Thursday, May 15, 2014

Day 1 - Hello London!

Today was our first day in the UK! After some delays yesterday, we still made it on time to London's Heathrow Airport at around 5:30 AM, which was 11:30 PM Iowa time. The first day on the Tube (the underground) was an adventure, and we were all fascinated by the locals on their way to work. We are so used to just having small conversations with those around us on an everyday basis, but you can tell that they are highly annoyed when people try to talk with them.

We arrived at the hotel around 8, but could not check in to the rooms until 2. In the meantime we ate breakfast at a "green" restaurant in King's Cross Station; fitting because we are learning about sustainability. The restaurant was quick to brag about their energy saving programs and a huge portion of their menu featured local products, such as produce and eggs. We enjoyed some traditional porridge, fresh fruit, and organic eggs. It was a great opportunity to start to learn more about the other people on the trip with us.

Then we went to explore central London, visiting famous places such as the National Gallery, Nelson's Column, Trafalgar Square, and Big Ben while walking around Piccadilly Circus and Leister Square. We watched the changing of the guards at Horse Guards Parade. One of our favorite parts of today was seeing the inside of Westminster Abbey, and participating in a Communion service. After that most of us went back for a quick nap at the hotel to recover from jet lag and a hectic morning of sightseeing.

After dinner at a local pub, we went back to central London to ride the London Eye, which is the largest Ferris wheel in the world. As the sun set and the lights of the city came alive, the views of London were gorgeous. This was the perfect way to end our long first day in London, and we are excited for an official tour of the city and more exploring tomorrow!

Hailey Rhum
Senior, Elementary Education

Katie Evans
Senior, Political Science