Tag Archives: education travel

London Day 1

Day 1 in London started a little rocky. My puny sickness was now a full blown cold. UGH! No voice, felt like crap. But I was in London. No way was I going to let a little summer cold stand between me and the sights to see.

This was my third EF trip to London, but the first time we ended there instead of starting there.

The night train dropped us at St Pancras station which is right across from Kings Cross, so several kids ran to get photos of Platform 9 3/4. I ran to the pharmacy for cough drops and cold medicine.

Usually when we get to London we go on a walking tour of the city because we’ve been on an international flight and waking up is essential. This time we started witha  bus tour. After the hostel one night and the night train the next, I kind of think a walking tour might’ve been a better idea because a bus tour while you’re sleepy is tough stuff! Our  local guide was awesome, but I don’t think we heard much of what she said.

1 off the bus

I made myself stay awake for the Westminster Abbey stop. I’ve still never been in Westminster. That must change next time I go to London!

2 I'm a tourist 4 the EyeWe stopped the bus for a few quick pictures and a walk around the outside of Westminster. Then back on the bus for the tour to St Paul’s. I love St. Paul’s Cathedral. It’s beautiful. It’s amazing that it survived WW2 relatively unscathed. One of my former students is in London right now for study abroad and she said firefighters stayed on top of it during the bombings to keep it safe. I believe it.

3 bombed church by St Paul;sRight around the corner from St Paul’s is a church that didn’t survive the bombings. Instead of rebuilding, the surviving walls were left standing and the area’s been turned into a park. I’d love to know more of this story. One day I’ll go to London for a longer stay and delve more into the history. EF does city stay trips, too. There’s still so much I haven’t seen, though, that I want to wait for one of those until I’ve seen more of the world.

After St Paul’s we took the tube (Mind the gap!) to our hotel in Greenwich to drop off our luggage. I used the time to drink Vitamin Water and try to feel better. It worked. When we left the hotel, we knew we wouldn’t be back until that night, and we had a packed day ahead.

First we went to EAT. This little restaurant is one of the favorite stops for my group of returning travelers. It’s a great place to eat with awesome fresh food. They were excited when we found one. My one new traveler loved it as much as the rest of us by the time we left London.

After food we continued on our walk toward Covent Garden. But first, we

5 obligatory Penguin picturestopped at a book store. I did not go in the bookstore, but I did get my obligatory penguin picture because I collect penguins. It started with my students years ago, but now it’s me. It’s nuts how many penguins I have in the newsroom. I love them all.

After the stop we made our way across the Thames for a walk to Covent Garden. We accidentally ran into the Strand, which meant pictures of famous addresses and possibly famous people. I loved the address 6 Pearson Publishingplaque on this building and security was everywhere, so I figured it was someplace special. Maybe even royal.  Turned out it’s the address of the business US Politicians love to credit with the salvation of education while those of us in the trenches call it the home of The Emperor’s New Clothes. Pearson Publishing. AKA Test Central.

7 The SavoyRight next door is the Savoy. One day I’ll stay at the Savoy. Or maybe not. I think a nice B&B will do, but the Savoy sure looks cool.

Covent Garden is just a couple blocks from this area. We made it there and split up to shop and just take in the sights. Making it there was an adventure. Our guide was with the group going on the Eye. We chose to leave him so we could see more of the city. So armed with a map and our memories we made the trek across town on our own. Definitely worth it.

8 Living Statues in Covent GardenCovent Garden is a must see in London. It was raining while we were there, but the living statues never stopped performing. The acts in the square were entertaining and the shopping delightful as always.

9 Indian FoodWe met up with our group after that for our London dinner. Indian Food! Indian food is probably my favorite thing to eat in London. It’s so amazing. Maybe it’s amazing everywhere, but we don’t have it in Wichita Falls, and if I could eat it every meal in London, I would. Curry=awesome. This time my group had to eat separate from the rest of the group because they didn’t quite have enough space for us. We made it an adventure.

And then it was time for the night’s highlight. Wicked.

I could see Wicked a million times and not get tired of it. This was the third. And it was still awesome. 9 Wicked

Day 1 in London was done and it was time to head back to the hotel. At the end of the day I was happy. Still sick, but happy. My first international trip with EF my guide told me they try to let us experience the towns in a way that we can come back and feel comfortable navigating our way through town using public transportation while also educating us on the history. This third trip made it clear the system works. I truly understand London now. Going back on my own won’t be a problem…one day. My next EF trip will be the first that won’t include London, but I will be back because I love it. #

*****

If you like my blog, check out my books.

I think my Elizabeth Lee guardian angel mystery series (Dead Girl Walking soon to release, An Angel Gets Her Wings) might make a London stop soon!

 

 

 

Bonny Scotland

Saying goodbye to the hostel was no problem. I was sick that night, so I guess the room didn’t really matter. Besides you don’t go on these trips for the hotel. You go for the sights. even though I felt puny, I decided to focus on the fact that I was in Edinburgh. It was easy with sights like this:1 something different

Our first stop for the day was the castle. I could’ve stayed at the castle all day. There were so many interesting things to look at. The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards museum is there. You might know them because of their Amazing Grace on bagpipes that’s so popular. (Click the link and at least have the music playing in the background. Totally worth it.)

Mary Queen of Scots: crowned as a baby.

Mary Queen of Scots: crowned as a baby.

I walked around the royal rooms while at the castle and saw the Scottish crown jewels. It’s fascinating that they found a random wand that wasn’t supposed to be in the jewels when they opened them. I’m totally working that into a book one day.

Everywhere we went in Ireland and Wales people were excited because we were going

to get to see the Scottish Tattoo. I didn’t get the excitement. I mean, I’m not opposed to tattoos. I think they’re cool on other people sometimes. What was so special about Scottish tattoos? Come to find out the Scottish Tattoo is a

3. tattoo

military procession. I WISH we could’ve gotten to see it. Instead we just saw them erecting the seating for the event. That was pretty impressive.

We left the castle and made our way down the Royal Mile over to the Scot monument and tons of shops. It was beautiful 4 amazingsunny day. Everyone in Edinburgh walked around like they were in the middle of 100 degree weather. We soaked in the sun and sights and all the interesting performances on the square by the park and museums.

Scotland was so gorgeous. When I grow up I want to spend some major time in5 park the Ireland, Scotland, Northern England part of the world. The tour was great, but I want to be there for enough time to get it in my bones. I’m seriously in love with that part of the world.

 

We were scheduled to leave by night train that evening, so our wonderful guide scheduled us for a fun “Ghost Tale” walk with Adam Lyal. We made our way up the Royal Mile to to Witchery and met Adam. His fun tour was a combination of history and hilarity. We saw so much more of the area, learned about the history of witch executions and had more than a few laughs. 6 witchery

Emily was chosen as the witch in our group. She was a great sport!

Emily was chosen as the witch in our group. She was a great sport!

8 Adam Lyal 7 royal mile

 

 

 

 

 

At the end of the tour, it was time to head to the train station and the trip to London. This was the last thing I saw in Scotland. It sums up my thoughts perfectly:10 an appropriate end

The night train is always an adventure. It’s NOT comfortable, but it gets you from place to place while you’re sleeping, and honestly it’s better than international flying.  By this time my puny had turned into a cough. Ugh. I was ready to sleep no matter what. When we boarded the train Susan and I discovered our room was a handicap room, which gave us LOTS more space than everyone else in the group and put us right next to the bathroom. Everyone was jealous. A few minutes before the train left, we discovered our door wouldn’t latch. The porter told us we had to move rooms, and we were sad for about 10 seconds. Our room move:


11 upgrade

First Class. First Class on the night train means you have your own room and a blanket. It was awesome.

When I went to sleep I was happy. Coughing, but still happy. London was up next. I love London. Goodbye Scotland. I will return! #

*******

If you like my blog, check out my books on Amazon. I write christian fiction as Mary Beth Lee and Young Adult as Elizabeth Lee.