How not to get lost in the Washington D. C. metro.

I want to share a funny story about what happened to us this year during our visit to Washington D.C.

During our last trip we decided to use the metro. However, soon we found out that not all metro stations are created equal. They are designed differently. Some of them have one platform for trains departing in different directions, while others have two completely different platforms. Foggy Bottom station, from which we took off every day, was an easy one. Trains departed from one platform in different directions and there was an escalator which took passengers down to the trains from the lobby of the station.

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We spent the whole day in the Natural History Museum with a break for a delicious lunch at Old Ebbitt Grill. In the evening we went to the Smithsonian metro Station to go back to our hotel. We took the first escalator down at the metro station. At the lobby we checked our metro cards in a vending machine, added more money for our future trips and passed automated checking points by scanning out metro cards. We were discussing dinosaurs, the evolution of life on the Earth, mass extinctions and did not pay much attention to the signs. We hopped on the escalator going down to the trains. However we found ourselves on the wrong side of the tracks. A train from the platform, where we were, was going in the opposite direction from where we wanted to go. A train going to the Foggy Bottom departed from the other platform on the opposite side of the station from which we were separated by two tracks. We were surprized. At that moment a train quickly arrived and a door opened. “Let’s jump on the train and get out on the next station. Maybe there is one platform out there.” I suggested. Terry thought for a moment and answered: “No, there must an exit somewhere.” I started panicking: “Where? Let’s take the escalator back.”

We turned around and started walking up the escalator, which brought us down a minute ago. It was not an easy task. We laboriously stepped up the stairs, which relentlessly moved us down. Puffing and huffing we made it to the middle, stepping faster and faster just to move a few stairs up. People on the same escalator going down looked at us with perplexity, but we were not discouraged. We were not going to give up and be defeated by the downwards escalator on our climb up. I gave a word of encouragement barely catching my breath. “Honey you are doing great! We are almost there!” There were only three steps left, then only two. On the most top, when the escalator flattened, Terry, who was rigorously stepping ahead of me, exhaled and said: “No, I can’t do it anymore.” And the escalator bought us down to where we started.

It was quite a workout and we got tired. “Let’s walk around, maybe there are stairs going up” my husband suggested. We walked along the platform for a few minutes and Eureka! We saw an escalator going up. It sounds like a silly adventure, but it’s something to remember. All the time when we recall ourselves waking up the escalator in the Washington D. C metro we laugh so hard, almost to tears, and my cheeks are about to burst from laughter.

The Washington D. C metro is very tourist friendly. You just have to take a minute and look around or ask. If you have a funny story to share you are very welcome to do so in comments below.


  1. I always – always – always! – get lost in any subway system – anywhere in the world. I’m hopeless as far as subways are concerned. I love Moscow subway, because there I can at least get on the circular track and stay on it lol. It’s a very funny story – thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you liked it. We did not get lost inside the metros of Vienna, Barcelona and Rome even though signs were in languages we don’t know. The metro in Moscow is beautiful as well as in St. Petersburg. It’s O’K to get lost to see more beautiful designs and art.


  2. I work in DC and ride the metro all the time. I always tell people that it’s very easy to navigate in comparison to NYC’s subway! But it’s true, some stations can be kind of confusing if you’re not used to them. I can’t ever let my mom ride the metro by herself because she gets lost every time (and she’s from her hahaha)

    Liked by 1 person

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