Navigating London

Learning how to navigate in London has been a hard work, but luckily with the help of CAPA, my new friends, and the Citymapper app it’s been getting easier to figure out directions on the various forms of transportation. Also, with my Oyster card, I can get anywhere I need to be in the city within its zone limits using the busses and tube system.

Right from the start, my travel companion and I took off from Heathrow airport via the tube to our new studio apartment in Richmond Court which is located in West Kensington. We had to switch lines only once and religiously checked the instructions CAPA had given us on our program website, being careful not to miss our stops. Once off the rail we headed towards our apartment on foot and luckily ran into friendly Londoners who were able to direct us in the right direction when we were unsure if we were going the right way. The main source of our confusion was the fact that they don’t have road signs there, but instead have the road names edged into the side of buildings as they have traditionally been doing for years.

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Since then, I have been able to venture to many different places using the public transit systems and simply walking around. Through the various tours that CAPA has taken us on and simply going on adventures with my new group of friends, I’m slowly starting to figure out how to navigate the beautiful city of London.

To get to CAPA I very rarely use the tube because the building is only a short 25 minute walk from my apartment and the weather has been pretty great staying in the 40s since I’ve arrived. As for most other locations, using the public transit systems have been essential.  One of my first excursions was to Camden where one of my new friends flawlessly navigated our group to our destination via the tube, even guiding us in switching lines!

CAPA toured us around Westminster, once by tour bus and once on foot. Both times we had to use the tube in one way or another. It wasn’t too hard with the large group of friends that I was going with and we even used the tube to get around Westminster to get from the Tower Bridge to Saint Paul’s Cathedral in barely any time!

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Taking the bus hasn’t been used for many far destinations, but my friends and I have taken it to a few restaurants and shopping areas near our apartments. I haven’t taken a regular bus yet, but I’ve taken a double decker quite a few times now and even got to ride in the front of the second level once with an amazing view.

The trips with my friends have been great, but I was pretty nervous when it came to taking the tube by myself for the first to Wimbledon for my internship at Engage Research. Though it was a little scary, Citymapper was able to give me extremely detailed directions so it took me directly to my internship’s front door – mind you I was 40 minutes early my first day because I thought I was on Pittsburgh’s transit system, good to know the British are timely!

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These new adventures are just the beginning and I can’t wait to see what’s next, maybe a train or a plane?