On Saturday February 11th, began our trip to England. We left Lons-Le-Saunier at 6pm in bus. We ate in a highway station at about 8 pm then, we carried on our way to Calais. There, we took the ferry in the middle of the night. Emma and I, we were a little bit sick during the crossing because of the moderate sea.
We reached London at 8am after a long night in the bus. We were all tired but very excited at the same time to visit the amazing capital city of Great Britain. The programm was planning to make us see the business center of the City, Tower Bridge, Covent Garden and so many prestigious places! I can tell that we were back at our 6 years old at that right time.
We first stopped at Mc Donald's so as to have breakfast. But, English breakfasts are so different of ours... Sausage or bacon Mc Muffin, two yummy choices for french people. But I can tell that it was a great experience after all.
Then, we went to the famous Imperial War Museum. I have to say, that we felt kind of surprised about this place. I admit that I never liked much museums (Emma) so I feared it to be a bit boring. But it definitevely was not. The two wars are big parts of our history school programm so in this place, we could understand a bit better everything we learnt at school. We finally had some clear ideas about what was a war like. I think, I will always remember about the trench reconstitution, it was much bigger than I imagined in class. Moreover, there were also noisy reconstitutions of the constant explosions that suffered the soldiers and then I finally realized about ther truce of all the testimonies I have read about this horrible War. Even the reconstitution was scary so the real ones must have been terrible.
We could also see the many weapons used during this war, and that was scary as well. Huge cannons, sharped baïonnette guns, risky grenades: so many deadly weapons.
Because of these dangerous arms, the soldiers had to protect themselves so they wore some sorts of masks in order not to be touched by the gaz.
I would say that the WW1 museum's part has been for me the most interessant part because we worked a lot on the subject in history class as well as in European English class. Thanks to this museum I am nowadays able to have a better vision of what happened and how catastropohic the situation was.
The WW2 exhibition was really striking as well. It is important to say that this war was based on deshumanization so the consequences it had were really moving for us. As opposed to the WW2, it wasn't the fighting experience which was the most touching part but it was the Civils' experience. We were both really striked by the last floor's exhibition where we had to stay quiet in order to be respectful for the victims. At this floor, we had a tribute to the millions of discriminated against people who were massacred during the WW2. There were lots of pictures and we didn't feel really good in there. This part illustrated pretty well the Holocaust.
Then we ate our pic nic in a room inside the museum and we already thought about what we would do on the afternoon. There were 4 groups, each group was with a teacher. It was a reaaly good idea to separate the class to visit London. At the beginning we listened to the audio guide made by a few students. It was interesting to know some new facts about London but it was also difficult to understand what the students said on the recording because of all the noise around us.
We spent some time at the National Gallery of London which is located on the famous Trafalgar Square. The building is absolutely beautiful and fits pretty well all the treasures it contains. Alice and I were separated in two different groups but we agree that this visit was really enriching for us though I admit I don't know much about art. Once the visit of this monument was done, we carried on visiting London with our groups. We stopped at Birmingham Palace to have a look at the Queen's place of residence and we saw her guards all red and black-dressed. We also went to 10 Downing Street where Theresa May, 1st Minister of England, is actually living. London is a city full of surprises.
After a night in a youth hostel with all the group, we spent another day in London.The bus stoped in the tower of London, and we walked throught London all the morning under a beautiful sun. It was really nice, because we discovered some area like the City, and we cross the famous Tower Bridge. The we went to Bloomsbury area to visit the famous British Museum. This museum proposes a look at human history, art and culture. Its permanent collection is composed of more than eight million works, that is to say one of the largest collection in the world. We were impressed by its acerage and the beauty of the building and especially the main room with its roof made of glass. We spent some good time in the Egyptian room where we could see some mummies, that was a nice thing to see. But if we had to choose one thing we didn-t like much it would be the art of Susie Freeman who is a textile artist, she has decided to tell the story of the health and wellbeing of a typical man and woman in Britain today. I personnally didn't really understand the point of this work. This work is 14 meters long is kind of surprising, it actually shows how dependant to medicines we are. We also saw some world-famous works such as the "Great Wave".
After an English lunch prepared by the youth hostel, we carried on visiting London and one of its most beautiful area: Covent Garden. We had there some free time to do some shopping and it was nice to speak a bit of English with the shopkeepers. The atmosphere there was really enjoyable and we had some good time there.
At the end of the day, we would finally have the opportunity to meet our hostfamilies- without a doubt the most stressful thing of tge trip. But, the surprise was great for us! We were welcomed by a nice couple composed of Annet and Joe. We were accompanied by Aurore and Charlotte in this family and we spent a wonderful week with these people.
Tuesday aimed at visiting Stratford Upon Avon: the city of Shakespeare. I think that this day was my favorite (Emma) whereas I didn't expect it to be. We strated it by the visit of Shakespeare's birthplace which helped us visualize a bit better Shakespeare's time. We saw the house of his chilldhood which was pretty rich for the time and we heard some extracts of Shakespeare'splays played by an actress. Then, we the "Blood Guts and gore" attraction which was really interesting for us. We listened to a woman who told us a bit more about the gore scenes in Shakespeare's plays. Thanks to her, we also learnt about the plots of some famous plays such as Othello, Hamlet and Macbeth. Moreover, we had here the occasion to improve our language skills thanks to a small game we had to do where we had to express ourselves in English only. The woman did not speak French by the way so we had to focus a bit more on her words. We all really liked this moment. On the afternoon, we had some time to discover the pretty town of Stratford Upon Avon and we had some work to do which was given by our English teacher. We were all put in groups that we couldn't choose and after all, I would say that it was a good thing because it allowed us to get to know some of other members of this trip. With my group composed of Paul and Nadia we won at the end of the week a little price because of our video which present the city of stratford. It was really funny to do this.
At 4 pm started the best part of the day. Indeed, we had the chance to be part of a theatre lesson about Shakespeare with a professional drama teacher.
We began some theatre exercises that allowed us to feel more comfortable. We had a lot of fun practicing them. For exemple, the drama teacher asked us to make some objects with our bodies, such as a boat or a scarf by groups of 4. We were all laughing, it was a really good moment to do this, and i think that the teachers thought that funny too. Then, she gave us some sheets about the Othello's play but we have to admit that it was a bit complicated at the beginning because this play was written in the 16th Century and the language was as a consequence difficult for us. But the teacher helped us and we fast understood better the extract. It was really nice to learn some new words thanks to this play. And once the text was understood by all of us we all played in some different ways. We had a really nice time with the group and our English teachers, we would definitely recommend it to other french groups who want to go to Stratford Upon Avon.
After this great day we came back to our host families and we really needed to get some sleep but we were relly happy as well to see our hosts.
The fourth day of our trip was dedicated to visit the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley. This museum was made to show us the industrial life in Queen Victoria's time. This museum was the replica of a town in the 19th Century. We had the opportunity to visit the replica of a mine and we could picure ourselves better about the life at that time. And we can now say that it was really different: no electricity, no heating... And they all lived in such a poverity that they had to fix everything in their houses so women had to sew a lot. We could also see a chainmaker doing his job and we were impressed by the danger of this activity which was unavoidable at the time. In the morning, we would also attend to a primary school class with the way of teaching of the time. That was also a funny moment where we saw the authority that the teacher had at the time.
The only problem there was this day was that the weather was not with us and we were really cold all day. We learn many facts obout this time, it was interesting.
After the visit, we went back to Worcester, where we had some free time to do some shopping. And, at the end of the afternoon, we visited the catherdral of the city. It was beautiful, and also interesting because we attenteded the representation of a choir composed only by children. This moment was for me (alice) very pleasant, because I found that the children had beautiful voices.
On the 5th day, we went to the second biggest city of the England called Birmingham, where we first went to the jaguar museum. We separate thed group in two, because the guide did not accept the all class inside the factory. So we waited more or less 1 hour in the bus. We were not bored, because the teachers gave us some exercises, videos and so on, to do. At about 12pm we began the visit, first, the guide showed to our group a video which promoted the brand and we had to weare safety jackets. Just before entering in the factory, the guide explained that it was strictly forbidden to take photos inside. This is notably because competing company could go here to learn from the innovative method Jaguar has. We were all a little bit disapointed, because it could be great to take some photos of the building of the differents cars. The visit lasted an hour and a half. It was really interesting, we learnt a lot about the technic of construction, and how the factory works.
On the afternoon, we went to Birmingham, preciesly in a shooping centre. That was awesome ! We had 2 hours to do some shooping, it was huge, one of the biggest shooping centre I had ever seen.
It was our last day here in England, we were a little bit sad to leave our host family because Annett and Joe were always very kind with us . We put our alarm clock a little bit earlier than the other days to have time to finish our luggage and also have time to take our last breakfast with the family. We were also excited because we were about to go to Oxford on this day, and we knew that it's a very pretty city because we went there with Emma 3 years ago. Just before the departure to our family's house, Joe gave to each of us a jar of Worcester sauce because he works in the factory which makes this product. That was very thoughtful of him !
We arrived in Oxford at about 10pm, and we began the visit of the most prestigious univerty of this city, called Christ Church College. We listened to the audio-guides and it was interesting, we learned many things about the history of this college. We discovered beautiful places, including the famous lunch room which inspired the director of Harry Potter for his films. We also saw students, that were kind of impressives beacause they seemed to be so clever. However, it is important to note that not everybody can access to this kind of university, it's very difficult to be accepted, the pupils need very high marks and also a lot of money... Christ Church is composed of plenty of buildings, uncluding a beautiful church.
It was funny when Camille took some photos of Alice in the schoolyard, Mrs Badot said that Alice looks a little bit like Hermione one of the main character of the famours movie Harry Potter. It's a nice compliment ! After the visit, we had 1 hour to eat our lunch, it was our first opportunity to discover Oxford. After this, we began on the afternoon a game for 2 hours, we were all in groups of 2 or 3 and that was good. We had to find famous places in the city thanks to some quotes, but it was also a little bit difficult because we had to ask people in the city and they usually didn't know the answer. It was a good way to pratice our english. And by the way we visited some different places. Then the techers gave us 3 hours to do shooping and have fun! Someone didn't have present for their family, it was the last opportunity to do this! We bought some english snacks becauce we wanted to try and also because we are very greedy. With our groups of girls we began before the dinner, we felt sad because it was our last moment here and a perfect week was ending. At 7 pm we met all the groups for our last evening here, on a nice pub called Wig and Pen. We ate some taditional food like fish & chips (but emma doesn't like fish so she only ate the chips) and for the dessert we ate a delicious chocolate cake with some vanilla ice cream. At 9 pm, it was time to leave the beautiful city of Oxford to take the ferry-bot in Dover.
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