Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A big thanks!

As the course comes to a close, all of the students and I wanted to say " Thank you!" to Professor Wolfe! This course was absolutely fantastic, and We'll never forget the memories we've made.

Thursday, May 23: Goodbye, UK, Hello, USA!

Today we met up at the early hour of 4 AM to leave the wonderful Regent's College behind and head to Heathrow Airport to catch our flight back to the United States. We arrived early to the airport, so we had the time to explore the many stores throughout our terminal. Finally the time came to board the plane and we embarked for our eight hour journey.

It was sad to land in New York, as it meant our wonderful adventure abroad in the United Kingdom and Ireland was finally coming to a close. Although many of us were glad to head home and begin our summer, we will never forget the memories we made while on this trip and the friendships we forged within our group.

The Group on the London Eye!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Wednesday, May 22nd: Last day away!

Hello everybody! Today was our last day in London, its crazy how fast time flies! We started the day off with one on one meetings to discuss our course grades with Professor Wolfe. These meetings lasted about 10 minutes, and they gave us all an opportunity to discuss our thoughts about the course. After these meetings, the class got the morning free to prepare for tomorrow's journey home. Some got a head start on packing, while others did some last minute sight seeing.

The class then all met up at 2:45, so we could embark on our journey to the Shard.  The Shard is currently western Europe's tallest building. Opened in the summer of 2012, it stands at 1016 feet tall. The class was able to take the lift up to the 72nd floor of the building, where we all enjoyed a fantastic view of the city skyline.

After we went to the Shard, it was time to go to our last group dinner! We took the tube back to Covent Gardens, where we had a a fantastic meal. The class could chose between steak, pasta, or traditional fish and chips, and it was agreed that the meal was delicious. Over dinner, we all talked about our favorite experiences during our course. It was a night of laughter and nostalgia, as we recalled our fondest memories.

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Tuesday, May 21st: Singing in the Rain

Hello everybody! Today the class had a day jam packed with adventure! We started off the day by having a quick breakfast, then taking the tube to Saint Paul's Cathedral!

The Cathedral was designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1675, and has served as a monument of hope for everyone in England. The Cathedral was one of the first of its kind to have a dome ceiling, and visitors are able to take a 150 step journey up to the top of the dome. The Cathedral also had a vast Crypt, where the bodies of the Duke of Wellington and Lord Nelseon (along with many other important figures) now lie. There are also many different memorials for various historical events, such the 9/11 attacks.

During World War II, the Cathedral represented a beacon of hope for the English, as it was often a target of air bombs.  To protect the Cathedral, there was a constant brigade of firefighters who stayed above ground during the air raids to see it didn't burn down. Although it was damaged slightly by a bomb, the fact that the Cathedral remained standing after World War II helped inspire England to rebuild into a great nation again. The class was lucky enough to be able to climb the stairs to the top of the dome, and we were all given an amazing view of the Cathedral. After we made our descent down to the main floor, we were given the chance to explore. Unfortunately, photography was not allowed in the building, so you'll have to trust us when we say that it was stunning.

View from the top of the Cathedral

View from the top of the Cathedral

View from the top of the Cathedral

View from the top of the Cathedral

View from the top of the Cathedral

After the Cathedral, the class then went to see another one of Wren's masterpieces: the memorial to the Great Fire of London. This tower stands 202 feet tall, and serves to commemorate all the lives lost in the fires of 1666. Guests can climb the tower (if they wish) and get a chance to see the stunning view of London. The class was steeped in awe after making the journey to the top of the monument. Seeing the architetual wonders that are Wren's masterpieces makes you appreciate of the beauty, elegance, and effort that goes into creating and designing these famous architectural landmarks.

After the Wren monuments, the class then went on to see the Bank of England. We got a chance to see an exhibit, which was about the history of the English currency. Although it was aimed at younger children, the class still were thoroughly entertained by the interactive portions of the exhibit. The museum was a perfect way to relax after going up so many steps, and after the Bank of England, the class then went back to get changed for tea and a show.

Tea is a vital part of England, so what would a stay in the country be without having an afternoon tea? The class got to experience high tea at the Cavendish Hotel, and it was an experience enjoyed by all. Sitting around trays of pastries and sandwiches, the class was able to reflect as a group about the experiences we've had thus far on our journey. Tea was so fun, because many of our classmates had never truly had English tea, and we all shared different flavors with one another. Tea was a great group bonding experience.

After our tea, the class got to go see the musical, Singing In The Rain!, at the Queen's Theater. Preformed in a small, but cozy theater, the show was absolutely fantastic. The songs were catchy and the rain dance scene was both funny and touching. Having not been to many other shows, seeing this one was a new and exciting experience that was very much enjoyed. The show was fantastic, and many are still humming the songs days after seeing it.

After the show, Professor Wolfe decided to treat the class to pizza, as sort of a midnight snack. We found a small Italian restaurant, and ordered a few pies. Little did we know that each would be over three meters! Despite the massive amount of pizza, we managed to eat most of the slices. Today was an overwhelmingly fantastic day, and as we are starting to wrap up our course, we are all appreciated for the opportunity that has been presented to us.

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3.  High Tea
5. Pizza! 

Monday, May 20th: Greenwich

Hello everyone! Today the class had an very nautical day! We started off the day with a quick breakfast, and then went on our merry way! After taking the tube, the class boarded a tour boat and we sailed across the River Thames. On the boat ride, we were able to get close up views of many famous sights such as the London Eye and the Globe Theater. The ride, which lasted about forty five minutes took us to the Royal Naval College, at which we took a tour.

Once we got to the college, we meet our tour guide, who took us through an hour long tour of the college. Originally, the site of the college was home to Greenwich Palace during the time of the Tudors rule in England. It was thought to be the favorite palace of Henry VII, and also is the birthplace of the Queens Mary I and Elizabeth I. The main buildings of the College were built on the orders of Queen Mary II, who wanted a place to train new sailors, as well as rehabilitate sailors that had been hurt in war. The tour took us through the beautiful buildings that were mostly designed by Christopher Wren.

We saw the Painted Hall, inside King William Court, whose high ceilings and archways are painted by James Thornhill. These paintings make up the entirety of the large ceiling, and also many of the walls of the hall. The paintings took 19 years to complete, and displays the British royalty of the time: King William III and Queen Mary II, Queen Anne and her husband Prince George of Denmark, and King George I. These paintings are extremely illustrious, as they show the Royal Family in Heaven, and have many other important figures of history portrayed in them. We also saw the beautiful courtyard between all of the buildings that has been used as the set for many movies, such as Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Les Miserables, and Thor 2. Our tour guide even brought us into the cellar of the building, where there was an old bowling alley for the sailors stationed at the College. Some of us had the chance to try and knock over all the pins with old wooden cannon balls, rather than actual bowling balls. The tour was fantastic, as it let us get an insight into more of the fantastic designs done by Christopher Wren. Wren is most famous for designing St. Paul's Cathedral and the Great Fire of London Monument, but his buildings at the Royal Naval College were absolutely breathtaking. Professor Wolfe is quite fond of Wren's work, and after seeing his work at the College, it is extremely evident why.

After a beautiful lunch at the College, we walked up to the Royal Observatory to see the Prime Meridian. The Prime Meridian is the line that divides the world into two hemispheres, and is used as a reference line for astronomers. The Royal Observatory at Greenwich also held a great exhibit on the history of telescopes, and their importance pertaining to the study of time and clocks. The men who worked at the Observatory were famous for trying to discover a way to tell exact time, and how to have it be universal across the world.  It was a lovely exhibit, and for all who love science, it was a lovely was to end the day.

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