The smell of tube…

Each and every day on my way home from work, whether I’m taking the Central or Jubilee line, I encounter a VERY strong smell just before getting to the tube station.  In fact, if I had my eyes closed the smell would notify me that I was very quickly approaching my destination.

I’ve been in some pretty smelly subway/tube/train/bus stations, as I’m sure you have.  I’m sure everyone could tell stories about gagging for breath while trying to figure out where exactly you want to go and which train to take to get there.  Pete and I had this experience when we were in Brussels.  The metro station there (Brussels) ranked very high in my book of the worst smelling stations of all time.  Boiled cat piss is the only way I can think to describe the smell…woof. 

The pee stench is not uncommon in station.  More than once I’ve, to my dismay, seen people relieving themselves in the stations.  You have to remember that a population big enough to demand and support an underground system is large, large enough to be called a city.  And, as  I’ve quickly discovered, ANYthing goes in the city…unfortunately, even peeing in the tube station (or on Oxford Street??  Yes, I’ve see that too.  Now that is ballsy, he must have REALLY had to go).

Overall, I’ve been very impressed with the London Tube Stations. For the amount of people that pass through on a daily basis, it’s quite amazing that they can keep up any standard of cleanliness.  The city, or at least the parts I frequent daily, is kept quite clean.  Every day, I see the crews sweeping and washing the sidewalks.  Yes, that’s right, they actually scrub the sidewalks with soap and water.  Amazing really.  I’m digressing but I have to tell this quick story…the other day it was quite cold and had been spitting rain.  I looked out the window of our office and saw white patches on the sidewalk.  I was SO excited to see snow and, luckily, before I said anything to anyone, I realized that it was just soap suds…so disappointing.

Back to the point of my post…the smell of the tube on my way home from work.  I have one word to describe it: delicious!  Yes, you read that correctly, one more time for emphasis: DELCIOUS!No, I’m not crazy and I don’t have a fetish for weird subway smells.  Right outside the Central Line Station and the Jubilee Line Station there are Belgium waffle and gelato kiosks.  The smell of Belgium waffles with chocolate, strawberries, and whipped  is hard to beat, especially at 6 o’clock at night when your stomach is just about ready for dinner.  Sometimes I linger just a minute extra outside the station to take in as much of the aroma as possible.

I have yet to try one.  In Brussels (despite the smelly metro stations), I feel in love with Belgium waffles.  It was a short affair since I haven’t had one since. I feel the proposition is too dangerous to have one here in London.  Two things could happen, the waffle could be nowhere need as yummy as the ones I ate in Brussels; this would be ideal, then I would never again be tempted.  But it could just as easily go the other way, and the waffles I lust over every work night, could be just as delicious as I remember them and then we’d have a problem, for my sweet tooth is big and my self-control little.

About to dive into a Belgium waffle in Brussels

For now, I will continue to ogle each person getting whipped cream on their face and chocolate on their hands and enjoy the smell.  But I will not give in to the temptation, for today anyway. J

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