I was lucky enough to have not just 1, but 2, travel opportunities with my schools this year. The first was to London back in February, and last week I went with a group to York. Even though the travel time was much longer (24 hours one direction) and the students were younger (12-14), the trip itself was much calmer and, for me, more enjoyable than the trip to London. York is a much smaller city, so the likelihood of them getting hit by a bus or taxi while not paying attention was also a lot lower. I believer there was an inverse correlation between that factor and my personal enjoyment during the 2 trips.
Although this was not my first trip to England, it was so different from my trip to London, that everything was new. Instead of taking the Eurotunnel on the bus, we took a ferry across the North Sea from the Netherlands. When I say a ferry, I mean a really big boat. Not a Carnival cruise ship (thankfully!), but multiple levels of cabins, shops, restaurants, and bars. Choosing to take the boat instead of driving greatly increased the travel time, but it allowed us to relax a little. On both legs of the journey, we took the ferry at night. We had cabins, so everyone was able to sleep in a bed instead of on the bus, take showers, walk a little, and we also got 2 hot, good meals on the boat. As a plus for me, leaving the Netherlands and returning through Belgium meant that I got extra stamps in my passport!!
The boat was run by an English company, so as soon as we got on the boat, we switched to English culture, food, and language. The students' reactions to everything, the food especially, were so varied. Some kids would not touch the meat filled English breakfast or the curries for supper. But we had 2 boys that ate everything. One boy, who actually has a mysterious allergy to something but he doesn't know what, literally tried every single food in each buffet. He was so curious and liked most of it. And thankfully no allergic reactions. The other, was just a growing teenage boy. He was always the last to leave the restaurant, at which point we always saw him eating alone, with his multiple desserts and a big smile.
|English sheep! How do they baaaa with an English accent?|
|View from the top|
Two of the days we spent at locations outside of York. We spent one day in the seaside city of Whitby. An hour north of York, on the North Sea, Whitby is small former fishing/sea faring. It also happens to be where James Cook, the famous explorer, used to live. In the morning, we had a guided tour of the James Cook Museum, which is housed in the house where he lived, although he only rented 1 room. The museum mostly focuses on his voyages and life, but has some general information about ship travel during the 16th and 17th centuries. We ate lunch in an old-cemetery, up on a cliff overlooking the sea. It was beautiful!! We had free time all afternoon in the town. Since Whitby is mostly a tourist town now, there were all kinds of small boutiques and gift shops that the kids loved. But we could also walk along the pier and watch the sea, which is what I opted to do. On the way home, we drove through the Yorkshire moors, and I was really excited to see a real English moor. I've read too many Romantic English novels not to appreciate the vastness and possible supernatural and emotional effects of a moor.
|Where we had lunch|
|The moors. Thankfully, we missed seeing a glowing hound |
from hell or the spirit of Catherine Earnshaw.
It was really hard to say goodbye at the end. This trip was my last official action as an English assistant. When we arrived back at the school, it was the start of a 2 week vacation and I will be back in the US before they start classes again. This group of kids (2 of classes) were awesome all year and so much fun to work with. Going on this trip with them was really a fantastic way to end my time here in France.
From York with love
(extra love if you get the 2 explicit literature references)