Monday, May 18, 2015

Transportation Experiences

I have had a couple busy days, so I haven’t been able to post like I would have liked to. But I told you all I would explain the Tube to you, so this is post is about the Tube, but also about the different forms of transportation, and I will also add a few funny stories that have happened to us involving the different forms of transportation. Some of the stories I tell may not be as funny to you as they may be things you had to be there for.
I am going to begin with the Tube because that is the form of transportation we use on daily bases and it saves our lives from having to walk forever!!! The Tube or the Underground are just other words that are used for a subway system. At first, trying to use the Tube to get from one place to another was a little confusing because you occasionally have to change from one line to another to get to where you are going, and if you don’t know what lines you have to use it is a hassle! In order to get down to where our platforms are, we have to use our oyster cards (which is just an Underground pass) to get through the gates that will lead us to the steps, the lifts (elevators), or the escalators that we will take us down to the platforms. Once we are at the platform level they have signs that will tell you every stop a certain train will be taking, so you know if you have to take the westbound or eastbound, or the northbound or southbound train. There are multiple different lines you can take on the Underground. The one we use the most is called the Piccadilly Line, which travels east and west and will connect to all the other lines that we may have to use. An example of how the Underground works I will explain the trains I had to take last night in order to see the Houses of Parliament. From our hotel we had to walk to the closest underground, which is the Russell Square Tube Stop. We got on the westbound Piccadilly line and we got off at Green Park Stop. We then had to get onto the southbound Jubilee Line that was taking us to the Westminster Stop, which is the stop closest to the Houses of Parliament. In order for us to get back to the hotel, we had to take the exact same lines just northbound and eastbound instead of westbound and southbound. The story to go along with the Tube stop happened on one of the first days we were here. We were in a hurry because the train was getting ready to leave as we were walking into the platform, so we had to run to jump on before the doors started to close. Well as we were running Shelby dropped her oyster card and it got kicked towards the gap between the platform and the train. So she had to bend down and grab it as she was running to jump on the train. Well the doors started to close and she jumped on the train and ended up pushing the doors as she jumped onto the doors. Now if you haven’t ever been on a subway system like this, I’ll let you know that it is very dangerous and frowned upon to do this, but since it was the first time we ever used the Tube, Shelby didn’t want to get left. She isn’t the only person that has ever done this either, we see people do it everyday.
 This isn't the best picture in the world, but this is the map of all the different lines and stops throughout London.
Just a simple picture of one of our trains coming into our Tube stop.

The next form of transportation is walking. Everyday we walk probably close to two miles if not more. I have learned through this trip what shoes I brought and what shoes I should have just left at home. By the end of the day all of our feet, calves, shins, backs, etc. hurt, and all we want to do by the time we get to the hotel is to sit and not move! I honestly think I have walked more in the past 8 days than I have in the 22 years of my life. But it is worth it because we see a lot more when we walk and learn a lot more than we would if we were to be in a car or bus.
Another big form of transportation are bikes, motorcycles, and mopeds. Riding bikes is the most popular out of the three, and we see them everywhere! They even have bike rental places, the way we describe them is it’s a redbox but for bikes. When people are riding bikes they don’t go on the sidewalks but they ride the bikes on the street and most streets have lanes specifically for bikes. Sometimes bikes are hard to see and it is hard to judge how fast they are going sometimes. Brenna has found that out the hard way a couple of times. The funniest time was we were all walking back from a pub and when we were getting ready to cross we all stopped and were looking to see if there was anyone coming. Well there was a car coming and right after that Brenna went to walk across the street. Well the car was actually blocking a person on a bike. We yelled at Brenna to stop, but it was almost to late. The cycler ended up having to swerve around her really fast and he ended up almost wiping out. Luckily Brenna wasn’t hit and the cycler didn’t go down either.
They also have the two story buses here. I haven’t gotten to ride one, and I probably won’t ride one while I am here because I have the underground. So I unfortunately don’t know how they work. But I have noticed that quite a few people also use the buses.
Just like everywhere else, people also drive. I have yet to see a speed limit sign in town, so people are always going super fast and then slamming on their breaks and honking their horns. I had the chance to experience riding in a car one night when a few of us had to take a taxi back to the hotel. It is scary to watch how close people get to each other and almost get into accidents.

That’s all I have for transportation for you. If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave a comment and I will answer you as soon as possible!

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