I would call this my first actual trip out of the country. Of course, I’ve been to Canada and gone on a cruise, but this is the first time my passport got the official stamp signifying that I was a foreigner traveling to a new country.
The trip came in two parts. A flight from Detroit Metropolitan Airport to Frankfurt, and then from Frankfurt to London Heathrow. The first leg of the trip wasn’t too shabby. The in-flight entertainment was decent (I finally got to watch a couple episodes of The Good Place, it’s a pretty good show) and the in-flight meal was edible. Also, being the airline Lufthansa they had plenty of good German beer, an added bonus.
On the flight, I made friends with the man I shared a row with. He was German and spoke nearly no English, and since I am an American who can speak about two words in German it made for a grand time trying to communicate with each other! Through broken English and a little bit of google translate we were able to communicate to each other that I was going to a Study abroad in the UK and he was returning home from a business trip and/or he was seeing family (I never quite figured it out). He seemed like a rather nice guy and for the rest of the flight, we watched our films in silence.
At the Frankfurt airport, I had a four-hour layover, the first hour of which was taken up by me trying to get from gate Z-40 to B-24. Not only were they very far away from each other, but I don’t think they were in the same building because I at one point was in a bus hauling across the tarmac to what looked like a completely disconnected terminal. I finally located my terminal with another two and a half hours to kill and it was just after 6:30am, so the airport shops and restaurants started to open and I went to find a snack. As I wandered through the airport I noticed someone waving me down from inside a bar/coffee shop, as I got closer I realized it was my German friend from the plane ride! He bought me a coffee and we sat for a little bit, and then he disappeared again to catch his next flight, I wish him the best!
One more short flight and I was in London! Like most everyone else I came in and took a train to Paddington to meet up with Troy (our instructor for the next four weeks) so I could find my way to our flats, the rest of that day remained semi-uneventful since we were all mainly trying to adjust to the time change.
The following day (Sunday, May 27) was the actual kick-off for the trip. That morning we had a hop on hop off bus tour of the city followed by a walk around Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, and over to Westminster Abbey. Unfortunately, I actually missed the bus tour. Another student and I were just a couple of minutes behind but they took off without us and as one of the double-decker busses flew past us we could hear Troy yell out “Take the Tube!”. So we took off on our own adventure hoping to beat them to Tower Hill (the stop they were getting off the bus at) and we definitly beat them there.
We figured out that the route the bus took with all of its stops made the trip from Marble Arch to Tower Hill two hours, while our tube ride and short walk only took about 25 minutes. I’m assuming the hour and a half of sitting on a bench was our punishment for being late! The rest of the day was rather relaxed, we walked around and saw Tower Bridge and grabbed lunch at a little joint by the Marina nearby. It was a solid first day and it’s only the beginning of the trip!
DTW – FRA – LHR… By: Jacob McDowell
Side note: we also kind of got to see Big Ben except it’s undergoing a little renovation!