Wednesday, January 18, 2012

London Bus Routes

Once back in London, my wife and I decided to travel by bus only, no Overground or Underground; too much jostling, lots of steps and the pace was too fast for a pink cast and crutches.  Besides, we weren't seeing much of London traveling underground.
Credit:David Heath
The bus stop was just 20 yards from the apartment complex driveway and once seated, except when we changed buses, we didn't need to move.  We caught the 276 to Hackney Central Station.  We then changed to the 38.  That combination seemed to get us wherever we wanted.

Before our visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum on Tuesday, we jumped off the 276 at the Homerton University Hospital.  They cut open my wife's cast from toe to knee on one side.  This was in preparation for the flight home on Friday.  They also attached velcro closures to allow for expansion during the flight.  We jumped back on the 276.  Noon had slipped by long before and there was still a long trip to the V&A.  We needed to change bus one more time to another bus that took us to the front door of the museum.

We didn't spend much time at the V&A, it was near closing time when we arrived.  We had only an hour or so to wander the museum.  A museum attendant kindly offered us a wheel chair, which we used even though one of the tires was a bit low on pressure, making an annoying squishy-squeaky sound on the polished marble floor.

Power of Making from Victoria and Albert Museum on Vimeo

We visited the exhibit "The Power of Making".  This ape fabricated using wire hangers was at the entrance to the exhibit.  I was impressed.  Then we wandered around the gift shop until the closing announcement, without a chance we could afford even a tiny trinket .

Upon leaving we walked to Brompton Rd.  The road on which Harrod's is located.  We were hungry and I checked out all the cafes and restaurants along that short strip of Brompton while my wife sat on a bus stop bench.

I chose Nero Cafe across Brompton and a bit towards the V&A from Harrod's.  I collected some cold items from a refrigerated case, took them to the counter and the employees warmed them.  I guess by the look on the employees' faces, I had too much food.  That amount of food must have had American written all over it.  Of course, the L.L.Bean logo on my fleece 1/4 zip must have helped with the Am ID.

When we finished eating, it was time to get home to put up the feet.  There was one problem, the 38 didn't run along Brompton.  I only knew the 38.  Again, my wife remained on a bus bench while I went off to figure out which bus would get us to the 38 route.  I went into the Underground and asked a ticket seller.  He didn't know.  I asked several people waiting for buses, they only knew their own route home.  I asked a bus driver of a loading bus, he didn't know.  I was beginning to panic.  Here we were in a country that spoke English and I couldn't find anyone with the knowledge we needed.  I also thought my wife was probably very uncomfortable on that bus stop bench after my extended time seeking knowledge.  I returned to the bus stop bench and my wife. She encouraged me to ask another bus driver for help.  I resisted thinking bus drivers just didn't care about my plight.  My mind began to think of the expense of a taxi for the long trip home.  I caved and waved down a bus.  That is what you need to do if you want a bus to stop.   You need to signal a bus, because there are several bus routes that service each bus stop.
© Lawrence Living
The bus stopped and I asked the driver if his bus would get us to the 38.  He waved us on.  He also let us know when to get off for interchange with the 38.  We were very thankful to that bus driver.  His small bit of kindness seemed like a miracle to us.

Once on the 38 we felt as if we were home.  We settled in for the ride to Hackney Central, the change to the 276 and on to our London digs where we would put up our feet and watch some British TV.  What more could we ask for?

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

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