in 2019 I moved away from the southeast of England and would normally have returned to visit friends and family in Kent and the London area until the pandemic resulted in us being locked down at various times in Wales and advised against anything other than essential travel at many other times. However this week I had to update a little perk with my Oyster card that required me to attend in person at an Underground station. It was the first InterCity journey I had made for that duration as well and I decided that instead of changing off the Cambrian line at Birmingham International I would change at Wolverhampton onto a Northwestern up to Stafford via Penkridge and then catch an Avanti Pendolino from there non-stop to Euston. The InterCity was clean and occupied to about 25% of capacity. I therefore had no problem in finding a comfortable seat far enough away from people to remove my mask and feel safe for both them and I (imho). The air-conditioning was just right and the journey flew. At Euston I decided that the TfL staff would have enough on their hands without dealing with my Oyster issue so I walked up to Euston Square. The staff there were great; efficient and friendly and I would certainly use this station again for the same purpose because the guy who attended to my Oyster card issue was able to juggle dealing with me with other passengers and their more pressing (immediate travel) needs without betraying any sense of being under pressure; plus it was a very hot day. I could have headed straight back to Wales at this point but I thought that was pointless and might as well see what the Underground was like now what with the pandemic and reduced numbers using it etc. I can compare it with travelling at eight o'clock on a Sunday morning in normal times. I took an eastbound Met to Liverpool Street and then the following Circle to Tower Hill where I sought a break from travel and enjoyed refreshment. Then back to Euston via westbound District to Monument and northbound Northern from Bank to Euston. The busiest bit was the Northern Line but there were enough seats for everyone who chose them. Overall I suppose about 70 per cent of people were wearing masks on the Underground (including me I hasten to add). I noticed that a number of people on the train coming to London were bound there for a holiday and there was a reasonable amount of obvious tourism around the Tower of London and St. Katharine's Dock. The trains that I used were clean and the service was efficient at all points that I used. It was a good and reassuring return to the capital after the interval and, oddly, I found it to be friendlier in my experience. Let's hope that the pingdemic and the forthcoming winter don't put the kybosh on what I felt was a tangible recovery.