Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Day 5A: London Madness

Our fifth day in England was spent mostly in London. I got up early again, and went into Reading town centre as Pastor Sam dropped of E-yan for school - this time to return the rental vehicle. Then it was off to Heathrow Airport where we dropped off two big bags of luggage and Erich's car seat at Left Luggage. This was a suggestion that our british expat friends Nick and Becky back home had given us. Brilliant suggestion. The thought of roaming around London's underground all day with two giant pieces of luggage.... We decided to travel 'light' instead - carrying only our carry-on backpacks with us.

However, as we soon discovered, roaming around London's underground system with a toddler, a baby stroller, and three heavy backpacks is quite a feat in itself. For one thing, almost none of the underground stations have lifts (elevators) which makes pushing a stroller around quite difficult. So we are left with the option of folding up the stroller, and carrying everything (toddler, bags, stroller) or having the stroller go to places where it shouldn't.

We decided mostly for the latter. Gone were previous apprehensions about using the stroller on escalators and pushing bumping it down stairs. All I can say in the end is that:

1. MacLaren makes the best strollers. British made, takes a pounding and keeps on ticking.

2. There are a lot of very courteous people in London, despite what some tourist guides would have you believe. (I have always been paranoid about being pick pocketed after my brother in law caught one red-handed last time on the London underground...) More than once, people without hesitation offered to help carry our stroller up the stairs.

3. We lived the "Mind the gap" experience. Yes, one definitely knows there is a gap there when you're trying to push a stroller on and off a train.

The ironic thing in hindsight? Many of London's underground stations (many built before the Second World War) actually HAD lifts once upon a time, but were taken out in favour of escalators.

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