Day 4: London/Brussels (15 Mar) #1

15th March. Today is the day I’ll leave for Brussels via Eurostar.

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Dawn, looking out at the backyard of my Airbnb.
I woke early, around 5 a.m. and proceeded to get my pack and myself ready. Checkout of the Airbnb is quick, just leave the key on the table and pull the door shut and it locks by itself. By 6.30 a.m. I’m at the Mudchute DLR, however I missed the first train coming through. I got on the second train and from there its the same story: DLR to Bank, then tube to Kings Cross St. Pancras.

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St. Pancras’ exterior.
Kings Cross! It’s bloody KINGS CROSS! The station where the Hogwarts Express leaves from London! Too bad I wasn’t there on September 1st.

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The actual Kings Cross station, beside St Pancras. For some reason, I kept being reminded of the Kings Cross fire.
I was so hyped by then. I WANNA SEE PLATFORM 9 3/4! But first, I had to get rid of the 10+ kilo pack on my back. Turns out St Pancras didn’t have luggage lockers, only the Excess Baggage Company’s left baggage services.  But for £12.5 per piece, it is bloody murder. Still, it beats having to lug around my pack, even if it has to go through an x-ray scan.

After that, it’s the hunt for Platform 9 3/4!

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I suppose Platform 9 3/4 is somewhere in there? Too bad I don’t have a valid ticket to go in. Nah, the actual shop is on the right, out of the picture.
It wasn’t that hard at all finding it, especially if you’re coming from the entrance facing St. Pancras. Just a few steps in and you should spot the shop. Be aware though, don’t do conversions of the prices of merchandise in there, or you’ll be too afraid to buy anything.

Anyway, it was totally worth it for a Potterhead like me. \o/

There was quite a queue for the trolley photo-op by the time I got there, so I passed on that one, thinking I could find time for it when I came back from France. After all, I’m arriving at St. Pancras as well.

With my magical shopping done, I still have plenty of time left to kill until my train at 3 p.m. So, off the the world famous British Museum!

From Kings Cross, take the tube to Russell Square and it’ll be a short walk to the Museum. However, Russell Square is a deep level station, meaning that there aren’t any escalators going up. There’s only two lifts, or an ’emergency’ spiral staircase going up. Given the fact that it was rush hour and the lifts were packed, you can guess which option I took.

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This sign was placed at the top of the stairs, reminding you of the remarkable achievement you have just made.
Despite a very friendly warning poster at the entrance to the stairs reading ‘This staircase has 175 steps equivalent to 15 floors,’ I went ahead and *puff* it wasn’t *pant* by any measure an easy *cough* feat to climb it. The stairs seems to twist up forever when you’re on them. Still, I made it.

And this wasn’t even the deepest station on the network. That honour goes to Hampstead, which has 320 steps. That’s almost double the number of steps at Russell Square. I really can’t understand how people are going to use that staircase in an emergency, as per suggested by TfL.

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The Atrium from the inside.
After catching a breather, I continued onto the British Museum. Security is tight there, with visitors carrying bags being subjected to bag searches in a tent-like structure outside the museum’s main entrance. But it was all understandable, and I’ll leave the Museum itself for the next post!

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