Wednesday, July 13, 2011

On Our Way Home

Monday and Tuesday were our travel days home. Monday started with our last breakfast at Our Chalet and had groups departing at different times during the morning so there were lots of good byes. Our departure time was about 10 am. We loaded the van with our suitcases and endured lots of comments from Christoph about how heavy they were. He told us if we wanted to leave the chocolate that we purchased behind, he would take care of it. Then we set off for our last walk down the mountain to the bus stop. Shortly after we arrived, Christoph brought our luggage down the mountain. We had to wait a few minutes for the bus, with trailer attached, and then when it arrived loaded our luggage and we were off down the mountain to Frutigen to catch our train. From Frutigen we caught a train to Spietz where we caught another train to Zurich that went through Bern.

It is amazing at how well our connections went because we did not have any troubles getting where we needed to be. Once we arrived in Zurich it took us a little while to figure out how to get to the hostel where we were spending the night. We knew what tram to get on and found a stop for it. The biggest hurdle was getting the tickets to ride the tram. But thanks to Brittany and I, we solved the problem rode the tram to the hostel. The hostel must be well known because a gentleman on the tram helped us with directions once we arrived at the Morgental stop and we were soon there and ensconced in our rooms.

Since we were hungry from traveling, we dropped off our stuff and headed back downtown to Neiderdorfstrasse (a street in the old part of Zurich with shops and restaurants) for dinner and some shopping. While there Angela C and some of the girls ran into our pilots for the plane the next day. They saw our Kansas shirts and our pilot commented on it because he is from Abilene. They then asked when our group was leaving and discovered that we were going on the plane that they were flying. After a couple of hours shopping and eating, we met to go back to the hostel to pack and get some sleep before our long travel day on Tuesday.

Tuesday morning we awoke, had breakfast at the hostel and some ran to a nearby grocery store to purchase some last minute chocolate. Then we caught a bus near the hostel to a train station and took the train to the airport. We arrived at the airport to get our boarding passes and check luggage and then walked to our gate going through customs on the way. Once we arrived at the gate we got on the plane for our 9 hour flight back to the US. The captain when he came over the loud speaker, welcomed the "Kansas Heartland Girl Scout group on the flight that was returning home after spending 20 days in Europe", so that was a nice touch.

We arrived at Washington D.C. Dulles airport and did not have a lot of extra time. So we went through the entry point, grabbed our suitcases, went through customs and loaded the suitcases back onto the plane. We arrived at our gate just as our plane was loading. So we loaded there and then headed on our 2.5 hour flight back to KC and home. It was good to see familiar faces at the airport when we arrived in KC. We had a great trip, a great experience and it was good to be back home. I think that each of us will have pictures and memories to last a lifetime.

Sunday - Hike to Elsigenalp

Today was our hike to Elsigenalp. We had a couple of options for today. We could either take the low road, which was a 2 hour hike to the gondola and then ride the gondola up the mountain and walk down. Eight individuals chose this route. Or we could take the high road, which was a 3 hour hike to the mountain lake, and then ride the gondola down the mountain. Eight chose this route. I chose the latter. It was a beautiful hike, but challenging at times. But according to the staff, we moved quickly and actually arrived at the lake earlier than planned. We had the Danish group on our heels the entire time and so that kept us moving.

Once we arrived at the lake, we could either dig right into lunch or jump into the lake and take a swim. We arrived about the same time that the group arrived that walked to the gondola and rode it up. Since we were warm from our hike, many of us chose to jump into the lake. Although this is a manmade lake, it is still fed from glacier springs and it was cold. The water was so blue and clear. It was cold when you first jumped in, but you soon got used to it and several of us swam for a little while before getting out, drying off and changing clothes behind the trees. We ate lunch next to the lake and then slowly the groups moved to the restaurant that was near by.

While at the restaurant the clouds moved in and at times obscured our view. We had a couple of options from this point. Relax and enjoy the view, which several of us chose. Go to another mountain lake, three of the girls chose to do this. Or climb another couple of hours to the top of the mountain. Alice chose the last option. Because of the time and probably the clouds they made it within a few minutes to the very top and then turned around and came back.

While the other activities were going on, the first group that took the gondola up, left on their walk down the mountain. The rest of us chilled, literally at times, at the restaurant on top and enjoyed the view, when we could see, before taking the gondola down the mountain and then a bus back to Our Chalet. The bus ride was interesting as the ride down the mountain was on their narrow mountain roads. I am amazed at how well these bus drivers do. I would probably be rolling down the mountainside.

Once we returned to Our Chalet we had a little time to relax and chill before it was time for the last patrol duties. That night dinner was brats, mashed potatoes and peas followed by Mousse Straticolli, which was whipped cream with chocolate chips.

Our evening activity was a picture in uniforms of the entire group on the steps of Main Chalet followed by our final campfire and closing ceremony.

During the closing ceremony they recognized the people that completed the Our Chalet Challenge. We had 74 total participants during the week and over 20 completed the challenge. From our group we had 8 people complete the challenge: Angela L., Angela C., Analicia, Kelsey, Alice, Ashley, Brittany, and me. Then each group had one representative participate in the final candlelight and campfire lighting ceremony. Each person had a word to describe our time at Our Chalet and then added a memory that corresponds to the word. Kelsey was our representative. Finally we finished out the night with a variety of campfire songs, fun, laughter, hugs, goodbyes and even some tears. It was a great ending to our time at Our Chalet.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Saturday Free Day

Today was our free day and so most of us slept in and several of us missed breakfast. I figured that I could get by with just a breakfast bar. We agreed to meet around 10 am to head out for the day. Since Adelboden is not very big and is very safe, we decided that the girls could wear what they wanted to wear. We walked down the hill from Our Chalet and then UPPPPPP the hill to Adelboden to get something to eat and to go shopping. We bought lots of different things and souvenirs for people. But you will have to wait until we get back to find out what we bought, I am not telling. Just think about what Switzerland is known for and you might get a hint. We found a little place that sold cheeseburgers and fries or chicken nuggets and fries and that is what we had for lunch. The man that ran it did not speak a lot of English, but enough and we tried out some of the Swiss German that have learned. He gave use 3 packages of cookies to take back for the girls for dessert. There was a festival in Adelboden today, so we got to see some of that. We left before the gigantic water fight though. We did top into the Shop that the Woodcarver has in town. The son that we met the other day was in there and so we had a good time talking to him.

After shopping we headed back down the mountain from Adelboden and then back up the mountain to Our Chalet. We did not have patrol duties tonight because it is our free day. Dinner tonight was Sweet and Sour Chicken with Salad. We had watermelon for dessert. Tonight everyone is hanging out, doing puzzles, working on the Our Chalet Challenge, and catching up on their journals. I am obviously catching up on the blog.

It is hard to believe that tomorrow is our last full day here. Time has really gone fast. I am not sure what my Internet options will be tomorrow and beyond. Tomorrow we have a couple of options again. We can either hike two hours to a gondola, take a gondola up the mountain and swim in a mountain lake, then hike down the mountain. Or hike three hours up the mountain, swim in the mountain lake and then take the gondola down the mountain. Most of us have chosen to hike up the mountain and take the gondola down with about 5 people chosing the other option. We will see how that goes. Then Monday we leave Our Chalet for Zurich. I will get on if possible and keep this blog updated.

Friday - Another day out, this time by bus

Friday was another one of our offsite days. Once again, we were taken to another place by bus. So after breakfast, we gathered and then had to load the bus quickly. We saw the bus arriving as we were walking down the hill and so we had to run quickly down the hill because once it stopped, it could only sit for 2 minutes. You would not believe how narrow these roads are here in the mountains. No wonder they drive very small cars, vans, etc... here. Nothing big could fit on the roads, plus all of the people that are hiking here.

Today was our day to go to Niessen first where we took a funicular railroad to the top of the mountain. The mountain was over 3200 meters high. It has over 11,600 steps next to it and they have an annual race to see how fast people can run them. The winner last year ran them in under an hour, AMAZING! It was cloudy, so we ran through the clouds on the way up. Once we were on the top, the clouds were moving and so we could only see different things below. We could see Lake Thun that we would be taking a boat over later to Thun. On the top of the mountain is a restaurant and hotel. A lot of the stuff is expensive in the restaurant, but the staff told us that the french fries (or would they be Swiss Fries here, Pomme Frites) were good and you get a bunch, so we split fries and had drinks (soda). Then we walked the rest of the way to the top of the mountain. It was cool to be on top of the clouds. It was like being in an airplane without the airplane and trying to put the view into words is difficult. I am not sure that even pictures will do it justice. We spent over an hour on the top and then took the railroad back down. The railroad has been there over 100 years and takes you up in 2 sections.

We we got down, we climbed on the bus and headed to Spiez. There we ate our lunch by Lake Thun. The water is so blue and beautiful. They call the lake and the area the Swiss Riviera. The houses around it are really nice. There was a good ice cream place nearby and so we had ice cream before we caught a boat to go across Lake Thun. We had two choices for today, either visit Old Thun Town or see a castle, Oberhaven Castle. We chose the castle. It was interesting. It was built to provide security for Thun. They have it furnished for the time period. There was one room of stained glass windows that were beautiful and told the family history. Another room that I liked was connected to the main house by a bridge and was a turret over the water. The last room I liked in the tower was a library that was a couple of floors high. I need one of each. After touring the house, we walked through the gardens. They were beautiful. They had several weddings while we were there. After a couple of hours at the castle we got back on the bus, picked up the people in Old Thun and headed back to Our Chalet.

Last night dinner was Beef Stroganoff and salad. For dessert we had berries and cream on meringues. It was really good.

Tonight, we had two choices again for the evening activity. One was to hike overnight up a high mountain and see the sun rise. We did not choose to do that activity. What we chose to do was to do the sunset hike to a waterfall. We could go up to the waterfall and stand on a rock under the falls. It was fun. We got really wet. It was hard coming back down from the falls because the rocks were really slippery. It was dark when we headed back and we used our flashlights to find our way. It was a great experience and we had fun.

Thursday Offsite Day - A Long Hike!

Thursday was our offsite hiking day, so after breakfast we met and then walked to the Woodcarver´s shop. The shop is really small because it is in one room of their house. It is a family business with the husband, wife, 2 sons and a daughter working with the business. Not everyone could go into the shop at one time so our group split in half. One group went into the hut to shop and buy things that were made. I wanted a music box and Emma got a secret box. I am sure that the woodcarver enjoys the groups coming to buy. The other group went to the next hut which was a Tea shop run by a lady. We bought drinks and she had either lemon cake or plum cake. They were huge pieces. Then we switched.

Then we hiked back to a stream with a picnic area where we ate our lunch.

We cut our lunch a little short because they were afraid of rain. Then we hiked to the gorge where we were supposed to go rappelling (or abseiling). I was a little worried about it at first since I am not very trusting of equipment to hold me, but all of the girls that tried it did great. Most everyone did it, except for 2 girls and 2 adults. Even Angela C. and I did it and let me tell you, we did great also. The staff said that we went through it really fast. It had two parts to the activity. On one section we rappelled down about 30 meters along that rock wall of the gorge. One of the Chalet staff met us at the bottom of this section and helped us onto a ledge. Once you hit this point there was no turning back. Then we climbed on the ledge for about 20 meters and then we rappelled down the second section which was about 70 meters. Once again, a staff member caught us at the bottom and swung us onto a platform in the gorge. It was beautiful with rocks, trees, flowers, running water and water falls. When I first started, I kind of did not move very much because I was a little nervous. The older man that was helping us out told me that I needed to let some of the rope or I would not go anywhere. Once Angela and I got down the first section, the Chalet staff member, Christina, told us to lean back more and to put more of our feet on the wall. It helped. I am so glad that I did it and I think that the girls were also glad.

After we were done, we hiked back to Our Chalet. Both hikes were a little under 2 hours. Since they shortened our lunch and we did the rappelling quickly, we came back to the Chalet earlier than expected and had a little bit of down time before dinner. Dinner was a potato dish with cheese, peppers, onions, and pineapple. Then we had Bread and Butter pudding with chocolate chips for dessert. I am amazed at the amount of potato dishes that the Swiss eat. Also cheese too.

At night we had a Mystery game night that was similar to Clue. The volunteers gathered us all together and told us that Skippy the cat was missing and we needed to find her killer. They put us into groups and we ran around to different locations to find out the location of the murder, the suspect, and the murder weapon. It rained during part of it and no one wanted to go to the campfire because it was a ways away from the main site. At the end of time, they called us all together to see who had the right guess. After that it was a little free time and then off to bed.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

2nd Off Site Activity Day - Chocolate

Wednesday was our 2nd off site activity day. Because we were going to a town that was an hour away by bus, we got to take a bus and not walk it. Phew! The town that we visited is called Interlaken which literally means between two lakes because, as you may have guessed, the town is located between two lakes. We headed to the busses at 9 am and had to load quickly because on these small one lane Swiss roads, the bus blocks the road and can only stay there for 2 minutes before being fined. Once we loaded the bus, off to Interlaken we went.

We started our day in Interlaken with a Chocolate Show at a Chocolatier`s shop. The staff member showed us how they make chocolate and also chocolate creations that you can buy. We also had the chance to try different kinds of chocolate. We had some time to shop in their store before heading to the park to eat lunch.

In the afternoon, we had a couple of choices for activities. The majority of the group chose to go Whitewater Rafting. We went on a river that had come down from the glacier that morning and so it was really cold. We wore wet suits to keep us warm, especially if we fell in. The guides were a lot of fun and we went down rapids rated from 1 to 4. It was a good day. At the end of the run we ended in Lake Thun. Near the point where we pulled the boats out of the lake, we all jumped in and swam. Then we headed back to the Whitewater rafting company for some refreshments and to change. I think that everyone had a great time.

The other option that a few people selected was to do some shopping in Interlaken and also to hike to a falls. They enjoyed the hike and did a scavenger hunt in the town.

After we finished with everything we headed back to Our Chalet. Dinner was a Chicken Pasta, Peas and Carrots ending with Peach Crisp. The evening activity was a game that helped us learn about the Centenary Celebration for WAGGGS.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What time is it? Adventure Time!

Today had our first off site day and went to the adventure park. It was a one hour walk there and then at the end of the day, a one hour walk back. I think that all of us are feeling it tonight.

At the adventure park we did several activities around and on a bridge. We started off with zip lines. There were two lower ones and two higher ones. It was a lot of fun. Even our two girls that are a little afraid of heights were able to do them, with some gentle persuasion and no I did not push them. Then we moved to under the bridge for the high ropes course. I felt that the first part of the course was the hardest. It also got hard when more than one person was on the course because the wires wiggled. Then we rappelled off of the bridge. I asked the man helping us several times how strong his ropes and pulleys were. I am not sure that I am supposed to see pine trees from the top down. But we made it. We had lunch and after lunch we moved to a natural climbing wall on the face of the mountain. Pretty much everyone tried rock climbing, even our two girls that are worried about heights. It was a good day and everyone was tired when we came home.

Tonight was Swiss night here at the Chalet. An elderly gentleman came and brought his Alpine Horn to play for us. It is amazing how he gets the sounds out of it like that. We learned a Swiss song and then played Jeopardy to learn more about Switzerland, the people and culture. Then we finished off the event with chocolate fondue. Let me tell you, the fondue did not last very long. And I learned something tonight. I learned that fondue means melted. Tomorrow we go to the Chocolate maker`s and white water rafting.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Our Chalet

We left Paris without breakfast to be able to catch our train on time. I joked with the group that we were taking several trains, a bus and donkey to get here. We did have several train changes and some with fairly close connections (and train employees that only spoke German), but we made without any problems. There were a couple of other groups heading to Our Chalet on the train with us. When we arrived in Adleboden we were met by a couple of the Our Chalet program volunteers. We left our luggage with the van driver and then headed on our 20 minute hike up the hill to Our Chalet. Once there, we registered and were shown to our rooms. Sunday night was a time to settle in and we just had dinner on the schedule. The adults are in one room in Spycher, three are in the Baby Chalet and the girls are in the attic of Spycher.

This morning we started the schedule with breakfast and an opening flag ceremony. Then we had an onsite day to get familiar with the other people here and to learn more about Our Chalet. Some of the adults left in the afternoon to go down to Adleboden to change money and buy groceries. It is a 45 minute walk to town, first down hill and then UPHILL! We should be in shape when we get home with all of the walking in the mountains that we are doing. It is beautiful here. You want to just run in the mountains and sing songs from the Sound of Music. I keep expecting Heidi to appear although I have not seen any goats yet. Last night was our International night where every group presented a little bit about their countries. We had a good time and our presentation went well. We have groups here from Denmark, Norway, and of course the USA (California, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania). We finished the night with SWAPS and getting our laundry done. We did have a bbq at lunch in honor of the 4th of July.


I think that I will try to do Paris in one blog posting. We left Dover early in the morning after having a good English breakfast at the B&B with eggs, toast, bacon, tea and baked beans. We caught a local train to Ashton. At Ashton we caught the Eurostar train to Paris. The trip was a lot shorter than we thought it would be and we were in and out of the Chunnel before we knew it. We arrived in Paris at the Paris Gare Nord (North Station). After getting our bearings and figuring out where to go we headed to the Metro and to our hostel. Because it was a hostel, the rooms were pretty spartan. But we just needed beds to sleep in. The girls were a little disappointed at first because Paris is a large city and not the romantic place that they imagined, or maybe saw in movies. We checked into the hostel and headed out into the city in search of food and maybe the Paris that they were imagining.

So we headed to the quinessential Paris landmark, the Eiffel Tower. On the way we looked for a place to eat. Our group was large and so we overwhelmed sidewalk cafes. We ended up at a place where we paid way to much for okay food. We also learned some lessons, such as getting take out on a street was okay. After eating, we headed to the Eiffel Tower. The girls were amazed by it, but the lines were too long and we would not be able to go to the top. So we found souvenir shops instead. We planned to come back the next day to see the Eiffel Tower.

So our 2nd day in Paris, we went to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Even our girls that were a little afraid of heights went up to the top. We were really proud of them. We were able to ge some great pictures from the top of the Tower of downtown Paris. Once we finished with that, we came down and ate our lunch. There were tons of guys running around the tower with cheap replicas trying to get people to buy. We caught our tour bus for the day and began riding around it learning about the various Paris sights. When we came to Notre Dame we got off to go and see it. We visited the church and were amazed by the beauty inside of it. After we were done we visited the bathroom. Now you may be wondering why I am commenting on the bathroom. It was near Notre Dame and had three female attendents. If you took too long in the bathroom, the knocked on the door to let you know that you needed to come out. That day we also visited the Champs D'Elysees, ate at McDonald's (not my choice), saw the Arc de Triomphe, and visited the Hard Rock Cafe before heading back to our hostel for the night.

The next day (our 3rd day in Paris), was our 'free' day. I asked the girls what they wanted to do and of course shopping was one of the main options. We first went to Napolean's tomb because Brittany had a list of things to do and that was one of them. His tomb is in the Hospital for Military Invalids, in a large chapel. It is carved out of marble and huge. The chapel or church is really beautiful. After we finished with that we caught one of the tour busses and headed on a different route from yesterday. This route went through the Moulon Rouge area with the sex shows and shops. Then we got off the bus at the Sacre Coeur stop to go see that church. The street leading up to it was full of souvenir shops, so we shopped our way up the street. At the top before we started the climb up Montmarte to Sacre Coeur, there were a couple of food shops where we could get crepes. Most of us had an egg, ham, cheese and tomato crepe followed by a dessert crepe. The food was wonderful. Then we climbed up to the church. It too was beautiful and you had a great view of Paris from the hill. Then we shopped our way back down. We later learned that it was a big festival for the church.

Then we took the bus back towards the Louvre because that was our activity for the evening. We visited the highlights such as the Mona Lisa and spent about four hours looking at paintings. Then we walked back towards a metro stop along the Seine river so that we could see the Eiffel Tower lit up at night.

The next morning we got up and headed to Versailles for the day. We just bought tickets for the palace since the younger girls got in free. We had a great time going through the palace and sneaking looks at the gardens through the open windows. There were so many people there that at times it felt like cattle going through a chute. After spending several hours at Versailles, we grabbed dinner and went back to London on the train. We arrived home earlier than we had been to be able to visit a grocery store across the street and to pack. Thus ended our time in Paris.

Catching Up

So it has been a few days since I posted to the blog. We have been busy and our Internet access in Paris was not very good. So we are now at Our Chalet and the Internet access is better here. Not cheap, but at least it is better. We should be in shape when we get done with this because of the hiking that we are and will be doing.

So to update everyone. I last left you when we were headed to Dover. We arrived in Dover without any problems about noon. It was a nice train ride. Our B&B was close to the train station. We checked in and settled into the rooms.

Then we decided to hike 20 minutes to Dover Castle. Unfortunately, Dover Castle was built on a hill and most of the hike was UPHILL! I guess it was good practice for Switzerland. The castle was neat to see. It was built in the 12th century and they had it decorated and furnished in that time period. It was interesting because I am reading a book right now on Eleanor of Aquitaine who was the wife of the Henry that built the castle. We were able to climb to the top of the Tower in the middle. While I was up there with a couple of girls, we watched a thunderstorm roll in across the Channel from France. The castle was built in the 12th century, but there was also a lighthouse from Roman times and a church that was between the two time periods. The other interesting thing about the castle was the underground tunnels. These were built in the 18th century and used for housing troops and supplies, especially during the World Wars. A hospital was also located in some of the tunnels. After spending several hours at the castle, we walked back down into Dover.

Since we were running out of clean clothes. We found the laundramat and did laundry. There was a restaurant across the street where we all ate dinner. They had good English food that we enjoyed. Once our laundry was complete we headed back to the B&B to go to bed to be ready to go to Paris in the morning.

This day was Brittany´s 17th birthday. At breakfast we gave her a card signed by everyone and sang Happy Birthday to her when she came down for breakfast. I had a card for her from her mom and dad and she enjoyed it too. Later in Dover we bought cakes and had a small party on the front area in front of the B&B.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bus Trip out of Town

Today was our bus trip out of town. We had to leave really early before breakfast, so we grabbed our snacks as breakfast. We needed to be to a location near Victoria Station by 8:30 and I didn't want to be late and miss it. Since it was rush hour on the train, we worked out a system for keeping track of everyone. Today we didn't lose anyone and we seem to be getting pretty good at navigating the Underground system. We made it about 8:10, so we had time to spare. Once our tour guide came, we loaded the bus.

Once we were underway, the tour guide informed us that the Queen had closed Windsor Castle for the day because she was using it. So that loss, actually became my gain. Because their backup site for the tours is Hampton Court Palace, where I wanted to visit, but thought I wouldn't be able to get to. It was one of Henry VIII's favorite palaces and I really wanted to see it. Built in the 15th century, the building is in remarkably good condition and had wonderful ceiling paintings, gardens, and wordwork. It has over 1,200 rooms. There is a clock tower that is amazing with a clock that not only tells the time, but also the day, month, moon phase, tide level for the Thames, and astrological sign. It also still works. We didn't get to see the ghost of Catherine Howard in the haunted hallway though. But as we were leaving Good King Hal and one of his many wives, maybe Catherine Howard went strolling through the courtyard into the castle. We learned, while looking at portraits, that often to get a full-checked impression in pictures, the person sitting for the portrait would have a fruit in their mouth.

Then we moved onto Stonehenge. It started to rain when we got there but it didn't last long. The rain was kind of funny because it rained that last time I visited Stonehenge. Last of all we visited the Roman baths in Bath. Bath is a really unique town and one that would be worth visiting again. It was neat to learn about the Roman baths there and how they functioned. We got back to town about 7:30. Most of us headed back to Pax Lodge, but a few looked for some souvenirs. Tomorrow we leave London to head to Dover. Today was pretty relaxing, even though we covered a lot of ground.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Seeing London in 2 days

I knew that trying to see all of the important things in London in two days was going to be difficult. So we have had a couple of very busy days looking at all of the sights and the girls are tired when they arrive back to Pax Lodge. Tonight we tried to come back early, but despite our best efforts, it was late again. So on Saturday, we set out for central London and spent most of the morning and some of the afternoon riding the Tour Bus (double decker) around London and seeing the sights. The busses drove fast, so sometimes it was hard to get pictures. We also went to the Hard Rock Cafe to shop and see the vault. We walked along one of the Parks (Green Park, I think), to look at some art by local artists. Then we caught another bus and finished out our day at the British Museum looking at all of the cool stuff there. I was especially interested in the Mummies, the Parthenon sculptures and the Chessmen. We then had tickets for a river cruise on the Thames and went from Westminster to the Tower of London. When that was done, we headed back towards Pax Lodge stopping at a restaurant names "Giraffe" for dinner.

Today, we participated in the flag ceremony at Pax Lodge. I should have learned the tune of the World Center song before coming, not too good on the singing. We then headed out for the day trying to get to Buckingham Palace for the Changing of the Guard. We couldn't see much though. Then we walked to Westminster Abbey, visited the City Loos (50 pence to go in), the Abbey gift shop and took pictures of the outside. Then we headed to the Tower of London.

We took a tour of the Tower led by one of the Beefeaters and learned alot. We then split up. I went with a group to see the torture instruments, many looked very painful. We also saw the armor in the White Tower and walked along the wall. You might want to privately ask me how I think Henry VIII viewed his manhood with his armor. LOL. I can show you a picture. Then Brittany wanted to see Abbey Road, so we found it and spent a lot of time trying to take pictures crossing it and getting it right. There was a bunch of traffic and a bunch of people there. By this time we were all exhausted and hungry. We headed back on the Underground towards Pax Lodge. We split up for dinner. I ate with a group that went to the George Pub. We had good traditional British food, but alas, no beer, :(

So that is two days in London in a nutshell. Tomorrow we do our tour of Windsor Castle, Bath and Stonehenge.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Heading to Europe

Well we had a shaky start on Thursday. In Emporia everything seemed fine. We met at the Amend GS Center and divided into cars and headed to the airport. We arrived at the airport 2 hours before our flight, or so we thought. When I went to ask about checking the group in, they told me that our flight didn't exist and we had been put on the flight that was leaving in 15 minutes. Talk about panic. The United Customer Service staff were great and got us checked in quickly and held the plane for us. Now our worry was that our luggage would arrive with us. We made the flight and from then on our trip was pretty uneventful. We did have a couple of meltdowns because some didn't have time to get food in KC before we left, but we fed everyone in Chicago and actually had a little extra time there.

Except for a little turbelance in the beginning, our flight from Chicago to London went well, except that every one was tired when we arrived. We managed to navigate the London Underground with our luggage and made it to Pax Lodge without too much trouble. We left our stuff at Pax Lodge and then went to the Camden Markets to do some shopping and grab a bite to eat. Then we had a tour of Pax Lodge and a Royal Cream Tea. Now we are meeting to head to the Lion King and then collapse in our beds for the night.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Europe Trip

Well our Europe Girl Scout Trip is coming faster than I think that I am ready. We have 9 girls and 7 adults to go to Europe, and we are leaving in 15 days. We have been planning this trip for the last two years and now the rubber is meeting the road and we need to finalize all of our details. We have a couple more meetings left to plan the last few details such as a Swaps, our presentation for international night, etc... I need to sit down with a last minute to do list to make sure that I have everything taken care of for the trip. We have plane tickets, train tickets, lodging. All of those are paid and taken care of for the trip - along with tickets for Lion King and our tour information. I plan to use this blog to help keep people informed a long the way on our trip.