Continuing with my journey….
I got up at around 8.30 am and was already tired that I have to leave the place. I guess the travelling was slowly getting to me. But I had to checkout by 11 am. So after the breakfast I checked with the reception on which station I should be going to (there are two in Paddington…one on the juncture of the two roads and one of the left road) to take my tube to Victoria Station. They asked me to take the one on the left. Since all the other formalities are not required for my checked, I hauled my suitcase down that tiny steps and was out of the door (of course after giving them their key) by 10 am. If I didn’t have my luggage, I would have felt a little better, but hauling my luggage and finding out my way around the tube, well , suffice to say that I was a little bit tensed. But when I went to the station, I felt that instead of getting a ticket, I better take a oyster card. Thankfully my friend’s husband had given the necessary instructions to get around my way in the Tube. There was a machine like the ATM machine which would give you the prepaid oyster cards. But by the time I tried to figure my way around it, I lost my confidence. So I went to the counter and got my oyster card for 25 pounds, hoping that would help me over the time period I am in London. I clutched the Tube map that I got in the hotel reception like its my lifeline and checked out the line that goes to Victoria. It was written as Circle Line (in yellow).
The instructions in the station are very clear. But then I saw that there is a East Bound platform and a West Bound Platform (and of course nothing related to the station I want to go). I always get confused by the directions like north of this, south of that.. well , whose north yours or mine. Wouldn’t the person standing opposite of me point to a north which can be my south? I am not sure that if that logical, but yes, I get confused. Thankfully, there was this officer standing next to the gate (which is swipe and go model for your oyster card) and asked him which one I should be taking. He directed me towards the East Bound one, if I remember correctly. When I entered the underground, there were enough people down there. And on the electronic board it displayed that the Circle line via Aldgate will be in another 2 mins. Well, call me stupid or dummy, when I saw those different color lines, I thought may be you will have dedicated trains in that color to travel. So normally I was expecting a yellow train to come chugging. I don’t know why I did not concentrate on the trains that they show in the 007 movies (even the last one , the Skyfall, had it.. damn.. I missed those.. I would have had a clue by then). But when I saw a normal (I dont remember the color) train, I wasn’t sure if that was it. But then when it neared me I saw the letter ‘Circle Line via Aldgate’ written in the LED signs in the front of the train. Just like the ones you see in the MMTS in Hyderabad. I was grinning inside like a fool, because I have no clue why I expected something like the colored trains in the first place. There was enough crowd. 90% of them had ear buds and were on their own world. The rest were either reading news paper or solving sudoku in ipad or watching others, just like me. I had to keep track of the stations. Finally it reached Victoria in about 15-20 mins or so.
Now I had to switch over the National Rail which is a overground train, to Sutton. There are enough signs to direct you, so you won’t miss it at all. Its like a normal train station. But that day due to a fire alarm in one station, lot of trains were delayed. There are lot of trains that were listed and that were going via Sutton (either through a shorter route or a longer route). Since I didn’t know which is which, I had to wait for 15 mins or so for the first train that goes via Sutton to be allocated the platform. I had my dose of cappuccino in the mean time. I checked with another officer who was there to help people around with directions, if I can use my oyster card there, he nodded in affirmative and I was on my way to the platform to take the National Rail which goes via Sutton. But found out that it was the one going through the longer route, so it took me around 40 mins or so to reach Sutton. After I reached the station, called up my friend and she came by to pick me up. Their home is not far, just a few minutes drive from the station. I was just happy that I got around my way in the stations and made it :). Need to savor these small small things which requires little bit effort. The whole day after that went in a haze, doing the laundry, talking to her about everything and then her kids, the notorious sisters :), reminded me of my nieces back home. I used her broadband to upload some photos and spoke to my parents back home too. She prepared a heavy lunch and dinner and had packed in a smaller suitcase given by her for my trip the next day. She asked me to try and cancel the hotel which I had booked after the Scotland trip and come back and stay with her. I had called up the hotel and they had said that I have a day to cancel without any charges. Sent an email to my travel agent (only they can cancel it as it was booked through them) and went enough chitchatting with the family went to sleep at around 11 only to get up at 4 am the next day for my trip.
My friend’s husband was kind enough to drive all the way to Wembley to drop the next day for my Scotland tour.
I guess I will have to split the posts again. See you in the next one.