I love the Tube. I love it so much that when I'm in London I ride it even when we don't have to. It's such a romantic network of tubes and trains. I get a kick every time - even when it's a million degrees in the summer during rush hour. I thought it'd be fun to gush a bit over the Tube and share my top 10 reasons to love the London Underground...
1. It goes everywhere
The London Underground is a massive network of 11 train lines that spreads out over 250 miles. One single Tube can take you almost anywhere within London's metropolitan area. Some of the places have strange names, some have cool names and others are just plain familiar - but get on a Tube train and you can travel to anywhere in London you'd possibly want to go. See the London Underground Tube Map.
2. You get to see a slice of London life
Riding the Tube is the best way to be like a local - you get to see Londoners going about their day and it's the one thing that everyone has in common no matter their background. The people-watching is lovely - you get a peek at current London fashions, what Londoners are reading and what iDevices they prefer. It's so much fun.
3. The smell
The Tube has this unique smell that I can't describe but there's nothing better than when a Tube train is approaching the station in the tunnel and you get the 'whoosh' of cool air followed by the smell of the underground network, I just love it.
4. The sounds
From the din of the crowd to the clickity-clack of the trains as they go through the tunnels - the sounds of the Tube are a wonder to behold.
5. The history
London's Tube network is over 150 years old and some of the stations date back to Victorian times. The tiles, the designs. Every station is different, not one is alike. Even the modern stations are beautiful. When you ride the tube, it's like riding through living history.
Londoners may disagree with this statement but the Tube is very efficient (compared to something like the El in Chicago - trust me it is). There's always a train a few minutes away and they stop and go with efficiency.
7. Tube announcers
From "Mind the Gap" to station announcements to the call out of the next stop on the trains, there's a lovely variety of voices guiding you through the Tube network. Most of the voices are female and calming. When I hear "and as always, please mind the gap", I experience a certain kind of bliss that you can only feel in London.
Many people find advertisements annoying and I'll admit that I do as well but in London the ads provide a unique glimpse into what's hot in London. Between the boring ads for insurance and loans, you see ads for trips abroad, books, movies and London shows. It's inspiration that enhances our own experiences in London.
9. Amazing escalators
This is sort of a strange thing to love but the Tube has an amazing array of escalators - some of which go up hundreds of feet in the deep-level tunnels. So admire them as amazing engineering creations - but always stand on the right!
10. Tube trains
I'm a bit of a train anorak so I love the Tube rolling stock itself - some are new, some are old. The trains are workhorses that are unique to London. They're spacious and have unique interiors. I love standing on a train, listening and watching it lull back and forth as it rushes through a tunnel. Do you love the Tube? What's your favorite part about the London Underground? Let us know in the comments below. Love London? Check out Jonathan Thomas's blog dedicated to London travel and culture Londontopia.net.