I had the opportunity to travel to London, England during my sophomore year of high school. Sixteen young men and two English teachers ‘hopped across the pond’ on an 8 day, 7 night journey during our spring break. We all gathered at our high school and a bus took us to Newark Liberty Airport on a Friday night and we landed in Heathrow on Saturday morning. A bus waited at Heathrow to take us to the Regency Hotel to check in. We sorted out who was sharing a room with who and got settled into our hotel rooms, but were instructed NOT to sleep in order to acclimate ourselves with the new time zone we had just entered. That was the most difficult part of the trip; we were all so very tired.
Several of our excursions were by bus, which took us on a tour of the entire city of London where our guide pointed out Saint Paul’s Cathedral and Trafalgar Square. The Globe was on the top of our list for the next day. There we attended a workshop put on by an actor where we learned how the theater works. Another bus ride to Oxford was next, where we saw an exhibit at their library on John Milton. Stratford to see Ann Hathaway’s cottage and Shakespeare’s birth place was our fourth day excursion. We hit all the major sites, Windsor Castle, Runnymede, Bath, Stonehenge and Salisbury. Our last day in England started at Canterbury, to see the cathedral and take a listening tour about the Canterbury tales. After that we went to Dover where we were blown around the castle because of the wind that day.
Other times we rode the tube to get around London. The tube reminded me of the Washington DC subway. Our first trip on the tube was to Piccadilly Circus. We also took the tube to the Eye of London, the Churchill Museum and the War Rooms. At the Museum we saw how London was operated during the Second World War.
The group walked to and about the Natural History Museum to see the different exhibits. We walked to and explored Saint Paul’s Cathedral and the Tate Modern. It was at the Tate Modern where I stood looking at a giant crack in the floor. With an afternoon to our selves some of us went to Harrods.
At Tate Modern I was able to buy my first authentic fish and chips. One night we had dinner at the original Hard Rock CafÃ©. At Oxford we located a KFC to get lunch from. The group gathered each morning for breakfast at the Regency Hotel. When no other arrangements were made, we also had dinner at the Regency.
While in London, we got to see three plays. Our first play was The Woman in Black. No one, not even our chaperons knew it was a horror play. Although it took a long time, every one got to sleep that night. The second play was the Sound of Music, which I had never even seen the movie before. The last play was The Lord of the Rings the Musical, during which the students continuously compared it to the movies.
I learned that an ATM card does not necessarily mean you can get cash out of an ATM machine, use your camera enough before you take it on a trip to know its limitations, and just like anywhere else if you are in the wrong neighborhood you can get mugged. Overall, I enjoyed every aspect of the trip and hope to return to London soon.
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