Friday, June 3, 2011

Day 22

At 6:30am, we all met at the front desk at Regents College with our luggage to turn in our keys and thank our hosts for accomodating us for the last 3 weeks. A bus picked us up in front of Regents and took us to the Heathrow Airport. After a brief delay, we all boarded the plane and started our 7 hour flight back to JFK. We landed safely and have all made it back home for the summer.

Congratulations to seniors Julien and Kate who are graduating Elmira College in a few days. The Hum 1915 class of 2011 would like to thank Professors Wolfe and Parkhouse for an amazing trip and 3 weeks of unforgettable experiences. We would also like to thank Dean Coleman again for allowing this trip to happen. Our small group of 8 has become our family away from home for the last 3 weeks, and we all enjoyed each others company.

Day 21

On our last day in London, England we all spent the day spending what money we had left on last-minute souvenirs. Some of us went to Piccadilly Circus and some went to Oxford Circus to visit stores like Cool Britannia, a tourist's heaven, and Primark, an extremely inexpensive clothing store. After bringing our treasures back to Regents, we spent the rest of the afternoon trying to make everything fit in our suitcases. After finally succeeding in closing our luggage, we borrowed a scale from the front desk to make sure they were within the specifications of the airport.

Once we were packed, we all left together to meet Professors Wolfe and Parkhouse for dinner. Professor Wolfe made reservations at Rowly's, after hearing recommendations from local Londoners who raved about the delicious food and atmosphere. The entire class is very thankful for Professor Wolfe's choice and we are all in agreement with the Londoners that Rowly's has some of the best food in London and the atmosphere is warm and inviting. We were served delectable variations of traditional fish and chips and sausage and mashed potatoes. For dessert we had chocolate cake adorned with mint leaves in taffy sauce. During dinner, we reminisced about our trip, and toasted to Julien and Kate who are returning to Elmira to graduate. We returned back to Regents College, finished up packing and prepared to leave for the airport early tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Day 20

Today was our last full day of group activities, but we are not ready for this trip to end. We each meet with Professors Wolfe and Parkhouse individually this morning to discuss our final grades for the course, and then ate breakfast together. Then we had 30 minutes to get dressed in our best clothes for tea with Professor Wolfe later and the theatre production of War Horse later in the evening. We met Professor Parkhouse at 10am in the lobby of Regents College and he walked us to the Baker Street Tube Station where we met with Professor Wolfe. We all boarded the tube and exited for the Imperial War Museum.

After a 5 minute walk, we arrived at the museum and Professor Wolfe brought us to two of the most interactive exhibits in the museum to experience together. We walked through the Trench Experience which is an interactive setting that simulates the conditions of trench warfare. We walked through a narrow pathway with 8-10 ft high dirt walls surrounding us, and the lights were very dim, and it was very hard to see. We heard screaming, bombs, and explosions and walked past wounded soldiers, and the experience was very sobering. We also walked through the Blitz Experience together in which we felt the despair and fear of people who were affected by the Blitz. Then, we split up into groups and explored the museum at our own pace. We saw exhibits including The Lord Ashcroft Gallery, The Holocaust Exhibition, Women War Artists, and World War I and II galleries.

All the groups left the museum, boarded the train back to Piccadilly Circus and met Professor Wolfe at the Eros Statue. She brought us to Cavendish where we were expected for a mid-day tea. In the early nineteenth century Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, began to take a pot of tea and a light snack, in her boudoir during the afternoons. Later, friends were invited to join her in her rooms at Woburn Abbey, and this summer practice proved so popular that the Duchess continued it when she returned to London. She sent cards to her friends asking them to join her for "tea and walk in the fields." Other social hostesses quickly copied the idea and before long, all fashionable society was sipping tea and nibbling sandwiches in the middle of the afternoon. At Cavendish, we sampled a variety of tea selections including green tea, English breakfast tea, white tea and Earl Gray tea with Professor Wolfe before we were served our finger food platters. We had various mini-sandwiches including rocket, wholegrain mustard mayonnaise on granary bread, cucumber cream cheese and watercress on white bread, free range egg mustard cress on white bread, and oak smoke salmon with lemon butter on soda white bread scones. We also had scones served with clotted cream and fruit preserves and a tea cake choice of fruit tarts, cheese and chocolate cake, and chocolate truffles. We all enjoyed out traditional English tea with Professor Wolfe very much.

After lunch, Professor Wolfe brought us to Fortnum & Mason for a quick browse. We were astonished at the luxurious candies, produce, and toys the store carried and the lavishly elaborate decor that adorned the displays, walls, and ceilings. The products were extremely expensive and way out of our price range, but some of the merchandise would not interest us even if we could afford it such as the vodka flavored lollipops with a REAL, edible scorpion in the center!

From Fortnum & Mason, we took the tube back to Regents to relax briefly before meeting up with our group again for our 7 o'clock theatrical performance of the War Horse. On our way to the theatre, we walked through Covent Gardens where we saw multiple performances including dancing violinists, comedians, and mimes. We split up into three groups when we got to the theatre and sat in our appropriate seats. We were all immediately captured by the performance as soon as it started. From A Capella singing to accordion playing to elaborate horse structures, the performance was as interesting to view as the story plot and some of us even teared up at the end. We all had a great day, and are dreading that tomorrow is our last day here in England.