Tuesday, March 26, 2013

London by Train

Yesterday, I made the journey from Aberdeen to Kings Cross. It was a long journey, but I got there! And I did it all by myself!! Actually, I can't take full credit because I had tons of help from the London CityMapper app. So basically, if you're traveling to London and plan to use public transportation, that is a great app to use! If I can do it, ANYONE can do it. Trust me!

Anyway, I tried to do some research before making the trip but really didn't do too much, so I relied on signs to tell me where to go. From what I've seen so far, I think London has well marked signs. If you know what train/underground you're looking for, a sign will tell you exactly where to go. Now, I did have some practice with this in Paris, but I do believe London has got Paris beat when it comes to the signs.

A few weeks ago, Luke ordered public transportation cards, the Oyster Card, for each of us. It's one of those cards that can top up automatically when it gets to a certain minimum. Since I had this card, I saved a ton of time at the stations. I did not have to worry about purchasing tickets for each of my journeys. I just tapped in to get to my stop and tapped out when I was leaving. So. Much. Easier!

When I arrived at Kings Cross yesterday, I was in search for Platform 9 and 3/4. I arrived on platform 7, so I was close. But when I found where "Platforms 9-11" were located, I realized I needed a ticket to get in. Booooooooo!!!!! So maybe Thursday, when I am leaving, I can get a view of the infamous platform!

Anyway, after being totally bummed out, I had to search for the underground station called Kings Cross St Pancras. It is a separate station from the train station so I had to leave Kings Cross and go "underground" - imagine that!?! - the two stations are like 50ft apart, big deal.

I searched for my tube line, which like I said was clearly marked and easy to find. I was expecting this tube station to be insanely packed. But it wasn't too bad. Or maybe I was so focused on my destination and pretending I knew what I was doing that I didn't notice the amount of people. Either way, I didn't have to throw any bows. So, I hopped on the tube which again wasn't too terribly crowded.

When I got off the tube, I needed to find the net train station. This was the only part where I got a little confused. Looking at a map, it looks as if the train station and the tube station are the same but they are not. At Vauxhall, I had to go back above ground and cross a small street to the train station. Only like 50ft, no big deal, but there weren't any signs so I wasn't sure exactly here to go. I just followed the crowd and sure enough they pointed me in the right direction. Then, I only had to wait a few minutes for my train to take me to my final destination.

All in all, it was a good trip and went SO MUCH SMOOTHER than I expected. For one, I've never traveled alone like this before so I was really nervous about that. For two, I was nervous I was going to be just a small sardine in a extra extra large can and get trampled. The journey from door to door was about 9.5hrs. But mostly because I walked to and from each train station rather than taking a cab.

Hopefully this is a sign for good things to come! I appreciate all of the encouragement from each of you. Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts!

Now... on to house hunting!

The system of the London Underground serves 270 stations and has 250 miles of track, 45 percent of which is underground


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