Some call London lively- thriving- bustling and a multitude of other synonyms to describe it’s less than peaceful nature, but when the tube, the very arteries of London, bleed out, so to speak, and stop running because of the strike, London’s true characterisation of being CHAOTIC is seen in its truest light.
Having made plans the previous week to see my old university friend Grace for dinner, my adventure this week would mean trying to navigate myself around London sans assistance of the magical underground which like a shittier, sweatier version of disapparation (though you still get the Harry Potter sick in the stomach feeling) gets you to places in practically no time. OR SO I THOUGHT!
Basking in the after 5:30 sunshine out of the office after playing hostage to my desk chair and to do list the entire day, a blinked rapidly with a printed out direction list from Google maps (my smart phone got stolen so no interactive talking lady for me – it’s still a sore point) ready to beat the pavement from Pimlico allllll the way to Covent Garden.
By Tube this takes an estimated time of 18 minutes according to the Transport for London website. Let me tell you this for free, that is a lie. It takes at least 25 and more in rush hour. Walking there would take me 38 minutes according to Google maps but actually took me 30! Maybe not quite as speedy as the tube but it did mean I realised just how close Westminster, in all its governmental glory, is to my office. The proximity of the London Eye and Big Ben and other iconic London landmarks are a 30 minute walk stone’s throw from where I sit and type every day. Plus I got my daily dose of vitamin D.
Eventually finding my friend in an unusually quiet Covent Garden (the tube strike meant everyone had confusedly tried to get home without delay in case they find themselves stranded in London) we made our way to Polpo a restaurant I’d been wanting to try for ages!
Usually, the wait to eat here is preposterous, and I always give up after my stomach wails in protestation and go somewhere else. This time we only waited a mere 25 minutes and ate wonderful fritto misto and arancinni to die for.
Having caught up on our gossip, slurped up a sinful amount of salted caramel ice-cream sighed contently looking over Leicester Square, the slow realisation of getting home dawned on our post-dinner glow. Fulham was not a 30 minute walk from Covent Garden. The air was no longer balmy and I still didn’t have a smart phone for navigation. After a very sweaty and crammed bus, I arrived at Fulham Broadway, walked in the dark for half an hour, called Grace in panicked fright because I’d seen some youths on scooters and finally arrived home at 2 am.
Thank God the tubes are running again.
Here’s a walking map of London which is handy for all the more walking adventures we’ll have next week for round two of the strikes!
Other notable London locations this week
Haagen-daz ice-cream restaurant– Leicester Square- Salted caramel or hazelnut. Although the banana brownie was pretty good. You will be too greedy. You will feel sick. You will not be able to stick to your no sugar detox
The Maple Leaf– Covent Garden: quirky Canadian themed pub complete with taxidermied bear and deep fried foods
The Roundhouse Pub – suitably rowdy in-between Soho and Covent Garden. the meeting point for Blasmin and Segrana’s infamous adventures