The highs and lows of underground public transport

I’ve touched a little on the Paris Metro underground system in an earlier post. However, I failed to mention my admiration for how efficient, clean and altogether new and high-tech it was (compared to the London Tube and NYC Subway). Ah, and the fact that elevators and escalators were at almost every station was such a relief to Erika and myself after lugging (and breaking) our bags by dragging them up and down the steps to the London Tube terminals. One of the reasons the Paris Metro experience was so easy for us was because Erika’s cousin Thierry was kind enough to give us a little book with all the lines on the Metro. This helped us out considerably. 

This was not the case in London. Fresh off a 6-hour flight from New York, arriving with luggage at the airport in the middle of the night trying to find our hostel, Erika and I were brave enough to try to figure it out by the Tube.


This is the little booklet we used. Unfortunately, it didn’t get us very far. We ended up rounding the corner about 5 times before I finally found a gigantic Tube map posted on a wall and pulled out the handy notebook and started sketching……


Somehow, from this horrible sketch I did up against the wall of a dirty London stairwell, we happened to stumble upon our hostel (I give credit to luck and not to our mapping abilities).

However, when in New York (I live in the NYC metro area), I discovered a cool iPhone app. It gives you the map on your phone, updates you on train schedule changes and helps plan your route. That got me thinking, they must have them out there for every big city’s underground rails.



One for the Paris Metro…..and one for the London Tube!


Now if only Erika and I had these tools before we got there. But hey, we sure did get an adventure (and work out) from all that wandering around aimlessly and chasing down food delivery men on bikes for directions.


2 responses to “The highs and lows of underground public transport

  1. I don’t have an iPhone but can see how this app is useful in NY!

    • This post is a bit outdated, although that technology is still around (just so much better:). A few years ago I was excited to even see it around. Now, it seems to come more standard. Currently living in the DC-area, I use a similar app for the DC Metro Train & Bus system from my Android. Here’s a current popular NYC Subway app for 99 cents: Definitely worth it in NY!

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