Tuesday, April 14, 2015
First Day in London: Shakespeare Globe Theatre
We were flying on Vueling Airlines, a Spanish version of Southwest. Good service and great flight. We lost an hour on the clock as England is an hour behind the continent. We left Italy at 4:25 and arrived in England at 5:45 pm....but it was a two hour flight. I'd purchased tickets for the Gatwick Express train from Gatwick Airport to Victoria Station in downtown London. That was perfect and we patted ourselves on the back for that one has we passed the Que lines for people purchasing their ticket. Before getting on the train we used an ATM to purchase some English Pounds...ouch...the value of the pound is about 1.5 to the dollar.
Slow ride into London; problems on the track said the conductor resulting in reduced speed. Arrived in Victoria Station. Went to purchase our train ticket to the suburbs and discovered I should have been in the line to purchase an Oyster Pass but since I didn't want to wait again we paid for the one way ticket to Tooting Broadway. We'll address that problem tomorrow. By now it was after seven o'clock. Thank goodness we'd gotten a sandwich in the airport before we boarded the plane.
First the Victoria Line to Stockwell and then the Northern Line to Tooting Broadway. We were able to contact the landlord at that point and she said to catch the bus 127 and the apartment was directly across the street.
We found the bus stop but when I asked someone about purchasing the ticket on the bus she said "no, I'd have to purchase it before" and gave me directions to a tabacco shop across the street. When I went in he asked for my Oyster Card, I said I only wanted a bus ticket...he didn't sell bus tickets. We discovered that without the Oyster Card your options are very limited. So I spent the five pounds for the each card and added money to them. Back to Jim who was standing with the luggage as it was getting darker and darker. We waited and waited but no Bus 127 came. Suddenly there was a bus 333 and I showed Jim on my directions that this bus was another way but would entail a five minute walk. We climbed on board. After a while I went up to the driver asking for help. He was as lost as we were as to where we should get off.
Long story short, it was after eight o'clock and we were on a strange street in one of the more ethically diverse neighborhoods we've been in. But, the people were wonderful and really did try to help us; several going out of their way to lead us in the direction they thought we should go. It was getting cold and we were both tired. I called the landlord again and she said, "oh no...you're on Streatham High Road instead of Streatram Road" She was trying to tell us how to get to her place when I finally asked her to please call a taxi to pick us up and bring us to the apartment. At this point I would have paid any price they wanted to charge.
We had a wonderful dinner and even had an elderly gentlemen from the neighborhood join us at our table. Not uncommon in Europe to share table space. He was definitely a local and we could not lure him into conversation of any length.
Hope you've enjoyed our tale of woe that had a happy ending and a moral to the story: take a taxi from the train station when you're arrived in a strange place!
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