Students on the England Intensive have been journaling about their adventures — below are some excerpts. Led by Language Arts teacher Christine Knowles, the group so far has visited The Tower of London, The British Museum, Globe Theater, Stratford-upon-Avon, Oxford, Windsor Castle, and lots more!
FROM SOPHIE: Essentials such as bathrooms and caffeine were accessed before deciding to go to the Tower of London for the rest of the day’s activities. The tour started with a projected short film talking about all the families that had lived in the fortress and how they were all related/connected. It began with William the Conqueror and how he came to power, then continued with his successors. We continued to follow the tour for a bit, even getting to see historical re-enactors, one of which offered me a white skin pelt to sit on and called me “my lady” (which was awesome). After a while however, we diverged from the numbered tour and proceeded to explore the way we desired. There was no particular pre-planned order in which we explored the towers, but each one represented a family that had lived there and what happened in their lives.
Religion and how it evolved throughout family generations, the past wars that had taken place, and how each ruler ran his country, fortress, and home life were the topics that had the most information, but there was also towers dedicated to the King’s exotic menagerie, King Henry’s wives, execution and imprisonment, the Crown Jewels, armories, and so many other topics.
I learned a lot of new information about London’s past rulers and going on this tour has increased my interest in history. I love touring old places, especially ones from the medieval era and learning about their rulers. I’m particularly interested in the background information of these rulers, like how each different king dealt with people he thought had wronged him, how wars were started and then resolved, multitudes of spouses for one person, and other personal information about people that really showed who they were as a person and how they cared for their country or themselves.
FROM HENRI: Today was an exceedingly spectacular day with lots of new things learned. We walked to a library and met up with Tolkien Scholar named Alan Reynolds and walked around the city of Oxford, checking out many Tolkien artifacts such as first edition books and maps, paintings made by Tolkien, and learning many interesting facts such as how Tolkien rewrote a chapter in the Hobbit to make Gollem’s presence in Lord of the Rings seem more realistic, which in turn created two different stories that had to be explained in the way of saying that Bilbo had lied to the dwarves and wrote the truth in his diary, thus making both editions of the Hobbit still canon even with the differences. We then went to an English Pub at 2:00ish and had some strange foods like suet (meat) pudding and small pies. After the late lunch we split ways with Alan and his wife and then split up ourselves to explore Oxford to which Sophie, Eli and I went to a bookstore and made some purchases and looked at interesting books. After that we all met up and walked home and will be preparing for a long Stonehenge filled day.
FROM ELI: Yesterday we spent three hours at the London museum in between lots of walking and underground rides. Our time at the museum was mostly spent dodging groups of small school kids. After our museum expedition we left by bus to our new home in Oxford. Its very nice since we got an upgrade. Today we went on the Shakespeare tour. Self-led of course. We went to Stratford upon Avon, Will’s house, Will’s grave and many more assorted Shakespeare things. All leading up to a very cramped and complicated train ride back. As the trains are not as easy to navigate as the underground.
FROM WILLOW: Today we went to Windsor Castle, we had to go a long way to get there. (Bus to subway to train to train to Castle and back.) London apparently likes stairs a lot because during our trip there has been a ton. Also I’ve noticed that people like to talk a lot on their phones. Back to Windsor, we saw St. George’s Cathedral, Queen Mary’s dollhouse, and The State Rooms. Toby’s plan to steal the Queen’s corgies failed so now she’s looking on the Internet to see if she can get a corgi from the same breeder.