Thursday, April 14, 2011

London 2011

Here we are - our little band of travelers - headed out for 10 days traveling through Europe!

This trip is a culmination of a year and a half of labor and part of a larger vision for me as I worked to start up a travel program as part of our curriculum. After writing a proposal with educational objectives, and receiving board and administrative approval, I was allowed to start up a travel abroad program to Europe. This was very exciting for me and I threw myself into this new venture with a great deal of gusto. (Perhaps too much, but that's another story!) With the help of a fundraising guru, I came across some great opportunities for my group that allowed us to raise the entire amount needed for nine travelers. Thankfully, my first travel group was the greatest and they worked tirelessly to raise the funds.

Here we are getting ready to head to Seattle to catch our plane to London!

Hailey and Charis are our only resident Seniors, so the parents and brothers of said girls, not to mention the fabulous Joel, tagged along. Actually, most of us planned on coming along - but we had a few surprises and that's how we ended up with the boys. We are thankful they are able to come along for the adventure!
Our first stop was London, where we were greeted warmly at the airport by a guide who took us to our hotel. There, we met our tour director, the fabulous Ali Bainbridge. We had the first afternoon free - since our plane got in pretty early that morning. We decided to hop on the metro and visit the Royal British Museum. This was amazing!

After a day at the museum, and an all night flight - this is kinda' how we were feeling:
Here are a few random photos of the museum:
After the museum, we made our way to our meeting spot for dinner. We had some time to do a little bit of walking and sightseeing on our way.

We saw the landmark telephone booths.

In fact, Hailey was so excited to see the telephone booth and get her picture in one that she ran
in only to discover a huge pile of poo.

I think she may be scarred for life. This seriously upset her "Sense and Sensibilities." Her pride was certainly damaged and she might be a bit prejudiced from using future red phone booths, or from London in general.

Let's just say, it was a severe disappointment.

Here she is in a telephone booth without feces:

Here I am coming out of a cute little bookstore:

We checked out Picadilly Circus, where we met up with the rest of our group and traveled to dinner. After dinner, we walked along to take in some more sights.

The next morning, bright and early after breakfast we headed out for a city tour with a local guide. Here are a few of the amazing sights:

At the risk of oversharing, I probably ought to limit some of my pictures here. When I got home I discovered, upon uploading, that I took over 1,000 photos. So, after some serious editing, I still have about 850. I won't share all 850 today.

We visited the queen. About a million other people had the same idea. She wasn't home. Here we are at Buckingham Palace:

From Buckingham Palace we hitched a ride out to Windsor Castle. This was one of my favorite things to see. And guess who was home?

This is the queen's own flag which is flown whenever she is in residence.

Since we ate lunch while we were there, I think we could technically say we had lunch with the queen. Yep, I'm going with that.

Notice how I am keeping a bit of a distance between me and the armed guard? Yes.. well right before I stepped up there another man was posing for his picture and he put his arm around this guy. I don't know about you, but that's just crazy. Does this guy look like he wants to snuggle? Anyway, the guard went a little nuts and started yelling and began his marching routine and the guy's camera bag was in his way so he kicked it out of his path. Apparently these guards do not like to be touched.

After our Windsor tour, we went out to dinner and then went to see Wicked. It was unbelievable!
Here we are at dinner.

Here is part of our group waiting for the show to start. We are so excited to see this in London!

A few more sights to take in!

The Millenium Bridge - as featured on Harry Potter.)

Shakespeare's Globe theater - across the Thames.

We took the Chunnel to Paris the next day! Can't wait to blog about our experiences there! Stay tuned for the next country ~ France tomorrow!


  1. Great pictures!! So sorry for Hailey about the phone booth incident. Blech.
    Did y'all see any preparations for the Royal Wedding while in London?

  2. Hi Jessica! It was quite funny and we all had a hearty laugh at Hailey's expense! She was a good sport though. Actually, we didn't see any formal preparations for the wedding going on. However, when we at Windsor someone important landed there in a helicopter. We like to think it was William and Kate.