I made it to Europe everyone! Now, when someone asks me if I have ever gone, I can finally say YES! Such an exciting achievement. These next few posts will be all about my adventures in Europe, and I will try as hard as I can to include all the funny, stressful, and best moments of the trip!
I have my itinerary right next to me, so lets begin my 1st Europe trip.
Looking back, I realized how much my packing skills have improved! On this trip I had everything I needed. Not too much, not too little. Just right. Sadly, I have to leave poor Ike home.
So you can probably tell from the title that my first stop was in London. Ahhhhhh London, only a week ago I was roaming its streets. Seems so long ago. It all started Thursday. April 17th to be exact. I went to school for two periods, and then jumped on the bus with the rest of the crew. And then we were off to JFK airport. It took 5 hours but I think the bus ride helped us calm any nerves or just excitement bursts. I would also like to add that my bus, Bus 1, loves to sing, we sang all the time!!! I just wanted to throw that in, because I will mention us singing at many times during our journey. SO we arrived at JFK in the evening.
We checked in through security, and then we had about a two hour wait until we could board. So, (I will name starting with left then going back and then right going back) Olivia, Ashely, Caitlin, Rach, me, and Lauren all sat down for dinner. Which was SOOO good. I got a giant salad, which I regret not sharing with Rachel, who got the same thing as me. Both of us didn’t finish, and each one was $11. Some regrets, only some. I will mention that phrase a lot. I said it quite often over this trip, and randomly we said YOLO a lot. I thought that died away months ago, but it made a come back over in Europe.
Here is me and Rach waiting some more after we stuffed our bellies.
Then, finally we were on the plane to London! It was a long, over night flight, and I did not sleep at all. So now I can also say that I stayed up for 37 hours straight. Rough two days.
Now it is Friday, April 18th, and I made it to London. A funny thing happened while waiting in this line. There was a man, who I want to say with in his 20s. And he was pretty gorgeous. So me and Rach tried to get a picture with him in the background. So she took one of me laughing with him in the top corner. We took about 7 photos, and he knew we were the whole time. It was so obvious! hahahahha it was very funny. Don’t judge! It is blurry because we cut me out, and zoomed on him..
So once we left the airport…
We all hopped on the bus we were assigned to with our tour guides that were to stay with us for the whole duration of the trip. Their names were Helen and Simon. I don’t have a perfect picture of the two together, but I got them in a couple. I will point them out when the picture is posted. We were on the way to the hotel, and the longer I looked out the window, the more I noticed how green it already is in England. Here in New England it is still winterized and dull, but in England spring had already arrived! We arrived at our hotel to go drop off our luggage. We stayed at a Holiday Inn near Wembley Stadium, and it was really cool. We couldn’t change our clothes from the day before, so we were all kinda gross, but if everyone is gross with you it’s not so bad, right?
We traveled by subway a lot in the cities. So we were assigned into subway groups. We had one teacher and 6 kids in each group. I have to say, I had the funniest and loudest group out of them all. Ms. Hill was our “Mother” as we liked to call her, and then we were all her children. I was Sister Arica. Then we had Sister Rachel, Brother Anthony, Brother Kevin, Brother Brian, and I can’t forget Brother Tyler. Here is me and Rach waiting for our first Tube trip.
We took a lot of converse pictures over this trip.
So once we arrived in the city we took a bus tour. We had a lot of tour guides over the trip, so I apologize for not remembering their names. We passed the bank of River Thames and went to Trafalgar Square. The second I saw it I immediately thought of George Orwell’s 1984, and how he based his square on this one. It was buzzing with energy! Hundreds of people were crowded there, because it was Good Friday. They were doing a reenactment of the Crucifixion of Jesus, and it was very well done. They even had a big screen so the whole crowd could see.
After the square we walked to Leicester Square and had some free time to get lunch and shop. I was with Rachel, Hannah, and Kristen, and we found a gem! we walked down a street and found a beautiful park. There was a cafe right in the middle, so we stopped there for lunch. I got quiche, and it was amazing! My first London lunch!
After our break it was back to walking and history! We walked to Big Ben and the London Eye. It was awesome. Just as spectacular everyone said it would be. We all wanted to go on the London Eye, and we were about to; however, the wait was everlasting ! It was around 4pm when we started to line up for the circular trip, but when we got up to the desk, they told us we had to wait until 7pm to ride it. So we didn’t do that, but it was still cool to be so close.
Instead, since we had time to kill, the group split in half. Some stayed back to explore London near the Eye, while me and the other half went to the Covent Garden. Me, Olivia, Caitlin, Ashely, and Lauren all went and got some macaroons. It was the first time I tried them, and they were so good! Sadly, that was the only time I had the opportunity to buy them over the whole trip. And I didn’t mention this before, but I tend to get lost a lot. I just look down for a second, and then the next moment I’m all alone. That happened here. I was in a market place, and I was looking at something at one of the many booths, and the next moment everyone was gone. The rule of the trip was to be in a group of 4 at all times, so I had to find people. But being the person I am, I kept searching the booths alone, until I finally found what I was looking for. Twenty minutes now have passed, and I was out of the market place searching for anyone. Ten more minutes passed when I finally heard Ashely call out my name. The relief I got at that moment was indescribable.
During Rachel’s free time, she took this photo that I wanted to share with you because it is really cool.
After our free time, it was time for dinner. We walked to a Turkish restaurant, that, like all the dinners we had (besides Tapas) served 3 courses. It was awesome. I like the three course idea. All restaurants should adopt that.
We were so tired at this point. Most of us didn’t sleep on the plane, and we all claimed that this was the longest day of our lives. It was time for bed. So we jumped onto the Tube and went to the hotel. I was rooming with Rachel. It was 8:45pm when I told Rachel I would be right back. Wifi in Europe is hard to find, compared to the US, so I took advantage of it whenever I could. I communicated with my family and friends via email or viber. And both of those need wifi. So as I went down to the lobby, Rach called out and asked if I could bring up water, so I said yes and went on my way with my phone and laptop. Once I sat down, I was told by one of the teachers that bed check was at 9pm. It was 8:49pm when I heard that, so I typed like a mad women! The email I sent was so crazy and jumbled, but my family was able to get through it. Then I asked the person at the bar if I could bring up two glasses of water. She poured me two, and I tried to walk as fast as I could before 9 o’clock came around. But it is a difficult task walking fast with two full drinks in your hand. Avoiding spilling when electronics are in your hand is a challenge. I hobbled into the elevator. I was with a British man, when two ladies jumped in, completely ignoring the fact that I was there. They came right up against me with my water spilling everywhere. They were Chinese, so when I told them I had water they didn’t understand. So the man next to be took one of my waters, and stood there holding it without a word spoken. When I got to my floor the crazy ladies jumped out. I took the water from the man, thanked him, and hobbled all the way down the hallway to my room. I had just made it. The teachers were at my door when I walked up to them. I said good night to them, went in my room, and burst into a fit of laughter. The whole situation was so funny I couldn’t contain myself. Just the little things like that make me laugh the hardest. Here was what our room looked like.
And that concluded day one in Europe. But this post doesn’t end here. Oh no, we still have a whole other day ahead of us! Saturday, April 19th. We woke up the next morning, and went right back to London after Breakfast at the hotel. We went by the house of Parliament, and stopped to take a picture of Tower Bridge, while standing on London Bridge.
We drove by a lot of historically important places, but I don’t like taking pictures inside a bus because of the window glare, so I didn’t get that many on the bus tours. One place we drove by was St. Paul’s Cathedral. I would love to admit that Buckingham Palace is beautiful! And the gardens surrounding them are so English!
Now, we were getting hungry, so we got free time to find somewhere to eat. We stopped at an organic cafe that sold really good food.
We were walking the street when we noticed this sign. I thought it was cool so I took a picture of it.
After lunch, we all packed back onto the buses, with our luggage stored below, and drove off to Portsmouth. It was so pretty there. Once we arrived, we got to go shopping at the Gunwharf Quays Shopping Centre. This is where I had to spend all my unused pounds, before it was too late. Below is a picture of me and Sadie when we got off the bus, and the rest are of Portsmouth, but you could have guessed that.
The reason we were at Portsmouth was so that we could take an overnight ferry to France. We had dinner at a restaurant called tigertiger in the shopping centre, and then it was off to wait for the ferry.
As you can see we had a lot of time to kill before the boat was ready. We changed, read, charged our phones (in that picture Kristen is looking at her phone, while Elise is taking a quick nap), bought coffee, played charades, caught flying food in our mouths, and just chilled. When the boat was finally ready, we all piled on and found our rooms. This night we had to do quads per room. So we (as in me and Rachel) were paired up with Delaney and Rachael. Our room was so small, we put two of the suitcases in the shower. We all got settled, and then went up to the 9th floor to dance on the dance floor. We were the only ones dancing, while all the other people on the ferry watched us. Below is a picture of the ferry room.
The next morning we were in France! But that must wait for another post. My next post, most likely in the next few days- a week will be all about Normandy, France. I’m so excited that I am able to write down my adventures for everyone to read. It is fun to share your stories, but it is also a great way to remember your trip. All the little details you would otherwise forget the next month.
I will see you next time in Normandy!