As many of you know, I am doing a project on a zero-energy development in Beddington, or BedZED for short, for my Sustainable Urbanism class. I had planned on visiting the development while we were in London to finish up my second paper on it. On my free day I spent the morning and early afternoon at Windsor Castle with Shelby, Desiree, Kelsey, and Jason. It was such a beautiful say and I loved seeing the castle and everything that went with it. During the afternoon we decided to split up and do our separate things. I decided I was going to go to BedZED. Desiree and I made a plan to meet back at the hotel at 6:00, or at least contact each other if were were doing to be late by accessing Starbucks WiFi. I had two different sets of directions from the help of Google Maps and Aimee- one that required a transfer from the tube to a tram, the other a transfer from the tube to a train. I tried the first option first and hit a deadend. I had to go outside Zone 2 in order to get to the tram and when I asked the information desk for help they saud it was not worth it t buy day passes. After that dead-end, I tried to get to the train station (because I was close anyway). As I waiting in line for the train tickets I watched the screen with arriving and leaving trains and watched my train leave the station. I decided ot head back to the hotel after this because it took me about a 1.5 hours to do all this. I do not look at this as a failure though. I felt comfortable riding the tube alone thanks to the help of Aimee, Troy, and our group. I also can now note for my paper that it is difficult for an outsider to get to the development, even with many forms of public transit! Also, I’m a planning student riding on the tube, what more could I ask for?
Hampstead Heath is located in the very north side of the city of London. London is well known as the top green city in the world, and it is one of the reasons that I like London as well. It was not very smooth trip to get there. I planned to meet my friend at 3 pm at the hampstead Heath station, but I could not make it on time due to traffic jam. My friend told me it is hard to be on time in London especially on weekends. London seems to have the same problem of congestion as other big cities. The heath was beautiful, many families came out to enjoy wonderful weather and Spring.
While sitting down on a bench, I saw the problem of Walkitalki building that I heard from the news. When sun light directly goes to the building, it reflects and bothers other building and people on the street. I remembered a news that the light thawed snow on the street last winter. It was about to sunset when I arrived there, and I could exactly see the strong light coming out from the building. My friend also told me the architect who built walkitalki recently designed a similar building in Dubai, and it may cause a big problem.
The last day in England was spent traveling to Canterbury. This is the tale of our journey.
The beginning of the day was a hot mess of everyone scrambling to figure out what the game plan was. One group already planned a trip to Windsor. Others were shopping. And our group hoped for a trip to the bleach white cliffs of dover. We were unsure of the price of a train ticket round trip and had to call the station. Finally, we learned that the train tickets had a deal that would make our tickets only ₤17, much less than the expected ₤60 we calculated the day before. The fab five (Chris, Juli, Kerry, Ruben and Todd) traveled to Paddington to buy the tickets. When there, the ticket lady determined our best option was to buy the ticket in Victoria station, which is where the train left. With 25 minutes before departure, the team sprinted to Victoria via tube. The tube was nearly about to depart when the fab five squeezed in. A few stops passed until the team reached the station. To our dismay, the queu to purchase tickets was half a football field (European version) long. Risking the situation, the group jumped into an adjacent queu that was nearly empty. The ticket master approved our request and gave us five tickets. With under ten minutes to spare, the fab five rushed to platform 3. After a stressful and time crunching morning, the team successfully hopped a ride on the train.
Today was a rather ambitious! We began our morning with a level of uncertainty due to the train ticket prices to Dover. We were pleased to find a deal for 20 pounds for a round trip ticket. The rail line was rather nice and the lovely country side gave us a glimpse into suburban life. We were surprised when we arrived to see a large shipping port at the foot of the cliffs. Apparently it is the largest passenger port in all of Great Britain per our taxi driver. As we traveled down the rough terrain the port disappeared and we were left with magical vistas. We arrived at sunset which was well worth the wait. The lush green fields were a pleasant reminder that spring is a mere 4 days away!
An arriving train of the Tube
A picture when on the Tube
The tube is a great method of transportation. Subways are ideal because they are underground and don’t have to deal with any of the traffic from above ground. They also don’t have to be bogged down by the actual design of the city and can directly link all of the most popular and central spots. Perhaps the most interesting part of the tube is the culture around it. London had a very unique subway ettiquette. The ettiquette allows for it to be incredibly efficient. It truly is an important part of the city which just lies underground. I definitely envy London for having the tube while in Columbus we just have the COTA bus system which pales in comparison.
Going out today felt so odd. compared to the rest of the week, the sidewalks and tube stations were packed to the brim! I kept forgetting it was the weekend and so more people would be outside. If the city was this crazy on a daily basis, I doubt anyone could stand it. this morning I went to the national history museum right after it opened at 10 am. When I walked outside later to go back to the tube, the line was even farther down the block than when I came! Even the tube stations have a different feeling during the weekend. I noticed that nearly every station I went through today had performers both inside and on the sidewalk above. The musicians gave the tunnels a really cool atmosphere. I could hear them long before I ever saw them.
Today after returning from our trip to the country, a few of us went to King’s Cross to see Platform 9 3/4. Afterwards, we split up and went to eat dinner. On our way back to the hotel, a woman stopped us in the King’s Cross tube station and asked us how to get to Marylebone Station. So we got out a map and found the station and then helped her find which stops she needed and where to transfer. It happened that we were getting on the same train, so we showed her part of the way there. One is an accomplished tourist when they can be knowledgeable enough about their place of visit to give directions. Congratulations guys, that’s us.
The underground is insane. Riding during morning rush hour today really showed me how much this system goes through on a daily basis. I can’t imagine using the train every morning and night to and from work, cramming into those train cars like sardines. One guy got in next to a few of us, and it looked like he barely fit in the car. We asked if he needed space, and he barely reacted, insisting he was fine. I was amazed when the doors rushed shut right above his head. Knowing exactly how to stand on such a crowded train must have taken him tons of trips to master, and I’m still impressed. I doubt we will get anywhere near that proficient at the tube during this trip, but it’s not too bad anymore! It’s pretty easy to get around once you know the general idea.
Nothing makes architecture students more happy than being present at the buildings that they learn from history class. Yep, we are at Dulles international airport. As we got off the plane Lauren ran right to the window. I knew exactly what she’s doing. We are at Dulles international airport! Designed by Eero Saarinen, completed in 1962, curved roof, with a steel frame structure and filled with reinforced concrete. I know all these things off my head, what’s more exciting than this? We then asked for “approval” (sad face) to search for the building! Luckily we are architects and we can read plans well. We then got on a “raised up train with giant wheels which looks like a tank.” The driver told us that he’s going to make a turn and we had to catch the building fast when we are on the train. And we got this. 😛