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: