For J Term this year, I was given the distinct privilege of traveling with 16 students and 6 adults to Great Britain for 9 days. We met at school early morning January 4th, and the anticipation was tangible! We spent almost 24 hours traveling to get to our destination, and the anticipation did not help us get much sleep during our travels. Needless to say we were wiped out when we landed in Glasgow, Scotland! But the fun was just beginning!
We were greeted at the Glasgow airport by our tour guide for the trip, Sergio. We had a great time over the next 8 days getting to know him. He had a very interesting life story to share with the students, and it was fun to watch them build a relationship with him, and even to be able to share the Gospel with him. The students enjoyed the opportunity to learn from all of Sergio’s knowledge — historic, artistic, and life. God blessed us with a great tour guide, and I hope we were not only a blessing to Sergio, but representatives of Christ.
From the Glasgow airport we started the approximately 5 hour drive to a small city of Inverness. Sergio tried to make it an exciting drive, but the majority of us were working on 36 hours of no sleep, so we did a lot of sitting and staring! But what we were seeing was absolutely breathtaking! It is hard to put into words the beauty of the Scottish Highlands! God’s creativity never ceases to amazing me!
After a great night’s sleep, we were ready and raring to go! We spent the next three days exploring Inverness and Edinburgh. We went to the battlefield of Culloden (the last battlefield in Great Britain); Loch Ness to look for Nessie; Stirling Castle, the Royal Mile of Edinburgh (where we did lots of shopping); the Elephant House (where J.K. Rowling wrote the 1st Harry Potter); and many other exciting places. It was incredibly fun to watch the students explore, ask questions, and take in the great history that is Scotland. We did lots of walking, but there is nothing quite like learning by being there!
When we got to London, it was a totally different feel than where we had come from. In Scotland we were able to explore and learn without feeling like we were in the way. In London, we always felt like we were in someone’s way! In the three days we were in London, we were able to get a whirlwind look at both the historic and modern history of the great city. While there, we took a bus/walking tour of the entire city, visited the Tower of London, saw Parliament and Westminster Abby in the daylight and at night, visited the London Art Museum, had a fish and chips dinner, became proficient at the London Tube, saw the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, and visited the many parks that dot the city. The students were even able to attend a West End performance of Wicked, which was a big hit! London was exhausting, but it was great to get to end the tour in a big city. The atmosphere was so electric that it kept us going!
Right before we headed home, we were able to visit Stonehenge and the city of Bath. While in Bath, we were able to do some shopping, but the highlight for everyone was the Roman Bath. It was so cool to be able to get to see and walk where the ancient Romans had walked! It was also fun to get to see some of the things that Jane Austen writes about in her books when the characters visit Bath.
Leaving to come home was bittersweet. We had built new relationships, both as a group and with our tour guide, and so it was sad to leave the “little family” we had become accustomed to. Overall, we traveled through 6 airports, rode 5 different buses, stayed in 3 different hotels, and visited 5 different towns and cities. All through those crazy travels we never had a delayed flight, lost luggage, broken down bus, impassable roads, or lost tour members! God is sooo good!