COM0014 – Blog #1: A high school trip to Europe.

Back in 2014, I had a chance in high school to go on a special class trip to Europe. Specifically to 5 days in England and 5 days in France.

First, we had to get to Europe which ment a very, very long plane ride. A plane ride I spent with a crying baby in front of me and a crying baby behind me. It was an over night flight and I did not get any sleep.
It was morning

The Palace of Versailles from the gardens.

Our first stop (after the hotel) was the Palace of Versailles. It was beautiful and impressive with so much art to see. I, however was completely distracted by the pigeons. The little brown and white one was my favourite. I gave him extra bread.

I did get a lot of photos of the interior and exterior of the Palace and gardens of Versailles. However my photography skills from that time sucked and our trusty friend, the Internet, exists.

Speaking of friends, at some point I thought the hedges outside looked like comfy seats. I was wrong. One friend proceeded to take pictures as another attempted to free me from my prison of shrubbery. Luckily, no one noticed and we didn’t get into trouble.

A wild Kai stuck in a french hedge.

We had many other stops in France after Versailles.

But we went to Paris. Went up the Eiffel tower, it had an elevator. Went up the Arc de Triomphe, did NOT have an elevator. We did a day trip out to Arras, made a bunch of butt jokes and accidentally went into a bar selling “adult magazines”. Fro some reason all the clothing stores in Arras had Yoda masks in the windows??? Tried to see Vimy ridge, got lost in the fog, found wash rooms, lost the bus, found Vimy Ridge, and then the morning fog cleared up. Turned out that our bus was parked ten feet from the monument and we wasted an hour wandering in fog. Explored the trenches at Vimy ridge. Went back to Paris. Had only an hour in the Louvre. Was underwhelmed by the Mona Lisa (It’s actually pretty mediocre). Explored the Notre Dame Cathedral.

We also had a decent amount of free time for our own exploring in areas that the majority agreed on. At some point my teachers on the trip said we had the choice to see and explore the catacombs of Paris (super cool and exciting) or go shopping in a popular shopping district (boring, can do the same in Canada). Only one of my friends and I voted for catacombs. we lost the voted and I was very disappointed in everyone else on the trip.
We also ate on a boat and a third of my class got sick with minor food poisoning. I was not one of them.

Speaking of food…

There was a TON of good food… in England. For some reason, Stereotypes failed on this trip. all the food we ate in France was dry, flavourless chicken and equally disappointing veggies. Our only respite from bad food in France was buying from street vendors and shops during our free time.
However, in England we got amazing food (pictures above). It was wonderful. Every time I ordered Ice Tea with dinner, It would be a freshly brewed tea with Ice cubes, not Canned brand name Ice tea.

It’s tea, not beer! I swear.

On the first night in England, I was the only one of my class mates who didn’t order a pop with dinner. I ordered Ice tea. It came in a glass. It was a little frothy on top and one of my teachers thought it was beer for a moment. She even came over and smelled my glass to make sure it wasn’t beer. 5 minutes before that she told me not to expect fresh made Ice tea. Boy was she surprised.

In England, we never really left London.
We went and saw Piccadilly Circus, The tower of London, Their Parliament, The London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Harrods Department store, Wicked the Musical (The Theater Royal Haymarket), and several other places.

Out of all those stops, the Tower was definitely my favourite.
A cool medieval castle. A raven that loves to steal shiny things from visitors.

Derpy statues. Suits of Armor. Beefeaters. Fun spinny chairs.
Definitely the best part of the England half of the trip.
Although, the late night Jack the Ripper tour we went on is a really close second.

So dear reader… Have you ever gone on an International trip?
What was the most Exciting School trip you have ever been on?

What was the lesson I learnt in the gardens of Versailles?

-K. R.

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