I commuted from Kingston (Zone 6 in Greater London) to Birmingham this past Saturday. My initial train to Waterloo was delayed by 15 minutes (I was making my first train switch at Clapham Junction). Therefore I missed my second train entirely, and had to sit around at Clapham Junction on platform 16 for 45 minutes. Which wasn’t awful per-se, I bought a traditional Cornish Pasty and some Earl Grey tea.
But this did mean that by the time I finish switching trains (total of four trains…) I arrived in Birmingham around 5:30pm…rush hour.
Packed trains when you’re not a traveler are cramped and annoying, and when you are carrying a 40L backpack and a messenger bag it’s even worse.
However, I made it to my friends flat alright (the two of them met me at the Four Oaks platform). We trekked to Sainsbury’s (oh Sainsbury’s), to get groceries and then hung out for the rest of the night. I generally prefer for my arrival day to be really low key, staying at the hostel/apartment instead of beginning to explore. It’s a nice break after experiencing so much transportation to get to my destination.
On the other hand, I had a really good final day in London.
I finally found proper filtered coffee, you have no idea how much caffeine withdraw I was experiencing, it was palpable.
I also ventured around Covent Garden and found myself at a small toy shop and the original site of the first Punch and Judy show (marvelous!)
I’m a stop motion animator (specifically puppet construction when it comes to ‘what I want to do’ in a career sense), so anything to do with puppets and old theater toys/silhouettes makes me SUPER excited.
Although, about two days before I left London my debit card was terminated.
Pretty big bummer.
I normally don’t use ATM’s for much when i’m abroad, especially since my Charles Schwab account doesn’t charge me for conversion rates. But the Transit machine wouldn’t read my debit card, so I had to withdraw some cash (er, pounds) in order to get on the train to get into Central London.
Turns out I used a machine that has been flagged by Visa as having a history of ‘leaking’ credit card information to third party sources resulting in them believing my card had been ‘compromised’.
After many international phone calls (…yeah. Phone rates are something…*rubs brow*), they opened my account for 20 minutes to allow me to withdraw money from my account before terminating my card entirely.
Now i’m in the process of waiting for them to send a new one to my location in Birmingham- hoping that they do it quickly.
Aside from that, the trip is going well (especially now that i’ve gotten proper coffee…). I’ll be doing a lot of life drawing, checking out a comic book shop with really good reviews, and bouncing around quite a number of flea markets and vintage shops during the next two weeks.
Oh, and street art.
There will be photos of really cool street art.
So stay tuned.