Wednesday, June 2, 2010

02 June 2010

The Lovely Professors Parkhouse and Wolfe All of us as a group after Oliver.

Today was the very last day of our trip in the UK. So today was a free day for all of us, but this evening we all went to a show at Covent Gardens, Oliver. Before that, we went to dinner at Henry's, a restaurant a five minute walk from the theatre. We all got dressed to the 'nine's', and enjoyed our meal at Henry's. We all ate either steak, fish and chips, or pasta. The dinner was absolutely scrumptous, and everyone loved it. All of us were full afterward. Just when we all thought we couldn't eat anymore, we all had a desert. It was vanilla ice cream and a cake smothered in caramel! Yummy! Being that we were slightly late to dinner, we all had to rush to get to the theatre. Luckily, it was only five minutes away and we all made it in time and were seated in the Grand Circle. The musical was excellent. Marjorie and Cassie were next to me and they were laughing the whole time and afterward said that they greatly enjoyed the play. Listening to everyone after the show, they were all quoting it and laughing. Right after the musical, we took the group photo and headed back toward Covent Garden tube station for the last time to take the tube to Bakerloo back to Regents. Tomorrow, we leave early for Regents to go back to the US. We all had a spectacular time on this trip and loved the people we were around. The last three weeks have been special, unique and exciting for all of us.
Best of Luck to the UK trip 2010 students!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

01 June 2010

It was a sad day today because it was the last planned trip with Professor Wolfe and Professor Parkhouse. Unfortunately, it was a slightly yucky day with some rain and a little cold. However, we all made the best of it. We left a little later and took the tube to Lamberth North to the Imperial War Museum. Once we walked in, we were immediately slammed with history. There were war planes hanging from the ceiling, war tanks on the ground, and there was a large periscope that was used in WW I to see incoming planes. It didn't work too well today because there was cloud cover, but according to Professor Parkhouse, if you look into it then you can see Hyde Park from where we were. Before we were let loose Professor Parkhouse wanted to show us two exhibits. First we went to Trench Exhibit, which was made in the way the soldiers of WW I would have lived in the trenches. It was very heart-wrenching to think that men had to live in those conditions and maybe not return because they died in battle. It was quite an experience for all of us to have seen that exhibit. After that exhibit, Professor Parkhouse took us to the Bomb Shelter exhibit which was even more intense then the Trench exhibit. It was a realistic interpretation of what life was like in the shelters during the war. First we sat on benches and listened to recording of a man who was in a bomb shelter and dialogue. We heard the bomb 'dropping' and at one moment the bench moved, which startled us all. After a few minutes, we walked through an exhibit which was a representation of what the destruction of the streets looked like. It was very hard to see such things and imagine what it was actually like for the people of London to endure. Those exhibits were very touching and showed us all what people endured the war and the hardships they had to go through. Once we all went through those exhibits, we were able to go about as we pleased. One exhibit that I went through was the Holocaust Exhibit. Going through that exhibit was very hard because there was so much death surrounding the history. Seeing all of the people affected and all of the people involved in the deaths of millions of people was hard to see. That was the last of the exhibits that we saw today. It was a good day at the Imperial War museum, and I hope to go back and see that all again. Today is also the day that we all went with Professor Wolfe to have tea at the Cavendish in London. It was a short walk from the tub station and the Cavendish was a gorgeous establishment. Professor Wolfe had ordered us all little tea sandwiches and delicious crumpets. We also chose the different kinds of tea that we wanted. It was delicious, and we all had a good time together. Once we were all done with our tea, we were all stuffed. Finally, we said goodbye to the Cavendish and were allowed to go our own way. There was a choice of Professor Wolfe showing us where Harrods was or we could go back to Regents. Tomorrow is a free day but I will be reporting on the events of tomorrow. Later on in the day we are all going to dinner and seeing a show.

Until tomorrow, we shall see whats in store....

Monday, May 31, 2010

31 May 2010

All of us at the Cliffs of Dover.

Today was an early day for all of us. We all were downstairs in the lounge by 8am where everyone would be handing their paper into Professor Wolfe to be graded on the train to Dover. After chomping a quicj breakfast of croissants and bananas, we all headed to the Victoria train station to get the train to Dover. It wasn't a long ride, mostly cause most of us were asleep. Even though the weather was not in our favor, and there was a slight chill in the air, the White Cliffs were gorgeous. Along with the castle on top, they were a sight to behold because of the location. At one point Dover used to be a port, out in the water there are still the sights where the ships would come in and dock. Also, about 20 miles off the coast of Dover, you can see the country, France. After some quality time on the beaches of Dover, we headed back to the train station going towards Victoria station but we got off at Canterbury East. There we headed toward the quaint town of Canterbury where the Cathedral lay at the heart of the city. It was a gorgeous Cathedral and was absolutely massive. There were so many smaller chapels inside, and a large crypt too. It was gorgeous to observe and see all the memorials and tombs of people past who took part in the Cathedral. Even though today was a shorter day, it was nice to go to Dover and relax on the beach and walk around Canterbury.

Until tomorrow, we shall see whats in store ....

Friday, May 28, 2010

28 May 2010

Since today is Friday, it was a slightly shorter day and a very nice, breezy day at that. We took a trip from Waterloo station to Hampton Court which was colossal. There was so much to look at and a lot of garden to cover. When we walked in there was a huge court which lead to other areas, like different apartments from different kings/queens of England. Most notably the castle was used for King Henry VIII and that was also the place where Catherine Howard was beheaded. In the castle there was so much to look at, and no one wanted to miss any of it. There were apartments from the time of William and Mary's reign, including very decorated rooms like the bedrooms, closets, and presence rooms they would use. The presence rooms in which William and Mary still had the chair in which they sat to greet people into the castle. Their bedrooms were immense and had intricate details on the walls, and the ceilings. In most parts of the castle where the kings/queens would be there were tapestries that covered the walls, and murals that had a message in them. There were quite a few religious murals from the time of William and Mary. There was also a large tapestry which caught my eye, and it was made from the time of Henry VII and took two years to complete. (1543-1545). Within the castle there was also contained the apartments used by Henry VIII, the chapel he used to marry Kateryn Parr, and also the extensive kitchen that was used to satisfy the cravings of the king. Just next to the kitchen was the large wine cellar which still had barrels in it. The castle was such an impressive size and had such intricate carvings in the stone and the murals were absolutely impressive. Everyone enjoyed looking around the castle. After our excursion through the castle, we all adjourned to the cafe for lunch which was yummy. The last thing we did today was go through a maze which was actually designed for children. There were two exits out of the maze but we had to re-trace our steps and go out the way we came in. First prize was ten pounds. So we all went in our different ways, and our group did not end up coming out first, but it was fun. Today was a fun day. It was a true joy to see the castle and see the rooms which were used in the past by royalty.

Until Monday, we shall see whats in store.....

Thursday, May 27, 2010

27 May 2010

Cardiff, Wales was the destination for today. We got up extra early today to catch a very early train from Paddington Station, but we were treated to breakfast by Professor Wolfe who bought us all bananas, and three different kinds of croissants. After we speedily ate our breakfast, we all swiftly made our way to Paddington station from the Bakerloo line since there were closures this morning on the Circle line. After we hustled through Paddington station we were able to rest for a few moments, and get whatever else we needed (coffee, etc) but we didn't have Professor Parkhouse yet. It was at the last moment, due to closures, that Professor Parkhouse arrived at the station and made it on the train which left the station at 9 45 am. The ride was about 2 1/2 hours but it went by fast. Once we got to Cardiff Central Station, we took a walk over to Cardiff Castle where a bus tour was leaving for a 50 minute tour of the city. Since Cardiff is being revolutionized, it was interesting to see parts of history intermingling with 21st century buildings. We started off with a history of the castle and continued from there. The bus was full of people, mostly Germans. We saw different Victorian Era buildings on the tours right along side some of the more modern areas of Cardiff. One of the most modern was the Millenium Stadium, and that was the backdrop of the Cardiff Castle. We found out that Cardiff was once a great port city, with many ports and at one point a person could walk across without getting their feet wet. Now that Cardiff is re-inventing itself, there is much more going on in what was once the most desolate and fruitless parts of the city. It was also home to some Irish during the Potato Famine and now those parts have been renewed. After our exhilarating, yet slightly chilly adventure in the tour bus, we then stopped at the Castle for some lunch. Professor Wolfe, as always, got us all a wonderful lunch that filled our tummies. Following lunch, we then went on a tour of the castle. We got a private tour from our guide, David. He led us to several rooms which were constructed by William Burges but it was occupied by John Crighton-Stuart who was the 3rd Marquess of Bute. We saw the Arab Room, the Dining Room, the Garden, a bedroom with a full use tub and flushing toilet, the Drawing room, and a few other rooms which were absolutely breathtaking. The architecture and small quirks added character to each room and they were all different. There was a theme of animals all made with architecture from different parts of the world. There was one room with a Italian Cathedral theme, the ceiling was made the same way as a cathedral in Palermo Italy; the children's personal room was surrounded by fairy tale characters. Each room was unique with its own style and particular quirk. Burges had a sense of humor which made each room have a comedic flare to it. John Crighton-Stuarts bedroom, before he married, had a mirrored ceiling, and his closet was in the shape of a confessional. It was the little things in each room that brought out the uniqueness of the castle. There was one room, however; which did not have that kind of style. It was the drawing room, which remained in the Georgian style, in that it was very simple. After our wonderful tour from our spectactular guide, we then set off to walk up the 110 steps to the keep. Being that the stairs were rather narrow, and there was little room to move made us all wary of not falling any which way to our doom. Oddly enough, we came across an Elmira Alum from the Class of 1983. After the excitement, we then headed back out to the entrance where we saw Professor Parkhouse waiting for us. From there a few of us decided that we were going to head out back to the train station to catch the 3 55pm train back to London Paddington station. Today was a rather long day, but it was well worth the trip. Seeing the city being transformed and the spectacular views and rooms at the castle made today a well worth it trip.

Until tomorrow, we shall see whats in store.....

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

26 May 2010

Today was a long day for us. We went to quite a few places today and did a lot of walking. First, we went to get our rail passes updated. After that short excursion, we all went to St. Pauls Cathedral. Unfortunately, we were not able to take pictures, but it was absolutely beautiful inside. It was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, and the architeture and murals are absolutely astounding. There was the dome where people could walk up and see a whole view of the city, but I did not go up. From the others that did go up, the view was spectacular. Shortly after everyone came down from the dome, we all did a walk-through of the crypts. There were the bodies and memorials of Lord Nelson, Sir Christopher Wren, and other important people who helped to shape the Cathedral to what it is today. There were also memorials to the service men and women who gave their lives in the wars past. It was a wonder to behold. The tombs were made with gorgeous marble with beautiful inscriptions. We all then said good-bye to Professor Parkhouse, but we will see him tomorrow. After we toured the Cathedral, we all took a walk over the Wibbly Wobbly Bridge, which it is not anymore. It was called that because the Queen called it such but it also has the name the Millenium Bridge. Just after the walk, we all went to the re-created Globe Theatre. It was a short walk through but we saw the history of the Globe Theatre and how it was re-created through the years. We saw the different costumes used in the past for past show, the re-created instruments they would use in Shakespeare's day and also we saw the stage they used to practice on. There was an entire display of what was used for different Shakespeare's plays from King Henry VIII to As You Like It. It was amazing to see how experts could re-create not only the Globe Theatre but all the aspects within the theatre like the costumes and all the props needed to make the performance come alive. We all ate lunch outside the Globe just before our walk to the Tate Modern Art Museum. We didn't have much time at the museum but we saw different displays of art such as poetry and every form of modern art that could be displayed in different ways. As we walked, the weather got slightly warmer so we all relaxed for a moment and de-layered ourselves. After our slight break, we kept walking all the way to the London Eye. Once we got there, we waited for Professor Wolfe to get us our tickets and waited on line to get into our own bubble, as I call it. The ride in total was about 35 mins and the view from all sides was spectacular. We saw everything from that height like Big Ben, the Parliament buildings, and the dome at St. Paul's Cathedral. It was the most amazing sight that I had ever seen and I know that everyone was overwraught with wonder being at the top of the eye. When we came down, we took a short walk over to the Houses of Parliament. It was hard to get in though because there was a security issue the day before but we all managed to get in without a problem. Once inside, we sat in on the House of Commons in session. It was interesting to see it in session and real issues being brought to the table by opposite parties. Everyone enjoyed being there and seeing Parliament in session. Today was a long day but it was a fantastic day with everyone loving everything we saw and did. Tomorrow will be Cardiff!

Until tomorrow, we shall see whats in store....

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

24 and 25 of May

Whew! Sorry about the late blog post but the internet was down yesterday here at Regents all day, so I was not able to do my daily post. But we now have it back and I will go over yesterdays and todays adventures.

So for 24 May 2010 we had an adventure to Windsor where we toured Windsor Castle. We had to take two trains to get there. One went from Paddington to Slough (Slow, with the 'ow') and then took another, smaller five minute train ride from Slough to Windsor. Fortunately, it was a nice day out however, hot. We took a tour of Windsor seeing the Castle and St. George's Chapel with a small view of Prince Albert's Chapel.Unfortunately, we could not take pictures anywhere in the castle or in either of the chapels. The architecture in both chapels was astounding. We also got a glimpse of the Queen Mum's Tomb. Also buried in St. George's Chapel was King Henry VIII and Princess Margaret. Lucky for us, we also got a glimpse of the changing of the Guard. It was quite a spectacle because there was so much involved and the soldiers had to follow procedure exactly. On the whole that day was good, and I really enjoyed watching the changing of the guard and the tour of Windsor Castle.

25 May 2010 we took a train to York from Kings Cross station. It was about a two hour ride to York. It was slightly chilly today so the walk from the train station to the open air tour bus was a little breezy. We took a tour from the bus all around York, seeing the walls that the Romans had built around the original perimeter of York. We also saw old churches, and places that the Vikings had built on but were built over by more modern builidings. After the bus tour, which was about an hour, we took a walk over to get some lunch. There we ate Yorkshire pudding, which was fabulous, and we celebrated Melissa's birthday. With fully bellies, we then went to a museum which was set in Victorian Era, and onwards to about the 1950's. It was a beautiful museum. There was a massive set of what a Victorian street would have looked like and there were smaller sets of what individual rooms would have looked like. It was phenomenal to look at all of those rooms and think that people actually would have lived in something similar. After that, we all left the museum to get the 3 35pm train back to London. It was a good day despite the weather.

Until tomorrow, we shall see whats in store....