London is known for bustling streets and heaps of people. The first thing you notice when you reach London is the buzzing atmosphere. It’s charged with people going to work, shopping, eating, drinking. It’s a busy place, to say the least.


And Christmas… well, it’s not the most appealing. Of course, the lights are spectacular, with huge Christmas trees and bells hanging on shop doorways. But a thriller movie could be made on how hard it is to reach and navigate London through the crowds and crowds of people.


Hi! It’s me, Ansharah! A 14-year-old girl who wanted to go to London during Christmas to have some festive fun with her family. It was Friday, and we left our local station at around 2. It was quite calm and peaceful. What could go wrong? We reached Waterloo East and got off, rushing to get the underground to Bond Street. The moment we reached, the first thing that hit me was the stench of people cramped together and shoving to get the next train. It was daunting, I’ll admit! I held my sister’s hand and led us through the crowd, managing to scour a place near the front of the line. We waited for 10 minutes, maybe more. In any case, it was enough time for my dad to strike a conversation with someone else and become great friends with him! The strong rush of air signalled the train approaching. There are three steps to catching a train in London:


  1. Mentally prepare yourself. You’ll need it.
  2. Gear up. Put your left leg forward and lean forward slightly.
  3. Bolt for the door. Push a bit if you need to. That door is your saviour.


Of course, it’s easier said than done. As the train docked, I took a breath and raced forward. A sea of people surrounded me. When one person went away, another took their place. They were determined, savage. But so was I. My eyes never left the door. I was near the front, just as a shoal of people blocked my path. My step faltered slightly, and I stumbled forward. A hand closed around my wrist and hauled me up onto the train. My dad stood there, squeezed between the other successful people. I looked back and saw my mum and sister getting pushed back by a tsunami of people. Before they could get on, the doors started closing. A slow, sinister omen of doom.


We were separated.


I saw my dad call my mum, trying to guide her. She didn’t come down here by herself and didn’t know her way around. My heart was pounding. It was stressful enough getting around the city with my whole family. But separated… it was even worse. I was worried for them. Suddenly, the driver spoke.


There’s been a customer incident folks. I’m afraid we’re stopping at the next station. All trains on the line will then be suspended.”

Great. Now it would be even harder to meet up with them. Everyone milled out as the train came to a stop. I stood outside with my dad, who muttered angrily to himself and paced up and down. He called my mum again, updating her and telling her to stay put. We walked towards the exit as the speakers relentlessly told people to stop coming down to get the train. My dad kept getting more and more frustrated. His voice was being smothered by the announcements, people were all rushing to get out, it was a frenzy. Finally, we stumbled out of the station, into the fresh air. I never noticed how much the air down there started smelling like a concoction of perfumes, sweat and food. We walked opposite the Houses of Parliament, overlooking the Thames. Finally, some peace. We ended up telling the second half of my family to meet up with us at Charing Cross.


Simple, right?




There are two entrances to Charing Cross. You’ve got the main entrance, and then you’ve got three sets of stairs from an alleyway. It’s quite narrow, bear in mind. We made our ways to the main entrance. The walk was actually quite beautiful. The city’s lights reflected in the placid Thames, and the London Eye was lighted up in hues of pink and blue. The buildings were also lighted up in green, yellow, purple, pink, blue. The atmosphere was magical. Posh black cars drove down the roads, and people were having photoshoots near the river. I loved it. 5 minutes later, we approached the entrance. The barred entrance. It was closed.


I saw my dad’s mood sour, and I felt my mood take a turn for the worse too. All we wanted was to have a nice family outing. But that was impossible. We were in a stampede, separated, kicked off a train, and the station’s entrance was closed. I took a deep breath and told my dad about the side entrance. We headed off.


We had to go halfway around the huge station until we found. In a narrow alleyway. With a crowd of people. Here we go again.


The alleyway itself was nice. Tiny, cosy shops lined it, with inviting, lit up signs. I saw people through the windows smiling and talking. But going up those stairs, that’s what you call a challenge. After many pushes and stumbles, we finally reached the top, and made our way into the heart of the station. I scanned it for any sign of my mum and sister. My ears searched for the sound of a bubbly, loud laugh and a calm, kind voice. My dad tried calling again to no avail.


Where were they?


Luckily, that was the end of our misfortune. I saw a red coat amongst the crowd, and suddenly someone tackled my legs in an adorable hug. I smiled. It was my mum and sister.


London is eventful. It throws twists and turns at you every step of the way and takes you on an unforgettable adventure. That’s the story of how I got lost in London. And in the end, our trip was just amazing as I imagined it to be.