In 2010, I was granted an amazing opportunity to travel to Europe to visit my Aunt! I eagerly accepted this offer and had to soon go through what everyone does — the passport step. This seemingly easy task took three months to finish. If it wasn't the photo machine not working, it was missing birth certificates posing a problem.
After all the packing, planning, phone calls, and raising money, I was finally flying out early July. From Tucson, I met my uncle in LAX and we then took a straight flight to Heathrow. My first emotions off the plane was the classic OMG!!! I was astonished by the "tube", or subway ride to Paddington Station. One of the first things I learned while walking to my Aunt's house was this: an old lady, who has lived in London her whole life, can easily out walk an American tourist. It was incredible to realize how in shape everyone was. Hardly anyone took the tube or cabs unless it was on the other side of London and they had to get there fast. The most common methods of transportation was walking, biking, riding trains, catching cabs, using the tube, or attempting to drive. Now, I would never EVER drive in London. It is extremely hectic and I would have a nervous break down. London occupants like to joke and say that the greatest threat to Americans is when they don’t not look right when crossing the street. I happened to forget that often during the month I was there. Since I am already on the topic of transportation, let me make note of how difficult it is to become a London cab driver. Drivers have to pass this test and must know every street and every hot spot, without fancy TOM-TOM nonsense. I have truly gained respect for cab drivers, well at least the London kind.
Subsequent to using various transportation, my destinations were usually magnificent museums. These were by far my favorite part of London. I think I went to every one possible, not to mention their gift shops too (British museums are now considerable richer). The art galleries were superb, I could spend hours studying the results of creative hands. The Natural History Museum was another exciting stop. I might be a nerd, but I can’t see how anyone could not enjoy their exhibits. It’s always been a dream of mine to see dinosaur bones; that was accomplished here. Everyone knows of Buckingham Palace, but does everyone know of the real home of the royals? Windsor Castle is ravishing! The suit of knights, the castle guards, and gorgeous decor made me feel like I just walked into a fairy tale. Royalty may reside in paradise, but I could not give up the desert country. Furthermore, I was able to experience London's immense zoo. From wild dogs to star fish to squirrel monkeys, I was entertained all day. Plus, I was able to buy toys for my younger siblings. As my Uncle says, every road in London leads to a gift shop.
Learning about a different culture was my main mission on this expedition. The posh lifestyle in that country never bore me and I am so thankful to my family for sending me on this adventure. After returning home, I made sure to teach all my friends and family what I learned and observed. I would highly recommend this trip to any eager adventurer.
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