View from the London Eye

View from the London Eye
Panoramic View from the London Eye

Friday, August 5, 2011

Did you miss anything? Answer = Photobook!

If you missed some of my blog posts and want to catch up quickly, you can take a look at my photobook below.  Each page is dedicated to one thing that we did in London or Paris.  We did so much, and I took so many photographs that it was hard to decide what would make it into the book.  I had such an amazing time on this Study Abroad program, even though there were some aching feet, sleepless nights, and lots of work, it was all worth it.  We were able to see so much in those three weeks, and we still didn’t get to everything…you know what that means…who wants to take a trip to London next summer…anyone…anyone : ).  Actually, next summer I will be graduating so probably not the best time to go but I will be going back, especially to London. 

Enjoy the photobook!

London and Paris Photobook

Click here to view this photo book larger

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hello Ireland!

Today I woke up bright and head to the airport to catch my flight to Ireland.  I landed on time by my mom's flight had been delayed by 4 hours so I ended up beating her to the airport when she was supposed to have landed at 8:45am.  Ouch!  Well shes sleeping now and catching up on some much needed sleep : ). 

Once we got settled into our hotel and met my aunt and uncle we decided to start our trip off right with a visit to the Guinness Storehouse.  We were supposed to take a tour of the whole facility but agreed that since we had to walk for 30 minutes to get to the Storehouse we deserved that free pint of Guinness, so we went straight to the top and were able to enjoy the pint with a gorgeous view of the city!
Free pints of Guinness!

A rainbow appeared while we were drinking our pints!

After the pints we went down to test our drink IQ.  The four of us played as a team and still only got 8 out of 10 questions right...but hey an 80% is passing right?

Finally, we headed back to the hotel for some much needed rest, but before bed we stopped for dinner in the hotel's restaurant.  Im living up to my superlative for being the "person that takes the most pictures of food"!  Tonight I had mushroom risotto!
Mushroom Risotto
It was a fun first day in Ireland!  So far the people here have been so amazing, we were a bit turned around when looking for the Guinness Storehouse and some woman on the street stopped to help us and in the cab on the way back to the hotel (we were not walking for 30 minutes again) the cab driver pretty much gave us a tour of the parts of Dublin that surround our hotel.  The streets are clean and many things here are very similar to London.  By my first impression I believe that Dublin will be a great place to visit, however, I am looking forward to getting out of the city for a bit and seeing some Irish countryside.  We will still be in Dublin for tomorrow but then we pick up our car and head for Galway on the west coast.  Hopefully, we will still have internet once we leave Dublin so that I can keep you all updated on our adventures. 


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Royal Palaces and Farewells

For the past two days my class has spent time exploring a few of the palaces in and around London.  Yesterday we took a short time outside the city to visit Hampton Court.
Hampton Court Palace
Wine Fountain
Hampton Court Palace is best known for being the residence of King Henry VIII and his 6 wives.  The complex was huge.  The areas that were open to the public were set up to look like they did when King Henry lived there.  Characters in costume walked around the palace reenacting events that also took place during this time period.  The palace was opulent; staircases adorned with massive paintings, fountains made to flow with wine during celebrations, and grand halls filled with expensive tapestries were all common place in this palace.

Painting around and above a staircase
Great Hall

Today we took a tour around Buckingham Palace, currently the residence and offices of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.  This palace, like Hampton Court, is home to many priceless art pieces, expensive furniture, and historical objects.
Buckingham Palace
Backside of Buckingham Palace

On display today was the family's collection of Faberge pieces, including a few of the famous eggs.  Also, available to see was an exhibit on the recent royal wedding of Prince William and his bride Kate.  We were able to see her wedding dress, bouquet, and even their wedding cake.

When you walk through these palaces, especially if you are using the audio tours that are available at both locations, you feel like you are being invited into the homes of the royal families.  At Hampton Court the audio tour is played like you are a guest to Henry VIII's wedding to Katherine Parr, his 6th and final wife.

After visiting Buckingham Palace we took a trip to another type of historical landmark, the original Hard Rock cafe here in London.  Here we said our farewells and took time to reflect on our time here in London.  It has been an amazing three weeks and it seems like it went by so fast!!  I will miss everyone that I have met here so much but, for me, the trip is not over yet.  Tomorrow I fly of to Dublin, Ireland where I will be spending some time with my mom, aunt and uncle!  I will continue posting while I am there but it may be a bit more sporadic then while I was here in London.  I hope that you all have enjoyed reading about my adventures on this side of the Atlantic!  

Farewell will be missed! : (

Zane at the Hard Rock Cafe


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The History of Football!!!!

Ever wonder where soccer came from? 
Well first of all, over here it is called football.  

There are mentions of a game that involved kicking a ball as early as the 1300s in England.  But the first league, known as the Football Association, wasn't formed until 1863.  Through the end of the 1800s football spread around the world from Argentina to Russia to Canada.  FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) was formed in 1904 in Paris and originally included Belgium, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.  

The first FIFA World Cup was played in 1930.  Since the World Cup began, football has grown in popularity worldwide.  In 1913 the United States Football Association was formed to govern soccer in the US, they changed the name to the United States Soccer Federation in 1974.   

Football is a much loved sport around the world.  If you want to learn a little more about the history of football, watch the video I created using the website Xtranormal.  
A History of the British Premier League. (2010). Retrieved from,,12306,00.html

Classic Football. (1994). Retrieved from

Footballing History. (2000). Retrieved from

History. (2011). Retrieved from
History of English Football. (2011). Retrieved from

Monday, August 1, 2011

Princess Diana's Memorial Parks

Today was spent exploring Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, and Princess Diana's Memorials within.  We first visited the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground.  We were allowed in for a half an hour, then only people accompanying a child are invited inside this magical place.  The playground was inspired by Peter Pan and was built so that children of all ability levels can have a place to play together.

Tepee Area
Pirate Ship
Tree House Hideouts
After we left the playground our class spent most of our time in Kensington Gardens walking around enjoying the park or sitting in the grass and watching the ducks and geese. 

Sitting in the shade around the Fountain
As we walked through the Gardens and into Hyde Park we made our way to a second memorial for Princess Diana, the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain.  This is a beautiful memorial, and just like the playground is meant to be enjoyed by all.  Children are encouraged to jump and play in the water and anyone is welcome to cool their feet in the waters of the fountain after a long walk around the park, which is exactly what we did.

Cooling off some weary feet in the Fountain
These memorials were opened to honor Princess Diana and since their opening have been visited by thousands of people, young and old!

Our final stop in Kensington Gardens was High Tea at Kensington Palace.  Kensington Palace was where Queen Victoria was born and where Princess Diana lived after her wedding to Prince Charles in July of 1981. The Palace is now open for visitors, who can also take High Tea at the Orangery next to the Palace.  This is the second time I have had High Tea while in London.  I continue to love this tradition and plan on holding quite a few tea parties upon my arrival back in the states!

High Tea...Pinky Out!

Museum Pass = Best Invention Ever!!!!!!

It is so hard to put into one blog post everything that we did in Paris over the weekend because we were able to do so much!  Angela, one of my classmates, discovered that we could buy a Museum Pass that allowed us access to about 60 museums and cites without having to pay at each location and gained you the ability to skip to the head of the line!  Brilliant!  Best 35 Euros ever spent!

With Museum Pass in hand our Saturday began at Notre Dame!

Notre Dame
I question myself about this idea afterward, but we decided to climb up to the top and using our Museum Pass we were able to go without having to pay.  The view was amazing and worth the trip up all of those stairs!

Panorama view from the top of Notre Dame
Staircase leading down from the tower of Notre Dame
So the going up wasn't actually too was the coming down...hard...that sucked!  Yum, yeah, I fell down the stairs.  Those of you that know me well are not surprised and are probably thinking, "Wow its pretty amazing that we have only heard about her falling twice so far during this trip."  I was doing so well but the stairs won once again.

Roman Bath Remains
Next our Museum Pass took us to the crypt under Notre Dame, which wasn't really a crypt; it was the remains of an ancient Roman bath that the excavators found when they dug under the plaza in front of the cathedral.

Arc de Triomphe
Me on top of the Arc de Triomphe
The final stop on Saturday was the Arc de Triomphe.  The Museum Pass came in handy here as we got to skip the huge line and since I had fallen down the stairs at Notre Dame, we were allowed to ride the elevator up!

Musee D'Orsay
On Sunday we started our day at the Musee D'Orsay, here we viewed works of art by Monet, Manet, Cezanne, Degas, Renoir and many more!  We were also able to skip the line here...thank you Museum we were able to get into the museum very quickly and were able to enjoy many of the sections without the hassle of crowds of people.

Our final stop with the Museum Pass was the Palace of Justice.  On one side lies the Conciergerie where Marie Antoinette was held during her time in prison.  On the other side, the chapel Sainte Chapelle.  

Palace of Justice (right - Sainte Chapelle, Left - The Conciergerie)
This floor is all thats left from Marie Antoinette's cell
Upper Chapel of Sainte Chapelle

The Museum Pass was a great investment!  We were able to visit all of these places without having to pay each time AND were able to skip most of the lines!!!  My classmate Jennifer referred to it like a Disney Fast Pass.  I recommend this to anyone traveling to Paris!  We only got the Pass that last two days but they have others that last for 5 days or a week.  Pretty amazing idea, thank you to whoever thought of it!

I concluded my weekend in Paris with, of course...a glass of wine ("vin") and a shout of "Sante" (I got it right that time!). 

Wish you were all here to have a glass with me!