Wednesday, July 16, 2008

London Trip Video

Here is a video covering the whole of the trip. Enjoy!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Experiencing Some Culture

We had another beautiful day today, our last full day in England. We traveled to Oxford, where we strolled through the different colleges at the 900 year old university. We then moved on to Stratford upon Avon and visited William Shakespeare's birthplace and grave. We finished the day with a visit to the Hard Rock Cafe in London and the show Wicked. Look for more video, pictures and stories from our trip in the coming weeks. If you would like to contribute send an e-mail to

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Fine Sunday

We began day five here in London with a brief visit to Westminster, where we visited the famous abbey, walked past no. 10 Downing Street (the Prime Minister's residence) and made our way through Whitehall to the Soho area to attend mass at St. Patrick's Church.

We then proceeded to the British Museu where we were treated to a guided tour of the artifacts held there, including the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon.

Later, we had some free time to explore the city and shop. A few guys decided to recreate an iconic pop image...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Day in the West Country

We had another beautiful weather day here in England as we made our way out to the West Country and the ancient sites of Stonehenge and Bath.We first visited the ancient and mysterious Stonehenge where we learned about the different theories surrounding the construction of the monument on Salisbury Plain.

We then visited the Georgian city of Bath, famous for its ancient Roman Baths built on a natural hot spring and for its late 19th century architecture and home of the novelist Jane Austen.

We finished the day returning to London for a lasagna dinner and a visit to King's Cross Rail Station and the location of Harry Potter's "Platform 9 3/4". All in all we had an excellent day!

Friday, June 13, 2008

We had a very busy and fun day today. We began our day with a visit to the Tower of London, the 900 year-old fortress and prison of the kings and queens of England. At the visit, we also saw the famous Tower Bridge and the Crown Jewels.
We then took a walk along the Thames River to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre for a very informative and fun workshop. We then took a cruise on the river to Westminster where we took a ride on the London Eye, giving us wonderful views of the city from 400 feet up.

We finished the day with an Indian-curry dinner at a great restaurant in Soho.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

St. Paul's, Windsor, and Spamelot

We had a great second day here in London. Our day began with a visit to St. Paul's Cathedral in Central London. The church was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and built in the late 17th century, replaced the medieval St. Paul's that was burned in the Great Fire of 1666. It was most recently made famous with marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana in 1981.

We then proceeded to Buckingham Palace, residence of Queen Elizabeth II in London to witness the famous changing of the guard.

We then proceeded to Windsor Castle, the Queen's home outside of London where we toured the State Apartments and St. George's Chapel.

We finished the evening at a West End show by attending a performance of Monty Python's Spamelot. We all enjoyed the show very much. Everyone is having a great time here in London.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

We Have Arrived!

We have arrived in London after a very long trip. We were delayed two hours at BWI with the storms that went through Tuesday, but we made it through okay. We did our first walking tour of the city after we checked in and we got to see Trafalgar Square, Piccadily Circus, the National Gallery, Chinatown and Soho. We also had our first dinner of fish and chips and we were able to celebrate Ryan's 16th birthday.

We are all very tired, so we are going to keep this short. More tomorrow (along with some pics and maybe some video).

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Away We Go!

We are just a few hours from leaving. Hope everyone is ready. Expect the first blog post from London sometime Wednesday evening!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The English Language

Some say that one great connection between the United States and the United Kingdom is that we share a common language. Don't take that for granted. English spoken in Britain can at times be very different from American English, and the differences across Britain are sometimes extreme (far more than the minor differences we see in different parts of the U.S..

Here is a list of common language and cultural things to keep in mind:

In America we say "bathroom" or "restroom." In England they say "toilet" or sometimes "loo" (if you ask for a restroom you a liable to get an old lady asking if you want to lie down, it happened to me once.)

In America we say "thank you." In England you often hear "cheers" in place of this.

British money is in pounds (the symbol is £), but like our money which is broken down into cents, British money is broken down into pence (often abbreviated "p" when spoken and written the same way, ie 50p). The British will often say something like "five pounds fifty" which is £5.50. Pence coins come in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 pieces. Pounds come in 1 and 2 pound coins and 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pound notes. A slang term for pounds is the word "quid," similar to "bucks" in American (10 quid is the same as 10 pounds). Remember, one pound currently equals about two dollars (see the exchange rate calculator to the right.)

Also, despite being the home of English measuring units like we use in America (mile, pounds, ounces, inches, etc.), most items you see in England will be in metric units due to their membership in the European Union. Be aware of this when buying items, looking at distances or reading temperature (it is usually in Celsius instead of Fahrenheit).

That being said, the ten day weather forecast with tempertures in Fahrenheit is as follows (looks pretty good!):
Wed Jun 11 - T-Showers 70°/54° F
Thu Jun 12 - Partly Cloudy 64°/53° F
Fri Jun 13 - Mostly Cloudy 64°/51° F
Sat Jun 14 - Partly Cloudy 61°/50° F
Sun Jun 15 - Light Rain 63°/50° F
Mon Jun 16 - Mostly Cloudy 66°/52° F
Tue Jun 17 - Partly Cloudy 69°/55° F

Friday, June 6, 2008

Going North

There are some other geographical changes that we will be experiencing besides a time zone and weather changes. Many people don't realize that London is nearly 850 miles farther north than Baltimore. This means that as we approach summer, the farther north you go the longer the daylight is. We will have almost two extra hours of daylight in London as compared to Baltimore. The sun will rise in London around 4:40 am and set around 9:20 pm. It will be nice to have the extra daylight for our activities. Next time, more on British lingo.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

More On Stonehenge...

There seems to be a lot on Stonehenge in the media right now, great time for us to be visiting.

Here is a clip from the Today Show on May 31st:

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Having Fun and Learning In London

We certainly plan to have as much fun as possible on our trip to England. But it is also important to keep in mind that this is trip is intended to be an educational experience as well. London and southern England has thousands of years of historical and literature connections that we will explore while we are there. Our trips to historical sights and our nights at the theatre will give us some wonderful experiences.

One location that many will be excited for us to visit is the ancient site of Stonehenge. Stonehenge is one of the most recognizable ancient sites in the world, but little is still known about it and archaeological investigations continue to give us more information on the history of the people who built the site. On Sunday, June 1 at 9pm the National Geographic Channel will be showing some of the latest discoveries on a documentary called Stonehenge Decoded. I encourage you to watch the program so you may be informed about the site before we visit.

See a clip from the show here:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

London Weather

The weather in England in June (much like the rest of the year) is very unpredictable, so you will want to be prepared for anything. The average high is 68 F and average low is 55 F, but that does not mean that we could not also see some much colder or hotter weather. On average there is 11 days of rain (but it is common in London to have a brief passing shower and the rest of the day cloudy or even sunny). In all likelihood, the weather in London in mid-June will be similar to what we are currently experiencing in late April and early May here in Maryland (this year has been cooler and wetter than usual).

So, clothing recommendations? A light water-proof jacket is a must (and a small umbrella is not a bad idea either). You may be able to wear shorts on a few days, but bring a pair of jeans for those cooler days and evenings. A combination of short sleeve and long sleeve shirts is a good idea. Bring something nice for the nicer dinners and our theatre performances. And, most important, bring some comfortable walking shoes.

See the weather widget at the bottom of the page to keep an eye on the weather between now and the time we leave. You should also check the 10 day forecast for London before leaving.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Welcome to the MSJ London 2008 Travel Blog. This blog will be updated with information for travelers for the Mount Saint Joseph High School Trip to London from June 10 to 18, 2008. During the trip, this blog will be updated daily with stories, pictures and video so friends and family can share the experience with the travelers.

Check back for more information soon.