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Published: July 19th 2010
On the way to England. Ted and I went out on deck to see just how strong the winds were
The morning of Friday, March 26th came early. With a 7:30AM departure time, travelers were up by 6:00AM to pack and eat their last hotel breakfast in Dublin. The hour-long bus ride to Dublin Port went quickly, travelers using their time to reflect on the unique experience that was Dublin, Ireland. If the ferry ride from France to Ireland had tested our sea legs, the ferry ride from Ireland to England was to put them through boot camp. Although a relatively short ride, DrakeSMART travelers were faced with rough waves and heavy winds. Many passengers came to find that poor weather conditions were much easier to deal with at night when you didn’t have the added visual of the boat dipping up and down against the backdrop of the horizon. A few of the lucky passengers were not bothered by the travel conditions and used the opportunity to experience the rollercoaster from the outer deck. I don’t get seasick.
Arriving at Holyhead, Wales couldn’t come soon enough for many of our group. By 11:00AM we had arrived. The experience of taking the bus trip through the north west of Wales was memorable. Those of us who hadn’t packed our cameras
Off the ferry and on the bus
in stowaway luggage were lucky enough to come away with photos of the charming port city.
The six hour bus ride to London was full of anticipation as we eagerly discussed and formulated future plans. Two of us worked to set a price on how much we were willing to pay in order to attend an English soccer match while others playfully argued over which Beatle they would portray in their recreation of the famous Abby Road crosswalk pose (and who doesn’t want to be Paul, right?).
We arrived at the Corus Hotel - Hyde Park around 5:00PM. The hotel’s location was pleasing for several reasons. The first of course being that a red phone booth was located just around the corner, providing us with our first London photo opportunity.
We would also come to find that a neighboring restaurant offered fantastic fish and chips dinners. In addition, our hotel was directly across the street from Hyde Park, one of the largest parks in central London and home to the famous “Speakers’ Corner.” As fellow traveler Ted informed us out of previous experience, the Speakers’ Corner can be an entertaining place to visit. The Hyde Park Speakers’ Corner
The bus rides were long, but the cooler full of beer and champagne helped pass the time
provided a venue where social and political activists, as well as Londoners who just want to voice their gripes, are able to express often radical ideas with relative immunity from persecution.
With a few hours to ourselves prior to our final group dinner, weary travelers were able to relax at the hotel. Some unpacked, others claiming space in the hotel lobby. The pace of the past few weeks had started to catch up with many of us, and the opportunity to relax was both needed and welcomed. At 8:00PM we assembled at a local Italian restaurant for our last group dinner. The experience was bittersweet. Although one of the most anticipated stops along our trip, it was sadly our last. We laughed as we reminisced, telling stories and speculating about the remaining days to come. The evening was capped off with a typically great speech made by Dr. Meyer, during which he reflected on all we had seen and learned, thanking our wonderfully skilled bus driver and all of those who had made this wonderful experience possible.
As the dinner came to a close, some left to wander the streets while others returned to the hotel to relax
in the lobby. Saturday was to be our big day in London, full of tours and free time. We needed our rest, so rest we got.
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