The End

Dear awesome readers and followers,

Thank you so much for following my blog, commenting, and making suggestions! This blog was first created for an assignment in my college English Comp class, and I think I have come a long way since I first started out. If you ever want me to write about another trip, buy me a plane ticket there and I’ll get right on blogging again! Take care everyone. 🙂

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Day 9: Boston Bound

Unfortunately, this was the day we were departing from England. We packed up our bags, which seemed to take years. With all of the clothes we brought,and all of the new things we purchased on our numerous shopping trips, I’m sure the packing process took well over an hour. Once we got our stuff packed up, we dragged all of our luggage down into the lobby of the hotel with sad looks on our faces. We sat down for our last breakfast together, laughing and reminiscing on the amazing times we had in  England. Around mid-morning, we boarded our coach bus and headed to the London Heathrow Airport. We got checked into the airport, and had some free time to go shopping in the numerous stores around the airport. Being the shopping addicts that everyone was, we bought even more stuff that had to be stuffed into our carry-on bags somehow. Finally we had to board the plane. The flight was about 7-8 hours long, which would arrive us in Boston around 1:00pm. On the plane ride, I mostly read and listening to my iPod. Luckily for me, I was sitting next to the AP Lit teacher on the plane, who could help me understand the book I was reading for my english class, 1984. Then we finally arrived in Boston! The weather was cold and rainy, so basically the same weather that we were used to having in England. I think the weirdest thing about arriving home was the ride home. First of all, we were driving on the right side of the road, not the left! Second of all, there was no sheep or cattle on the side of the roads on the highway like there were in England. Instead, there was litter and dirty snow. How lovely! Not. I was the least bit excited about coming home, after spending an amazing week in gorgeous England.

The Four Roads

As previously mentioned in my most recent post, I met a band called The Four Roads during my visit to Canterbury. If I had to compare them to another band, I’d say they sound similar to Mumford and Sons. After lunch, we went to talk to the band and see what they were all about. My friend that I was with was hesitant to go over and talk to them, but I thought, why not?! We are probably only going to come to Canterbury once in our lives, no one knows us here, so why not go make some new friends? We went over to the boys and they asked where we were from, so I said “Boston!!”. They were immediately struck by our American accents and the mention of Boston. They were playing music so we didn’t have a good chance to talk that much. Being the weird teenage girls that my friend and I are, we wrote messages on American dollar bills and tossed them in the boys’ guitar cases. We also took a picture of ourselves, and the boys happened to jump in the background! We took a card with the link to their Facebook page on it, and we were on our way.

A few weeks later, I noticed that one of the members of the band, named Jonas, posted something on Facebook that mentioned looking for the American girls that he had recently met. A British boy in a band was looking for me… how awesome is that?! I was able to connect with Jonas over Facebook, and to this day we still talk! We skyped for the first time about a month ago, and he even sang me a song! He sang “I Will Wait” by Mumford and Sons. How sweet! I’m so glad I talked to the band in the first place when I was in Canterbury; I was able to make a new long distance friend from it!

Check out The Four Roads!

Day 8: Canterbury!

Sadly, the day has come. Our last full day in the gorgeous country of England. We boarded the bus early in the morning, and took our last drive through the countryside of England. After a few hours of gazing out the window listening to Coldplay on my iPod, we reached Canterbury! I had read the Canterbury Tales in my high school senior english class prior to this trip, and did not particularly enjoy them. I’m not sure what I disliked the most: the story lines? the difficult language? the characters? What ever the reason may have been, let’s just say the Canterbury Tales were not my cup of tea. Our first stop in Canterbury was of course, the Canterbury Tales Museum. Even though I hated the stories, I was obviously willing to keep an open mind about the museum. It was actually really fun! We took a walk through each of the story lines, with the characters, quotes, settings, and everything! The effects and props were slightly aged, which added a humorous touch when a character’s movement malfunctioned or got stuck. The sound effects also added to the enjoyment in the museum. My friends and I screamed a few times when we heard thunder strike while we were walking through each of the stories. Besides the fun that the museum offered, I was able to understand the tales even more! Seeing the stories live and up close made them more fun and more interesting to learn about. I hope my english teacher back in America was impressed about my knowledge of the Canterbury Tales after this trip!

                                               

After the Canterbury Tales Museum, we took a walk over to the Canterbury Cathedral! This cathedral was beautiful, with it’s classic British architecture, stained glass windows, and tons and tons of seats for all of the visitors and worshippers. I grew such a huge appreciation for buildings like these cathedrals in England. Nothing in America can compare to the beauty of the churches and cathedrals in Europe. We took a walk through the Cathedral and briefly learned about the history of Canterbury. Unfortunately, our bus was leaving within the hour so we really had to rush through the tour. Next was lunch! We had an hour of free time, so my friend and I headed over to a cafe to grab some sandwiches. On our way, we saw a group of 4 boys playing guitar and singing in the area called The Buttermarket. Being the average American teenage girls that we are, we had our eyes peeled for any attractive British guys throughout the whole trip. These ones especially caught our eyes because they were singing! Come on, who doesn’t love cute, British musicians? We ate our lunch quickly and literally ran over to see the boys again. Next post, all about this band, The Four Roads! Stay tuned.

I See London! PT 2

After visiting Buckingham Palace, we went to lunch, then walked back towards the River Thames. Finally, we got a perfect view of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament! Although I saw these sights on my last trip to England, they never fail to amaze me. The architecture is fabulous, and Big Ben is taller than ever. If I remember correctly… Big Ben is being renamed in honor of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee? Not sure how I feel about that… Big Ben will always be Big Ben to me. I obviously took a million pictures of Big Ben as                                                                                           we walked by, and even captured a few selfies with it, too.

Moving on from Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, we got to Westminster Abbey! I also saw this on my last trip, but this visit to the Abbey was especially memorable. The trip coordinators arranged for us to receive a tour inside!! This was always a dream of mine ever since the Royal Wedding. I absolutely love anything that has to do with weddings, so William and Kate’s marriage was just a thrill to follow. I watched the wedding on TV, and ever since then I wanted to go inside the Abbey. I was breathless when I walked inside. It was everything I imagined, and WAY more. I looked over to my best friend, and I think we both teared up a bit. It was just that gorgeous. I never knew there was so much inside other than the church! There were graves of a bunch of different people who have made a huge impact on history all over the world. The one that stuck out to me the most was Charles Darwin, since I am sort of a science/biology nerd. It was cool to think I was standing right over the man who made such a huge impact on the discovery of evolution! We continued on our tour, which unfortunately bored me to death. I think I have already mentioned this, but I am NOT a fan of history by any means. This tour was all history based, so I was a little miserable. I just kept reminding myself  *You’re in THE Westminster Abbey. You will probably never get this opportunity to come in here again. Enjoy it!”*

After Westminster Abbey, we took a quick trip over the River Thames to visit the Globe Theater, famous because of Shakespeare. This theater was awesome! It was open air seating, circled around the stage in the center. Unfortunately, the theater was under construction so we did not get to see it up and running and in full effect, but it was still interesting to see where Shakespeare had his plays performed!

                                                       

Next we hopped on a double decker bus and headed to the London Palladium to see the play, The Wizard of Oz! We got dressed in our most fancy attire, and headed to the theater. The play was definitely unlike anything I have seen before. It was great, don’t get me wrong. But it had a sort of “trippiness” to it. There were tons of flashing rainbow lights, weird scenery, and hilarious actors. Even though the play was a little strange, it didn’t fail to make me laugh! I remember at one point, my best friend and I were crying from laughing so hard. That’s when you know you’re having an awesome time. After the play, we hopped on the train and headed back to our hotel in Greenwich. Sadly the next day would be our last full day in the gorgeous country of England. 😦

Day 7: I See London!

London London London. That’s what day 7 was all about! To start off, we drove from our hotel in Greenwich, all the way to the center of London. Traffic was TERRIBLE! We must have sat on the bus for at least two hours. No one minded it though; it was fun to see all of the little European cars everywhere! We finally got to London and began our next bus/walking tour. We saw sights such as St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Royal Courts of Justice, Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, and of course… Big Ben! I saw all of these historical sights on my last trip to England, except for St. Paul’s. It was gorgeous! We didn’t go inside the actual cathedral, but even just seeing the outside of it was breathtaking. The architecture was enough to amaze me. I can’t even imagine how much hard work went into creating such a beautiful cathedral. Unfortunately, we were not able go to the top of the Cathedral and look out over all of London like I was hoping to. I guess that just means I have to go back to London and visit again!

                                                     

After the tour, we went to see the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace! We stopped a few streets down from the actual palace, and watched the parade of guards walk up the street fully dressed in uniform and everything! It was such a cool thing watch, definitely unlike any parade i’ve seen in America! After they marched by us, we ran up the street to catch a good spot to watch the changing of the guards ceremony. We couldn’t really get that close to the gates of the palace to see the changing of the guards, but we still had an awesome view of the whole palace! When the changing of the guards happened, the most we could see was the guards coming into the area on their horses. But that was fine with me! Buckingham palace is absolutely beautiful,and it looked especially amazing with all of the springtime flowers in bloom!

                                                         

Next week’s post will be a continuation of this busy busy day!  stand by 🙂

Day 6: London!

Finally, the day we have all been waiting for. LONDON! I have been to London once before, about a year before this trip. My brother was spending a semester abroad in London, so my family and I went to visit him. This trip to London was totally different. I was with different people, and we went to so many more different places. Our hotel was located in Greenwich, so it took us about an hour or two to get to the heart of London, counting in all of the traffic! The first thing we did was take a guided bus tour of London. Everyone loved this tour because we barely had to walk at all! Mornings were always exhausting for us, so it was nice to kick back, relax on the bus, and see all the beautiful famous locations of London.

After the tour, we went to the British Museum. I’m not a huge museum person, mainly because I absolutely hate history, but the British Museum wasn’t too bad! There were a lot of statues and artifacts that are very important to England, including a piece of the Rosetta Stone! We quickly moved through the museum, and headed out to Oxford Street for some shopping!

We had an hour of free time for shopping, and since I had been there before I knew exactly where to go. Some of the most popular stores around that area are Top Shop and Primark. Primark is the most horrifyingly busy shopping experience I have ever been in in my entire life. The store was MASSIVE; probably bigger than your average grocery store! They sold everything imaginable, for really low prices which drove the hoards of shoppers in. My friend and I literally held hands so we wouldn’t get lost. We made it out alive, and ran back to our meeting place. Unfortunately, it had begun to downpour while we were shopping, so we had to run to the nearest tube station. (The tube is the underground rail system in London). Our clothing and purchases were soaking wet, but it was still a fun night. We finally got  to the hotel late at night, and obviously were too amped up to go to sleep. We all put on our clothes that we had bought that day, and had a fashion show in the hotel hallways. We had no shame, no one knew us there! Finally we crashed, and went to bed to rest up for the next day.

Day 5: Classic British Hotspots

To start day 5, we went to Stonehenge! Stonehenge is a circle of huge stones, believed to be place there thousands and thousands of years ago. I have seen many pictures of Stonehenge before, but nothing compares to seeing the real thing. The stones were huge! I couldn’t imagine using just people to transport and place these stones in their respective spots. The thing that made the lasting impression about Stonehenge was the weather. Now obviously the weather in England is always a little crazy, but this weather was just outrageous. When we first got off the bus, it was DOWN POURING. By the time we were walking around the stones, I thought the wind was going to take me away. The wind in addition to the rain made it impossible to see or walk straight. People’s umbrellas were inside out, and everyone’s hair was a mess. By the time we made it to the last few stones, it was sunny, dry, and I’m pretty sure I saw a rainbow. Cheers to England weather!

Our next location to visit was The Roman Baths! The Roman Baths are a series of hot spring baths that were used by the Romans for public bathing. Now, these bathes are a popular tourist site (and no longer used for public bathing). The hot, steamy water in the baths has a green appearance, contrasting nicely with the intricate architecture of the surrounding building. Although you are not allowed to touch the bath water, a few of my classmates daringly stuck their fingers in to feel the famous hot water. The steam from the water felt amazing to our freezing bodies that have been standing in the cold rain all day!

Next stop was Glastonbury! The famous location that we visited here was Glastonbury Abbey, which used to be a monastery back in the 7th century. Only ruins remain of this church, because it was close to being destroyed during fires and battles many years ago. We took a historic tour of the ruins, and learned all about the history of each of the remaining pieces of the buildings. History is not a strong interest of mine, so I found the tour to be a little boring, but nonetheless it was still amazing to see all of the architecture and effort put into making these buildings. King Arthur’s grave is one of the most famous spots in Glastonbury Abbey, dating back to the discovery in 1100’s.

We ended day 5 with some shopping, and headed back to the hotel to rest up for our next day adventures!

Day 4: Shakespeare!

On the fourth day, we traveled to Stratford Upon Avon, most commonly known as the birthplace of famous writer William Shakespeare!  The first place that we went in Stratford was the Holy Trinity Church. This church is famous because it is where William Shakespeare’s body is buried. This church was beautiful, with its incredible architecture and its intricate stained glass windows. Shakespeare’s grave was elaborate, surrounded flowers and plaques with interesting facts and information.

After we visited the church to learn about Shakespeare, we moved on to a location in which we learned more personal facts about the famous writer. This famous spot was the family home of Anne Hathaway, William’s wife! The cottage is amongst a beautiful garden with hundreds of colorful flowers. We took a tour of the cottage, and were able to see some of the original furniture, cooking materials, and artifacts that were used by Anne Hathaway and her family.

Our next stop was the city of Oxford. We took a tour of some of the famous universities in Oxford. The universities there were a lot different from the colleges in the United States. For example, my college is by the water, with a lot of trees and red brick buildings. The schools in Oxford were very elaborately designed, with statues and cream colored brick buildings with a medieval style, and located right in the city. The most memorable location that we went in Oxford was the Divinity School. This school is part of the University of Oxford. What made this school most fascinating to the travelers was the fact that it was featured in Harry Potter! It was used as the Hogwarts School Hospital in the Harry Potter movies. It was pretty cool to think we were walking on the same floor that all of the Harry Potter cast walked on!

The hotel that we stayed at this day was located in Bournemouth, England. Bournemouth is conveniently located right by the English channel! When we arrived at the hotel, we quickly dropped off our luggage in our rooms, bundled up, and headed to the beach! I obviously had to stick my hand in the water, just to say I’ve touched the English Channel! We let out all of our remaining energy by running around the beach chasing each other and having silly photo shoots with the wind blowing our hair. To end the night, all of the students worked together to write “BHS” in huge letters in the sand, which are the initials of my high school. Another late night to bed, with high expectations for tomorrow!

                           

Day 3: Scotland and.. Robin Hood?

Day 3 started with a huge surprise. We were taking a trip to Scotland! Granted we basically drove there, stayed for an   hour, and drove back to England.. but still, we went to Scotland! We visited the village of Gretna Green. I got to see  the cows (pronounced ‘coos’ in a British accent) that resided   in the village. We also went in the shops, which sold many  plaid scarves, pants, and kilts! I got a little stuffed sheep  wearing a plaid hat and scarf, which is actually in my college dorm right now!

Next, we stopped at Hadrian’s Wall, which was a defense fortification way back around 120 AD. It is the most popular location visited by tourists in Northern England. My friends and I got out of the bus and started walking on top of the wall until we were forced to turn around because a herd of cows were up ahead that did not want to be disturbed.

York was our next location! York is a city that is surrounded by a wall that was used for defense, similar to Hadrian’s Wall. During our tour, we actually got to walk along part of the wall that was still standing! The main attraction to York, according to my friends and I, was the fabulous shopping. My friend Jenny and I spent most of the day in a bridal/prom shop, looking at all of the bedazzled dresses, shoes, and accessories. Of course, we had to buy matching shoes while we were there.

                                   

The last stop was a different kind of tourist sight. We went into the Sherwood Forest located in Nottinghamshire, England. This isn’t just any old forest.. this is the forest in which the legends of Robin Hood were said to take place! This forest contains the famous tree, the Major Oak, which was apparently Robin Hood’s hideout. This tree is said to be around 1,000 years old! Of course, this busy busy day ended with a good night’s rest, in preparation for our next eventful day.