I can’t believe it has been 20 years since my first trip outside of the US. I went with 19 other girls (strangers) on a college trip during J-term. We spent the whole month of January in the UK.
Sadly, I flew to London one week after Pan Am flight 103 exploded over Scotland. Yep, I was scared, but I still went.
Here are the highlights of what I can remember
First week was spent in London; weeks two and three in Leicester; and 4th week back in London.
First meal was horrible – fried veal patty and peas. (What is with their obsession with peas? There are like 10 other vegetables that I actually like – peas is not one of them.) I didn’t eat again for 2 days – when I found a KFC.
We went as a group to the Tower of London and saw the crown jewels, to Buckingham Palace, to watch Les Miserables, and to Windsor Castle. (All places in “the book” are colored.)
We took a bus from London to Warwick Castle, to Oxford and then to Stratford-upon-Avon. A cute, ancient man took us on a tour of the oldest library in the world at Oxford. We saw Shakespeare’s wife’s home in Stratford and then watched the Tempest at Shakespeare’s theatre. I also saw his grave.
I vaguely remember stopping at other places too – like the place where Lady Godiva rode naked on her horse.
We then spent two weeks in Leicester – this was the real learnin’ part of the trip. All 20 of us girls were placed in the local schools and we lived with local families. I really liked my family. I got to be friends with another girl (Belle) who was placed in the same school and lived with a family on the same street.
I remember taking a tour of a local radio station. They even interviewed a few of the girls. (Not me – I am too shy.) Our radio station guide played a song for us and said the “singers” were going to be HUGE in the US in the next 6 months. It was Milli Vanilli. He was right – they were huge – but we all know how that ends.
I spent one weekend in York. I only remember going to the Railway museum.
I spent the next weekend in Edinburgh, Scotland (new country). That was an interesting experience for a college-aged girl from the US. We arrived before noon on Saturday. There were already lots of drunk men wearing skirts (kilts) who were more than happy to show us young American girls what they had – or didn’t have – under their kilts. We stayed at the local youth hostel – another first for me – and last. I did visit Edinburgh Castle.
And we looked for the Loch Ness monster.
I don’t remember much about the last week in London. I was pretty homesick by this time. I took the tube (subway) to Wimbledon, but was disappointed when I couldn’t see anything from the station.
I have no idea where to find my pictures from this trip.