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.