Rodders and I headed off early today to attend a Schnauzer Walk in Hyde Park. I decided that we would go by train and tube as this would be a new experience for Rodders. With the help of the National Rail Enquiries Website and the Transport for London route planner I knew exactly what our route would be..... Or did I!
We drove down to the station and parked up. Rodders seemed very excited to be out of the car and trotted down to the station quite happily. I used the automatic ticket machine which is just outside the main entrance. Rodders was pulling to get in to the station itself and walked inside without any problems. I picked him up to go through the automatic barriers but the station staff opened the gate for us so I put him down again. He was happy to walk up the stairs to the platform and we walked up the platform so we could sit at the back of the cafe tucked away in case any trains going straight through frightened Rodders. I needn't have worried, he hardly batted an eye!
I picked him up as the train came in to the station and carried him on to the train. To start with he was happy to sit on my knee but about halfway to London he moved on to the seat beside me.
Once we got to Euston I carried Rodders off the train and let him walk to the ticket barriers and then put him down the other side. He was quite happy walking through the crowds of people until we got to the staircase down to the tube when he stopped and refused to move so I had to pick him up again. Once down the first flight he was happy to walk by himself again.
Our planned route was the Victoria Line to Brixton, getting off at Victoria to swap on to the Circle Line to High Street Kensington giving us a short walk to the meeting point at Palace Walk in Hyde Park.
Except the Victoria Line is closed ALL weekend! So why doesn't the TFL website tell you that when it asks when you are travelling?
Anyway I managed to ask an underground employee and he suggested the Northern Line to Embankment and then the Circle Line to High Street Kensington. Except at Embankment we ended up on a District Line Train :-( So we got off at South Kensington and followed the signs to the Royal Albert Hall as I knew this would take us in the right direction.
It worked really well as there is a long pedestrian underpass that takes you all the way to Imperial College on Princes Gate. The only minor hiccup was that Rodders pooped in the underpass and there are no bins until you get to Hyde Park.
Once in the park we headed left towards the meeting point and I managed to grab a cuppa from a cafe on route. As we get to the meeting point we bumped in to Schnitzel and Pretzel with their family and we were soon joined by many others. The weather was amazing and before we started walking I took my coat off and tied it around my waist.
The dogs were all having a great time and were mostly off lead. Widget, the youngest there at 5 months but also the biggest, was brilliant at coming back when called. Rodders was quite good but I did have to go off and get him at one point when he thought some children football training were more interesting that me and another time when he thought he would like to play with a Yorkie. We all had water with us so we stopped a few times to make sure the dogs didn't get dehydrated. We did have an issue with the dogs invading a picnic at one point! But we soon got them all back and under control. We were attracting quite a bit of attention having so many of the same type of dog together - at one point I got asked if they were all mine!
We walked all the way to the Serpentine Cafe where we all stopped for lunch. I was stood outside for a while with three dogs. Once we all had our picnics we went and sat on the grass and the dogs were quite happy to have a rest. Rodders let some children fuss him which is a first, he usually tries to hide behind my legs!
We then headed back using the other side of the Serpentine. There were no complaints at the dogs being on lead, I think they were all tired.
Rodders and I said our goodbyes and then headed to High Street kensington tube where again, our travel plans were foiled. We couldn't get a circle line train to Embankment, only District to Edgeware Road. Never mind, we can get the Circle Line to Euston Square from there and then walk to Euston.
It worked well and we walked straight on to the train home. I think I have one tired puppy as Rodders couldn't even be bothered to sit on my knee and was soon fast asleep!