Wednesday, May 30, 2012

London on $98 a Day - Using the Tube

London is preparing for the Olympic Games and signs are already warning people to get ready for traffic jams. One stockbroker we spoke to, originally from Florida, told us her thirty-minute commute would turn into three hours. She was thinking about getting a bike! 
But unless you're there during the Games, you will find this city fairly easy to navigate by using the buses and the Tube.  You can either buy a Travel Card or an Oyster Card (Both have advantages and it probably takes a semester's course to decide which is better for your needs.  Do your research in advance via the Internet because both cards save you money on all forms of public transportation.); if you use the Oyster Card, as we did, you can refill it as needed.  We particularly liked the card because it stayed in its little plastic holder and all we had to do was place it for an instant on the semicircle to magically open the Tube admission gates. 
There's a fascinating subterranean world in the Tube underground with escalators that seemingly rise to the heavens, elevators that take you a zillion stories deep into the earth, and signs that tell you to Mind the Gap before you search for the Way Out. And all the while, there is, somewhere in the labyrinth of twisting hallways, an entrepreneurial musician who serenades you with Beatle songs. 

But have no fear about getting lost as there are many maps and diagrams and people to help you find your way.  Almost all of the stations have an official person stationed nearby, too, so if the map is confusing you can always ask for directions.

Keep one important point in mind about the Tube.  It doesn't rain down there and that's a distinct advantage in London!
This maps in every station help you plan your route.

This diagram shows what is above ground.

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