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!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I Wish I Knew French!

Ok, I know that you have all been waiting with baited breath for a rundown of my weekend in Paris.  Well let me start with Friday, which we spent seeing Paris in 12 hours!  We arrived after our twoish hour train ride and headed straight to the Louvre!  Here is the Louvre in an hour and a half:

Mona Lisa
Winged Victory
Venus De Milo
Got it?  Good!  Tip…Don’t try to do the Louvre in an hour and a half if you want to see more than this.  However, it was a good introduction to the museum and now I know what is there and what I really want to see the next time I visit Paris!  

During our trip around the Louvre I came to the conclusion that it is very difficult to be in a museum and not be able to read any of the information that goes along with the item…this was when I decided that I needed to learn some French.  My classmate Kalyca took on the challenge of attempting to teach me a little.

I failed miserably.  I kept trying to turn the French words into a word that it looked or sounded like in English.  Heres a couple examples:

Merci (Thank You) – Mercy
Sante (Cheers) – Saltie or santae
Rivoli (Name of a road) – Ravioli
Musee (Museum) – Muse

Some of these I did finally get the hang of but I still said Mercy today to a waiter as we were leaving the restaurant we were at for dinner before getting on the train to head back to London.

But continuing with our day…after our speed viewing of the Louvre we moved onto a sightseeing bus that took us all around Paris.  This was a great way to spend one of our first hours in the city; I got to see a lot in a short amount of time but I also was able to make note of the sites that I really wanted to come back and look at throughout the weekend.  It was also great because it brought us right to the foot of our next stop…The Eiffel Tower.

Eiffel Tower
We spent a bit of time here just enjoying the site and also getting acquainted with the people trying to get some money out of you by having you sign a petition.  There were so many people there but it was an amazing sight to see!

Boat we took on the River Seine
We hopped back on the bus after seeing the Eiffel Tower to catch a boat ride down the Seine!  This was also another great way to see the city in a short amount of time.  Dr. Everhart popped a bottle of champagne to santé (cheers) our visit to Paris!


Us at Dinner!
Our final stop was an authentic French restaurant, where I tried to perfect my saying of Sante! (Ok so I said saltie a lot, my classmate Aubrey was sitting across from me and kept catching me saying it wrong).

I tried snails!  They were amazing!   
The musicians were great…they had a few of my classmates stand up and dance to the Macarena!  We had unlimited wine!  That’s all I am going to say about dinner ; )

After dinner those of us that were staying in Paris headed to our hotel, where we promptly fell asleep!  It was a very busy but perfect day in Paris!  More to come about the rest of my weekend tomorrow!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Off to the Theatre and Studying in the Library!

Last night we attended a showing of Anne Boleyn at The Globe Theatre...not Shakespeare's Globe but a recreation.  It was an amazing play that was actually set in the time of King James I.
The Globe Theatre
In the play he was recently crowned king and was having everything in the castle gone through when Queen Anne Boleyn's coronation gown is found.  This prompts King James to try to communicate with the deceased queen.  So, in one play we were shown two different time periods, Queen Anne's and King James'.  I actually learned quite a bit from this play too...did you know that some scholars believe that King James I was gay?  They played up that little tid bit of information in the play ; ).  

After the play we were set on a mission to attempt to take a few night photographs.  Here are a few examples of the photographs I was able to take:

St. Pauls Cathedral, Millennium Bridge, and the River Thames
Looking at St. Paul's Cathedral on the Millennium Bridge

The photograph was taken when I moved my camera with the night settings on, so the exposure was longer.  I though the effect was pretty cool

Today we took a visit to King's Cross Station, which some of you will know from the Harry Potter series, is where Platform 9 3/4 is located.  Well, right now King's Cross Station is undergoing some major renovations.
Zane and I are off to Hogwarts!
So, they had to move the landmark outside of the station.  Because of all of the construction and the landmark being moved much of the magic of visiting this spot was lost.  However, we didnt let that get us down and still took lots of pictures of each person pushing the cart through the barrier.  Zane even joined me in mine : )
Today we also visited the British Library.  For all of us future librarians this was something we were looking forward too.  We were given a tour of the library's treasure room, this room included a Gutenberg Bible, one of the four copies of the Magna Carta, the original sheet music to Handel's Messiah, a 1304 copy of the Qur'an, some examples of early Chinese printing, and rough drafts from Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte.  We even got to see a postage stamp that is worth a million dollars!  I wish we had been allowed to take pictures so that I could share the treasures with all of you but sadly no photography allowed.

British Library Sign
After the treasures tour, some of us went to visit the other exhibit the library had about the history of Science Fiction.  This exhibit was also full of treasures, many first editions of books such as, Frankenstein, War of the Worlds, The Time Machine, and many more.  Some authors even allowed their original writings to be displayed!  One part of the exhibit focused on alternate realities which was especially interesting because we had just come from seeing all of these important works that made history what it is today.  Together the two exhibits made a very unique dichotomy.
Outside the British Library

It was pretty amazing being in a library that has such a huge collection.  There are so many great works that you are able to view if you visit the British Library.  We were able to go into the reading rooms and some of us were even able to view books that the library offers.  The books that I requested (all about the history of football aka soccer) were not actually there, something happened with the dates in my registration but being in those reading rooms still gave me the feeling of what it would be like to come into the library and study.  There were manyg books that I would return to the library and read for fun if I could...I guess that is the librarian in me : )

Tomorrow we are off to Paris at...ouch I will not be posting until we get back on Sunday!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Food of England!

One of the things that I was really looking forward to when I decided to come on this Study Abroad program was the food I would get to eat while here in the UK!  I have not been disappointed!  Staying in the heart of London I have the opportunity to visit so many different restaurants, all within walking distance. 

Want to see some of the food I have tried while here in London...Watch this video!

I have already had the chance to try so many types of food...but guess what...we still have 5 more days here in England and 3 days in Paris!  Who knows what other foods are out there; I know I can't wait to find out!!!!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cats, Cathedrals, and Emergency Toilet Breaks

So today one of our assignments is to post a 5 picture story.  When we were visiting the Salisbury Cathedral today there was a cat sitting in one of the cloisters.  I took its picture but it seemed to be camera shy and wouldnt sit still for anymore pictures so I just documented its walk out of the church:

A little more about Salisbury later.  I need to catch you up on yesterday! 

Yesterday we went to the Museum of London.  The exhibits in the museum document the history of London back to prehistoric times.
London Timeline
Ancient Roman Wall outside of the Museum

We were able to see artifacts dating back before the Roman occupation of Britain and the remains of the Roman Wall that was once built around the city.  There were exhibits of early books, dioramas showing how people used
Early Books Containing Writings of Sir. Thomas More
to live, short videos explaining the horror that was the Black Death, the tragedy of the Great Fire of 1666, and the terrible blitzes from World War II, and finally it also included more modern exhibits, such as, a history of street photography in London.  It was a really amazing museum with well organized exhibits.  It was a lot of history to see in such a short time!

Our next stop was St. Paul's Cathedral.  St. Paul's is actually the fifth cathedral that has stood on this site since 604 A.D.
St. Paul's from the Side
St. Paul's from the Front
This cathedral was built between 1675 and 1710 after its predecessor was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666.  It was designed by the famous architect Sir. Christopher Wren who built many other churches in and around London.  St. Paul's, though, was his crowning achievement, with its massive archways and its huge dome that sits atop the church.  Since it is a working church there are no photographs allowed inside but if you visit St. Paul's make sure to see the amazing mosaics that adorn the ceiling and attempt to walk up 500 + stairs to the galleries that are outside the dome to take pictures of the city.  I only made it up to the first gallery, called the whispering gallery, because if you sit on one side and whisper into the wall, a person sitting on the other side will be able to hear you : ) ...whisper...hello...whisper

Today our first stop before Salisbury was the mysterious Stonehenge.  It is estimated that Stonehenge was built in 3100 B.C.  It was built in three stages.  The first stage would have seen the building of the ditch and bank around the site.  The second stage was the arrival of the smaller bluestones, there are 82 of them in all.
The final stage of the building of Stonehenge in 2000B.C. brought the arrival of the Sarsen stones, the huge
Zane posing with Stonehenge
stones that you can see in these pictures that make up most of Stonehenge. 

We still do not know the true purpose of Stonehenge.  It could be that each group to utilize the stones had a different purpose but it is probably a mystery that will remain for the foreseeable future (unless someone invents a time machine and we are able to travel back to 3100B.C. and ask :).

Our final stop today was the Salisbury Cathedral.  The building of this cathedral began in 1220 and was completed in just 38 years.  Not only is
Salisbury Cathedral
Our Blue Badge Guide, Sean
this church in amazing condition for being almost 800 years old, it is also the home to one of the four remaining Magna Carta documents, which was completed and sealed in 1215.

After visiting the cathedral, we walked around the quaint town of Salisbury, had lunch, took a look around the street market, and had a pint in the Lazy Cow pub.  This lead to, probably, the most important lesson I have learn since my time began here in London...dont drink a pint of beer before a 2 and a half hour bus ride!!!
Pints at the Lazy Cow Pub