Sunday, May 5, 2013

Getting Around in London

Although this is my preferred form of transportation:

my daily perambulations to and from the clinic take many other forms too: train, tube, bus.  I try to take a different route each day, sometimes adding an extra bit of walking to the next tube stop or past a scenic route.  London is that kind of city, there's always a new little lane to walk down or passageway with a interesting pub at the end.  I often leave the house early in the morning so that I can stop and have a cappuccino in some interesting little spot.
this morning's coffee spot, overlooking some ancient norman tower
This can be useful also on days when the Northern line is backed up due to a signal failure, or a train malfunction or a body in front of a train (i.e., a suicide, which is dreadful and sounds so much more callous compared to the old days when the announcement was for "an incident) or a sudden train termination, all of which happened to me yesterday.  Luckily I found an alternative that worked and the day was saved by an Oyster. 

The Oyster card acts as a universal ticket for London's transport - buses, trains and tubs. 
no shell, no pearl, just an oyster
Much more efficient than the old photo cards I remember from days of yore, it can be topped up by smart phone or by cash and card in newsagents and in station machines.  The card is swiped when entering and exiting and off you go (or on you go depending).   At first, I put 50 pounds on mine to use it as a pay as you go sort of thing, but it started to deplete at an alarming rate, so in my second week I booked a flat 7 days fare.

The scoliosis clinic is in an area of London called Tower Hill and, though many areas of London have colourful or imaginative names, this is one of the most prosaic, being at the crest of a rise that overlooks the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. 

On those days that I choose to use public transport, I have my choice of tube lines and bus stops that all end in 15 minutes walk at most.  Probably one of the most famous of all images is the map of the London underground system.  Or rather, a map of the London underground system.  "As a schematic diagram, it shows not necessarily the geographic but rather the relative positions of stations along the lines, stations' connective relations with each other and fare zones."  Thank you wikepeidia.  Succinctly put. 
Artists have long been inspired by this design, as you can see!

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