Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Day 19 - So We Meet Again

Greetings, America! It has been a while since we last saw each other.

Last time we were together, some of the group was apprehensive about the opportunities to come, others couldn’t wait to jump off that plane, and a select few were just too sleep deprived to understand what was actually going on. However, we have grown since then.

We came with one goal, to be educated about sustainable practices that can be implemented not only at UNI but also in our personal lives. We were submerged in a lifestyle where there weren’t trashcans on almost every corner, toilets that made you second-guess on how to flush, and finding a drinking fountain was like looking for a needle in a haystack. In those two short weeks it was easy to see how all of those things set their ways of living apart from ours. In the end, we came out with more than we could have ever imagined.

New friendships have been created and new memories have been made. As individuals, we have been able to see a new side to living and a new side to the life we put on hold for two weeks. We were given the opportunity to be surrounded with creations that leave you speechless, but what really leaves you speechless is getting back into a routine and coming back to the memory where something so simple could take your breath away.

Life goes on, schedules get busy, but in the words of John Legend, “the future started yesterday, and we’re already late.”

For some, this opportunity was the chance of a lifetime. For others, it is just the beginning of a life long adventure.


Junior, Interactive Digital Studies Major

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Day 18 - Last Night Abroad

Today felt a little bittersweet because it marked the last day of our trip, but many of us have hit our limit on the amount of travel we can handle in two weeks. It was one of the few days in which we did not have a predetermined schedule in the morning, so we were finally able to get a little extra rest. We still wanted to take advantage of our last moments in London, so a group of us took the tube train system to Emirates Stadium, the home of the Arsenal soccer club. As soccer fans, it was cool to see something that we have only seen on T.V. It shed light on the pride that they show toward their local club and the environment that the sport creates.

We agreed to meet at the Hard Rock Café for lunch to have one last meal that wasn’t McDonald’s or Burger King. The bill shocked a few of us, but the food and the experience was worth it. We had recently found out that this was the original Hard Rock Café, which made it an extra special experience. The walls were covered with previously worn jackets and guitars from famous rock legends such as Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Paul McCartney. The environment was something that we will definitely remember and was a fitting last meal for the group.

After the meal, we began preparing for the trip home because we had an early departure the next morning. It really began to hit us that the trip was coming to an end and the vibe seemed a little bit down. As we packed up each souvenir that we had gathered throughout the trip, it brought up good memories that we created with members of our group. The friendships we have developed in just a two-week trip surprised almost all of us. We all meshed so well as a group and felt comfortable with each other as if we had been friends for much longer than just two weeks. Between the lasting memories and friendships we have made during the trip, the expectations all of us had going into the trip were blown away.

Senior, Business Marketing

Junior, Public Administration

Day 17 - Exploring London

Today started out with about half the group planning to see a service at Westminster Abbey. It is quite expensive to tour the Abbey, but if you attend a service, you are able to see this beautiful cathedral for free. However, things didn't go as planned. Due to a busy morning in London with various streets and tube stations being closed down, we arrived five minutes late and weren't able to go in.

Since we were already out and about, we decided to go to the Tkts booth in Leicester Square and look into tickets to shows for that night. The Tkts booth is a place where you can get information about all the musicals showing and purchase discounted tickets. There are many places similar claiming to have discounted tickets, but you have to be cautious because many of these places are scams. Many of us got tickets to Wicked and others chose to see Once and 12 Angry Men.

As we continued to walk around, we learned that all the commotion and road blocks were for the rehearsal for the Queen's birthday festivities that will take place next week. We were planning on seeing the changing of the guards today but instead watched the rehearsal. There were a lot of guards and horses, and we even saw the carriages that the royalty will ride in. It was interesting to be able to see an event that most people wouldn't.

We then decided to head towards the South Kensington area to check out the museums. Some people went to the Natural History Museum while others went to the Science Museum. In keeping with the theme of the trip, we spent most of our time at the science museum in the energy area. This was an area of the museum where we could play around on interactive machines and learn about energy conservation and sustainable energy solutions. Other parts of the museum were about space, minerals, medicine, health, etc.

After the museum, some of us went for lunch before searching for a special location. A few of us are big Parent Trap fans (the remake of the film from the 90s). We had a mission to find the house that was filmed as the mother's house in the movie. It turned out that we only had to walk a few minutes after lunch to find our destination. To our surprise and disappointment, the house was under construction! Out of all the houses on the block, the one we wanted a picture in front of had a porter potty in front with a man working on remodeling. Even through our disappointment, we were still happy to see the place!

A few of us then made our way to Oxford Street, which is one of the main shopping streets in the city. We only went into a few shops, as it was really busy, so we didn't stay long! Instead of shopping, we treated ourselves to some Haagen-Dazs ice cream before heading towards the theater. Everyone enjoyed the shows they went to and are excited for our last day in London tomorrow!

Senior, Elementary Education

Senior, Family Services and Gerontology

Day 16 - Harry Potter and Chinatown

Hey everyone! Today was our first day to explore London all on our own. First we all rode the tube and got off around Borough Market and London Bridge. The market was gigantic! It had every kind of food imaginable and more. Everything was fresh,especially the huge piles of fish. I tried some cheese, which was not very good and left a horrible taste in my mouth, so naturally I washed it down with a yummy brownie.

After we got our fill of free samples, we hopped on the double decker bus tour and rode around the city for a bit. Our tour guide had some pretty cheesy jokes, but we just rolled with it. I sat on the roof and let me tell you, it was pretty chilly. After riding around for a little while I started to get sleepy. I think everyone has perfected the art of falling asleep on buses on this trip. We got off around Piccadilly Circus and got Ben and Jerry’s ice cream for lunch, which was definitely a fantastic life choice. Others in the group ate in China Town and TGI Fridays.

A big group of us went on the Harry Potter walking tour. This tour was honestly THE best tour I have ever been on because I am a huge Harry Potter fan! Our tour guide took us to some of the places where they shot the movie. He also shared some fun facts along the way and asked some Harry Potter trivia questions. Of course I couldn’t resist and had to answer pretty much every one. I didn’t know one answer and some people gave me a hard time about it.

Anyway, we also went to a sweet shop that inspired the author of the books. We got some tasty Bon Bons, which session one told us we had to get, and also some chocolate frogs. The tour guide had a trivia competition and he picked me as the winner and I got to pose as Ron Weasley in the exact spot where the actor who played him stood! Let me just say it is in the top 5 best moments on my entire life!!

Next we went to Chinatown. Grace is from China and speaks Mandarin, so she picked a really nice restaurant for us to eat at. She spoke Mandarin with the staff there, and it was really neat to see this interaction. She also taught us the proper way to use chopsticks. After a little while I gave up because it was taking way too long for me to finish my meal, and I was honestly too hungry. I don’t think our experience would have been as fun without her.

Last night, Eric showed us where the Sherlock Holmes bar was, and today we attempted to find it. I say attempted because it took us quite a long time to find it again. I am pretty sure we walked in a complete circle and didn’t even realize it. After getting ourselves a little lost, we finally found it and enjoyed the nice atmosphere of the pub with the locals. We headed back to the hotel and relaxed for a while. Some people went to the play Once, and they really enjoyed it and said the singing was very good. Then we all met back up as a group and went to the pub right next to our hotel and had a fun night.

Sierra Beschorner

Junior, Biology

Friday, May 30, 2014

Day 15 - London, part 2

Today was a sad day because session 2 had to leave session 1 behind in Glasgow. We had said our goodbyes last night and wished them all a safe trip home. They arrived safely in the states while session 2 took the long journey all the way to London where they will spend the next four days. The bus ride was a great chance for most of the group to catch up on some much needed sleep to be energized for the big city that was ahead of us. After a few stops for petrol and food, we had arrived in London!

We were welcomed to a very nice bed and breakfast and after dropping off our luggage and then began touring the big city. We were quickly introduced to the tube and had a pretty successful first experience with it. We made our way to Piccadilly Circus to see a hot spot in the city. That is where all the movie premieres, musicals, and various other attractions take place. From there, we walked around and found Big Ben, the Parliament building, Westminster Abbey, the National Gallery, and many other places.

The next main attraction we went to was the London Eye. It is the tallest ferris wheel in the world, and we took in beautiful views of London! The skies were clear, and we could see forever when we were at the top of it. 

We all enjoyed seeing the beautiful city of London at night! As we made our way back, we walked through Chinatown and rested up for our next days in the wonderful city.

Alex Reams
Senior, Technology and Engineering Education

Ryan Herring
Sophomore, Electronic Media

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Day 14 - Glasgow

I started the morning off at the Holiday Inn express with hot breakfast. I was really looking forward to going to Glasgow city center, even though I had no idea what there was to do. All I knew was that I was on a mission to find a Scottish kilt while in the country. After a short ride, we were in the city center, and it was awesome! Like many of the cities we have visited, there was intricate and stunning architecture along with many monuments. When we got off the bus, Eric pointed out Glasgow Cathedral and the Necropolis, which we went to as a group. The Cathedral had the traditional gothic look with limestone block and a copper roof turned teal from years of exposure to the elements. Once inside, I couldn’t believe the beauty and detail. With countless arches and stain glass windows, it was the largest church I had ever been in. I wish I could attend mass in it every Sunday so I could enjoy its beauty every week. After viewing the church, a group of us went to the necropolis--I couldn’t believe the number tombs and headstones! It felt strange to tour peoples’ resting places, but it was still cool.

We all walked back to the city center then and were broken into smaller groups to eat lunch and tour the city. I went to an Italian restaurant named Prezzo with six others. The food was divine, and I left happy with a full stomach. 

After lunch, the seven of us then started to explore the shopping area. I found a kilt tailor! I walked in unsure if I would be buying one, but after trying one on, I had to buy it! I ended up getting a red one for myself and a green one for my brother. I was pretty happy with my purchase after I left the store. We then looked in a few more shops before heading back to the hotel.

Once back, most of us took a nap before we all met for dinner. Tonight’s dinner was bittersweet since it was the last one that sessions one and two would be having together. We ended up eating at a local restaurant called the Grill in the Park. The food there was amazing with many options to choose from. I don’t think a single person left unsatisfied. Later, session one began packing to go home while session two relaxed back at the hotel. While sitting in the lobby writing this blog, it finally hit me that eighteen people that I have spent the last ten days with would be leaving. It was kind of sad to think about, but as people started coming down to the lobby to say their goodbyes, I knew that we would all be seeing each other again in Cedar Falls.

Senior, Construction Management

Day 13 - Hello me troops, how’s the craic?

“Hello me troops, how’s the craic?”

This is the first thing the group heard every morning when boarding the Paddywagon. Long story short, the craic is an Irish expression for fun. From the beginning, the group has experienced highs and lows with the Paddywagon, but always made the most out of the situation. After waking up in Dublin at Paddy’s Palace hostel, we went to load the Paddywagon for the first time. When we first laid our eyes on the bus, we realized that the bus was going to be a tight fit. After filling the luggage compartments by playing a careful game of Tetris, we then had to start filling the cab of the bus with additional bags. By the next morning, Freddie made the switch for a bigger, more comfortable bus.

Arriving upon our hostel in Belfast, we found out some of the bookkeeping was mixed up and we had no reservations at the place we thought we would be staying. With a quick couple of phone calls, we had a new bus lined up for us and a new place to stay for the night. Waking up in Belfast from our second Paddy’s Palace experience, we hopped onto the greatest bus we have had yet. We were once again greeted with a friendly hello from Freddie, even though he had to drive back to Dublin the night before to get us the bus. He was also happy about the bus switch because this bus was an automatic because he had landed wrong when getting off the bus and hurt his foot, so the automatic gave him some relief. With a smooth start to the day on the new bus, we ran into another small mix up. We found out that we would not be able to go through the Titanic museum due to an overbooking of the museum. However, with the quick thinking of Freddie and a few phone calls, we visited the Titanic’s dry dock and pump house. This is where the Titanic actually sat and was the last port that the Titanic was in before its maiden voyage. This dock housed the Titanic, which was 900 feet long and 46,000 tons! During the tour, we learned a lot about how the pump house and dry dock played a big part in building the Titanic. At the end of the tour, some of the group members went down inside of the dry dock where it took 9 students’ arms spans to reach just half way across it!

Through the highs and lows on the Paddywagon, we became friends with our driver, Freddie. He kept the long hours on the bus entertaining as well as educational. His stories and knowledge of the culture, politics, and history of Ireland gave us something more than we expected to get out of the trip! This was different from sitting in a history class or reading it out of a book because we could see, feel, and experience the things that Freddie spoke about! Ending our time in Ireland, we had to say goodbye to Freddie and take with us the memories and stories he shared with us onto our next destination. As we ride the ferry now, we are looking back at the craic we had in Ireland and looking to find more in Scotland where we will be for the next two nights!

Senior, Business Administration

Senior, Business Administration

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Day 12 - Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge and Giant's Causeway

This morning we packed the bus at 9:30 am for a short drive from our quaint hostel in Ballintoy, Northern Ireland, to Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge just up the road. We initially anticipated an unstable, rickety rope bridge that many of us would be a tad nervous to venture across. To our surprise, the actual bridge was quite the opposite--a bridge with sturdy rope railings with a wooden walk way covering rope line below it.

After we all successfully made it across, with a few people crossing faster than others, the views on the other side made the journey well worth it.

After our stop at Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, our awesome bus driver, Freddie, drove us to Giant’s Causeway. Giant’s Causeway, the fourth greatest wonder in the United Kingdom, is full of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns that were formed by an ancient volcanic eruption. This landmark overlooks the ocean, where we were able to see for miles standing on top of rock columns.

The next stop on our tour was at the Old Bushmills Distillery, the oldest distillery in the world. As we pulled in, we heard the speakers on the bus fizzle out (more on that later). The tour of Bushmills Distillery was extremely interesting. We were able to see step by step how the whiskey was made and how they bottled them by years--5, 10, 15, and 20 (16 and 21 years are exclusively sold in Northern Ireland). At the end of our tour, we were able to use our free drink ticket to get our drink of choice. Although the girls were brave enough to try a sample, the majority of the remaining whiskey in their shot glasses went to any willing guy in the group.

Boarding the bus, we were surprised to hear that the sound of the speakers crackling during our arrival ended up being a blown out alternator. Thankfully, Freddie had sorted it all out, and we were on the road with the good news that we would get to ride in a luxury bus the next day. The only issue was that poor Freddie was going to need to drive all the way to Dublin to get the new coach--what a trooper!

Tonight is our last in Northern Ireland and in a hostel. I can’t wait to sleep in a bed in a Holiday Inn Express tomorrow night!!!

Junior, Biology & Criminology

Senior, Family Services

Monday, May 26, 2014

Day 11 - Cliffs and Corcomroe Abbey

Hey everyone! Today is May 25, which is one of the most amazing days we’ve had in Ireland. After breakfast, we set out at 9am and made our trip to the Cliffs of Moher. What we saw today was the magnificent view of the cliffs along with the peaceful way of life on the farm near there. We took great pictures under the blue sky with the awesome wind and the finest weather, and it was peaceful. I sat on the grass for a while enjoying the best offer of the nature. A musician played harp on the sidewalk and all the people were taking pictures. They wanted to capture one of the greatest memories of their lives.

After buying gifts and souvenirs for friends at the gift shop, we headed to the Durren. We saw a lot of graves and architectures there, and we took pictures with them. After a short break and the fast lunch, we made our way to North Ireland. It was an eight hour drive, and we sang songs together and shared snacks. Everyone was laughing, and it was more fun than we could have asked. I will never forget it.

On the way here, we made a little detour to the Corcomroe Abbey. There was a famous cylinder architecture that looks like a monument located in the middle of the Abbey. There is an old saying that if you can wrap your arms around it, you are going to have a baby in 9 months. The guys tried, and Riley successfully did it! We took group pictures and an awkward family photo in front of the sculpture and we moved on to our hostel. Although we spent a long time on the bus, we had so much fun today and we are so excited to be here in Northern Ireland!

Junior, Marketing

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Day 10 - Pheonix Park and Guinness Brewery

We started the day by loading up the bus and going on a tour of Dublin given by our awesome driver, Freddy. He gave us interesting facts about Dublin and liked to sing off-key. While on the tour, we stopped at Phoenix Park and went to a cross statue and stand where Pope John Paul II, who recently became a saint, held a service for over one million people.

Our next stop was Guinness Brewery. While there, we were taught how Guinness became so famous and how they make their famous beer! We also went to the tasting room to learn how to properly drink Guinness. A lot of our students had never had Guinness, so the Brewery in Dublin was the perfect place to taste it for the first time! In the Brewery, there is a section where you could pour your “perfect pint.” After you successfully poured your beer, you got a certificate! The final section is their Gravity Bar at the top of the factory. This is where you can buy more Guinness and see a 360⁰ view of the city.

We boarded back on the bus and headed to Galway. While on the bus, we got the pleasure of turning on American music, and everyone sang along! Freddy also mentioned that Galway was one of the four largest cities in Ireland. Once we got settled into our hostel, we hit the streets for shopping and food. Each student was able to spend their night experiencing Galway or relaxing with the other students.

Junior, Biology


Senior, Communications

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Day 9 - Canyoning

Today was interesting to say the least, but don’t worry, we all came out unscathed! We had an early morning departure to start our canyoning adventure. Going into this day, most of us were unsure of what canyoning was, but we were soon to find out.

We split up into two groups and squeezed ourselves into the wet suits (and by squeezed, we literally mean it). Once we had our wet suits, harnesses, life jackets, and helmets on, we were off to start our crazy adventure. To give you an idea of how we were feeling, imagine being in 55 degree rainy weather, squeezed in suits meant for Sea World trainers, and submerging yourself one by one into freezing cold water. Sounds awful right? Although the first jump may have been cold enough to momentarily take our breath away, it was also one of the most exhilarating and empowering moments of the trip. We continued on through our canyoning journey, walking through what appeared to be a rainforest, walking along trails, trying not to slip on the rocks, repelling down rocks, and zip lining into the water.

After zip lining, we moved onto the more difficult part of the course. This is where we were able to slide off of a thirty foot cliff into the water, jump off of a forty to fifty foot cliff, and climb across a ropes course on the side of a cliff. Throughout our canyoning adventure, our experienced guides from the RYG Outdoor Education Center imparted knowledge of the local environment and importance of the sustaining the local resources.

Canyoning did not only meet our expectations of the day but well exceeded them! Even though we spent much of the day freezing, all of the beautiful scenery and thrills that we felt were way worth it. After our canyoning experience, we spent the rest of the day traveling by coach to the ferry port where we hopped on the ferry to embark on a three hour journey to Ireland. Hope Dublin is ready for this group of UNI students!

Senior, Elementary Education

Management: Business Administration & Finance

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Day 8 - Conwy Castle

To start off our day, we hopped on a coach to Conwy Castle bright and early. Our spunky coach driver, Nigel, informed us of the history of Northern Wales. The landscape was beautiful with rolling hills and mountains, much of it covered with sheep. When we arrived, we had a brief time to browse the local shops before beginning to explore the castle. The castle had many levels that provided gorgeous views of the ocean and the town of Conwy. From the top of the towers, we could see the wall that surrounded the entire city, most of the which was still standing. On our way out of the city, Nigel gave us a fun fact that the smallest house the U.K. was located in the town of Conwy. This was a great way to start off our morning, and thankfully the rain held off for us!

Our next stop was to the town of Llandudno where we had the freedom to roam the local shops and enjoy the scenery. Some of the group chose to ride the local cable car to get to the Great Orme. The view from the top of the hill was truly breathtaking! Others chose to explore and enjoy the shopping and dining experiences that Llandudno had to offer. Some of the guys took Eric’s advice and ate at a local pub called The Palladium. Collectively, we had fish and chips, breaded scampi, a club sandwich, and a chicken and bacon Panini. All of the food was wonderful and it was really nice to sit down and enjoy a meal with some new friends. After everyone was done, we hopped on a coach to travel to Mt. Snowdon.

When we arrived at the mountain, the majority of the group decided to climb the mountain. The weather at the beginning was somewhat cold, but thankfully it was not raining. Unfortunately, we were not able to make it to the summit due to weather conditions, but it seemed like everyone was still satisfied with the experience. The scenery was truly unlike anything we have ever seen. The scenery included beautiful waterfalls, interesting stone structures, lakes, and sheep scattered about. The hike as a whole was somewhat challenging yet very rewarding. We maintained a good pace as a group and managed to make it past the halfway point. Once we got back to the bus, Nigel drove the scenic route back to the lodge--a relaxing way to end our adventurous day!

Senior, Biology

Junior, Accounting

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Day 6 - Sustainability in Swansea!

We spent the day at the University of Swansea and Caswell Beach. It was adventurous and educational at the same time! Jane was our student leader at the workshop. She was extremely kind and cared about the way humans are using the earth. Nick was another student from Swansea who planned our experience at the university. He too brought to the table a drive to improve the way we live our everyday lives. His kindness and intelligence was greatly appreciated. Collaborating with Nick and Jane as well as the other students at Swansea was a very wholesome experience. Learning their opinions about sustainability really made us look at our own stance on the issues we have today. For example, they have a lot more recycling bins. Recycling just one water bottle can have a huge impact in the process of running a business!

Then we took a tour of the campus on the nature trail with Dr. Dan and Dr. Nancy. They were extremely knowledgeable about the sheer importance of nature to human society. They made us realize that nature was all around us whether we know it or not. Dr. Dan’s passion and charisma made the tour very enjoyable. He made us think about the impact just one person has on nature, as well as the impact that nature can have on one person. He sees buildings as great posts for bats, not just as simple architecture. The way he explained the intensive relationship between even the most unnatural human creations and pure nature was captivating.

Following our day at the university, we got on the bus to go to the beach. We were packed extremely tight on a miserably humid and warm bus, and we almost couldn’t fit everybody. It was the most uncomfortable ride of our lives; however, it was all worth it once we got to the beach. Upon the arrival, we found caves and one of the most breathtaking views of our lives. It is easy to see why Caswell is ranked the ninth most beautiful beach in the world! Taking in the incredible sights was something that we will treasure forever!

All in all, our first day in Swansea was precious. The connections we made at the university and the memories we captured at the beach are going to remain in our minds forever. We would just like to personally thank Jane, Nick, Nancy, Dan, and everyone else involved in our wonderful experience here in Southern Wales.

Junior, Marketing and Graphic Design


Senior, Math and Computer Science

Monday, May 19, 2014

Day 5 - Goodbye London, Hello Swansea!

This morning, Session 1 had to be up and ready for breakfast by 7 am so that we could be ready for the bus that was coming at 8:30 am. Breakfast was good, and we were all ready to go by 8 am, but there were some complications with the charter bus. We ended up waiting about two hours for the bus to arrive, which was fine, but we were rushed to get to our activities the rest of the day.

When the bus arrived, we headed to go pick up the Session 2 group from the airport. We were all so excited to see each other again! We shared our stories of London with Session 2 as we headed to Hampton Court. Hampton Court was a vacation spot for King Henry VIII and was a really cool place. We learned about him throughout the building and got to see the beautiful gardens outside the building--absolutely gorgeous!

We then headed to the Roman Baths. They were not going to let us in because we were late for our reservation, but Eric was very suave and was able to get all 35 of us in to see the Baths. The tour was really awesome! I wish we would’ve had more time to stop and listen to all the stories at each station throughout the tour, but it was still a good learning experience and great to see. As we were waiting for everyone outside the Roman Bath, we ran into another group from UNI for the London/Ireland trip.

Next, we were finally on our way to Swansea! Once we arrived, we split into sessions because we had two different hotels for the next two nights. Also, Session 2 would either relax from their long day of traveling or get to know each other a little better before our journey starts up again tomorrow. We all got settled into our rooms, and some of us stayed in to relax while others went out to explore more of Swansea. All in all, today was a good day of travel and sightseeing!


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Day 4 - Candy, Kensington and Telephone Booths

Our day started off much more chill than our last three days--we all got to sleep in and didn’t have to be at breakfast until after 9:00 am! :) After breakfast, we split up into different groups and Haleigh went shopping while Dara went sightseeing.

Haleigh: We started out in Leister Square and planned on going to a musical, but then realized we really, really, REALLY wanted to check out Hardy’s candy shop that a few people discovered on a Harry Potter tour. We were on a mission! It took about an hour of roaming the streets of London (and a little bit of backtracking) until we finally found Hardy’s.  We decided the searching was totally worth it! I ended up buying a box of Dumbledore’s favorite type of candy (Hardy’s hard boiled lemon drops), some authentic (and fancy) English tea, and different flavors of bon bons (raspberry, chocolate, and rhubarb and custard--they’re a little bit like taffy). After spending quite a bit of time in Hardy’s, we made our way along the cobbled streets, stopping in different souvenir stores to buy gifts for friends and family. 

After shopping, we checked out the National Gallery. We originally decided to go just so we could say it was something we experienced in London, but after walking through the first room we were seriously wondering how these paintings were created by real people. My favorite painting was so detailed that it looked like a humongous photo. I can’t remember what it was called, but it was a painting of one of the very first vacuums that they tested by sticking a bird in a glass bowl and sucking all the oxygen out. The children in the picture were distraught, but the adults were so into the experiment. It was awesome.

Finally, we met back up with the rest of the group and headed to dinner. We chose to have a new experience and head down to Brick Lane for some fine Indian cuisine. It was very overwhelming because we turned the corner and about twenty people were shouting at us to try to convince us to eat at their restaurant. Needless to say, we were freaking out. After we got the hang of things, we decided on a restaurant that promised we would only have to pay 12 Great British pounds and get 2 free beverages each. The meal included a starter dish (I got something called Chicken Chat and Dara got a Lamb Kebab), then a main dish (I got Chicken Korma and Dara got Curry Vegetables), and rice. We also tried Nan (a bread/tortilla sort of thing), which was super delicious! At the end of the night, I realized I hadn’t gotten a picture with a red telephone booth which is just unacceptable, so the last thing we did was successfully track down a booth for the photo op.

Dara: After breakfast this morning, my group decided to get back on the Big Bus Tour and head out to Kensington Palace where William, Kate and George live (supposedly). The palace was not nearly as grand as we expected, but we got to see clothes that the Queen, Princess Diana, and lots of other royalty wore. And obviously tons of other random royal stuff. While at Kensington, we also walked through the outdoor gardens where there were lots of weird shaped bushes and trees. After we left, we found a side road that had a big fenced in grassy area in the back. We’re pretty sure William, Kate, and baby George were laying out there getting a tan! While leaving Kensington Palace we ran into a UNI graduate (literally she was running in the park and ran into us)! Turns out she graduated from UNI and moved to London a few years back. What a small world!

Then we jumped back on the Big Bus and drove around, We saw lots of random parts of town (no idea what, but they were all pretty cool). The bus stopped, so we hopped on the Tube which is always an interesting experience. We rode to Piccadilly Circus, and like the other group, we decided to check out The National Gallery. There were lots of old paintings from tons of different time periods, but we had to be really quiet. I got yelled at for drinking my water, so that wasn’t very cool! Once we were done at National Gallery, we made our way back to our hotel and hung out in our tiny rooms until we were ready for dinner. Like Haleigh said, we got a small group together and headed to Brick Lane where we had a crazy experience at an Indian restaurant! We had a pretty fantastic day exploring London and I can’t wait for the rest of our journey!

P.S. Our boogers are black because the air is so dirty from so many people smoking. EW!

Senior, Exercise Science

Junior, Health Promotion

Day 3 - London Sightseeing

Day three in London is officially in the books!  We decided to split into three groups today to explore different parts of London.  One group went to the market and out for shopping, one group went to a musical, and my group started off the day by visiting the Natural History Museum.  We were excited to start off with touring the dinosaur exhibit.  We also enjoyed visiting the interactive human biology exhibit, where we got to test our visual and sensory perceptions.  Once we were finished with the Natural History Museum, we were able to navigate the Tube except for a minor blockage of a line that was down.  

We went to the London Tower where we started with an hour-long tour, and then got to do some exploring of our own.  It was unreal to see the amount of diamonds and jewels used in royal decorations!  Our favorite part of this experience was going through the White Tower where we got to see knight’s armor and an actual butcher's block and ax, which was used in beheading traitors.  

Once we finished the Tower of London, we searched for a local place to eat.  We made our way down to Piccadilly Circus, and wandered the streets until we came across "The Breakfast Club."  The food and atmosphere was incredible!  They had the best chips by far that we have come across in London!  Two groups met up later in the evening to visit local pubs around our motel.  It was a fun evening of dancing and talking with the locals.  We had a great time in our third day in London and are looking forward to seeing what our last day in the big city brings us!

Senior, Communicative Disorders

Senior, Early Childhood Education