Friday, November 28, 2008

Sad Day... it was our last day. However everyone is ready to come home. The attitudes have been fabulous and everyone has been helpful and gracious the entire time.

We had a VERY filled day today as we toured the city, spent a few hours at the Louvre (in which you could literally spend days...or weeks even) and went to the top of the Eiffel tower by night. There was some major last minute shopping done down the main streets and I believe everyone is happy with their purchases!

We wish we could spend more time here going through the museums and whatnot, but it was a good way to end the trip and 'sample' a taste of Paris. I for one was never that impressed with the city until I have spent time in it...and I know I am not the only one who would like to come back one day and spend some time browsing the city.

I hope everyone learned much on the trip as it was extremely educational in more ways than one. Travelling, learning and experiencing a different culture is always a wonderful teaching tool.

Here is a taste of the trip and I will post an online scrapbook for everyone so they can download pictures as soon as I can reformat pictures for that use.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Paris...and THE INEVITABLE!!!

We arrived safely in Paris this afternoon, checked into our hotel and set out to learn how to use their Metro Public Transport (which is really quite simple despite the criss-cross of lines on the map). Our first stop was Notre Dame. It was absolutely beautiful and a very holy experience for some of the students. It was here that the inevitable happened...we LOST 2 students! It was bound to happen on the trip as it's near impossible to keep 21 people together in some of these city crowds - But no fear, we drilled for the occasion somebody became separated from the group and all is well. April and Jordan showed up slightly late at our meeting point on the street in front of the Cathedral, and due to crazy crowds, a filming of a commercial and decorating of the Christmas tree we had to get the others to dinner and sent back an adult to get them...but they had already set out for the hotel. They did quite a good job and we received a call from the front desk as soon as they arrived. They asked directions from a guard, hopped back on the metro and popped back into the hotel; where they went straight to the front desk. Of course everyone was slightly worried and we postponed all plans until we knew where they were. All in all they were only missing for approximately 40 minutes...not enough time to even cause serious worry yet...Our guide says there’s something about Notre Dame as most large groups have a misplaced person or two after the experience.

On this note I do want to commend each and every student as our trip draws to a close. Everyone was extremely responsible for themselves as well as each other. Because of this we had no major mishaps and everyone has been very safe.

Because of this the remaining students were able to enjoy a riverboat cruise along the Seine to see Paris at night; "the City of Lights". Our initial response to Paris was that it was dirty and smelled, but it is truly a beautiful city, full of culture and a lively people. By night we really were able to see and appreciate the Paris skyline, and see why Parisians are such a proud people.

I also finally convinced them to try the pastries. Parent's beware them asking for crepes and Nutella when they get home. I believe I have created an addiction...sorry...

Tomorrow we will tour the city, visit the Louvre and get to see the Eiffel Tower by night. It was beautifully light up tonight and everyone is excited to go to the top!

I will post a slideshow of our days here tomorrow night. We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Well, we've just gone through the French customs as we wait for the Eurostar to take us to Paris. Everyone feels like their bag weight has doubled, but can't figure out how. My theory is Garden Gnomes hitched a ride somehow from the countryside and have stowed away in the the bags; hence why everything feels sooooo heavy. But again, just a theory.

I happen to have free wireless right now, but I'm not sure how it will play out in France. Hopefully the hotel has it and I will update again this evening (or rather afternoon for you all)!

We will be visiting Notre Dame today for sure amongst other places after we get into the hotel around 1pm our time; about the time everyone should be sitting down for a fantastic Turkey dinner back home! Eat plenty for us!!! And save the leftovers!!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

London Theatre

The last two days have been insane!!! As it is all the Internet cafes are closed and Zoe has graciously let me use her computer so I can let everyone know what has been going on! Yesterday we visited The Globe Theatre in Bankside and participated in a workshop. The rest of the afternoon was spent on our last free time in London, dinner at a great little Italian restaurant and the show WICKED!!! It was amazing!

Today we waited for the bus FOREVER since there had been an accident and it got stuck in traffic. The kids fell asleep in the lobby, but jumped on the bus when it finally arrived for Oxford. Oxford was awesome. There are lots of little colleges within the University and the town is absolutely beautiful.

We then went to Anne Hathaway's cottage in Stratford on Avon, Shakespeare's birthplace, and his gravesite. We then had dinner at the original Hard Rock cafe and to the show The Sound of Music. There are not words to describe it. Amazing doesn't even come close.

Sorry this is so short, but I'm exhausted and really need to get to bed as we're traveling to Paris tomorrow and are getting up VERY early.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Stonehenge and Bath

Today we traveled to Stonehenge about 1 1/2 hours away. We got to see much of the country side and farms as we travelled to the southwest of England. It was freezing, but an incredible experience. Our guide told us all the local lore and explained all the new studies they have discovered on the way there. The stones weigh over 50 tons and many of them were brought from over 250 miles away in Wales! It took 1500 years to complete in three stages.

We then travelled to the town of Bath to see the ancient Roman baths that were refurbished during the reign of the George's. They were buried after the Anglo-Saxon invasion after the Romans left in the 400's AD. The water still flowed, but the ruins to the actual baths weren't found again until the 1700's.

The entire town of Bath is built from the local quarry; even today. It's amazing. The Bath Monastery also is located in the heart of the city and many of us were able to visit it and tour the inside. The stone seen on the church is the same as EVERY SINGLE BUILDING within this rather large town! The time spent there was eating fine chocolates at lunch and shopping the main street while we saw local street artist!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

Another fun-filled busy day. It was snowing when I got up and turned to rain, but by noon the sun was peaking through. It started off with some crabby students who did not receive their wake-up call, but also did not have a backup as they were told to do. So they had to get ready REALLY fast, but all made it okay and we headed to the Tower of London where the Crown Jewels were on display and where Ann Boleyn, as well as another of Henry VIII wives, were beheaded. They keep Ravens on the grounds as their is a superstition if they ever leave the Tower England will fall.
Outside the Tower is the Tower Bridge. This is often confused with the London Bridge, which is awfully boring actually. The Tower Bridge is beautiful!!!
We then split up, some going to Harrod's, the famous department store, some to wander and shop more of London (there is lots of shopping in London!), and a few of us headed to the Museum. There we saw mummies, Greek architecture, the Rosetta Stone, and an Easter Island head among MANY other things. A bunch of girls also saw the premier to Madagascar 2 open and got pictures of some of the celebrities in attendance!
(if you don't know that quote you are missing a great movie!)

We concluded our night with a Curry Dinner at an Indian Restaurant. It was amazing and everyone cleaned their plates!

Saturday, November 22, 2008


What a busy day! First I'd like to share something: Parent's ask your children what Nationality they are when they get home. Three-fourths of them answered white on their papers for entrance into England. It worried me...but I got a REALLY good laugh.

We first visited St. Paul's cathedral this morning where Lady Diana and Prince Charles were married. It was amazing. The architecture was simply awesome and the inside; almost indescribable it was that beautiful. We exited through the crypt. It was sort of creepy but the crypt shop was neat.

We then travelled to Buckingham Palace. The Queen was not in attendance and we also were not able to witness the changing of the guard. Maybe another day! It got rather chilly about this time so everyone is really glad they brought warm jackets! The weather here is more unreliable than back home! Sorry the pic is dark, I haven't had a chance to photoshop it!

Then we got back on the bus and travelled to Windsor castle, about a half hour away. We thought the Queen was in attendence, but alas, she wasn't. We also just missed the changing of the guards we'll have to catch it at Buckingham if we want to see it. The town built up around the castle is really neat and the students enjoyed the castle tour which included St. George's as well as a little shopping. Some of us were also introduced to a Spanish Tapas bar and had a good selection for lunch!
After heading back into London for a dinner of Bangers and Mash (sausage and potatoes), everyonehad a chance to wander through the squares for some more shopping! They are getting a lot of shopping done! Everything is decorated for Christmas and the streets are beautiful at night!!! At this Northern exposure it's dark about 4pm, so things are light up early!
Warning parent's: I've never met so many people who take picture of be prepared for LOTS of smiling faces!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Day 1

We arrived!!! There were absolutely no problems with our flight and we arrived pretty much on time at about 9:30 am London time. We immediately checked out luggage and headed out into town. Our guide, Carolyn, is wonderful! We decided a nap was a bad idea for the students as it would keep them on US time, and after seeing their excitement we decided to keep them out. It's 8:20 pm here now and I have 5 students typing away with me at the moment so expect some e-mails!!!

The London Eye - The Largest Farris Wheel in the World

Everyone is very tired, but starting to wrap up their night for a good night's rest! We first learned to use the 'tube' or local subway. It is very easy and our hotel is centrally located. After getting a tour of the major sites everyone split up for some free time to wonder the squares. Lancaster, Trafalgar, Piccadilly and the National Portrait Gallery. There is some great shopping and plenty of sites to see.

Queen's GuardBig Ben

At our fish and chips dinner

The lions in front of the National Portrait Gallery

Thursday, November 20, 2008


We just took our seats in the terminal to wait for our flight. The drive up was completely uneventful and everyone was happy to finally be able to step off the bus and stretch their legs. We are delayed by about 20 minutes, which isn't much, and the British Airways staff has been extremely helpful! They had us through checkout in record time and we breezed through security, except for Marcos who had his toothpaste taken away from him and Emily who had her whole bag searched. But there has been no other traumatizing events as of yet, and we plan on keeping it that way.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Check your weather forecasts and pack accordingly!

London Weather

Monday, November 17, 2008


We leave this week!

Many of you know about the craziness in my life at the moment so I am in and out of school trying to get situated before we leave. If you need to get hold of me and I'm not at the school, PLEASE do not hesitate to call my cell phone. That number should be on much of the paperwork I gave out.

I will also leave directions in the office that if a parent calls needing it concerning the trip to please give that to you!


Remember: be at the school at 8am on Thursday. It's also not a bad idea to pack a change of cloths in your carry on as it will be a long time before we can get into our rooms once we arrive and you all may want to freshen up some!!!

Friday, November 14, 2008


The rates for the British pound hit it's highest exchange yesterday! Exchange now!!! Wells Fargo is great as well as a new one I found that will deliver to me here at the school:

Foreign Currency

Less than a week!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Contact Information

Here are some more phone numbers and contact info that can be found on the explorica web page, but I'm posting here for convenience!

Important Phone Numbers

US Traveler
Emergency phone number 1.617.210.6194
Boston Office(Main US):
International Tours
1.888.310.7120 (Toll-Free within the U.S.)
1.617.210.6150 (Outside the U.S.)

Customer Service
1.888.310.7121 (Toll-free within the U.S.)

The Alexandra Hotel
159 Sussex Gardens
London, England
Phone: 011 44 2074026471

Hotel Campanile Paris Pont de Suresnes
15 boulevard Henri Sellier
Suresnes, France
Phone: 011 33 158475566

TripMate Contact Details:

Explorica’s insurance options are administered by TripMate.
Plan inquiry prior to departure 1.800.888.7292
Your plan number is 433E.
Plan assistance while on Tour (if you have purchased Travel Protection)1-800-555-9095 (Within USA and Canada)1-603-894-4710 call collectOn Call Group Number: 433E

Certificate of Coverage:
Please review and print the Certificate of Coverage at:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Watch the Rate!!!

Exchange rates have been pretty darn good lately, so I suggest you continue to watch them. I have been in contact with British Airlines about exchanging money. The site they have online doesn't show exchanging US dollars for British Pounds, though you can get Euro's. Supposedly it can be done without a problem and they are getting back to me. It just might not be able to be done online and you'd have to call in. The perk of this is that your money will be waiting for you when we arrive at the airport.

On that note: I found two more sources for the same rates and 0% commission. One is through the same company British Airlines uses: Travelex
They have both cash delivery as well as pre-paid cards in Pounds, Euros and US dollars that are accepted Worldwide. So that means if you order a card in Pounds, it can still be used in countries that have Euro's or dollars. It just exchanges it like an ATM card would. The perk of this is great exchange rates. These CANNOT be delivered, but Travelex does have branches in Denver and I'm sure the branch can deliver it too you. They are through US Bank in Denver at three different locations: (303) 333-5713, (303) 771-5010 and (303) 260-7433.

The other is Wells Fargo
They do not have pre-paid cards, but do have cash delivery for a cheaper rate than Travelex.

So if your bank is not cooperating and you would like cash on hand when we arrive without paying commission fees, I suggest you go this way. Delivery at both places is overnight and that is where there is a fee involved. $15 @ Travelex, $8 @ Wells Fargo.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I have them! Yeah! All you will need is your passports when checking in at the airport as I will have given them your e-tickets.

We are flying British Airways, which is one of the nicest airlines there is! Please take a look at their website (linked to the name) if you have concerns about anything. Also - this is an overnight flight and we will be served meals. If you have food allergies you need to contact them concerning this. There are contact links on the site as well (1-800-247-9297).

They also have an advanced money exchange site. The rates are VERY good and I have been informed by the airlines they are still going down. I am thinking of exchanging cash this way in advance to pick up at the Heathrow Airport Terminal Landslide Departures - Zone B...supposedly where we will be arriving.

There is baggage information on the site, but this is what I have discovered so far:

Carry on: 2 Pieces. 1 not to exceed 22in x 17.5in x 9.8 in and 51 pounds
1 laptop sized bag or handbag or briefcase

Checked Baggage: 2 bags free. Max dimensions 62 inches at largest end. Not to exceed 51 pounds. There is a 25 sterling pound free for bags weighing between 52 and 70 Ibs. Bags over 70 will NOT be accepted.

HOWEVER: for this trip, due to our travel situation, you are only allotted the following:
Either 2 carry ons and NO checked luggage OR 1 small carry on with 1 large checked luggage.

I suggest packing an extra small duffel bag or the such that you may use on our return trip for items bought that may make your bags heavier than anticipated (or overcrowded). Coming back we are not as regulated as going there.

Please remember the meeting next Monday!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Meeting! Monday, Oct.27th

1 Month Until the Trip!

Sooooo...we need to hold a meeting.

This will be the last meeting before we leave, so please be sure to attend. If there is no way you can make it please be sure to be in touch with me if you have any questions.

Monday, October 27th @ 3:45

Friday, October 17, 2008

Some Helpful Info

Some information I've gotten from other teacher's, parent's, etc...that I felt might be helpful and/or interesting:

Boys: carry your wallets in your front pockets, not your back to discourage pickpockets.

Travelers checks no longer have te best exchange rates. Neither does straight cash. The best rates are through ATM cards and Credit Cards. There are now more fees assessed with check exchanges than before. Cash would be the second best, but ATM and Credit Cards are what I'm going to suggest as the easiest way to get cash and make purchases for the best exchange rates.

Rates are at an all time low at the moment if you are wanting to exchange cash BEFORE we leave. This is also a good way to bypass exchange fees in Europe.

There is an exchange link on minutes from the last meeting.

Look for a post early next week for a meeting the following week.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Need Info ASAP!

Parents and Students, PLEASE get copies of the information I asked for in the last meeting concerning copies of ID's, Passports and lists of any PRESCRIPTION medications you will have with you. I also need allergy lists.

We are working on getting a bus to take us to and from the airport. Thursday is not a problem, however, Saturday when we return may be. What I need from you ASAP is who plans on driving themselves one or both ways.


Monday, September 22, 2008

I'll Fly Away...

IT has arrived! Our FLIGHT ITINERARY! Whoohoo!

Depart: BRITISH AIRWAYS 218 DENVER on 11/20/2008 5:15 PM
Arrive: LONDON on 11/21/2008 9:05 AM
Depart: BRITISH AIRWAYS 307 PARIS on 11/29/2008 10:30 AM
Layover: LONDON on 11/29/2008 11:00 AM
LONDON on 11/29/2008 12:35 PM
Arrive: DENVER on 11/29/2008 3:25 PM

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Louvre

What a cool place. It would take over a week to really enjoy this, but unfortunately we only have a little less than a day :( Bummer!

However, I thought I'd pass on this web site for y'all to browse through! Find the areas you'd like to explore, the paintings you don't want to miss, the activities you NEED to be part of! We'll see what we can do about making sure you cover the areas you'd like to most see.

Click on the picture for the link to the site!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Meeting Minutes

  • Time Zone: London, Mountain Time + 7; Paris, Mountain Time + 8

  • Packing: Pack light! 1 checked bag, 1 carry on limit! Leave room for souvenirs or pack a small duffel bag that could be checked/carried on for the return flights. There will be no opportunity to do laundry, however small item can always be washed in a sink. Bring BASIC clothing...i.e those you can wear more than once! A pair of jean can be worn three time with different shirts, You CAN wear the same shirt twice in one week, dress pants look good all the time...also, you don't need a different pair of shoes for each outfit. One good pair of COMFORTABLE walking shoes and maybe one dressier pair of shoes are fine.

  • If you pack toiletries put them in a plastic bag so they don't leak...use travel sizes ONLY. We won't be gone that long! Also, if you carry on toiletries, makeup, lotion, needs to fit in a ziplock bag for security.

  • Make sure you pick up plug adaptors if you need to charge ANYTHING (cameras, phones, computers) or use a curler or blow drier. London: 240V, 50Hz; Paris: 220V, 50Hz

  • Ladies, please do not carry large purses. Make sure you have a good purse with a good closure to discourage pickpockets.

  • Make sure your ATM cards work overseas, your traveler's checks are ordered in time and your credit cards will be widely accepted. Visa and Mastercard are accepted worldwide. Discover and American Express not so much...

  • If you get pre-paid phone cards make sure they will work overseas! Not all do!

  • Make sure you have enough money! You need to put aside approximately $2-4/day for tips to our guide and bus driver. You can give this to me in advance or at the end.

  • Make sure your first and last names match EXACTLY on both the passports and explorica account. If they don't, you aren't who you say you are and we could have problems...

  • The drinking ages are as follows: London - 18; Paris - 16 and they don't adhere to these ages. If I catch you, you are in trouble and are going home. Let's have NO problems.

  • IMPORTANT: I need from EVERYBODY a photocopy of your passport and ID, your medical history, allergies, and copies of ANY PRESCRIPTION drugs you may have with you. This is to keep problems from arising if questions are asked or something gets lost.

  • If you have certain food allergies I need copies of this as well and it is your responsibility to contact the airlines for special foods for inflight meals.

  • Exchange Rate Link, as promised: Please watch and find the best rates if this concerns you. It fluctuates daily and most banks, if given enough notice, will watch for the best exchange rates for you as well.

Please DO NOT hesitate to get hold of me with any questions you may have! The more cooperation we have early on, the smoother this will all come together! Thanks!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Worries Over Fees

There has been some comments on the new fees from last month. All I can say about the airline surcharge: If the gas prices went up it was bound to happen. The good thing is our plane tickets were locked in because they are averaging $800 to $1200 more.

Also - the $67 private fee. This was an adjustment from our original quote. Unfortunetely there were students and parents who commited to the trip and then canceled. This is what was e-mailed to me when I inquired:

That’s the Private Group Fee adjustment. Remember that the Private Group Fee is assessed at 99 days before departure and is based on the number of paying participants. Because not as many people enrolled as we had expected when we created the Price Quote and Tour Center last winter (which is what the initial Private Group Fee is based on), the Private Group Fee bumped up a little bit. I’ve included the description of the Private Group Fee directly off of Travelers Lounge, if you wish to pass it along:

“If your group has elected to have its own bus and Tour Director rather than travel with other groups to reach Explorica’s minimum group size requirements, a Private Group Fee will be added to each paying participant’s account at 99 days prior to departure.

Payment should be made promptly and the quoted fee for a private tour is based on your group size and tour length.”


A little info on where we will be staying and who we will be with!

11/21/2008 to 11/27/2008

The Alexandra Hotel
159 Sussex Gardens
London W2 2RY

Telephone: 011 44 2074026471

This hotel is ideally located near London's Hyde Park and walking distance of Paddington Station with links via the Circle Line and District lines to the sites of London.

11/27/2008 to 11/29/2008

Hotel Campanile Paris Pont de Suresnes
15 boulevard Henri Sellier
Suresnes 92150

Telephone: 011 33 158475566

This modern hotel is located to the west of Paris, close to the beautiful Bois de Boulogne and famous Longchamp racecourse. It has 145 air-conditioned rooms, conference rooms and a restaurant.

Our Guide:

Carolyn Goodyear
Carolyn makes an ideal Tour Director, having travelled throughout the world. She has taught English in Japan and Morocco and enjoys introducing others to new cultures and languages. She recently spent time in Boston too.

Forecast Connection

The following links connect you to the monthly averages in both cities. On average we will be looking at highs in the 50's and lows in the mid-30's. Also expect precipitation and damp conditions, although these are not the wettest months in either country.

London, England

Paris, France

I will update the blog with new information regarding the topics discussed at the meeting tonight!

Mile End campus of Queen Mary College, the University of London

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


I'd like to hold the meeting the 4th! As originally said in the header...not the 5th! It's too hard with sports and the weekend to meet on a Friday! PLus I already have a meeting!

Sorry for that mix up (4 and 5 are next to each other on the keyboard...)!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Meeting: Thursday, Sept. 4th

I'd like to set a tentative meeting for September 5th at 4 pm. I'd like to review all who is coming on the trip, set up rooming and travel accommodations as well as go over passports and other miscellaneous items. If you cannot attend please touch base with me PRIOR to the meeting so I am aware YOU are aware it was scheduled. I also have sent out an e-mail to the participants about both this blog, as well as the meeting.
Please bring any questions or concerns you have at this time as well.

Notre Dame de Paris

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

92 Days and Counting!

Welcome to the official blog site for Shakespeare's London! It is not too late to sign up, but you need to move fast! On the right there is a link to the Tour Center. You can also just click on the map!

Travelers, please make sure you have your Passports on the way! If not, please click on the link to the right for the official forms and directions!

Continue to moniter this page and the Tour Center for information about meetings and other upcoming deadlines.