Tag Archives: King’s Cross

My Travel in London 8 ~ Back to London ~ I was making a strategic plan!

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London 2013 264-a

     I cannot believe I have not finished writing about my travel in London yet. This is the eighth episode on my travel in London. (The previous ones are here: My Travel in London 1, My Travel in London 2, My Travel in London 3, My Travel in London 4, My Travel in London 5, My Travel in London 6, and My Travel in London 7) I have just said “in London” above, but I was in York on March 20 and stayed in Hull that night. A friend of mine Yuko, who studies English at the University of Hull, let me stay at her dormitory. London 2013 269

     Yuko and I got up at 6:00 next morning. We shouted for joy when she opened the curtains. It was sunny! Surprisingly there were no clouds in the sky. We made a quick change and headed to the kitchen. Yuko began preparing for our breakfast in a very assured manner when we arrived there. I asked her, “Do you need a hand?” in a fashion, but I did not help her. I was just watching TV in the sitting room instead. Hmm…we looked like a sweet mother and a spoiled daughter…London 2013 276

     Wow! What a lovely breakfast! Boiled potatoes, a boiled egg, a sliced cucumber, cheese, ham, blood oranges, toast with cream and jams, and tea, which Yuko had bought in York the previous day. Everything was fantastic. We enjoyed our breakfast in a relaxed atmosphere. London 2013 275

     There is a bus stop across from the dormitory. We left the dorm and took a bus for Hull Rail Station at around 10:00. I do not know the details, but it seems that there are at least two bus companies that run buses to the station, and that the fare is different. So, I did not know how much I would pay when I got on the bus. London 2013 278

     Actually I do not know how much I should have paid still now. When I asked the bus driver what the fare to the station was (You tell the driver where to go and pay the fare when you get on the bus in York and Hull.), he said something, blocking the slot of the fare box with his left hand, and motioned me to get in with his right hand. I did not understand what he said exactly, but I got the meaning. It looked like the fare box had broken. That was why I took the bus without paying. Oh, I’m lucky! London 2013 281

      After about a 20-minute ride, we arrived at Hull Rail Station. There is a statue of a British poet Philip Larkin in the concourse. Yuko says to him, “Wish me a safe trip!” when she sets out and “I’m home!” when she arrives at the station from her journey. Well, I will say to him, “Hi, Mr. Larkin! Nice to see you again!” next time when I visit the station.

     We were going to London. Most of the scenery we saw from the train window was the rural countryside to Doncaster from Hull. Suddenly Yuko shouted, “I’ve just seen a hare!” “Where!?” I looked for the form but missed it. What I just found from the window was a power plant where a chimney and its cooling towers were billowing out white smoke. Those concrete structures looked ominous in the idyllic view. London 2013 282

     We changed trains at Doncaster to King’s Cross in London. The train was almost filled with passengers. Our seats were rear-facing table seats. It was my first time to sit at a table seat in a train. Yuko and I were sitting across the table from other passengers. At first, I felt a little awkward, but soon I noticed the advantage of our seats. Surprisingly, Yuko had prepared for our lunch: sandwiches! It was very convenient for us to use the table when we were having the sandwiches. They were, of course, delicious! 907249_502287319819908_976877235_n-a

     We arrived at London at around 2:00. Yuko was going to her hotel in Bayswater to check in and then to St. James’s Park to see daffodils. In the meantime, I was going to the British Museum. We decided to meet each other at the shop in the British Museum at 4:00 and went to each destination separately at King’s Cross. I took the underground to Russell Square. It was an about 10-minute walk to the British Museum from the station. I entered the museum from its north gate, which was under construction when I visited. London 2013 283

     My main target in the museum was that famous chunk of rock: the Rosetta Stone. As you know, the Rosetta Stone was a part of a stone pillar discovered by Napoleon’s army in the Nile Delta in the 18th Century. There are the same text written in three scripts- ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, Demotic and ancient Greek- on the surface of the stone. It is beyond renown that a French scholar Champollion deciphered the text in the 19th Century. London 2013 284

     I found the stone easier than I had imagined. The stone was sitting neatly in the Egyptian Sculpture section in the Ancient Egypt Department on the ground floor near the shop. It is wonderful to see the real thing that I learned from the textbook in my school days. I had thought the stone would be much smaller.

     London 2013 290After the Rosetta Stone, I began exploring in the museum. But I could not. I was more tired than I had thought. I could not climb up the stairs from the ground floor briskly. My legs were heavy like lead. I had to drag myself. I was walking somehow, but I did not have stamina or concentration to appreciate precious exhibits. I was just browsing. I got more exhausted because I was just walking without a plan.

       At last, I got too tired to move any more. I used all my strength that was left and bought a guide book of the museum, and then slumped in a chair at Court Café on the ground floor. It was almost 4:00, when I was seeing Yuko. Then she phoned me and said that she would arrive at the museum near 5:00. “Take your time,” I replied and decided to rest there for a while. It was funny and pitiful to scan the guide book of the museum without looking at actual things…Well, I was making a strategic plan to walk in the museum efficiently if you look at it another way…

My Travel in London 5 ~ London to York ~ You were right, Ricky.

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  London 2013 162  

     “The signal is red,” the announcement echoed in the quiet underground train. I was in a tube train which was waiting at West Brompton Station in London on the early morning of March 20. It was at around 6:30 a.m. There were a few passengers in the carriage. The door kept opening and the train showed no sign of starting. That announcement was probably two or three minutes after I got on. I thought, “You were right, Ricky,” when I heard the message. London 2013 171

     I was supposed to take a rail train which left King’s Cross at 8:00. Ricky, who is an English teacher in Japan, had advised me, “You should take the underground at least at 6:30 because they often stop.” The tube train left West Brompton Station about five minutes later, but it stopped in the dark tunnel before reaching Earl’s Court, the next station. After a while, there was an announcement: “The signal is red. “You were right, Ricky,” I thought that again.

     I changed train at Earl’s Court Station to the Piccadilly Line from the District Line. King’s Cross is the 12th station from Earl’s Court. It would be a nearly 30-minute ride. There were many abandoned Metro, the newspapers, on the floor and seats of the train. So I picked one and began reading it: William Roach, a famous actor in U.K. had provoked fury by claiming that the victims of sexual abuse brought it on themselves because of their sins in their past lives….Uh-oh…

     At King’s Cross Station I went to the restroom. It was my first experience to use a pay toilet. It cost 30 pence. I had 30 pence, but I did not have 10 and 20 pence coins. The gate just accepts the two types of coins. So, I had to exchange at the machine nearby. At 7:45 the train I was supposed to ride started boarding. My coach was E. The train was filled with passengers. Most of them took out their computers and papers from their bags and started to work as soon as they sat in their seats. I was doing nothing but seeing changing scenery from the window.

     Vast meadows were spreading outside. I sometimes saw some small brick houses, sheep and horses there. The train was heading north toward Edinburgh, passing through fields covered with white snow. My destination was York, where I was supposed to see a friend of mine. She is a Japanese student at the University of Hull. The monotonous landscapes and the rhythm of the train made me sleepy. London 2013 173

     “Anything for your refreshment?” A voice of a spirited and cheerful man echoed in the carriage. He was pushing a trolley loaded with drinks and snacks. Many of the passengers stopped moving their hands on the keyboard or scattered papers before them and called out. “Coffee.” “Orange juice.” “Coffee and chocolate.” I was thinking of the word of “refreshment” while hearing their verbal exchange. I was trying to find a proper translation into Japanese. But I could not find a good one. “Refreshment” is a nice word.

     More than an hour had already passed since I got on the traLondon 2013 172in. There are six stations between King’s Cross and York…I thought that. But the train had not stopped once yet. Probably it was an express. The first station it stopped was York. Some of the passengers in my coach also got off the train there. They did not look like tourists but business people. Alighting, they rapidly disappeared from the station. I was the only person who was left behind on the platform. London 2013 176

     “Yuko-riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin!” I waved to my friend who had been waiting for me near the entrance of the station. I was relieved to see her smile. Yes, I had arrived at York!

     Actually I was going to write about the town this time. But I’ve already written quite a lot. I’ll tell you about York next time.