Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Charlie (on holiday) in London (1): Getting Around

Does a holiday count if you decide to stay in the same city? To visit the sights and sounds that is normally mundane and routine? Well, we have a much quoted maxim, you never bother to see Madamme Tussaud's unless a visitor is in town. Well, last month I decided to head out into the city, and explore it, just a little. So join me this week, as I take you on a mini-tour of some of London's more fashionable (and quirky) sights.


Of course, to get round the Capital is a pain in the backside. Usually I use my motorbike or bicycle. Two wheels is ideal, quick and cheap. However, there are times when a car is needed (but is often futile due to the traffic). And of course there is public transport. London has a huge range of options available to utilise, but the two easiest options (and most famous) are the London Underground (the oldest metro system in the world) and the bus service.

If you are heading to (or living in) North London, the tube is a wonderful system. Comprehensive, quick and easy. I live in South London. Damn. Which means the bits of the tube that get this side of the river is over crowded and not that easy to head to. Still, it beats waiting for the mainline trains.

But enough geekiness, here is another photo of typical Londonesque travel:

Oh yes, those damned escalators. Let me get more geeky. Just a little (and for this blog, I am going to ignore the London Overground and the Docklands Light Railway). The Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and the Metropolitan lines are sub-surface lines. For want of ease, they were built by digging up the road, laying a rack and covering them up. Usually reached via a staircase, as they are only a few feet (about two or three metres) below the surface. The Bakerloo, Central, Jubilee, Northern, Picadilly and Victoria lines are deep level tunnels, many feet (usually 20m) below the surface and are reached by lifts or (more likely) escalators. Stand on the right and walk up/down on the left. Don't ask why this system exists, just accept it. You cannot beat the system...

Mmm, cushioned seats. On all the underground systems I have travelled on in the world, London is the only with proper upholstery. Everyone else has to put up with hard plastic. I think such a thing is disgusting. Surprisingly, while there is a lot of vandalism on the tube (look at the window) our seats by and large stay intact. Oh, it is also very bright on the London Underground. Try travellling on the, say, Bucharest or Paris Metro. Dark as a rat warren!

The flip side of London travel is the bus. It is comprehensive, you can get to anywhere in London on the bus network, and they are the only bit of London's transport network to run 24 hours a day. Thank you Ken for making the Night Bus so much more than just one per hour! They are also big and red. And driven by w**kers ;)

So there you have it. I used the bus and tube a lot more than usual in the last month and all will be revealed why on Charlie's latest holiday, this time, in my home town...

1 comment:

Asad said...

Great post...I agree that the cushioned seats on the London Underground are the height of civilisation...