Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The last post of the trip

Well, we woke up and had breakfast, the usual, hard boiled eggs, yoghurt, toast or rolls, fruit and juice. Flag is everyday at 9:00, this being our last day we went out to take part in our last one. We had to check out of our rooms for 10 am, but our bus to transfer to the airport would not be there until 11am, so we had a bit of time to relax in the OWL room and watch part of a movie. Some girls had "overspent", so in order to bring everything home, they left some clothes behind for Edith, the volunteer from Nigeria, to send back to her family and village. She had just been to Primark the day before and bought two huge bags of shoes to send home, the clothes will go nicely with them. The resident volunteers were also the recipients of all the left over granola bars and drink crystals, shampoos and conditioners and various other things! A good way to get rid of the extra weight.
The bus arrived and we were soon our way to the airport. Our driver got us there in 40 minutes, not bad timing and we began our check in. To our surprise, they weren't as worried about the luggage weight as they were about the carry on weight, so a few of us ended up taking stuff from our carry ons and cramming them into the luggage! We were also told we could only have 2 carry ons, some of us had 3, but apparently that was not really the case either! At any rate, we passed through security, unfortunately some girls did not head the advice of packing all their liquids and such into their luggage, and some things were confiscated. Live and learn! The "waiting" lounge in Heathrow has a mini Harrods, so Emily go her chance to get a pic with the Harrods bear and under the sign. We all found something for lunch, because by this point we had eaten at 8 am, and now it was 12:30. Our flight seemed to be the last one to be given the gate number. AT Heathrow there are two very long walkways to get to gates 1-22 or 23-45. We didn't know which way would be going so we ate our lunch, did some duty free shopping and sat and waited for our gate. Finally at about 2:00 our gate was posted..Gate 30...thank goodness for the moving sidewalks, although sometimes it is faster to walk beside it than on it! We were the first to board the flight and get organized an comfy. This time we were all together at the back of the plane instead of scattered all over. The flight was scheduled to leave at 3:00, but as time drew nearer, it was obvious there was no way were leaving on time. The pilot came on over the intercom and announced there had been some damage to the plane while loading the cargo, and therefore the one cargo hold could not be used, they had to unload all the luggage and repack it in order to spread out the weight. It was almost 4:30 London time before we finally started our Taxi to the end of the runway.
One thing at Heathrow, a plane lands and takes off every 60 seconds...the busiest airport in the world, and it is truly amazing to watch. Even while we were at Windsor Castle, you would see airplanes, one after the other, coming down for landing, and they seem to appear from nowhere...as someone who lives very close to the flightpath in Thunder Bay, I found this absolutely astounding and loved watching it!
By the time we took off, most of us had finished watching an entire movie and were on to our second ones in no time. I had advised everyone to stay awake through the flight, Lynn and Sarah Anne didn't even last through the sitting part on the runway! If you stay awake on the way home, your body will drift back into your own timezone with more ease, but advise is only just that, and many of the girls succumbed to their exhaustion of the past 3 weeks and were out cold!
Cass took the opportunity to get even more embarrassing shots of sleepers..some are quite hilarious!
AS we flew on, it was becoming more apparent that we were definitely going to be late for our flight, the question was would we get our luggage and pass customs in time to board. There were thunderstorms at the time in Toronto and were put into a holding pattern around the airport before we could land..the next big question, would they get our luggage off the plane on time? Being the first checked in, our luggage was first on the plane, and yep, the last off the plane! Thankfully a trefoil member was on our flight from Heathrow, traveling to Thunder Bay as well, and she went ahead and told them there was a group of 21 people coming right behind, so they held our plane for us. The logistics of booking 21 people onto later flights was just to much of a nightmare! So, after sending our luggage onto our other flight, I found out Laura had gone the wrong way, and therefore we had to go upstairs to check in her luggage. At this point it was already 8:30, our flight was already delayed 20 minutes for us. and then they decided to give us a hard time about that! Well, using our guiding skills, we convinced them that it was just not acceptable not to get her luggage on the plane and not acceptable to rebook her on the later flight, as they would also have to change my seat so she wasn't alone..it seemed to get the job done. We hastily went through security and were on our way to our gate, which of course was at the end of the hallway and down. I was thankful to walk outside to get on our plane as it was the first breath of fresh air we had in hours!
AS we sat on the plane Kelsi watched Laura's luggage get brought out and put on..whew...here we go. We had a great flight home, very quiet with all the sleepy heads, a little turbulence along the way which some girls enjoy way too much! Allison!
There were cheers as we landed, we were home!
This trip was the most wonderful trip we could have imagined! 22 days of seeing amazing places, meeting fascinating people from all over the world, visiting the past, and being inspired and awed by history. We learned how to barter, how to order food, we ate everything that was given to us, we walked almost 30,000 steps everyday according to Lynn's step counter, we learned to love water, it is your best friend, but most of all, we bonded as a group. Watching Laura and Natalee share an umbrella on the way home in Paris, Jacquie leading the way on the tube, Caelan asking if the food is nut and egg free, Emily, not panicking when she came out from the toilet and no one being there, Erin leading us to Pax Lodge like she had been there a million times, Melissa bartering with a man, telling him his sweater was not even the quality of hers! It was amazing...the girls grew not only as individuals but as friends. This truly was a trip of a lifetime, one that I hope they will remember for a lifetime, and one that I know has inspired them to set goals, and do whatever they can to achieve them..imagine more girls, imagine more!

Love always and forever,


Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Windsor Castle, Bath and Stonehedge

Well, the gals all woke up to sunshine. Of course we should have no rain for the first time in London since we arrived.(i think it's because we sat on the coach for a fair bit today) We were greeted by our delightful Scottish tour guide John Steele. He is an actor (isn't everyone) by trade. He kept the girls interested and engaged.

I have made it my mission to find everyone on the plane, train, coach and tube sleeping. The girls may try to tell you they didn't sleep, but they did and I have proof.

The Trip of Time Travel back 5000 years.

Our first stop was at Windsor Castle. The Queen was in residence, however we had no sighting. We did get to experience the changing of the Guard at the castle. It was as great as I had hoped. We didn't get to see it at Buckingham Palace, but I think we probably got alot closer than we would have at Buckingham. We got to view Queen Mary's dollhouse. It was every girls dream, young and old alike. It had everything, including Linen rooms, silver rooms with the iron cage and the lower level wine cellar with teeny tiny wine bottles and kegs. We toured the state rooms and visited St George's Chapel (where all the King's and Queen's of GB have been buried). They have even had a few weddings there, I suppose the most notable for most would be Prince Edward.

Next we were off to Bath. I have most wanted to visit there, because of my love of Jane Austen. It was both quaint and exquiste. What I didn't know was it is marked as a World Heritage Sight. As we drove thru Bath to our drop off spot we passed the Jane Austen museum. The bus driver slowed right down for me to take pictures and he must have caught the gentleman's eye from the driver seat, cause he stopped and Mr Darcy himself got on the bus and I got my picture take with him. I can't wait to go home and reread the books.

We toured the Roman Bath and Aly and I broke the rule and felt the water. It comes up to the surface at 46c. It was really quite hot. I'm not sure what the girls got out of it, but I thought it was really interesting. The girls wanted snacks and got to try the local specialty of Pasties. Many different flavour options were available. My selection was bacon, leek and cheese. The pastry of the pasty was the absolute best i've ever had.

Back on the bus to Stonehenge. It was a bit of a drive but worth the trip. It really is in the middle of nowhere. You drive down these magnificent windy roads and all of sudden you crest a hill and there it is. I know the girls say awesome, sweet and cool. But OMG. There it is really in the middle of farmland. Thankfully the day was brilliant and sunny, otherwise it would have been wet, windy and miserable. But still OMG.

Back home tomorrow. The girls young and old are looking forward to coming home. The trip has been awesome. The girls have all individually truly touched me. We have had many, many, many laughs. Many at each other but mostly with each other. I'll be honest there have been tears, some as early as the plane ride out of Thunder Bay. But the tears are not what these beautiful girls are going to come home remembering. Hopefully they will come home a little more independent and yearning for more travel adventure. (A few are already asking "where are we going next time")

See you tomorrow night mums and dads.
Mommy hugger Cas


Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:England in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland

Knowledge & Empty Wallets

We had another amazing day! First thing...Yvonne pointed out a milk truck which I have not seen since I was 7ish, 20 or so years ago. lol
We took the tube to the National History Museum. WOW. I could have spent the whole day there. Personally, I enjoyed every exhibit I visited. A simulated "earth quake" seemed to be a favorite amongst the group. It was pretty cool if I say so myself. After two full hours walking through the museum the leaders attended two exhibits. However, the girls seen "the total museum", "every exhibit and gallery" and apparently know a lot about it already. We are traveling with some really smart cookies. lol
Next was Oxford and Regent Streets. I was anticipating going to Hamleys to get a One Direction Doll for Becky...success. It is a huge store. Below is a picture of the Queen made out of legos... We shopped till we dropped. (Literally).
We hit Forever 21, H & M, Coach, Next and a few more shops. All that shopping makes a girl extremely hungry so we at Nando's. Apparently, the boys from One Direction have eaten in that same restaurant. We were able to purchase some extremely hot, hot sauce. Can't wait to bring it home to share. It was another day to remember. What a RIDE!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, 19 July 2012

The end of Journey through London

Today we woke up(as expected) and got dressed and went down for breakfast. Then we had flag and then we got ready for the day.

We borrowed shirts from Heath Hands(which was the group we were with for the morning). Although they didn't fit quite right, it was exciting to wear something different than the usual. We walked up to Parliament Hill which was the hill that Guy Fawkes went on to watch the Parliament buildings burn......which they didn't actually burn. From up on the hill, you could see a lot of the main buildings that make London such a great city.

Then we went back down the hill and into a sort of grassland but also sort of a park. There we met up with some people with Heath Hands and found out we would be doing some surveys. The first survey was one about bugs. As un exciting as it sounds, it was so fun. We got to look through short grass, long grass and a parking lot looking for bugs. Did you know that ladybugs are called ladybirds? After that we stopped for lunch. There was a small cafe that had amazing hot chocolate!

When lunch was over we went up on another hill to test wind direction and we learned about clouds. Even though this trip was supposed to make us more mature, we all turned into giant toddlers when we were given bubbles to blow into the wind.

When we finished our surveys we returned to Pax Lodge to get ready for the BBQ. We all had different jobs to do. I was in catering, which wasn't really catering. It was more like go buy some snacks. Lilit told us that we needed to buy her some crisps a.k.a chips, and Edith told us that ice cream was necessary. When we got to the grocery store I immediately ran to the watermelon and picked the biggest one possible. Thinking it was only 1 pound 79 pence, I grabbed it. Turns out, that price was per kg. It ended up being a 13 pound 18 pence watermelon. You do the math.

During the BBQ we had music playing and people dancing along and singing. Over all, having a great time. Everybody got along for the afternoon and it was really enjoyable. When we finished eating we went back inside for a candle walk. A candle walk is to reflect on your stay at Pax Lodge, and remember the good times, and forget the bad. Everybody was respectful and quiet, even though the energy level was high.

Then we were given certificates for being a part of Journey through London. Some people took part in a Pax Lodge challenge and were given a second award for completing it. Our group is full of extroverts but the New Zealand girls were very introverted. That really showed when one freaked out on us for cheering when someone from our group was awarded. When all the
awards were handed out we played a game where Amy would read out a statement and if it applied to you, you would jump up and yell "That's me!"

Then we filled out a survey for Pax Lodge about the quality of our stay. I think I speak for everybody when I say that our stay was flawless in every way. After that we sat down to watch a slideshow of pictures from throughout the week. The majority of them were from our girls sleeping on either a bus or a tube. It was really well done for the amount of time they had.

To finish off the day we played some games and then said our goodbyes to the New Zealand girls who are leaving tomorrow morning. Journey through London has been good to us. Pax Lodge is the best place in the world to make friends and laugh with people from all over the world. As somebody once said "We all smile in the same language". It's been an amazing and unforgettable experience, and I hope that I will have an opportunity to stay with Pax Lodge again.

Love: Erin<3


Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, 18 July 2012


So we woke up at around 7:00 and today we wore purple shirt and black bottoms. Once everyone was awake and dressed they went down and made their lunch and ate breakfast. Then all of the canadians and new zealanders went into the conference room to talk about what we are doing today. After they were done talking we headed out to the underground train station and waited for about 5-10 minutes,when the train arrived all of us got on and went to the Tower of London the Historic Royal Palaces. In the Tower of London we saw so many fantastic things like all the Crown Jewels that many of the Queen got presented with that Crown. When the leaders decided to break off in little groups of 4 and went to explore the Great Tower of London. Inside there was so many cool things to see like The Medieval Palace, where the prisoners were killed and and hurt in bad ways. There were so many Royal Beasts like loins,tigers,eagles,owls, elephants,kangaroos,zebras and also polar bears. When you walk around you find interesting things like... there was this square and a raven was walking around and hoping and i was thinking don't ravens fly? Yes they do but not this one they touched its wing and clipped it so it could not fly away so it just walked around. It was a cool looking animal that can't fly. So after we all met at the meeting point at the medieval gift shop. We walked to the train station and ride the train and we arrive at our destination to meet our tour guide for the Harry Potter walk. His name was Richard Walker. He told us so many cool things about Harry Potter. For example he showed us some of the places where they filmed in London like at restaurants on the street it was cool. He showed us the Millennium Bridge where you could see everything in London like the St Paul's Cathedral and many more cool sites. So he showed us around for about 2 hours. Then when the Harry Potter walk was done when went to Convent Garden Market to shop and eat food for an hour. When we were done their we walked from the market to the train station to go to the mall to shop. Once we arrived we went into the Olympic store and bought some Olympic souvenirs. Then when shopping at either Hollister,Forever 21, Primark. Oh and to either buy something to eat. So we shopped for 1 hour and met back at Forever 21 at 8:00. Then once we were done shopping we took the overground back to Hamstead Heath to go back to Pax Lodge and get ready for another day, tomorrow. Oh and before I forget today is the day when Emma Korolenko turns 14 years old !! Happy Birthday Emma.
By Natalee


Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Change for the better

Yesterday was on of the most amazing days according to many girls on the trip. First we split up into 4 groups and went on our on ways. 2 groups went to see the olympic sights. One of the olympic groups stayed for about a half an hour and then headed over to the park for fun. Another group went sight seeing in museums and parks. And finally the 4th group found all the amazing shopping sights as well as the Beatles crossing. All in all for the morning of the day to 5ish the groups traveled for to meet up for the most amazing theatre experience of a life time. After a delicious supper we all got dolled up and walked over to the theatre to see Wicked. After what I heard from many of our girls and leaders it was amazing, well told and unforgettable. It was a well told story about the friendship between Glinda (the good witch) and Elphaba (wicked) and how there friendship will last for the better. That there friendship was unbreakable.
All and all it was an amazing story that made a good day even better. We ended our incredible journey by entering the tube and rested up for todays journey. Another unforgettable on that I can't wait for.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, 16 July 2012

TODAY WAS AN AWESOME DAY! We got up bright and early as always(; We ate breakfast which was great! And then we went to our flag ceremony that was led by Sarah, Erin, Natalee, Caelan and our new friend Brooke! Brooke is from New Zealand! Then, we had fun "imagining more" it was SO interesting(: Did you know 60'000'000 girls are forced to get married every year? It's true! Next we took the tube to Victoria station and visited the UK Guiding Store and headquarters, we ate lunch! It was actually so delicious. We ate sandwiches, crisps, apples, cookies& drank a juice box! Then Kyla as pooped on by a really cute pigeon, it was a super poop too! it literally exploded all over her jacket and hair! Next we walked to BUCKINGHAM PALACE:D Guess what! The queen was there! We didn't have the chance to see her tho:( We all took some beautiful pictures of/with the palace and we left, it was an awesome experience as you could just imagine(; We took a walk through james park. We saw a gorgeous swan, ducks, squirrels and even Canadian geese! The Canada girls and New Zealand girls split into separate groups to explore! Our group had the best Pax Lodge leader ever! Her name is lilit she is from Armenia she is such a fascinating person& she is also super hilarious;D It was the best when we walked by some of the guards who worked at buckingham palace. Of course we tried to make them laugh, and though we couldn't fit all eighteen girls in a telephone booth we WERE able to make one of the guards smile! We went on an adventure in the National Art Gallery! We saw original pieces of art by very famous artists like Van gogh, Monet, Manat and Davinci. We took a red double decker bus back to pax lodge and ate dinner! We ate amazing rice, the best chickpea enchiladas, caesar salad and mouth watering carrot cake! After that we played mini Olympics! My favorite part was throwing the rubber boots across the room to see who's could go the farthest! Mine was the only one that hit the door!:D We learn't some traditions from places like Armenia, Nigeria and Malta(: We sang taps in six different languages! And now we're all snuggling down and getting ready for bed! I wonder what eye opening experiences tomorrow will bring for us...
Love Serena<3 xoxo
p.s we miss everyone so much and we can hardly wait to see everyone again!


Posted using BlogPress from my iPad