This was the second year that Sophia booked our trip to London and Stratford upon Avon for a group of eleven students studying Shakespeare. Of course, we returned to Sophia because of her professional and efficient abilities. Planning school group trips is hard because there are so many different demands -- but Sophia was amazingly patient and compliant throughout.  The trip was a huge success - the students learned a lot and had a wonderful time at the sites and with the guides.  I would recommend Sophia to any student group -- she does all the legwork. Once again, thank you! 

Trip to London Students group report  follows

Shakespeare Student Trip Report

            From December 9-14 eleven students from the Shakespeare Elective went on a trip to England. Over the trip, we toured many different sites where they learned about Shakespeare’s life and medieval everyday life.             On the day we arrived, we went to Windsor Castle. Windsor castle happens to be the largest castle still in use today. We learned about the Knights of the Garter which is an English order of chivalry with a history stretching back to medieval times; today it is the world's oldest national order of knighthood. We walked through the royal apartments and saw Queen Mary II’s dollhouse. Later that day we went to Camden Market where there were warned not to buy drugs.            

The second day we went to Stratford-Upon-Avon. There we went to Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Nash’s House, Susanna’s house (Shakespeare’s daughter’s house), Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, and to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. We learned that the higher one’s ceiling is in one’s house, the wealthier one is. We were also repeatedly told that the source of the many fires of London (especially the Great fire of 1666) was the thatched roofing. We also got a backstage tour of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre which was interesting. The tour guide thought he was funny by telling us that while the Americans were fighting with the Indians, the British were studying Shakespeare. No one was sure what the point was that he was trying to make. We later saw The Merry Wives of Windsor- a musical- at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, which happened to be hilarious and enjoyable.             The third day we went to Middle Temple Hall in which the play Twelfth Night was performed for the first time. Queen Elizabeth I was part of the audience that saw this play for the first time. Middle Temple Hall is one of the Inns of Court. The Inns of Court is the collective name of the four legal societies in London that have the exclusive right of admission to the bar. Every lawyer in England must be a part of one of the four Inns of Court to be able to take the bar exam. We also got a tour on the bus of the sites in England such as the London Eye and Westminster Abbey.             

After Middle temple, we went to the site of the Old Globe Theatre and then to the Modern Globe theatre. We got a real feel of what it was like to be a part of the medieval Shakespearean audience- minus the food throwing and urinating in the seats. From there we went to Buckingham palace for a photo-op. At 7:30 we went to see Les Misérables which was excellent.             

The next day we went to the Tower of London. This place has brilliant history. It was first used as fort to protect London from outside invaders. Later it was the place where the Royals would stay before they were coronated. It was also a site of many executions. One famous execution was that of Anne Boleyn, second wife to King Henry VIII, who was falsely accused of adultery.            

From the Tower of London we walked to the Bevis Marks synagogue also known as the Spanish Portuguese synagogue. It is the oldest synagogue in London. This synagogue was built right after the Great Fire of 1666. It looked a bit like the churches built after the great fire because it was designed by the same person who designed the rest of the churches in London- Christopher Wren. After this we went to see a matinee of Much Ado About Nothing.            

From there we went to Covent Gardens, which is a cool shopping place. It was our souvenir buying time. After that we went on the tube to go on a Jack the Ripper tour, which was very graphic but enjoyable. It was a tour of all his haunts.             

On the last day, before we left for the airport, we went to Abbey Road and to the Winston Churchill Museum. We left our mark on the wall of Abbey Road Studio. We all wrote how we love the Beatles. The Winston Churchill Museum was also cool. It was in an underground chamber that was used to protect him and his advisors during the Second World War. It was really cool to see Churchill’s elementary school report cards that said he was bad at history and geography and that he was badly behaved in class. It made him seem human.  After the museum, we went on a gloomy ride back to the airport.              

The trip was a total success and we learned loads.

Yael


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