Quick post letting everyone who reads the blog know that we have made it to Charlotte! We should be arriving in Columbus around 7:30 tonight 🙂
As you probably know, we traveled to Paris yesterday! Feels surreal to type that statement….anyway, as you can imagine, Paris is breathtaking! It is an absolutely beautiful city, and our trip was made all the more special because of our wonderful tour guide, Fred. We hit all the highlights of Paris’ attractions and saw some amazing architecture along the way. Although we had a bit of a long night coming back on the Eurostar, everyone rallied this morning to end our final day in England together on a fun note. Today’s agenda was a tour of St. Paul’s Cathedral and a ride on the London Eye.
Our tour of St Paul’s Cathedral was very interesting and enjoyable. We had a guided tour through the cathedral, which included details of the cathedral’s construction, history, architect and design style. An interesting fact we learned was that the architect, Sir Christopher Wren, built the dome in the cathedral with no previous experience! Another unexpected finding was a carving of Florence Nightengale in the cathedral’s crypt. I am really glad everyone got moving this morning so we could tour such an amazing cathedral!
St Paul’s Cathedral
As a fun ending to our journey in England, the class all hopped aboard the London Eye for an afternoon ride! At first, I was a little nervous about the extreme height, but the ride was so smooth and slow that pretty soon I were relaxed. The views were absolutely amazing! Not to mention, we had a bright blue, sunny sky, as a backdrop, a sharp contrast to yesterday’s snow!
After our ride was over, I headed to Oxford St. for a little last minute shopping. Luckily, I stumbled across a little (actually pretty large) store called Liberty. Well, needless to say, I had a good time looking at all the different items and bought some very nice chocolate to bring back to the states! 🙂 Mmmmm!
Overall, I have had a wonderful time on this trip! I am taking away valuable lessons on learning and communicating with different cultures, understanding the health care system in England compared to the U.S., and England’s rich history. I am also leaving this class with a better appreciation of health care systems and how they will affect my personal and professional life. Also, I have learned the importance of Florence Nightingale’s influence on the nursing profession and her lasting legacy in hospitals today. Finally, I am taking away fantastic memories of England, new friends and of all the people we met while in Europe!
We just got back to the hotel from a fabulous evening show, Kiss Me Kate! The signing, dancing and acting was absolutely amazing! It was really a fun night that the class seemed to all enjoy! 🙂
Instead of catching you up on activities listed on the itinerary, we thought it would be fun to blog about some stuff we have done in our free time. Listed below are a few of our favorite places/things we have explored while in London:
1. The Restaurants – We have sampled a large variety of cuisines while in London! From Spanish and Italian food, to Asian-fusion, London’s diverse restaurant scene has been so fun and delicious to try. One of our favorite restaurants was Giraffe, and we recommend other students to check it out one evening.
2. Harrods – A trip to Harrods is a must! While we weren’t exactly sure what to expect when we arrived at the store front at Knightsbridge, but we knew it would be something special from comments we had heard. Oh, those comments were true!! Harrods is over-the-top fabulous and opulent! We could have easily spent an entire day exploring the floors of clothing, handbags and shoes…not to mention the amazing food court, which looked like a piece of art work!
Outside of Harrods
3. Abbey Road – It goes without saying, Abbey Road is an important part of London’s music culture. We, too, wanted to walk across Abbey Road and check it off our England bucket list. Although it was a bit smaller than we imagined, the road itself was buzzing with energy from tourists, cars and locals! Definitely one of our favorite afternoon activities! (Sorry, photos of us walking on Abbey Road were not taken on my camera!)
4. Photo Stops – So far, we have taken some great pictures while walking around London in route to tours and shows. While on our way to a guided tour of St Thomas’ hospital (which is a very historic and interesting hospital in London), we took this beautiful picture with Parliament and Big Ben in the background. AWESOME DAY!
Class in front of Parliament
5. Finding Chipotle – As we were waking to the tube last night, we rounded a corner and saw the most amazing sight, Chipotle! A little slice of home! After taking pictures of the building, and jumping for joy, an employee came outside and told us all about Chipotle’s history and locations in London. It was so nice of the employee to step outside and take time to talk to us about his shared loved of Chipotle and ask us about our visit in London. We are hoping to stop in for lunch in the next few days.
London has Chipotle
Overall, we are having a fantastic time exploring London! From planned activities and tours, to unplanned stops and findings, our trip has been an amazing experience so far. One thing we have found is that the people of England have been so kind and helpful to us! They really go out of their way to give directions, tour advice and share stories, making our trip all the more special.
Heading to bed early,
Janet and Christian (our Starbucks names LOL!)
Yet another busy day today over here in London! Here is what happened in the past 24 hours:
Tours: We started the morning with the shock of cold temperatures and biting wind! Rain, snow, wind…we had a little bit of every type of precipitation all before 11 AM! After adjusting to the new weather conditions, the class boarded a coach bus and off we were to tour the streets of London. Our tour included main attractions by foot, such as Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and Parliament, followed by a tour by bus of the London’s posh west end…which we plan on exploring more tomorrow! Look out Harrods!!
Class on the guided tour of London!
Transportation: As we mentioned before, we started the day with a coach bus, but we were also introduced to the tube! WOW! A bit overwhelming at first, but we hope we can get used to the intricate mapping system soon. The other form of transportation we took was a double decker bus. Unfortunately, Jenna did not have the greatest experience! As we rushed to board the bus, Jenna’s bus/tube card would not scan and the driver got very frustrated. He was motioning here and there and people were getting upset behind us line! UGH! No sooner did we recover from the yelling match did we get thrown into our seats when the driver aggressively slammed down on the gas pedal! After putting THAT shocking incident behind us, we laughed it off! The grand finale of the bus experience was when we went to exit the bus. Rather than quietly stepping off the bus, looking like pros, the driver slammed the door in Jenna’s face and forced us to yell at him to open them! Frustrating and embarrassing!!
Class on the tube!
Theatre: To end the day, the class attended a wonderful production of The Magistrate at the National Theatre! It was an awesome show and the area around the theatre was fun and exciting! We all definitely enjoyed the evening 🙂
The National Theatre!
Overall, today was a fun and eventful Monday! Our takeaway is that London’s weather might be cold and rainy, but its history is fascinating. To step foot in the Tower of London and come close to the Crown Jewels really puts into prospective England’s rich history, and helped us learn more about some of the world’s most famous leaders/rulers.
Relaxing in the lobby,
Jenna & Kristen
Today was a busy day. We left Stratford to head to London. On the way, we stopped at Bath to explore the city and the Roman baths. We had self guided tour devices, which explained the history of the city during ancient times. The baths were amazing, and we wanted to dive in! However, we learned that they are full of rat feces. Disgusting! As you can image, we refrained from bathing in the water!
After we toured the Roman baths, we had free time to explore the city on our own. Our shopping trip was very successful, and we purchased some souvenirs for our family members. Next, we tried pasties, which are a famous English food. Pasties are similar to calzones, but filled with a pot-pie filling. While some might enjoy these with cold beverages, we ate them with lattes! Delicious 🙂
However, the entire time in Bath was not all enjoyable. There was a painted silver man in the street with many pigeons on his body. While Kristen ran away, I (Jenna) approached him with another classmate. The man put bird seed in my hand, and a pigeon flew to me quickly. Once a photograph was taken, another pigeon decided to come at me, and I went into panic mode. Then, I had two pigeons on me that would not leave me alone. I turned my head and screamed! After the terrifying experience, I cleaned my glove with antibacterial hand soap.
After recovering from the mortifying experience, we boarded the bus and rode to Stonehenge. As one can imagine, Stongehenge was fascinating to see in person. An interesting fact about Stonehenge is that sheep surround the whole area. Baaaa!!
Currently, we have just returned from quite the dinner experience. After the long day, we went to an Italian restaurant with a couple classmates to “relax”. Unfortunately, the chicken I (Jenna) ordered was not what I had in mind. Let’s just say, it reminded me of the turkey on National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation! Good thing Rose had leftover pasta to share.
Today, one point we learned more about was the beauty and culture of Bath. It surprised us how clean and friendly the city and its residents are towards visitors. We really enjoyed our afternoon exploring a different area of England!
Trying to soak up wifi,
Kristen and Jenna
We are currently sitting at the Starbucks in Stratford-upon-Avon taking advantage of their free wifi. Our first hurdle of the trip was the loss of internet at the hotel. We went into disconnect mode – no phone, no computer…and no facebook! Anyway…here’s what has happened since we’ve left Columbus.
Our thoughts from the flight: We were pleasantly surprised by our dinner on the flight. Chicken with rice and vegetables, rolls, salad and even a crunch brownie. YUMMY! As much as we LOVED and talked about our delicious meal, no one else in the class seemed to agree with our opinion. We have heard many complaints. Also, breakfast was scrumptious – warm cranberry-orange muffin top with OJ! This one everyone enjoyed 🙂
Our experience at the hotel: First, we were amused that the beds in the hotel room were two, small twin beds pushed together. How fitting since we are both short and petite. Next, the toilets in England are very difficult to flush…a hurdle the whole class has faced. Breakfast was also a bit of a shock…standard items like eggs and toast, but also roasted tomatoes and baked beans!!
Our tours: Since landing, we have been very busy! Yesterday we got off the plane and were greeted by Vince, our charter bus driver while in Stratford-upon-Avon. So far, he has taken us to see Winston Churchill’s grave, the town of Oxford, Holy Trinity Church, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, William Shakespeare’s birthplace and beautiful scenery in between trips. Tonight we will all be gathering in the hotel pub to hang out with Vince and his wife. Should be a fun evening!
Winston Churchill’s grave
Group at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage
Some of the group at Blenheim Palace in Oxford – right after traveling almost 24 hours!
At Holy Trinity Church – everyone else had to duck to enter!
Overall, these few days have been incredible! Seeing some of England’s historic sites and places up close have helped us understand Britain’s history and important historical figures at a deeper level. The trip has made all of our research and learning come to life. We are looking forward to enjoying more of these experiences over the next 12 days!
Off to a pub for dinner,
Kristen & Jenna
In the past few months, I have learned a valuable “travel” lesson…keep all expensive items with you at all times when flying. As that familiar announcement goes, “…all unattended baggage will be confiscated.” Well, Englanders, so will poorly packed baggage! After having my digital camera stolen from my luggage in June, I am traveling much smarter on this trip to England. Continuing with that theme, I will be attempting to pack light, and keep my suitcase under 50 pounds. My family will be proud, as I have been known to go over the weight limit in the past.
As I think about our upcoming trip, I am getting very excited about all the experiences awaiting us! I am most eager to visit London! Between my family, friends, and classmates, I have heard so many wonderful stories about London’s shopping, activities and theater productions. First, I cannot wait to see Harrods. I am really hoping it is as fabulous inside as it looks on the outside! Next, I will be impatiently anticipating our “night flight” on the London Eye! I researched the Eye for my travel entry and it is a truly remarkable piece of modern England. Viewing the city at night from 443 feet in the air will be breathtaking! Also, I am looking forward to attending the three theater shows in London. Since I have seen Broadway shows in New York City before, I am curious how the shows in London compare to those here in the United States.
As for the historical sites, I am overwhelmed thinking about all of England’s museums, castles, landmark structures and much, much more. From Parliament and the Tower of London, to Stonehenge and Bath, I am excited to soak up the history of England. Overall, I am hoping to gain a better understanding of another culture from this trip. By the end of our two weeks, I want to be better educated on European fashion, businesses, history and everything in between.
However, I am keeping my expectations low about England’s food. My family has already warned me that you do not travel to London for its cuisine. First, I am an avid coffee drinker. It will be a difficult adjustment to start my day without a k-cup, packet of sweet-n-low, and coffee-mate. However, I feel a sense of relief knowing Starbucks is prevalent on most corner blocks…whew! Who knows, maybe I will find a new love of tea and biscuits while on this trip. Also, seafood, not so much! Fish and chips, I will give the report on that later!! But, I will try and keep an open mind.
In a few short hours, my packing process, too, will start. I have no clue what area I am going to tackle first, clothing, shoes, hair products…but I’m sure my room will be a disaster zone until the zipper gets pulled around by one (49 lb) bag. Oh well, the packing stress will definitely be worth it when the plane starts its decent into Gatwick, and I know I have my valuables stowed safely below my seat, and we begin this once-in-a-lifetime journey!
~ Cheers, Kristen