Grand Tour 2018
Grand Tour Day 12: Oxford
Written by Kaila '19, photos by Kaila '19, videos by Tanner '19 and Logan '19.
". . .This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this is England."
This is a quote from the Shakespearean play, 'Richard II,' that my dad sent me to read as the Class of 2019 crossed the English Channel. Although I last read it a couple of days ago, the words of Richard II rang in my ears as we drove through the Cotswolds on our way to Oxford. My eyes were still tired but I refused to sleep as I wanted to soak in the scenery. The further we escaped from the never-sleeping city of London, the more I grew excited, knowing what the day ahead had in store for me. The last time I visited Oxford was in 2014 and this time I knew my visit would be a day full of new experiences with my closest friends.
Once we arrived in Oxford and after laughing for a good while at the jokes made by our bus driver with a thick Cockney accent, we met our tour guide, Elizabeth. She guided us through the bike-ruled roads of Oxford. Elizabeth showed us the different colleges such as Trinity College and explained the Oxford University system. We found ourselves at the Sheldonian Theatre and got to see the Divinity School, in which several Harry Potter movie scenes were staged (the hospital wing). The exterior of the buildings were decorated with different creatures all connecting with the history of Oxford. The most noticeable was a lion, representing Aslan and C. S. Lewis. Once we toured a small section of the town and visited the Bodleian Library, we made our way to The Eagle and Child, a pub where authors C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and other noteble scholars met to discuss and argue about topics. This group was known as the Inklings.
I was also planning on meeting with my family from central England for lunch, so I quickened my pace. I was going so quick my cheeks began to burn from the crisp English air. Once we got to the pub, I popped my head into the coffee shop next door, and sure enough my cousin Connie was just stepping out and behind me, stepping in, was her husband Michael. The three of us were reunited and joined the rest of the Trinity group for lunch. All of us were spread out in the pub, most of the students and chaperones sat in the front, near the windows, while a few of us, including myself and family, sat in the Rabbit Room, the area where the Inklings would meet. I ordered fish and chips, being sure to make my experience very English. That hour and a half I spent catching up with my extended family and introducing them to my Trinity ohana. The time flew by and we were back on the bus.
We drove just outside of Oxford to go punting. The Trinity students and a couple chaperones split into 3 boats and we raced around an island. At first it was leisurely. The leaves were changing from their green hue to gold, the willow trees' draping foliage danced on the glassy water. Eventually, once everyone figured out how to 'properly punt,' we all raced. A few people nearly falling in, running into other boats and the river banks, and one rescue mission later, we made it back to the dock semi-dry and in one piece. Once some of us picked an ice cream bar to eat in 50 degree weather or fed the ducks, we made our way to the Kilns.
We arrived at the Kilns, the house where C. S. Lewis lived, half an hour early to explore the footpath that he would walk down whenever he needed peace. As we walked down the path, stepping on rotting apples and crispy leaves, the path opened up to a pond and an 8 acre forest. Wild blackberries and nettles were on either side of the beaten path. Most of that time was spent taking photos and admiring God's creation, power, and how beautiful the simple things in life are. After 30 minutes of exploring, it was time to tour the Kilns.
C. S. Lewis' cousin, Colin, led our tour. He explained to us that students live in the house and what remained from when C. S. Lewis lived in the house. Going throughout the property, you could tell people were living in it, but it wasn't until you made your way upstairs to C. S. Lewis' room where you could tell it was important. The room was small; not much filled it except the standard desk, chair, fireplace, and bed. Gold plaques adorned the walls explaining that it was Lewis' room. We finished our tour, hopped on the bus, and made our way back to London for dinner. For dinner we went to a pub across the street from St. Paul's and we were served traditional British roast dinners. Although I may be halfway around the world from home, these last couple of days made me feel at home. The traditional food I've been eating are reminders of the dinners I would have at my grandparents' house or the stories my dad would tell about living in Oxford as a kid. These are memories and places I've been able to make a connection with and share it with the people I have learned and been challenged to love for the past 13 days.
Grand Tour Day 11: London
Written by Grace '19, photos by Logan '19
As the sun rose this morning, we stepped into the world of the arts, setting off for the Globe Theatre. Although there were many patrons and organizations that performed there, one of the most well known was William Shakespeare. Today, the actors and crew actively pursue to preserve the same artistry that Shakespeare used, through the colors and fabrics used in the costumes, to the style and voice of the production. The unique architectural build of the theatre and the colors painted on the walls seemed to echo memories of past performances and create a welcoming atmosphere that envelops the watcher with excitement for the plays to come.
We crossed a bridge overlooking the river Thames, and split up into two groups. My group made our way to the Borough market for lunch where enticing smells wafted over through the chilly air. Our stomachs full and satisfied, we proceeded to walk around Oxford Street to shop.
Our class regrouped at Westminster Abbey, where we took a guided tour. The beautiful arches and decorative stained glass windows tell stories of saints, royalty, and biblical figures. Every one of the many rooms in the church has a distinct purpose. Past royalty, knights, and important scientific and artistic figures are all buried within the church, some in the walls and others in the ground. There is a room where people who have done a great service to England are knighted, another room where the queen was crowned, and a separate room for church services. The tour finished with Poet’s Corner, which is dedicated to many authors who played valuable roles in the literary world.
After we exited this incredible church, we made a quick stop at the British Museum. Since there are so many exhibits featured there, we only visited a small number of them. Our highlights included the ancient Egyptian mummies, and the Rosetta Stone.
We ended this evening at Her Majesty’s Theatre to see the production of The Phantom of the Opera. The magnifying music, incredible effects, and stunning performers all came together to create an absolutely wonderful show. This day left us all exhausted and weary, but blessed and grateful for the new experiences we gained.
Grand Tour Day 10: Canterbury, England
Written by Elise '19, photos by Shane '19
Today we started our morning with holy Eucharist at the Canterbury Cathedral. The looming arches of the ceiling and the stained glass windows, which illuminated the room with the warm glow of pastel hues, instilled an atmosphere of reverence. In the quiet emptiness of the room, the pastor’s words and our whispered prayers resounded, bouncing off the walls and surrounding columns. We spent the rest of our morning roaming around the cobblestone streets of lovely Canterbury town, which were lined with coffee shops, candy stores, flower boxes, and cottages.
After leaving the quaint town, our bus made its way to the multicultural cosmopolitan city of London. The past week of our trip in the ancient ruins, historical buildings, and countryside villas, were like a journey to the past. London, however, was as if we jumped back into the present modern world. Today alone we braved the fast-paced London Underground, called the Tube, watched our classmates assist an eclectic street performer undergo death-defying feats, tasted local cuisine in the marketplace (though many of us were satisfied having a hamburger and sweet potato fries), and absorbed beauty from the National Gallery. The amount of art available for us to view has been overwhelming. We are only beginning to grasp the extent of beauty that has been created. Experiencing the art physically and visually has greatly contributed to the depth of our understand more than one school year ever could. As we made our way to Evensong, a nightly church service at Westminster Abbey, we had a brief introduction to Trafalgar Square, a popular tourist destination and home to the famous lion statues.
Today we started and ended our chapter with devotion, in the morning at Canterbury Cathedral and at night at Westminster Abbey. It was as if we worshipped in the same place that our brothers and sisters in Christ did before us that the message of the Lord’s Prayer sank deeply into my heart: “Give us this day our daily bread.” In saying these words, I realized the importance of aligning our hearts with Christ first and foremost in our day. He is our provider and his presence is the life sustenance, or daily bread, that shapes the course of our daily journey. It is a blessing to be a part of a trip that values that. It was in these moments that our two-week trip was becoming a pilgrimage rather than a tour.
Grand Tour Day 9
Written by Jesse '19, Photos by Van '19, and video by Bron '19.
As our bus pulled away from our Caen hotel at 6:20 AM, the darkness of night shrouded the beautiful countryside surrounding us. 15 minutes into our 4 hour drive to Calais, the majority of the class had already nodded off back to dreams of their soft Hawaiian beds, warmer weather, and rice. As the sun began to rise at around 8, more and more heads began to perk up and gaze at the incredible colors of the sunrise playing upon the rolling green hills and acres of farmland. This delightful sight stretched as far as our eyes could reach, dotted intermittently by small towns and rivers.
After a short pit stop about halfway through, the class began to share the takeaways we had from the previous heavy day at the beaches of Normandy and D-Day museums. The rest of the bus ride was kept in relative silence as each person popped in some earbuds and gazed back out at the picturesque scenery and mulled over the gravity of the sacrifice made for our freedom.
We then arrived at the ports in Calais. After we went through French and British customs in Calais, we boarded the ferry that would take us across the English Channel to Dover. The 2-hour hop across the ocean passed in the blink of an eye, and we were soon on top of the famous white cliffs en route to Dover Castle.
When we got to the castle, the class unloaded from the bus and began to explore the property. Up and down spiral staircases we went, peering into dark chambers and walking on bulwarks around the perimeter of the castle. The lush deep green foliage contrasted the pale grey walls rising up tens of feet in front of us. The blue sea could always be found with a quick glance over the edge of the bluff on which the castle was built.
Finally as the day started slowing and the sun began to droop towards the horizon, we boarded the bus once more and set off towards our new hotel for the most important part of the whole day: dinner. Thick clouds of fog hovered over the southern English countryside as we plowed down the highway on the left side of the road. The bright blue, sunny skies of Normandy was traded in for the dark ominous clouds of England—constantly suggesting an oncoming rainstorm, but never quite providing the rain.
Tag Cloud2018 athens class of 2018 class of 2019 dover england europe florenc france grand tour grand tour 2018 greece italy london normandy oxford rome secondary secondary school seniors
Grand Tour 2017
Day 16: London
Writing and Photos by Kai Glorioso
What an amazing final day we had! Today, we toured the wonderful, busy, and cloudy city of London. We briefly saw various parts of London (including Buckingham Palace). Then we toured the Tower of London, the Churchill War Rooms, and finished our day by watching the play Les Miserables.
The Tower of London isn't much of a tower, but more so a castle. It was once the home of the monarchy, and eventually became the prison that it is often remembered as. Today, it is both a museum and a showcase of the royal jewels, including Queen Elizabeth's special crown.
The Churchill War Rooms are very different. Whereas the Tower of London is centered on medieval and monarchical splendor, the War Rooms focus on the stressful situation that the British government faced during WWII. The life and virtues of Prime Minister Winston Churchill are displayed in incredible depth, as well as the struggles he and his cabinet underwent to ensure that Britain would not fall to Nazi Germany.
After some shopping and eating, we finished not only our day in London, but our Grand Tour with a live performance of the famous Les Miserables. The actors were top notch, and the entire show was heart-wrenching. It was better than any of us could have asked for, and it is something that none of us will forget!
Day 13: Oxford, England
By Nick Durston, photos from Samuel Gilbert
Well... our first full day in the U.K. was quite the experience. The beginning of yet another day of the wild and zaney adventures of the Class of 2018, our chaperones, teachers, and our guide Cosimo began early this morning. The "crew" as it were boarded a medium size Mercedes passenger van driven by a wonderful Englishman by the name of Michael and delivered us safety after a two hour trip to Oxfordshire.
Now when I was roused from my rather melancholy session of staring out the window and lookin' meaningful and deep in thought I was puzzled to find that we were in a suburban neighborhood and when I questioned my compatriots as to why we were parked here I was rather excited to find that this was the residence of a man by the name of Clive Staples Lewis, better known as C.S Lewis. The tour of his abode was and insightful look into how he came up with the ideas of such fantastical fantasy and science fiction from the rather normal daily life he and those in his household lived; it just goes to show how insanely brilliant he was.
After the tour we hopped back on the bus and headed to the famed Oxford University. Being there made me feel less intelligent by the minute, though in the best way possible, as we learned more and more about the university and all the distinguished persons who had attended it. I was astonished that I was here in the alma mater of so many titans of literature and philosophy. Another thrilling experience we had was having lunch at the Eagle and Child pub which is famed for being the meeting place of the Inklings, a group of Christian writers, its members including JRR Tolkien and Lewis. I can now proudly say that I have had fish and chips in England now, so that's a plus.
Then we did a little thing called punting. Now punting sounds fun but if you're the one moving the boat along then it's more of a struggle. "Luckily" for us, no one fell in. After departing Oxford, or, its original name, Oxenford, we bussed back to London and had a rather nice Indian dinner and then were released for the night to the confines of our hotel rooms from where I am writing this in bed. Well it's now twelve thirty and I must get some sleep so with out any further filler this is Nick Durston saying good night... or good morning since it's technically... ah nevermind.
Photos from our annual Grand Tour trips. The senior students visit Athens, Corinth, Rome, the Vatican City, Pompeii, Florence, Paris, Normandy, London, and Oxford on a 16-day trip in October. All photos are property of our various students and teachers. For daily updates during the trip, follow our Facebook and Instagram accounts, @tcskailua.
Want to read about our previous classes in Europe? Visit our old blog here.