Our flight from Charlotte to Gatwick Airport arrived early Sunday morning. As tired as I was from the loss of time, I was still in a state of awe and excitement, and very glad that the plane had landed safely! With this being my first international traveling experience I was quite unaware of the new culture I had just stepped into. I was anxious to see all the differences between British culture and American culture. The first difference I noticed right away was how quiet and orderly everyone in the airport was. It made me realize how loud and obnoxious Americans can be sometimes.

Once we were finished at the airport I learned my first piece of knowledge that is apparently very important in England: It’s a coach, not a bus! We boarded the coach and had a wonderful guide, Nigel that directed our trip into the heart of London. On the way into the city Nigel pointed out every major landmark, such as the Millennium Dome, the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament, Tower of London, and Tower Bridge.

We arrived at the Thistle Kensington Gardens Hotel that afternoon. Even though we had been warned of how everything would be smaller, I was still shocked to see how the small the beds were, how small the room was in general, and then how cramped together the bathroom was. The view from the room overlooked Kensington Gardens and was just absolutely beautiful. The rest of the after noon was spent unpacking and relaxing. Later on we explored the few blocks around the hotel and found a taste of home in a gourmet pizza restaurant. A gained another piece of knowledge about London here: There is no such thing as a refill! I did not make that mistake again after spending eight U.S. dollars on a Coke with my meal. It was time to turn in for the night…we had a long week ahead of us!

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