Monday, June 29, 2015

Pick up details

We are at the airport. Our flight info is below. We are exhausted and excited to be returning home, however bittersweet. 
I'd suggest checking the flight status online or with the united airlines app using the flight numbers above and plan to be at RDU arrivals gate at 4:20 pm as baggage claim takes a little bit. You can circle and pick up outside of the United gate or park and wait for a call or text from your student. We will blog, text, and call when we arrive in Newark to update flight status. See you soon!  

Paris Day 1

My apologies - my London post didn't make it through until today. 

We got up and headed to "le gare" the train early this morning. It was comfortable and we were mostly able to fact, we napped right through lunch on the train. Once we got to Paris there was a little confusion as our tour guide put us on the other EF group's bus. A quick circle around the block and we got on the right bus and started for The Palace of Versailles. 

Here's part of the front. This is about half.
 The queen's bedroom. 
The King's bedroom. 
Almost all the ceilings were painted. 
The gardens were gorgeous but so large and hard to maneuver. 
The music playing behind the fountains was wonderful. 
All too soon it was time to leave but not before a little commotion!  Kris Jenner and her boyfriend Corey were at the palace. Emma got a picture!!
Louis got a souvenir outside the gate. 

We made a quick stop at Louis Vuitton and the Arc de Triomphe. 
And ice cream before going back to the hotel!
The hotel is....shall we say, very unique...
But located in an adorable town right outside of Paris. Our TD Cat said she's never stayed in a hotel this close in Paris before. After the girls went to bed, I walked down the street to get some money out of the ATM and snapped a few pictures. 
Another late night but we get to sleep in tomorrow. 

London day 2

Today was rough. Everyone is exhausted. Here we are at 9 am on the Tube in to London. 
Poor girls were tired. 
But we woke up as we visited the beautiful Westminister Abbey with Sean our guide. He has so much knowledge and he's really fun. 

I wish I had a history teacher half as engaging but I guess it's easy to discuss the reformation of the church while standing on the Graves of those who participated. 
Photography is strictly forbidden inside so you'll have to use your imagination. 
Getting the message about cell phone use before heading inside. 
Last pic before heading in. 

We visited Notting Hill's open air market and got our hard rock cafe tees before collapsing outside of Harrods and waiting for dinner. 
This stairwell in the center was climbed by everyone but Emma 
PS - this is only half of it. Did we know that?  Nope. 
We went on to dinner for fish and chips in the most posh area of London. 
Then on to our Jack the Ripper walking tour. 
One of his killings occurred right behind here. 

Know what else is spooky? 
These bags under my eyes!  Haha. 
So with that we are off to bed. Have to be up at 5:30 to catch the euro star train to Paris and on to Versailles. Leave comments. They love them! ❤️💷🚉🇦🇺

Saturday, June 27, 2015

London day 1

Today was BY FAR the busiest day we've had so far. we woke up in London, had breakfast including crumpets, toast, fruit, yogurt, and cereal. The hotel is more of a chain - it's called Premier Inn and had more modern amenities like great water pressure and a television!  Cat gave us or tube tickets and we walked to the tube only to find out we couldn't get on til 9:30. We spent around 30 minutes having coffee and exploring (aka seeking out WiFi in coffee shops). 
We then went into the city!  The tube was exciting for some and frightening for others. The group we have bonded with from Northern Virginia have been hanging with us and helping out. Since we cannot all fit on the tube during rush traffic we watch out for each other. Students have becoming great at reading signs and self directing. Cailley excels at this and has been navigating with me. 

We found a red phone booth and had some photo ops before a bus tour. 

Seeing London by bus was great because it helped get our bearings and saved our feet. 
The bus stopped at random places and we got photos, bathroom, drinks, and marveled at the mix of modern and antique arcitecture.
After the bus tour with Sean from Scotland we took some time to shop at topshop and relax on a rooftop with amazing views.
Lunch was at Pret a Manger and we had salad sandwiches and sushi. We saw the Magna Carta and had some to take pictures at Buckingham Palace. 

We met the group for dinner layer at an Asian restaurant. Dumplings and teriyaki chicken layer we tried mochi ice cream. 
Then it was on to The Globe for measure for measure!
More about that tomorrow. 
Time to leave the hotel so no more WiFi until later. We have a 5 am wake up call so I might not have time to blog tonight. 

Remember - no news is good news!!!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Just kidding - London is land of colored hair and not wifi

So the hotel is nice but the wifi is out til 1 am. It's 1:15 but the wifi is "experiencing technical difficulties". Go figure. It is Europe. 

Today began with a breakfast at the Royal Hotel in Wales and the kids tried marmamite (similar to Vegemite). One girl in our group (Tenessee) said it was like "the devil on her tongue". 

We rode the bus to Stratford and saw Anne Hathaway cottage. It was really beautiful like a Hans Christian Anderson story line. It was also amazingly small to house so many people. We took a short walk to Shakespeare's birthplace and witnessed some on the spot acting and saw all the crazy rooms. They slept 3 to a bed which was about the size of a twin and had a pole to keep you from rolling out. They also believed in painting mean spirits on the walls to scare away evil the night. 

Then we hopped back on the bus to drive to London. It took awhile but we made it just in time for dinner. We took the Tube in and has a nice dinner just the 9 of us. Since lunch was provided today we got to choose dinner. All the girls really seemed to like this place and the best part was they chose it on their own. 

I am trying to install in them a sense of self advocacy. I keep reminding them to speak up and let me know what's going on. Tonight a few didn't ask for the bathroom until it was time to get on the tube and travel home. The other two groups had to wait 15 minutes for us to buy a coffee just to get access to the toilet. Crazy. I was in such a rush I left The coffee sitting on the counter in touched.

They are doing do great.  I plan to have them update a little more tomorrow. Let's hope for WiFi!!!!!!  

Updated - Stratford, Shakespeare, and Sonnets

Stratford was a gorgeous town and Anne Hathaway's gardens were equally as pretty.  We arrived at Avon to see Anne's house and gardens. 
The grounds were meticulously manicured and well kept. The girls got to see how people lived - a two room house (this is after all the additional rooms were added) house for seven people plus theirs servants and farm hands.  The original house is the two windows under the middle chimney without the second floor ball the rest was added later. 
Then it was time for lunch!!!
After having a cheeseburger and chips or chicken breast, peas, and chips lunch and chocolate muffin dessert at The Dirty Duck, we headed to Stratford. 

Malena had a tummy ache so the girls took turns carrying her lunch for her and we got her some nausea medicine Dramamine and all the girls were super sweet. 

We made our way to Arden and saw Shakespears birthplace and spent a little time in the small town, basically a few streets. The girls went shopping or to Starbucks to steal some wifi. 

Some of the kids got in on a live performance. :)

They are most looking forward to the Paris by night excursion - river ride and view of the eiffle tower.

Gotta go!  Time for London!!!