The final week, London week was really Jam-packed, so I'm going to try and give an overview of everything that went down in our final week on exchange.
After arriving (see last post) we took (and by took, I mean had the boys carry) our suitcases up the 96 stairs to our room, where we changed out of our uniforms into normal clothes. After a quick meeting downstairs, where we officially met our tour rovers (see what I did there) for the week Matt and James, we set out for dinner. We dined on pizza and pasta, before boarding the underground to SOHO, the red-light district, for some frozen yoghurt dessert. We had a relatively early night that night, as we were all tired from our travels that day.
Breakfast was at 8:30 and we left by 9:00am. Due to the fine weather we set off for Tower of London! After wandering around for a while we moved on to some markets for lunch! After lunch we set off for Shakespeare's Globe! After an absolutely fantastic tour of the Globe we went further along the Thames to TATE, the modern art gallery. After a quick look around (as none of us were particularly interested in modern art) we set off back to the underground, on our walk across the foot bridge, featured in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1, it started raining... then it started hailing... and my water and snow proof boots got wet... inside the shoes. Once we had made it back to the hotel and changed into some dry clothes and shoes we went out for dinner at
After breakfast we headed out to Churchill's Bunker, it was extremely interesting, and the museum had many great displays and information. The gift shop was very cute and I bought some 'Ration Fudge'. When we had finished in the bunker we headed over to a large court yard where we witnessed the changing of the horse guard, which was really cool. We then walked through a park, where we saw geese and SQUIRRELS, to get to Buckingham Palace. Once finished up there we headed to the underground again to get to Kings Cross Station to visit Platform 9 3/4 to satisfy our Harry Potter Fangirlling hearts! After photo's and a visit to the gift shop we set off on our way again, to Camden Markets! This was both interesting and kinda scary. The markets here were a little 'alternative' but as long as you stuck with a buddy you were sure to be safe. After a delicious lunch of fresh made Hawaiian pizza, that I shared with Amy, and a Nutella waffle (or two) and much wandering, our market time was over. On the way home we did some shoe shopping, where I bought some vans, and eventually made it home, we ran to the hotel and dumped our stuff. That night we went on the ever-so-scary Jack The Ripper Tour (dun dun duuun). The tour guide was absolutely amazing and the tour was both informative and really fun... in a scary way haha.
On Wednesday we split into two groups, the smaller of the groups having a fancy breakfast, the larger of the groups going to the WARNER BROS. HARRY POTTER STUDIO TOUR!!! It was so exciting! we wandered through the sets, we tried flying on a broomstick and driving the Weasley's enchanted car. We even got to try Butter Beer (which was delicious)!!! Once we had finally Harry Pottered ourselves out in the sets and gift shop we set off on the train, stopping only to grab a quick bite to eat, to meet the others for a tour, called 'unseen tours'. These tours are led by homeless, or ex homeless, people, they take you around the city showing you common homeless sleeping area's and raising awareness of the issue of homelessness in London. Once this was done we went back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. For dinner we decided not to go out and instead Matt took a few of us down to a nearby pizza shop to pick us up some dinner... which were six HUMONGOUS pizza's. Each piece was easily bigger than my head! It was delicious and we then spent the evening playing games such as 'cards against humanity' and 'spoons' and 'bullshit'.
On Thursday we went to The Crystal, a science centre focusing on the future, where we spent some time exploring the museum then we went on a cable car ride across the river! This was soo cool! After this we went into Greewich. There a beautiful hall full of wall and roof paintings. After this we went to some markets for lunch, followed by a street art tour! Once the tour was over we went to an Asian restaurant for dinner before heading to two separate shows, one group went and saw Matilda the musical! which I really wanted to see, but it was rather expensive, so the rest of us went to see 'We Will Rock You' the Queen tribute musical... WHICH WAS AMAZING!!! We had a late night that night, we had a quick meeting around 12:30 am after which we went to our rooms to do some quick packing before going to bed and finish packing in the morning.
Our Last day in London and on Exchange :( We spent the morning finishing off our packing before heading into the city to do our last minute sight seeing. We started with 'The Monument' Climbing a large spiral staircase that seemed to go on forever, but were rewarded with amazing 360 degree views of London! After this we headed over to M&M world. We had a classic English Fish and Chip lunch. After lunch we hit up the cheesy tourist markets, Eliza and I had a look through the Transport Museum, then Matt showed us an old-style toy shop. Once we were done here we headed back to the hotel to grab our suitcases and struggle through the peak hour rush onto the underground to get to Heathrow Airport... we managed to get there across about 3 different trains, but we all made it in one piece (except my suitcase... poor thing lost a wheel). After weighing our bags (all safely under the 30kg limit) we thanked Matt and James for looking after us, gave them cards and chocolate, and James left while Matt got us safely checked into our flights, even posing as legal guardian for one of the boy's who had forgotten a spare 'unassisted minor form'. Eventually it was time for us to go through customs. After a lengthy and reluctant goodbye we all made it through customs. Once through customs I got 'random drug tested', the poor customs officer had so much trouble with the swab stick he ended up submitting an unused swab for analysis and so obviously it came up clean.. not that I'm complaining!
We had two uneventful flights home, and made it safely through Australian customs. It feels so good to be home, but I can easily say that the 7 weeks in Denmark and 1 in London were the BEST 8 weeks of my life! I am so glad that I had the opportunity to experience all that I did and encourage any Venturers in Australia, Denmark, London and Japan to get onboard the SISEP experience.. you won't regret it. For more information on the SISEP program follow this link: http://www.international.scouts.com.au/main.asp?iMenuID=17658024