Day in London and an Oyster malfunctionJanuary 9 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 7 °C
Had a breakfast cuppa with Lou and Nat before they headed off to work and we headed off into London for a day of sightseeing and last minute shopping. Our flight was at 9pm from Heathrow so we had all day and we weren’t due to pick up our big bags until 4pm-5pm.
Got the bus and then the train to Victoria Station with plans to head to the V and A museum. The Mary Quant exhibition is on but is sadly ticketed and quite pricey so we planned to do free viewing only.
At Victoria we topped up Kate’s Oyster card, went across to the tube... and it immediately stopped working! Luckily she had the receipt to prove she had just topped up not a minute before. What ensued next was a totally British farce. After trying several times the tube staff member told us we had to go back into the main train stations were to sort it out. I had to be let back through the tube barrier as I had tapped on.
Up to the station and explained the scenario to another staff member who insisted it just needed topping up until he also unsuccessfully tried the card reader despite us telling him repeatedly. Next we got sent to the Visitors Centre where our only options were to buy another oyster card for £5 and then call to transfer the balance over - he could not do this for us! However it would take at least 30 mins to do this so we could buy another ticket to where we wanted to go. However we were working on a capped day rate (£13.20) for multiple journeys having taken the bus and train already.
No other option we purchased another oyster and then went to Wetherspoons ( yes I hate Wetherspoons!) as it was nearby and had free coffee refills whilst we sorted this all out.
40 mins later with our breakfast being given to the next table, the oyster transfer was complete except the £5.10 we had already spent this am that could not be put towards the daily capped rate as planned nor could they/ would they compensate us for the inconvenience of the total hour taken out of our day.
Off we went on our way ( I was later overcharged £7.50 for tapping on and not tapping off within the hour whilst sorting this which meant another 25 mins on the phone at the airport trying to reclaim this!!)
Anyway we finally got to the V and A, did a bit of last minute shopping, tried unsuccessfully to sort out my travel bag with its non functioning handle ( it needs to be sent away to be assessed- not helpful when it’s full of 23 kgs of gear and can only be posted back to UK and can’t get an immediate replacement etc etc), had a coffee and then got soaking wet at the last hour before heading to the airport!
China eastern check in was smooth and all in time and we must admit that both of us were more than ready to take off and head home for the summer sun.
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