Monday morning,14, March 2016, 4:30! What a drag! But, we (the 9th graders of the Gymnasium Unterrieden together with Ms Ebert, Ms Maly, Ms Sariboga, Ms Venus, Ms Wenzel and Messrs Härle, Lauber and Schütze) met for the class trip to London, the capital of the United Kingdom. Well, that’s a treat worthwhile waking up early for!
The two busses started with us half asleep for a long day ride which took us via Belgium to the Port of Calais in France. At about 5 p.m. we boarded the ferry to Dover. Quite a windy but sunny experience!
From Dover it took us another couple of hours to reach Croydon, a district of London, where we stayed at our host families. Well, that was a tiring day – with an additional hour to cope with (Britain has a time zone, that lags us by an hour). The first full day in England started with a trip to Greenwich. We visited the Royal Observatory, where we had the chance to stand on the Greenwich meridian, the divide between East and West hemisphere on our nice round Earth. The place also offered us a spectacular view of London. Good chance to take first photos of the metropole.
After a short walk through the city of Greenwich, shopping for the first souvenirs and a lunch, we travelled by the River Thames to Westminster. The boat travel offered a good sightseeing, we passed well-known places like the Tower Bridge, the Tower itself and The London Eye.
Having arrived at Westminster Pier, we started our prepared walks through the City of Westminster which offers lots of attractions: Westminster Abbey, the Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, the Palace of Westminster, including Big Ben and the London Eye. Some of us were also lucky to see the changing of the guards.
Wednesday started with a visit to Camden Market. But even though we had a day ticket, we had to walk all the way from Baker Street through Regent´s Park to Camden.
The air was full of the delicious smell of different foods caused by the many food stands.
You simply couldn´t resist.
Camden Looks like a typical tourist attraction - plenty of souvenir shops everywhere!
After draining our wallets somewhat, year 9 was again split into different activity groups, each having specific goals: like visiting the Tower of London, strolling through West End, taking photos with famous people at Madame Tussauds, looking around Wembley stadium, or taking a ride on the London Eye. The ride on the London Eye also offered a fantastic view over London, enhanced by the sunny weather on this afternoon.
We closed this day with a cultural event: we watched the Musical Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace Theatre – definitely worth a visit.
After two days in London and a quite short night, it was time for a day out. On Thursday we went on a day trip to Brighton, a seaside resort. The weather was so untypically British: very sunny and warm.
We enjoyed the weather on the (very) long walk along the coast, visited the Royal Pavilion (Reminder of a glorious past) right afterwards and in the end we were indeed very happy about our free time in the afternoon. Some relaxed and sunbathed on the beach, others used the time to walk through Brighton to do some (more) shopping.
Unfortunately, back in Croydon, we had to start packing already, as that was the last night at our host families´ before heading home.
Our last day in London begun with saying goodbye to our host families.
The morning was already planned for in advance. We had the option of visiting different museums: the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum, the British Museum, the Museum of London, the Tate Modern or the National Portrait Gallery. That was the final cultural fill-up in London.
The afternoon was free at our own disposal. Some of us took the chance to shop on Oxford Street. However, we had to keep in mind that we all needed to eventually meet at a certain time in the afternoon at the Monument. From there we walked to the Tower Bridge for some final shots.
At half past seven we set out for home. At midnight we stepped on European mainland. The next morning at eleven o´clock we arrived at the Unterrieden Gymnasium again. My bus was last, as we had an engine problem on the Autobahn and a traffic jam close to Sindelfingen set us back for more than an hour.
All in all it was a great trip, on which we had a lot of fun, made a lot of new experiences, learned something about London or England in general and got better acquainted with our classmates and teachers.
A special Thanks to all the teachers who made this trip possible and faced the challenge of keeping an eye on 96 teenagers on the loose in such a Mega-City. Still, I hope they had a great time as well!
London 2016 – an epilogue
Dear Ms Kaiser,
The trip to London in March was a very special experience. We were very sorry that you could not be with us after having organized everything and after having prepared us so excellently.
It´s time to say: THANK YOU!
With best regards,
Year 9 and the teaching staff
Text: Katharina Bidian, 9a
Photos: Ms Venus