing to walk around the city instead of driving everywhere. (By the way, they drive like maniacs over here and the roads are so narrow!)
Yesterday, I gave myself a challenge to really prove that I could get back to my home from an unknown area without using Citymapper. I met up with my roommate from home, Camilla, for lunch. She had a play to see at 3 p.m. and it was an hour away, so I went with her. We took a tube and a bus and we ended up in Battersea — it was really nice!
Once I said bye to Camilla, I walked down a random street and stumbled upon Battersea Park. It was beautiful! Everyone I passed bye waved or said, “hello,” and almost everyone had a dog. (I love dogs.) The park was huge! I think I wandered around for about half an hour before I found a way out. I took a timelapse video as I walked around, but it’s very shaky and not the best video, I apologize.
After wandering through the neighborhood for a little while, I found a bus stop and decided to hop on the first bus that came. I enjoyed the view from the bus and got off at the first Tube station it came to. Once I was at the station, it was easy to find my way home! I think I have successfully mastered my modes of transportation around London.