Sunday, July 2nd
Hampton Court Palace
On Sunday, our program went to Hampton Court Palace for the day. As soon as we got there I was instantly encaptured by the amazing architecture and vastness of the palace. As I walked through the halls I couldn’t help but think of the history the walls had seen. It amazes me how talented and useful people were even in the 1600s. Sometimes it can be hard to imagine a time without electronics, technology, or even light bulbs. I laughed with my friends joking that they had nothing better to do than painting, and that’s why they were so good, but it can’t be far from the truth. The outside of the palace was quite expansive with gardens, fountains, and flowers. I felt nostalgic walking the same paths King Henry VIII, Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, and Jane Seymore walked. My friends and I visited the cafe and tried their food, but it wasn’t that great. I think my favorite part had to be the ceilings upstairs. The paintings done on them were absolutely incredible. I also liked the indoor tennis court because it’s interesting to me that they played the same sport as we do. The palace had some great Instagram-worthy shots such as The Great Fountain Garden and walls of flowers near The Knot Garden. For a while, my friends and I rested under the shade of a yew tree in the garden. The only place we didn’t visit was the maze, but that’s because we couldn’t figure out how to get there! I genuinely enjoyed the field trip and am so glad I got to experience Hampton Court.
Monday, July 3rd
St. Paul’s Cathedral
Visiting St. Paul’s Cathedral was the highlight of my Catholic upbringing. It was cool to me that I knew a lot about what went on during Mass inside the walls. Sadly, we were not allowed to photograph the inside of the Cathedral or the dome, but I got some beautiful, discreet shots with my Go Pro. We climbed what seemed like 500 stairs to get to the Whispering Gallery inside the dome. The Whispering Gallery is said to be able to transfer whispers from one side to the other, clearly, but my friend Haley and I were not able to figure it out! After that, we climbed even MORE steps that seemed almost never-ending. They literally had resting spots in the middle of the spiral staircase for you to catch your breath! The view at the top was well worth it though, I was able to see the London Eye, Tower Bridge, The Shard, Shakespear’s Globe, and many others from way up above. Near the end, we went to the Crypt which I thought was really creepy honestly, its weird to think that there are remains in there. Finally we went to the gift store and I got a poster for my room, plus an ornament and key chain for my mom with the serenity prayer on it because thats her favorite prayer. We finished with lunch at Shakespear’s Tavern which was really good! I got sausage and mash which is outside my comfort zone but it was actually delicious! I loved seeing part of my religion that is so important in history and had a great time on the field trip!!
Monday, July 3rd
The same day we went to St. Paul’s Cathedral we also went to the National Gallery. Not only was the square in front of the gallery cool, but I saw some works of art from my favorite artists. When entering the gallery, there are street performers, sculptures, fountains, and crowds of people. Once inside we planned on a tour guide to show us around but he was absolutely terrible. He wasn’t enunciating and his explanations were too long and boring, so we decided to venture off alone. I saw my favorite painting, Van Gogh’s Crabs, which I was super excited about. I saw a lot of Monet’s pieces too which was interesting since I learned so much about him in my art classes in high school. I learned about Leonardo Da Vinci at the museum and I never knew he was also an engineer, or also that he took his own life. I got some really awesome pictures and souvenirs, including postcards to hang on my wall, a key chain, and a tshirt with A Still Life of Flowers in a Wan-Li Vase by Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder. Overall, all the art was amazing and almost overwhelming, the only art museum I have ever been to was the High Museum in Atlanta. I loved getting to see some of my favorite artists!