Monday, 6th October 2014
After some problems with our bus, our trip to England, which I had been looking forward to for a long time, began today at 2 o’clock in the very early morning.
We first drove to Calais in France leaving Germany and quickly traversing the Netherlands. While travelling I slept a lot although it was quite hard to actually sleep on a bus. We arrived at about 4 o’clock in Calais but only managed to go on the ferry at about 5:30 o’clock.
I have never been on a ferry before, thus the view over the ocean was extremely beautiful to me. Although it was unbelievably windy on the ferry I actually enjoyed the time on it. When seeing Great Britain from the ship I got very excited about the experiences we would be gaining there. We could see the White Cliffs and also Dover Castle. It was quite dark when we arrived in Dover which made my first impression of Great Britain very mysterious but beautiful because of all the lights that could be seen.
At about 8 o’clock we continued with our bus trip to Brighton. When seeing the first British lanes I sort of got that typical “British” feeling and got very excited about our host family.
At about 10 o’clock we arrived in Brighton. Leonie, Filiz and I got picked up by our host mother Audrey. She seemed very nice and friendly. She and her husband had two sons, called Cameron and Kieran and a dog called Scooby. They all lived in a bungalow. Audrey showed us around showing us their living room, kitchen, bathroom and our room. The furnishing was very comfortable. I got confused in the bathroom as there were two taps instead of one and a rope instead of a light switch. We talked a little bit with Audrey but Leonie, Filiz and I were very tired so we quickly went to bed.
Tuesday, 7th October 2014
Today we got up at 6:30 as there was one bathroom for three girls. For breakfast we had some cereals while Audrey and her boys were watching TV. We got picked up by a taxi and brought to our meeting point (Worthing Station) because our host father worked at Gatwick airport and had to leave the house at 4 o’clock and Audrey had to care for her sons and bring them to school.
On our way to Worthing Station we saw a lot of these cute small English houses and also some students going to school wearing a school uniform.
When we met the others we of course shared our experiences in our host families. Everybody had positive impressions and was relieved to have a great time there.
Today we went to visit Portsmouth – a small town with the harbor of the British Royal Navy. There we visited the HMS Victoria which was quite interesting. It once was owned by Sir Nelson in 1806.
Afterwards we went on the Spinnaker Tower. Luckily the weather was great and the sun was shining – we had an amazing view over the sea, the ships and the town. There were some panes in the floor so that you could look right to the ground! At first I was really scared of looking down and stepping on the glass but after doing this sometimes it just felt very cool and special. We all took gorgeous photos and enjoyed the scenery.
Then we had a little time to go through the lanes of the Gunwharf Quays. There were a lot of outlet stores and cheesy boutiques where I bought some tea for my family and me.
After our stay in Portsmouth we drove back to Brighton and got time to experience this town at the east coast of Great Britain. When we arrived in Brighton the weather simply went crazy: It was incredibly windy and cold and the rain just felt like stitches on my face. The first sights of Brighton that we saw were the Brighton Pier and the wheel next to it. I have never seen a pier before. On the pier there were a lot of snack stands and a huge hall only with gaming machines in it and I thought it was really scary how easily one could get addicted to them! Luckily I did not spend money on these automates, I just saw other people going mad because of them.
Then we went to the Royal Pavilion of Brighton which was very interesting! The rooming was just gorgeous!
Thereafter we had time for ourselves to discover Brighton. First we went to see The Lanes. There were a lot of cute shops, boutiques and restaurants. At PizzaExpress I had the best pizza I have ever tasted! Then we went back to the pier and the beach. During the sunset we had a breathtaking view over the ocean. When it got dark Brighton just looked stunning with all its lights!
This was how our day in Brighton ended. We drove back to our host families. We got a little stuck in traffic and we ended up being late again. At least I now got used to the bus.
At “home” we also met our host father. He was very nice and funny! He told us that he once lived in Berlin when he was a soldier. Nonetheless, the only German phrase that he remembered was how to order beer – but that is the main thing isn’t it? We gave our host family the presents we brought from Germany. Before we went to sleep we had some pizza and fries for dinner.
Wednesday, 8th October 2014
Today we went to London with our bus. We got dropped off at the Science Museum. Because I am really not that interested in science this excursion was kind of boring for me. There is a Technology Museum in Berlin so I thought it was not necessary to visit this sort of museum in London. Instead we could have done a little more sightseeing. But we will have another day in London so hopefully then we will see some more of this wonderful city.
Afterwards we went (!) to the Apollo Victoria Theatre to see the marvelous musical Wicked. We walked about half an hour in the heaviest rain that you could possibly imagine but then out of the blue the rain stopped and the sun began to shine as if this rainy disaster has never happened! I just cannot get used to English weather!
We were completely wet when arriving at the theatre. Although I felt a swimming pool in my shoes nothing could stop me from getting insane. Right in front of me was the Apollo Victoria Theatre (Wicked) and just a few steps further was the Victoria Palace Theatre (Billy Elliot). For musical theatre fans London is basically paradise and to see the hit musical Wicked that has been running in London for eight years now is an honor! The whole cast of London West End or New York Broadway productions is excellent and it is a unique experience to see those artists perform on stage. So when entering the theatre I took photos of literally everything I could see. In general, the last minutes before a show begins are always the hardest. I felt my heart beating so fast that nothing and no one could ruin my mood. Luckily, I knew all of the lyrics before (Thanks to YouTube!) so that it was fairly easy for me to understand the plot. Nevertheless, even for someone who did not know the lyrics before the story was easy to follow, also due to the great actors. The phenomenal Emma Hatton playing the role of Elphaba belted her heart out singing the matchless music by Steven Schwartz. Songs such as “The Wizard And I” and “Defying Gravity” just continuously gave me goose bumps. The finale of the first act was literally breathtaking and overwhelming. I just find it so touching to see people being so passionate about what they are doing on stage. Also the second act impressed my very much. These artists are simply stunning and I find it literally mind-blowing that they are performing this eight (!!!) times a week without losing the quality of their acting and singing. Every single cast member of the ensemble was amazing! All in all Wicked was an exceptional experience for me that I will always remember. This show is just magical.
When driving home I was still under the spell of Wicked.
At home we had some noodles with some sort of instant sauce and baguette. Well,…
Thursday, 9th October 2014
Our first destination today was Stonehenge. The scenery and these stones looked beautiful and I think it is very interesting that people just do not know what these stones symbolize or what they were built for. It felt quite cool to see this monument “live”. We all took a lot of funny photos – Stonehenge is a great motive for photos, I think. After this we had some time in the shop where I bought some souvenirs for my parents and me.
Then we went to Salisbury with our bus. Salisbury is a really cute town with a lot of small shops, lanes and houses and an extremely beautiful cathedral. We took hundreds of photos! Furthermore, we went into a supermarket where I bought some sweets for my family. I really enjoyed our time in Salisbury!
In the evening we drove home (this time we were punctual!). After having dinner (fries again… From now on I will be incredibly grateful for every vegetable that I will eat!) we talked to our host parents since it was our last evening in our host families. We talked about the British school system, their children, their former experiences with students from abroad and also about British football. Our last evening in our family was very nice!
Friday, 10th October 2014
Today we left again for a trip to London. First we went to London Greenwich where we had a look at the zero meridian and we also saw the border between the east and the west of the world. So you could be in the east and in the west of the world at the same time. I thought that was really cool. When standing on a hill there we had a wonderful view over the centre of London. After that we went to a café, went for a walk through Greenwich and then relaxed at the riverside of the Thames. The sun was shining and we just enjoyed the beautiful skyline of London. Of course, just when our boat trip to Westminster was about to begin it began to rain cats and dogs! Luckily, as soon as we actually started our boot tour the rain stopped and the sun started to shine again. London weather is …interesting…
The first sight that we saw was the Tower Bridge and lots of other bridges since London has got some of these. What I also found quite cool to see was the Millennium Bridge because it was destroyed in one of the Harry Potter movies. I also took photos of the Globe Theatre, the Tower of London and a lot of other pretty buildings. We left the boat at Westminster at the London Eye and the Big Ben. The Big Ben is my favorite sight ever – it is simply beautiful. I could probably look at this building for hours without getting bored. Our walk through London began. I was so excited about seeing Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament because I have really fallen under the spell of London. Moreover we went to Covent Garden crossing Trafalgar Square where we went into a lot of souvenir shops. And crossed fingers – the weather was still great! After that we went to Piccadilly Circus which was great because in every single corner there was a theatre – I could not take enough photos! It felt so good to be in London! Our walk continued by going to Chinatown where we enjoyed the Chinese atmosphere. Then we just went on trying to see and feel as much of London as possible. I guess it was quite funny how we were trying to find our way using GoogleMaps, then giving up and then asking people for the way. The English people were so friendly! We ended up being in a sort of artist quarter of London. There were so many cute shops, theatres, small lanes and young people everywhere – we felt extremely comfortable! The vibe there was so so cool I seriously could have stayed there all my life! Afterwards we went back to the London Eye. At 19 o’clock we went on the biggest wheel in Europe. We had an AMAZING view over London! The lights were so gorgeous! The visit of the London Eye was a perfect ending for our England trip! Even at night London is totally worth a visit – I will definitely come back and maybe even stay there!
From London we drove back to Germany. I enjoyed the last hours driving through Great Britain. At about 1 o’clock we went on the ferry. The big ocean seemed so powerful and quite scary but I enjoyed the view and the ocean wind. Right when we got into the bus again I slept.
This trip to England was an extraordinary and valuable experience for me. I have the feeling we saw a lot of England within these few days. I totally got infected by the English vibe. Great Britain is an awesome country and I would love to experience more of it and maybe even spend my life there one day.