Endless buses and the journey back to London - the saga continues

Hell bent on acquiring a berry burgundy hued pair of Doc Martens, adamant that they must be acquired solely in London, or more specifically, within the vicinity of former 1960’s swinging Carnaby Street; the Kid was on a shopping mission like no other.  A mere 5 minutes after greeting her “dear ol’ tuckered out” middle-aged Auntie, who, incidentally, had endured countless roadblocks in her attempts to traverse all forms of over-ground transport en route to picking up her 16 year old Highness at the airport, was now obliged to escort “la Princesse” to her preferred shopping destination.  Now, as anyone knows, Miss Pink Sneakers can shop till she drops and then some, but the thought of having to race from the tarmac to the shops was asking for a bit much, especially since the journey from the airport would be no walk in the park, requiring stamina, patience and fortitude, having to forfeit valuable shopping hours, as we navigated through the congested rush-hour traffic via countless buses and coaches.  The Kid had no clue as to what was in store, as her long-anticipated Limo ride was just a delusional teen-aged fantasy gone wrong, most likely brought on by watching one too many episodes of “The Real Housewives of Somewhere Rich and Glamorous”.

Snivelling and whining whilst crammed into the back of the passenger coach, my niece pouted and sobbed, loudly declaring this to be her “worst holiday ever!”  Trapped amongst the other budget conscious back-packing globe-trotters, the Kid lamented her chauffer-less status, appalled at the indignity of not hobnobbing with the “crème de la crème” of jet-setting royalty.  I, on the other hand, was pleased as punch at having now saved bucket-loads of money by choosing to travel with National Coach Express for an economical £6 per person.

With the bus having deposited us at Victoria Coach Station, smack dab in the middle of London, believing the worst to be behind her, the Kid was unprepared to now have to schlep her luggage on yet another pedestrian coach (like, seriously?) - Bus #73 to Marble Arch, a mere hop, skip and a jump away from my London digs – in reality, more like a 15 minute sprint along Bayswater Road, if you race along at a really fast clip. 

Having now devoted an entire day sequestered on all forms of public transit, I was now more or less an unofficial expert on “How to get to Heathrow in 8 hours or less”, offering valuable tidbits of Info to a small minority of claustrophobic Tube avoiding transit passengers – while also providing a much-needed valuable public service.  Something to most definitely think about if ever contemplating quitting my day job and re-locating to the other side of the world across the pond.

With dinner time fast approaching, and the shops open until at least 8:00pm, the kind-hearted Auntie in me suggested that the Kid and I stroll along Oxford Street to get a bite to eat and amble along London’s hustling and bustling chaotic pedestrian thorough-fare.  Home to over 300 shops - from budget low-end Primark - to high-end designer ware department store emporium, Selfridges - this shopping mecca is the “go to” destination for locals and foreigners alike.  Approximately one and a half miles long, this insanely congested street offers a little bit of something for everyone.   Whether scrounging for tacky trinkets and souvenirs or merely indulging in people-watching, Oxford Street is not to be missed, encompassing the feel and essence of the British capital.

Not hearing a peep or sound from my niece since her mortifying yet humbling bus journey from the airport, I was secretly relieved to hear the Kid utter an exuberant squeal upon spotting trendy “Topshop”, a British based retailer offering designer inspired fashion at bargain basement prices.  Abandoning me at the curb, Miss Fashionista darted across the street and disappeared into the shop, emerging about an hour later.  Loaded down with carrier bags, the Kid was in her glory, screeching in delight as she proceeded to race towards chic, cheap and cheerful Primark, where she was not seen again until Security politely escorted her out upon the shop’s closing hours.  Declaring this to be her “best holiday ever!” the Kid was all smiles, her traumatizing bus journey long forgotten.  Go figure??

Pink Sneaker Helpful Tidbits of Info on navigating London streets via public transit

With London being quite the expensive city, one doesn’t have to break the bank to travel around the city via taxi cab or chauffeur driven Limo, with public transit so accessible and affordable. Except, of course, if you’re a claustrophobic like me, who will avoid the underground Tube at all costs, scooting around town is a slightly more challenging task, but an entirely do-able one, nonetheless.

One can save truckloads of money by opting to hop on a National Express coach to Heathrow from Victoria Coach Station for an economical price of £6.  The bus ride is an approximate 40 minutes or so, depending upon traffic.  Give yourself plenty of time and elect to take an earlier bus, thus avoiding the headache of a possible traffic jam.  Buses leave every half hour.

If you’re brave enough, I understand that commuting via the Underground is also a speedy and efficient way in which to get around London - but don’t quote me on that, as my pink-sneakered feet instead chose to walk, and thus avoided going anywhere near the Tube.

If in London for a couple of days, I suggest purchasing an Oyster Card, a plastic Smart Card that you top up on a “pay as you go” basis. Valid on all forms of public transit, this electronic pass is a cheap and economical method of paying for your fare.  I actually never got one because I chose to walk absolutely everywhere.

If in a pinch, hop in one of London’s well-known Black Cabs, which are surprisingly affordable, - one cabby told me that all of the cab drivers are required to pass a rigorous test in which they have to memorize more than 25,000 central London streets, a learning process that takes several years to complete.

Come hang out in London and traverse all forms of transit as we strive to navigate the city cheaply and economically – while also indulging in a bit of people-watching and shopping on bustling Oxford Street. 

Next week – Off to Carnaby Street in search of burgundy Doc Martens – the adventure continues!!

0 Response to " Endless buses and the journey back to London - the saga continues"

Post a Comment