All of us had to meet in front of Schönefeld Airport on the 27th of May at 8pm, which was rather early considering that most of the students live approximately one hour away when using public transport. Everyone was excited to finally get to the capital of England, London. Especially Selma, who was on the plane for the first time in her life. Our plane left at 9:55 and there were, lucky us, no complications or what so ever. We arrived at 11:25 English time.
After taking the train and subway we arrived at Paddington Station, which is just a few minutes away from the Shakespeare Hotel, where we were going to spend the next week. Everyone was positively surprised because the area looked lovely, neat and clean. Especially the small park, the Norfolk Square Gardens, which was directly in front of our hotel, delighted us. We checked in and waited in the lobby, where we could relax on a couch and shortly recover from our trip. After a short time Mrs. Gartmann explained to us how many people would fit in one room and in which building we were going to live. Our room was reminiscent of a typical youth hostel but lovely and with two bathrooms.
We took the bus 23 from Paddington Station and went all the way through the center of London. It was good because we could see some sights and interesting places but the fact that it was an ordinary bus and not a tourist tour bus was a little bit stressful because when Mrs. Gartmann was explaining what was in front of us we couldn’t really hear a thing. But all in all it was a nice short trip and it had a positive side effect - we knew now which bus we had to take to get to Oxford Street.
Later on we went to a British theater the „Shakespeare's Globe Theatre” and watched “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, a drama written by Shakespeare. It was not a typical theatre, it was designed the way the theater had looked like in earlier times. Everything was made out of wood: the stage and the seats, if you weren't standing. The seats were located in different ranks and levels. The theatre didn't have a roof, it was an open stage where you could see the sky.
We were standing directly in front of the stage and could see the stage and the actors very closely. The actors wore the typical dresses and suits of Shakespeare’s time. Even though we had to stand one and a half hour, which was very long, it was a good experience we all made and interesting to see such a stage play. When the first part of the play was finished, we were all very tired. So we went back to the hotel and fell into our beds.
by Mia, Nila, Fiona, Laura, Clara, Ladivine
Welcomed by unusual sunny weather, London dropped back its classic behavior on Tuesday. It was cloudy, partly rainy, as we walked through the inner part of the city, passing all those sights London is famous for.
We took pictures in front of the impressive gate of Buckingham Palace; we stood at the foot of Big Ben and saw the Houses of Parliament. Afterwards we went away from London’s core to visit the London Museum, which contains a huge collection of artifacts about the city’s history. Then we had to choose another museum to visit, so that our group divided in several parts. The larger part – including me – went to the National Gallery, where visitors can see a permanent exhibition about old artworks around the medieval times and the renaissance. The Gallery is a building so large and labyrinthine, that I got lost in it.
The time we had left of the day was ours to spend, so that I can no longer resume what it was used for by all members of the group, but I’d guess it had mostly to do with food. We all were hungry.
by Annica Strehlow
On the second day we walked through the political part of London. At first we went to Buckingham Palace where we saw a lot of tourists. Most of us took pictures of the building and were very fascinated about the size of the building. It was a pity that we couldn´t see the queen. After that we walked to the Big Ben and from there we saw Westminster Abbey. Unfortunately we couldn´t go into the buildings.
Following this we visited the London Museum where we saw different historical things and took a lot of pictures. For example we saw some dresses which people wore in former times, but also the pre-existence was represented.
At the end of our trip, every group chose a museum which they wanted to visit. My group visited the National Gallery, where we saw a lot of appealing paintings. The afternoon was very exciting, because we saw a lot of political buildings and got a closer look at London and its history. The only bad thing was that it was raining.
by Selma Selimovic
Our second day in London started with our first breakfast in the Shakespeare Hotel, which was totally different from what most of the pupils expected.
The hotel offered us sweets like cookies, waffles and different sorts of cornflakes with milk. As most of us are used to eat hearty breakfast, the minimized offer on eggs and toast somehow disappointed us.
After breakfast our programme started: using the ‘District Line’ we went to ‘South Kensington’ and changed to the ‘Piccadilly Line’ to go to ‘Green Park’.
From there we walked to the famous Buckingham Palace, which many tourists visit.
We had some minutes to take photos and then we walked towards the government district Westminster. Unfortunately it started raining very badly, but the weather didn’t keep us from seeing the Big Ben, the Houses of Parliaments and Westminster Abbey.
Our next stop was the Museum of London in ‘London Wall’, where our teachers gave us about one hour to explore the galleries. The galleries show 450,000 years of London history, for example Roman London or Medieval London. There were a lot of interesting photos and antique pieces to see.
After having visited the museum our teachers told us to go and visit another museum by choice. Some pupil visited the National Gallery, others the Theatre Museum. Later we had enough free time, which everyone used to go shopping in Oxford Street!
Generally our second day was very informative and due to the architectural uniqueness the government district of London is worth seeing. As many pupil think that London is just a shopping-city it was useful to discover the historical London.
by Elif Sevran
On Wednesday, 29th of May we went to see the Tower of London. We didn’t go there by bus or subway but had a boat trip down the river Thames during which we got to see a lot of sights and famous buildings.
Our trip started in Westminster, near the Palace of Westminster. After just a few minutes the famous big wheel London Eye came to our sight. After another while we could spot the Tate Gallery of Modern Art and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, that we had visited before. Then we passed the London Bridge and left the boat at the Tower Millennium Pier.
After a short walk we arrived at the Tower of London and started to visit the various museums located there:
There was the Jewel House, where you had to queue for quite a long time but then got to see the famous Crown Jewels, including the Imperial State Crown, which is worn by the Queen at each State Opening of Parliament. Not only all the great royal jewellery was shown in the Jewel house, but also some short facts about the history of the British crown were presented in a very entertaining and informative way.
Then there was the White Tower, right in the centre of the Tower of London. It was used in former times for many different concerns e.g. as a prison, a royal chapel or a troop arsenal. Today a part of the Royal Armouries including e.g. the panoply of Henry VIII is exhibited in the White Tower. Besides that the history of the Tower is explained in the White Tower very nicely.
Unfortunately there was no more time for us to visit the other parts and museums of the Tower but just to have a short look at the ravens that are said to be the guardians of the Tower. Since Charles II brought them into the Tower, legends say that the ravens shall never leave the fortress, or otherwise the kingdom would fall. The ravens moved very vividly, but did not seem to have any protective impact on the Tower to us.
After having visited this impressing part of British history and architecture we enjoyed our spare time for the rest of the afternoon and evening visiting Soho, Covent Garden and other places.
by Sarah Steinbart
Thursday morning started like every morning in London. After having eaten breakfast we all met downstairs to go to the train station together.
The way to Windsor wasn’t very long, so after a few minutes of a train journey we arrived at Windsor. It seemed like a small town or village, different from London. The first thing we did after our arrival was visiting the Windsor Castle.
At least we tried to, but after discerning that the queue is too long we gave up waiting and decided to walk through the town and discover Windsor so that we could meet our deadline at Eaton College afterwards. So some of us went to the souvenir shops, others just sat down on a bench, but most of us went to McDonald’s for eating breakfast (again).
Afterwards we went to Eton College. The way took us through a part of the town which looked like a small English village. Well, we arrived too early at the tourist office and that’s why we could have a small break there. Punctually at 12 o’clock we started our tour through Eton College. Unhappily for our girls, the so called “Etonians” were on holiday. Still they might have been entertained enough by the impressing class rooms, gigantic chapel and all the interesting stories our tourist guide told us. Prince William and Harry attended Eton College, too. We learned much about its history but not just in a boring manner; the whole tour was really exciting because probably none of us had ever seen such a school before. However, it was a rather short tour but we enjoyed it.
Afterwards we went back to Windsor Castle and fortunately there was no queue anymore. Some of us were wondering why we had gotten an audio guide, but a few seconds later, we all knew why. We realized how enormous the castle buildings were and how many things we could discover there. In fact, our expectations weren’t disappointed. Seeing how magnificent the palaces were in which glorious kings and queens have resided, was really breathtaking. The gleam and magnificence of all the riches the Queen possesses now, was inexpressible in words.
On our way back to the hotel we made a stop in Southall, a district of London where many Pakistanis and Indians are living. That was quite interesting because, like in Chinatown, all the signs and a lot of advertisements were written in foreign letters. There were also shops that sold special Indian clothing, mostly wedding dresses, also called ’saris’.
Afterwards we took the train back to the hotel and spent the rest of the day free with our individual programme.
A text by Kardelen Yilmaz, Ferdinand Heyn, Davor Gabler, Sherin Mohammed
On Thursday we went to Windsor to visit Windsor Castle and Eton College. Going by train we reached our destination in about 30 minutes. It was planned to first visit the castle but due to our appointment at 12:00, there was not enough time left to visit the castle before going to Eton College. Just a few minutes by foot is Eton College where we got a behind-the-scenes tour at 12 by a woman who knows the college and the people well who live and work there. She began in a room arranged like a museum showing the history of the College. She mainly showed us Eton College from the outside but we were able to visit the oldest classroom and the chapel. The tour was really interesting because we got information about the history but also information about the school today, so how everything is organized and which subjects are taught.
After the tour we went back to Windsor Castle and went inside. Inside we got audio guides and were allowed to move around in the castle for two hours and to listen to the audio guides if we wanted to. We mainly spent the time in the State Apartments, so the rooms that were used for living and festivities. Sometimes this is still the purpose now. The State Apartments were really impressive because they were bigger than you expected from the outside and very luxurious. As the two hours were over we met outside and went back to the train station to go back to London. On our way home we made a stop in the district Southall, known for the many people with Indian background living there. There, we visited a supermarket to compare the offer of goods with the ones in our supermarkets. Afterwards we walked around Southall and tried some food sold on the streets and had a look around the shops. After an hour we went back to the train station to go back to Paddington, the location of our hotel.
by Olivia Schmidt
Friday, 31/05/2013: Our trip to London
It was the last day of our trip to England. After breakfast every-one packed his luggage and we left it in another room, as our rooms were cleaned for the next guests. After we managed to put our luggage in the cellar we left the hotel to visit Brixton, a part of London in the south, were many immigrants live. We took a bus and went through the city for the last time. It took us nearly an hour to finally arrive in Brixton.
You recognized immediately that many people from other countries live here, mostly with a dark skin colour. We had one hour to walk around. There was a market, which we all visited. It was very interesting to see what was sold there: Many colourful dresses, jewellery and foreign food. After the hour had passed we all took the underground and had two hours free time again. Most people went to Hyde Park, we visited Covent Garden again and bought a last few souvenirs.
At two o'clock we all met in the little square in front of our hotel and went to an Indian restaurant. There we ate very tasty Indian food, the British national dish Chicken Tikka and for the vegetarians there was a dish without meat, but nevertheless very yummy.
After everyone had eaten enough, we headed back to the hotel. We sat on the square for another ten minutes, then took our luggage and made our way to the airport. First we took the underground to the very crowded Victoria Station and then took the train to Gatwick Airport. There we had to wait very long but finally we boarded the aircraft and at eleven o'clock at night we arrived in Berlin.
by Freda, Leo, Pauline