Royalty Tours USA

Friday, October 23, 2015

Royalty visits a new Country & Continent!

My Departing Flight Information

Me waiting for my flight to depart JFK
On Friday October 2nd, I boarded an American Airlines flight out of JFK airport here in New York City to fly to London, England in the United Kingdom. After months of planning & waiting, reality finally set in. I was going to Europe for the very first time. Despite mother nature doing her best to alter my plans, my flight that was scheduled to depart at 6:25PM got off to a slow start thanks to a cold nasty rainy day in the area. As a result, there was only one runway open for take offs & landings. The plane I was on sat on the runaway for about an hour before we finally got to take off.  The stress that was building up all day was finally relieved. London had called me numerous times in the past but this time I decided to finally answer the call. Since England is five hours ahead of us here in the Eastern Time zone I didn't land in a new country & continent until 6:55AM Saturday morning after the seven hour flight. We wound up coming in a half hour or so late. Given the circumstances, I wasn't complaining. However, I felt like I never left NYC. Before the plane was parked at the gate, people got out of their seats & opened overhead compartments. They were told to sit back down. I realized they had connecting flights to catch but safety has to come first no matter what. For a change, I could sit & relax. It was a great feeling. Once we finally got to the gate, we were able to get off the plane. I was tired since I didn't get much sleep on the flight but I was wide eyed & full of energy for the new experience that was awaiting me. 
Welcome to London England

UK Border

Passport Stamp

Me heading to Underground
I proceeded to go through customs in order to officially enter the country. There was a long line but it moved relatively fast all things considered. I was impressed with the system they had in place. Once I cleared customs, I picked up the bag I checked then it was off to the Tube aka the Underground which is their main mode of public transportation. After some trial & errors, I finally got headed in the right direction. I asked for help when I arrived at the train station. They had customer service agents there to assist so it was easy to get the help I needed. They were very friendly, patient & helpful. I came equipped with an Oyster Card thanks to my pal Sean MacDonald who let me borrow an extra one he had from his past travels there. I just needed  to check the balance which wound up being empty. With that being said, I went to a vending machine where I used my credit card so I could put 30 pounds on it to start. Pound is the currency they use there. For those Americans reading, a Pound is roughly a dollar fifty here in the States. After doing so, I proceeded to the Underground that took me toward my hotel in Central London. After a 20-30 minute train ride, I got off to transfer to a bus that took me within a short walk of my hotel, which was the Grantly Hotel that I had booked in the middle of August on Since it was only around 9:45AM when I arrived there, I wasn't able to check in because my room which I booked for six nights because it wasn't ready yet. As a result, I wound up leaving my bags there until I returned later that night.

Grantly Hotel in Central London
The friendly staff there guided me in the right direction after I got myself situated. They told me there was a HSBC bank nearby which enabled me to take out some money. It was on the way to the nearby Underground station called Shepherd's Bush. Across the street there was also an Overground ‎station which I needed to take in order to meet up with my pal Sean MacDonald.

Stay tuned for the next post which will go into further detail of how the rest of my Saturday unfolded.

Thank you for reading & following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

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