“Mind the gap” – The London Underground
September 2016 – Our school set us the challenge to enrich our learning whilst travelling around London for a day at minimal cost. After a few hurried discussions with my friends, we agreed on a place to meet and a few places to visit.
12th October 10pm – a sudden panic as I realised that I had no money left on my oyster. I waited (for what seemed like hours, but in reality was about 15 minutes) for the computer to turn on – it was finishing doing updates. Hurriedly I tried to remember my login for the website, eventually I got it right. I topped up my oyster, checked the train times and at last felt ready.
13th October – despite my parents’ mocking that I would get lost on the way to the station, I made it there in time and got on the train headed for Victoria. Luckily they were still running, despite the Southern train strike (something about the conductors, but there have been so many recently that I have lost track!!) Unexpectedly I met some other people from my year also getting the same train up to London so it was nice to have some company on the 40 minute journey.
Our group had agreed to meet at 9:30 at Starbucks but by 9:03 I was getting worried calls from them asking where I was! (At least they care about me). Arriving at Victoria I discovered I had no idea where the Starbucks was and after asking around I found a whole new part of the station that previously I didn’t know existed!!
We took a quick tube ride to South Kensington to start our day at the Science Museum. We wanted to look at some engineering exhibits but we were generally disappointed as the exhibits were all a lot smaller than the website implied. Nonetheless it was interesting. The highlight for me had to be when my friend asked a staff member “where is the sciencey exhibition, the interactive one”. The guy replied with a laugh, “umm we’re in the Science Museum?” As you can imagine we were in hysterics!!!
Deciding we were done humiliating ourselves we made the long journey across London to Greenwich. All I can say is that I don’t know what I’d do without Google maps!! Urban travel is far harder than countryside walking.
Greenwich Park was far larger and far nicer than any of us expected, with spectacular views across London from the top of the hill. We looked around the free exhibits at the observatory and at the astronomy photographs from a recent competition. It never fails to amaze me how people can get such clear photos of the moon, yet when I try to take a picture of a friend standing right next to me it is really blurred! Clearly I do not have the gift of the lens.
We then made our separate ways back home. I managed to extend my use of public transport with a bus to New Cross Gate, before getting two trains home.
We were successful with our aim of a minimal cost day out – I only paid for the travel. We were able to do so whilst learning something new. Not only did I learn about Einstein, telescopes and the data in our lives; but just as importantly I learnt about travelling on public transport and the logistics behind planning a day out.