Sunday, July 14, 2013

Kew gardens and the Helltrain

Today we took advantage of the warm, sunny weather and made a trip to Richmond to see the royal Kew Gardens. They are the oldest gardens in the world and a world heritage site. 

The greenhouses are also the oldest in the world. They were very pretty and Victorian. 

It was so hot and humid in the greenhouse- the perfect place to be in to remember the the summer we left in houston! 

The gardens are huge- 200 acres and several miles of trails. Plus, we were tired from the heat, sun, and previous night's festivities. 

More greenhouse action. One little English boy was next to us, looked at his mom, and yelled in the cutest accent "bor-ing!". Really, probably only interesting to a select niche of people. 

This was my favorite. We are actually 9 stories up, in the trees. There were tree top bridges there that offered wonderful views of the park. We were pretty tired from all of the stairs!

We got tired. Again. This park was so quiet and relaxing, we just couldn't help ourselves but to rest in the nice breeze under the shade of the trees! 

We got to tour the palace and it's kitchens. I didn't take many pictures, but it was nice. We've seen better, but I'm still glad we got to see them.

I would recommend these gardens only to those that ever live in London or would be visiting for longer than a few weeks. It is quite a hike to get there, and there are so many parks in London that are free and half as nice as the gardens. I think I was a little under whelmed, but I'm still glad hat we went. We had a nice relaxing Sunday....

...that is, until we got on the tube to return...

Let me start with this...It normally takes about 50 min to get from where we were to the gardens. 

As soon as we got to the station, I realized I had lost my tube card, along with my hotel key and yoga pass. Thankfully, there was only about £7 left on my tube pass, but I was still upset with myself for losing it. If only I would have known that this was just the start to our tube ride from hell.

Y'all, the tube is HOT in London. Not enough to normally make me break a sweat, but enough to be pretty uncomfortable. Usually, there is somewhat of a breeze when it moves which makes it bearable and if it is underground, at least it is shaded.

The tube came to a screeching hault while being in the sun, as opposed to underground or in a tunnel. The driver came on the intercom and said the signal wasn't working to go in the tunnel, it would be 5 minutes.

30 minutes later, we are still stuck, waiting for the signal that no other trains were approaching and we could go in the tunnel. It is scorching hot. I'm drenched in sweat. It is so unbelievably stuffy, I'm starting to feel claustrophobic and like I might faint. I'm literally shaking and just wanting to pry the doors open and get Air. There were older people on the train complaining that they thought they were getting heat stroke.

Finally, after maybe 40 minutes, it goes. The train cheers! We make our next stop, some get off, some (including us) stay in, while more people come into the train. One of these new passengers is a man wearing a long, thick trench coat. I think he's Eastern European. He sits by us and immediately starts speaking unintelligibly, but I heard him say the F and C word, and Daniel heard him saying "Yankee". We are pretty sure that he's drunk, but I'm freaked out. No one else is around us. We get up to move, he follows us.

And then the helltrain stops. Again.

We are sitting there, now with a crowd of people, and this man just keeps going on and on in what we think is either another language or he is so drunk that we can't understand him. It sounded like he was putting a curse on us, he had SO much anger in his voice. Everyone is ignoring him, but looking at each other like "wtf get me off this hot train with this crazy man who is probably putting a curse on us".

10 minutes go by, and we decide that we are gtfo-ing next stop, no matter what. We'll figure out a new way to get home once we are there. Thankfully the train starts and as soon as it stops, we do indeed gtfo of that train.

Along with a million other people.

A sea of people are pushing and shoving to get there way out. A woman falls. Daniel is holding on to me, and I am feeling weak and legitametly scared that I am going to get trampled or pushed into the subway. 

We figure out how to make it back to canary wharf, but miss the first trains due to them being literally crammed with people. We finally get on, and I don't even need to hold on to the rail, there are so many people surrounding me that I am being held up. 

We finally made it back. The trip, all together, took 2 sweaty, nerve wrecking hours. I needed another nap under the trees after that one!

And that, my friends, was my worst experience of London so far. The train was hot as hell, contained  the traveler from hell, so we concluded that it was, indeed, the tube ride from hell. I wouldn't be surprised if the driver was Satan himself. I'm just thankful this happened while I was with Daniel,


  1. I totally feel your pain. The ONE time I took the Tube, I said, "no more". Claustrophobic was my exact word along with shady people. I made the lady I was staying with walk the 3-4 miles through London rather than getting back on the Tube.

  2. Hmmm, I'll have to make a point to visit London to try a ride on the Tube.

    I've taken underground transit in Chicago, Seattle, Paris and Budapest. Funnily enough, the worst time ever was in Chicago, which was my "hometown" at the time. The Budapest subway never felt claustrophobic at all, in spite of being probably cavernous by all other standards (I remember having to take five sets of escalators to get to the trains from the station we were staying by), probably because the whole line was so well maintained I had to pinch myself repeatedly. You could almost see your reflection on the zealously scrubbed floors of the train cars!



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