The London Underground could quite possibly be one of my all-time most hated things. Itís overcrowded, dirty and hot. Thatís on a good day. In peak hour, Iíd say itís one of our great cityís shameful faces. Lack of investment over donkeyís years means that commuters are treated to being pushed and shoved, packed in like sardines in a tin on dirty, hot, uncomfortable trains. Itís not the fault of the staff working for London Underground, itís a simple fact of the Ďtop brassí getting their priorities wrong. It totally baffles me how commuters, who are the Tubeís consumers after all, put up with it. If I had to do it regularly, Iíd be making a huge fuss about it.
Itís not an experience I relish at the best of times so today I chose to leave the comfort of Ginnyís home an hour earlier than needed so I could avoid the claustrophobic tube by walking from Waterloo to Hyde Park Corner for my meeting.
Now this experience is a very different one. It starts with Hungerford Bridge Ė one of the best ways to cross from the South Bank to the North in my view. Then a cut through Charing Cross station, across Trafalgar Square, along Pall Mall, into St James, curving up to meet Piccadilly by the Ritz. From there, itís only a short stroll along Piccadilly to Hyde Park Corner and my destination.
I donít usually do London Landmarks in my PotD but just occasionally, I think itís OK to make an exception to a rule so here is St Jamesí Palace, complete with guards with bearskin hats. I must be honest to being ignorant of who lives there these days Ė it was once the home of the Queen Mother and Princess Diana I think.
Itís one of those places thatís a bit tucked away and not really in the full glare of the public eye in the way that Buckingham Palace is.
If you know the streets of London, you can avoid the tube quite effectively for many journeys. In fact, sometimes, you walk further through tunnels when changing tube lines than youíd do if you went up to surface level and walked through the streets. I know for me that the choice of being treated like a sheep on its way to slaughter on the Underground or walking is not a tough one to make.
Last year, I was also travelling - but in the cold and snow!