Last weekend, I ventured to London to meet up with my friend, Gemma, for a few days. We had a great time. For a birthday present, she had paid for us to do a ‘Jack the Ripper tour’ where we wondered around Whitechapel, visiting the murder sites of some of his victims. It was an odd experience but a pleasant little tour.
It was a rather enjoyable few days, the only tiny issue was the tube. I have only been to London a handful of times and every other time, I have been with very experienced tube riders (one of them is a driver on the Piccadilly line so I’m always in safe hands). This time it was just us. Two country women.
When I first arrived, I came into Kings Cross station which is a huge international port for trains, tubes and even the Eurostar so it is very busy, all the time. Getting off my train was stressful enough with people pushing into you from every direction. Gemma had text me to say she was already at Waterloo and would wait for me by the Tube exit. So cue Mission Impossible music, I had my objective: conquer the tube to Waterloo, on my own. Once I had scaled countless escalators, I reached the surface and was able to look for signs… there was one very clear sign that indicated:
“Underground, Overground, DLR, straight ahead”
Perfect! So I wandered and wandered, pasted the Harry Potter shop (so hard to resist) until I was almost at the street. Then I saw another very clear sign:
“Overground, DLR, right”
Where was the underground? Had I already pasted it? I didn’t remember seeing it. I curiously wandered further towards the exit. Just as I reached the doors I saw another sign:
Perfect! I scurried as fast as I could. Right, so I’m now on another escalator, taking me to the tube, brilliant, I’ll just hop on one and I’ll be there in ten mins. I texted Gemma. I was feeling pretty smug at this point. I had managed to find the tube all on my own without hassle (well no-one needed to know I panicked a little). After consulting an underground map, I realized I would need to change onto a different line in order to get to Waterloo. The change was one stop north to then rejoin the same line heading south in a different direction. Easy. So I hurried down the stairs to the platform, saw a train and jumped on… Yea, you can guess where this is heading. Getting caught up in the moment, I had failed to check which direction this train was heading in… I had to get off at Angel, jump back to the Northern line heading back to Kings Cross, eventually change at Euston until I was finally, FINALLY, heading to Waterloo.
I arrived, ever so slightly later than planned but I could see Gemma; A light at the end of the underground tunnel of stress and anxiety. I have never hugged her so tight. I was free, I had escaped the maze.