A Travellerspoint blog

Last Day in England...

sunny 69 °F

As we mentioned yesterday today is our last day in the UK. We are sad to be leaving this amazing country, but we are also excited to be going home. We miss our family and friends very much, and are anxious to start planning our lessons with our new materials and supplies. Most of today was spent picking up final teaching items, and trying to find a carry-on size bag for Tammy to pack all of her extra items that will not fit in her suitcase. We finally found one at Camden Market, which the salesman even measured it to double check that it is the right size for Continental flights. We brought her new bag back to the hotel, filled it full, and are now worried that it weighs more than 40 lbs. LOL. We are hoping that they do not weigh her bag tomorrow because if they do, she will be wearing all of the clothing in her suitcase and I will be traveling home with the Michelin Man.
This afternoon we stopped at Caffe Nero one last time and sadly had our final coffee/tea and snack with them. This evening we are going to have fish and chips for dinner, which was the meal that we had our first night here so we thought it would be nice to end with it too. The concierge at our hotel has been kind enough to set up a private car to take us to London Heathrow Airport tomorrow morning at 6:15 a.m. Our flight leaves at 9:30 a.m. and is scheduled to land at George Bush Intercontinental Airport at 1:30 p.m. Justin and Cody will be there to pick us up and we are very excited to see them! Overall, we have had an AMAZING experience and we cannot thank Fund for Teachers enough for giving us the grant for our trip! Without them none of it would have been possible! Thanks again Fund for Teachers!!!

Posted by TeamEngland 10:32 Comments (0)

Off with her head!

rain 63 °F

Today began with a trip to Bankside where we toured London's Globe Theater. Our tour guide was an actor himself, so he was very entertaining to listen to. He shared many facts about the history of the globe, the actors, and the audience. Though the Globe Theater that stands now was rebuilt in 1997 by an American named Sam Wannamaker, it is made to replicate the original which burned down many years ago. It was a very interesting and informative experience.

Later this evening, we journeyed back to the theater to watch Anne Boleyn. Though this play is not a Shakespearian play, it still allowed us to experience what it was like to view a play in the theater. The actors in the play were extremely talented and hilarious to watch. This has now become our favorite play. Not only was it informative, but it caused you to think. Author Howard Brenton took a tragic story and turned it into a comedy without losing the authenticity and thought provoking characteristics of the original story/history.

There were no huge mix-ups or running around today. Which we are both very thankful for, as we are becoming extremely warn out. Tomorrow is our last day, and we have mixed feelings.

Posted by TeamEngland 14:57 Archived in England Comments (0)

Hollywood in London...

rain 55 °F

Today was the first day that we actually got to sleep in and wouldn't ya know that we awoke bright and early! I guess our time clocks are set on early mode. Anyway, we got ready, grabbed some breakfast, and headed out to the Charles Dickens' Museum. As soon as we were outside, we noticed large, dark clouds overhead and everyone carrying umbrellas. So we decided to stop by Camden Town and Market to purchase large umbrellas before starting the day. Luckily, moments after we bought them, it began to down pour. Our umbrellas kept us dry though, so we continued on our way to the Dickens' Museum.
At the museum, we watched a very informative video about Dickens' life and works, we toured the four floors of the house, and purchased many teaching materials and supplies from the gift shop. All in all it was a successful trip and we did not get lost on the way! :)
Upon leaving the museum, we stopped by Caffe Nero, the England Starbucks, which is our new favorite coffee shop and replenished our bodies with some much needed caffeine.
We spent our evening out by visiting a few souvenir shops, eating dinner at Planet Hollywood, and walking across the Waterloo Bridge while taking photos and aweing at the beautiful view of the city.

Posted by TeamEngland 15:15 Comments (0)

Walking and Walking and Walking and More Walking!

semi-overcast 60 °F

We awoke at 6:30 this morning, packed all of our belongings, loaded up the car, and downed some coffee. Tired and groggy, we headed for London. Gerdie, Trisha’s GPS, reported our estimated arrival time to be an hour after our departure. We soon discovered that Houston traffic has nothing on downtown London traffic. We did not arrive to our hotel until 9:50. Trisha ran in to check us in to our hotel room, and I waited in the busy horseshoe drive as there was nowhere to park by the front of the hotel. We soon discovered that our hotel had no parking at all, and to store our car for the evening we would have to park at a local car park and pay 30 pounds. Quickly deciding that it was not worth it, Trisha punched in the address to the rental place into Gerdie, and I drove like a crazy Brit as we tried to return the car before the 10:30 deadline. Oh wait, I forgot to mention, we had to be on the other side of town at 11:00 in order to make our guided walking tour.
We arrived at the rental place at 10:24 with six minutes to spare, despite Gerdie’s incorrect directions and many “reroutings.” Luckily, the rental car park was right next to the Tube station. Rushing to buy a ticket and jump on the correct train, we asked the attendant what train we needed. He then informed us that we purchased the wrong ticket and would have to return it at the office down the way. Finally straightening out our ticket situation, we sprinted to the landing and hopped on the waiting train with only a few seconds to spare. One stop later, we had to switch trains. Quickly looking at the map, we realized the train we needed next was sitting on the other side about to close its doors and take off. Trisha jumped on first, and we literally had to push the door open so I could board the train. Once again we had another train change a few stops up. However, this train station was extremely large and we had to sprint up and down steps, escalators, and dash through the train station like the family on Home Alone. Somehow we caught the next train just in time. We arrived at our final destination without a minute to spare, and we sprinted once again upstairs and across the St. Paul’s Cathedral Church Yard, only to discover that the wonderful-awesome-tour guide was nowhere to be found. An attendant at Saint Paul’s informed us that he had no idea what we were talking about, and our best choice would be to ask the information center across the street. The helpful man at the information center showed us a self-guided Dicken’s walking tour.
Exhausted, but determined to see the historical locations that inspired Dickens’s writings, we decided to suck-it-up and take the tour. Three hours later, aching legs, water-logged, and ankles about to snap, we finally finished the tour. Though we did get lots of pictures and information, our bodies were spent. Ambling back to the nearest tube station, we jumped on a train to a station that we thought was near our hotel. If you haven’t guessed it yet, we were wrong. We got off at the wrong station and had to walk 30 minutes back to our hotel.
Finally relaxing in our room, we began to look for a place to dine. We came across the Hard Rock Café, and were excited as we have discovered that England has some “interesting” food. Hopping on the right train, we headed to dinner. After walking for an hour, we finally asked for directions. Eventually we arrived at the Hard Rock Café which turned out to be only five minutes from where we first stepped out of the underground. We were forced to sit outside in the freezing, windy air and were repeatedly attacked by persistent bumble-bee.
Now you may be thinking that we don’t’ know how to read maps or street signs. If you have ever been to London, you may be able to sympathize. If you haven’t, let me tell you this. Most roads do not have obvious signs, the street name does not stay the same, maps sometimes leave street names out, there are about a hundred streets that have the same name but the ending changes (i.e, place to avenue to lane…), and stop lights are a thing of luxury-there are only roundabouts.
We began the day tired and exhausted, and we will end it the same. Oh and if you haven’t been keeping track of how much walking we did today, it was probably close to 10 miles or more.


Posted by TeamEngland 14:19 Comments (2)

“Have you visited the haunted house yet?”

A quote from a young English boy at Dickens' World.

sunny 70 °F

This morning we ventured out into the city of Rochester with the main goal of stepping out of our 21st century world and going back in time to the Victorian Era. As we pulled into the parking garage to Dickens’ World, we searched up and down for parking regulation signs to ensure that we would not receive another boot. We even questioned the receptionist at Dickens’ World to make certain that we would not get a parking ticket. Once positive that we had parked in a public parking lot, we entered into 19th century London.
In Dickens’ World, we viewed various shows/plays, went through a Dickens’ haunted house that included Scrooge and the spirits from “The Christmas Carol,” and rode a wet boat ride that took us through the Victorian streets of London. We also found some interesting teaching materials in the Curiosity Gift Shop. However, the most intriguing part of our day was a young English boy, about age 5, who we had the privilege to sit next to during the performance of Oliver Twist. This little gentleman spoke to us as soon as we sat down. He raved about the Haunted House in the most proper language we had ever heard. Needless to say, we greatly enjoyed our 20 minute conversation with this small child.
Upon leaving Dickens’ World, we spent our afternoon visiting Rochester Castle and Leeds Castle. By the early evening we had finished up our Rochester itinerary plans and decided to relax by going to the movies. We saw Bad Teacher which was not exactly what we expected. Our night ended with spaghetti carbonara from the hotel restaurant. We are looking forward to heading back to London tomorrow.

Posted by TeamEngland 12:23 Comments (0)

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