21. Diary Entry: A week in England

Day 1

Our excursion to Canterbury started at the 5th of September on 7o`clock in the morning at the Bismarck place in Siegen. After Benni finally arrived almost one hour later; we started our trip with a slightly delay by bus. Due to the early departure, most of us have spent the first two hours sleeping. There have been complied approximately every two to three hours breaks of about 30 minutes. The bus is driven as follows: From Germany in the direction of Aachen to come from there directly to the motorway to Belgium, in Belgium itself simply west through the country, and finally before entering the island by fiery we crossed the border of France and started the boat trip from Calais to finally reach England in Dover. For the journey it is worth mentioning that apart from having regular sleep buttocks; a kind of time travel in the boy band history of the 1990s happened. Diverse students lost their controls about their self’s while they full of enthusiasm were loudly singing songs like : lucky (Bitney Spears), almost every song from the backstreet boys as well like some German teenage classics like Flugzeuge im Buach from Olli P. Finally arrived in Canterbury, we decided on a little walk through the campus after we had packed out and discovered our apartments. After few minutes we reached the Woodey`s; the campus bar where coincidently a local singer had a gig. He had covered very successfully the current charts hits with an acoustic guitar. This was so motivating that we decided after a couple of drinks to visit The Venue; the nearest club from the campus. Because of the 50 years celebration of the University of Kent the club was well visited.

Day 2

Slightly tired, day number two started at 9:30 am at the bus. Unfortunately, not everyone had the power to get up that early after the last night, so our trip to the city centre of Canterbury was minus one person. What this person missed was a guided city tour where we learned a lot about the historical and architectural backgrounds of Canterbury. Especially the Church of England was a very impressive architectural highlight. After the tour had finished the rest of the day was to plan and organize by ourselves. We decided to go on a little shopping tour (thanks to god this is possible on a Sunday in Britain). For lunch we had fish and chips at Marlow`s a very cute and I guess for the most tourists a “British” enough seeming restaurant. After lunch we spent about an hour at the river where we discovered a sort of apple bush which grows on the wall opposite our river side. I have never seen such extremely red apples and especially not some which are growing on a bush and not on a tree. One of us even had to check if they are real or if the house keepers just wanted to boast. They were real. The next thing we had done was a big failure: we decided to walk home. Yes to walk the complete way from the center to the campus with all the food bags in our hands. This experience was a very important I guess because failures are the best way to learn in life. Arrived at our apartment we cooked delicious chilli and recognized that some new students from Germany arrived at the campus. They were 10th graders, and the most important, they had a football after playing more than one and half hour soccer together we became really good friends.

Day 3

This day was probably the most tiring day of the whole trip for me. I can remember very well, how I sat in Mr. Blisse’s office and registered directly for the cycling tour. Not just because the only persons I knew joined this tour but also because I thought it would be a nice idea to have a nice little physical training on the trip. Nice, little physical training. I can definitely approve that it was physical and also a training but the other two attributes nice and little, I failed with. Ok, this is not true, we saw really nice and beautiful landscapes. Our group was quite small with Mr. LaPresti as our Tour guide, we actually were only nine persons. The rest of the group went to Chatham Historical Dockyard. The bicycle rent station was in the city center of Canterbury, with our march from the campus to the station we already had a nice warm up before the actual tour started. We cycled to Herne Bay, Kent which is a lovely place at the beach where we had a longer break. I allowed myself a big hot chocolate so that all my burned calories are finding their way back to my hips. To reach our stops we cycled throughout different naturalistic paths as the forest, the beach and the dyke. We even had to carry our bikes once because of fallen trees in the forest what made the trip some how adventurous. After returning to the campus Anna was still in mood for a walk but the only thing I was able to do was a long hot shower and falling into bed in front of a episode of King of Queens.

Day 4

Day number four started first of all with an huge muscle ache for me, I hardly can’t remember when it was the last time that simply sitting on a chair was that painful to me. However, today’s first point of our to do list for the trip was a visit to Dover castle. So, we all met at ten in the morning at the bus and drove to Dover. After arriving and clarifying how much the entry actually will cost we discovered in little groups the very big and impressive area of the castle. Unfortunately we hadn’t enough time to experience every corner of the castle but what my favorite place on the area was definitely the kind of backyard of the castle (which was at least as big as an football field). There were some old cannons replicas and the best thing about this place was the wonderful view we had over the ocean. The castle itself was really impressive, I never went on so long spiral staircases. The second and last point on our list for today was the visit to St. Margaret’s at Cliffe. Like the name already mentioned it was time for the famous white Cliffs around that area and I simply just can say that it was beautiful, really beautiful. The view we had there, those radiant, powerful and white rocks and in the background the wonderful sea, made a very special and pleasant atmosphere. And if this wasn’t enough we had extremely good weather, the whole day the sun was shining. In a very hungry mood we arrived at our apartments and decided to cook a nice dinner together with the people of the apartment above. The result was a huge self made pizza with salad. The day ended with a bottle of wine and Harry Potter.

Day 5

First of all, I have to mention that this day was my absolute favorite day of the whole excursion. We started the day like almost every other at ten in the bus. Our first stop was in Hastings to visit the famous Battle Abbey. Unfortunately, my and the travel budget of several others had already been quite exhausted. Therefore we decided to look for a nice place where we could just hang out together and eat some of our good calculated supplies. After finding this place ,(a little piece of lawn in the middle of a roundabout traffic) we enjoyed the wonderful weather together. After the others had finished discovering the Battle Abbey we met at the bus again and drove to Eastbourne. Eastbourne is a very lovely place where you really get the feeling on being on vacation, not just the wonderful beach and pier but also the city center with all those cute little shops and nice bars, have this holiday atmosphere. Now comes the part why this day was my favorite one: The game If I were you! We already started playing the game at the second day but now we reached an whole another level when it comes to embarrassment. Kim, Max and Me were the only ones who were brave enough to play this funny game. The goal of the game is to think of a task or scenario that is either very embarrassing for the to person who has to full fill the “mission” or affords some special skills. For example, as we were sitting at the beach Kim had to make Break-dance in front of a passenger who was sitting on a bench and listened loudly to hip hop music. That was really impressive because now we all know that Kim actually is able to do break-dance. My task was to block a jogger, what was really funny because he absolutely joined the situation. The evening passed by from task to task we finally reached the highlight of the day : the fireworks concert! It was shorter than expected but it was beautiful, watching a firework at such a nice setting. Directly after the firework we left Eastbourne and returned to our apartments to fall asleep.

Day 6

I guess today was the big highlight for the most students on this excursion because we went to London. For me it was nice too but this was my sixth time visiting London and therefore I was not in the right mood to see the classical sight seeing objects as there were Big ban, Buckingham Palace etc. But we did of course. And what we also did is we went by foot, the bus stopped in Banks and we went from there to Piccadilly – Big ban – Buckingham – diverse unknown places and back again. That wasn’t just only absolutely exhausting but also kind of risky because we almost missed the bus for returning. However, we managed everything quite successfully. My highlight of the day was a big food market we found on our way from Banks to Piccadilly Circus. There were at least 50 stands with food from all over the world and the best thing was that they all had nice little taste stations with free food. One of those stands sold white truffle oil which was absolutely delicious. Or another one offered different sorts of original french cheese (my favorite stand on the whole market). What was absolutely horrible at this day was that I started becoming sick. Hanan was the first person who got ill, than it was my turn and after me, Benni infected. And after him almost everybody felt a little tarnished. This is the reason why I was really happy as we just in time arrived the bus. I was so tired and felt so uncomfortable that I even couldn’t join another round of “If I were you “. I closed my eyes and opened them again and located myself in Canterbury again, the shortest bus drive ever I guess.

Day 7

This day started like I was feared of the night before, my cold broke out it was terrible, my back hurt, my nose couldn’t stop producing secretion and I definitely had higher temperatures . And this is the reason why I kept at the apartment that day and didn’t join the trip to Leeds Castle. Unfortunately this is the reason why I couldn’t tell you a lot about this day because I slept more than 16 hours. Thanks to Mr. LaPresti who recommended Hanan buying Limsip; powder which consists of lime extracts, paracetamol and other ingredients I can’t remember now. It had a awful taste but it helped me through the day. Briefly before the others returned from the trip I decided to go for a little walk so that I feel more comfortable again when we are having dinner together but the fresh air knocked me totally out. I went back to bed and slept from 6 pm till 9 am the next day.

Day 8

Today was actually our last day of the excursion because the next day we returned very early back to Germany. With no trips that are planned, me and my whole apartment members decided to first of all to sleep till our bodies decided to wake up and not the alarm clock. After doing that we went to the center of Canterbury to have a nice last shopping day. Unfortunately, no one of us could buy anything because our pockets were almost empty and we also wanted to eat something nice at our later planned group dinner. Around five we met at a pub, I hardly can’t remember the name but what stacked in my mind were the wonderful cheap prices. For about 12 pounds you could eat there a whole surf and turf menu with an included alcoholic drink if you want. And the quality of the food was surprisingly good for the prices. With a almost exploding stomach we decided to share a cap for the way back to our apartments to start there with the preparations for the night. Every last night no matter what kind of trip you join, contains a nice finishing event. In our case it was the Chemistry, a club with unusual opening times for England because they throw us only at four in the morning out. Although it seemed to me that this club was more aligned for younger teenagers; we as a group had a really good time. Before we drove back to the apartments we had a delicious last kebab all together. And shortly after arriving I packed the last things in my suitcase before I fall asleep. The perfect finish for this brilliant excursion.

Day 9

Our returning day started first of all with a shock because we couldn’t find the key for our empty room in our apartment. Five minutes before the bus was leaving we finally found it laying in the kitchen drawer, for what reason ever. Physically we all were a little tired and hungover and mentally totally prepared to go home. I guess, everyone who joined such a trip in a bigger group, knows this feeling when you are returning home and no matter how good the trip actually was you simply just can’t wait to go home. This kind of atmosphere was definitely found in the bus. Our route back to Germany was the exact same as we drove in the direction of England, only backwards. So, again we had to take the ferry to cross the sea and continue our way back home. On the ferry the most of us spent their time sleeping or with the last chance of some great photos. What I did was to spent my last pounds for some nice souvenirs and random time killing activities. My preys were a Manchester United card game, a little candy giver in form of a Minion and the painful experience of loosing my very last pound on an automatic machine that is activated by coin usage. The task was to control a gripper to grab for instance a watch or in my case a selfie-stick. I swear, there had only been two centimeters left and I would have won the stick. After this little ferry fiasco, the bus went on the tour back home. The rest of of out way back home was like usual procedure: tired, back hurts and the ridiculous missing of its own bed.