Saturday, May 22, 2010

Final Post!

It is hard to believe that tomorrow night, we'll all be back in Oregon! We have had a fantastic adventre, but we're all very ready to be back with family.

London has been fantastic (of course) and there never really is enough time to see all of the amazing things this city has to offer. However, here is a highlight of all the things we did in London!

The Underground:

The Ungerground was intimidating at first but we mastered it! The most memorable moment of the underground is when some of us became impatient with the elevator and decided to take the stairs to the top. 193 steps later, we realized that it was a huge and painful mistake.

The Theatre! The Theatre!:
There were so many choices when it came to the musicals in London. Many of the group saw at least two shows. Terrie and Jerries saw three!!

Here is the group at "Wicked."
Here is Allyson and Vanessa at "The Phantom of the Opera."

We also saw the Globe Theatre where Shakespeare's plays were premiered.

Museums and such:

There are a plethora of museums, art galleries, and historical sites in London. We visted the National Portrait Gallery, the National Gallery, the Tower of London (where we watched a reenactment of Lady Jane Grey's beheading), the British Museum, Imperial War Musem, St. Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.

This picture is of Henry VIII's large armor. He was a fat man and if we've learned anything on this trip, it's that Henry VIII terrorized a lot of people and was an all around jerk.

This picture below is of Allyson, Bethany, and Katie appreciating the Egypt Exhibit at the British Museum.

Katie in front of St. Paul's Cathedral (which is mostly popular because of its use in the movie, "Mary Poppins."

Harry Potter:

So, there are a few Harry Potter fanatics on this map and being in London meant that we were able to see where some of the Harry Potter movies were filmed.

This is Diagon Alley (the magical street where Harry and his friends buy their magic school supplies.) However, on an average non-filming day, this street is filled with business men and women having their lunch breaks.

We also saw Platform 9 and 3/4, which is where Harry and his friends enter the magic wizard train platform that whisks them away to school. Ya, it was pretty great.

Well, we conquered Ireland, Wales, and England! This has been an amazing experience for all of us. On behalf of all of us students, I'd like to thank Terrie and Jerrie for being our fearless leaders on this adventure and our parents for sending us prayers and the occasional email. =) We missed you all.

We'll see you tomorrow night!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Stonehenge rocks (as does the rest of Southern England)

We're finally in London! The city is crazy, but we have some extraordinary sites in plan. The last few days we've covered quite a bit of Southern England. Here are some brief highlights.
Shakespeare Day:

Today we visited Shakespeare's birth place...

...and Anne Hathaway's cottage.

Shakespeare had so much influence on our modern world and it was amazing to see where his legacy began.

We spent a few more hours in Stratford meandering through the shops. Many of the shops were Shakespeare themed in some way or another. The shopt that produced the lovely picture below was called Much Ado About Toys!
On Monday we went to Oxford and explore the city. We started off with punting. Yes, punting. These flat boats are popular among the college students of the city. So we thought we'd give it a go. We went around in circles a few times.

We also went stopped by the Eagle and Child pub, which is where the greats C.S. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkein used to hang out.


The Roman Baths were extraordinary to see. These ruins were hidden under the city for years.

We also went to Jane Austen's house and had delightful afternoon tea.

And this guy had a totally cool contraption that played the guitar while he played the violin. It was awesome.

Today was a traveling day, but we made an important stop to the Stonehenge. We went on an audio tour that explains as much as can be explained about the ancient site.

Hampton Court Palace Gardens:

We made a quick stop to the beatiful gardens of Henry VIII.

Madame Toussaud's:
Our first stop in the great city of London was Madame Tousaud's Wax Museum. Needless to say, we all will have very interesting Facebook profile pictures.

Tomorrow we start of with the Tower of London. Our biggest challenge will be negotiating the London Tube. See you all soon!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Past the Point of No Return: The British Isles

Time has been flying by here on the British Isles. We said goodbye to Ireland just a few short days ago, and then blazed through Wales, the country of the Cymru, and jumped right into England.

Our last days in Ireland were spent witnessing the beautifl landscapes and scenic beauty of the Irish Island, getting to walk the Cliffs of Moehr and the rocky coast. In Wales, us boys got nearly to the top of one of the Gaelic mountains (we sort of ran out of time).

The Cliffs of Moehr

The Gaelic Mountains (3/4 of the way up)

England has been pretty quiet so far. We spent some time in the quiet village of Cotswold, took some tea and scones with clotted cream and jam preserves (fantastically good, I must say).

We spent a little time at Stratford-upon-Avon, seeing the birthplace of Shakespeare, Anne Hathaway's cottage, and their graves in the Holy Trinity Church. It was a surreal moment, getting to walk the same halls and see some of the same sights that the Bard's eyes beheld, as well as being in the prescence of the Poet himself. I won't lie, it almost brought tears to my eyes.

We don't have that much time left, and our most exciting circuit through London and Bath are coming up in just a few days. We're excited (but we don't have much Internet). So, until next time, we'll be having an awesome time here in the British Isles.

Mom, Isaac, Pearce, Mikaela, Amah and Poppy, Grandma Alexander, and all the other family peoples who may be reading, love you guys, and thank you for your prayers and support.
Alicia, I love you, and can't wait to see you again. But...I think can wait a little longer. :)

Goodbye Ireland, Hello Shakespeare

By Jeremy McCamish

I am sorry I have not posted in awhile, but internet time is limited and we have to be fair in giving everyone a chance to use the one computer that we have. Well we left Ireland a few days ago which was extremely sad for me. Before leaving though I was able to get all my gift shopping done for the whole family, and a few things for a special someone :). I loved the beauty that Ireland showed me, but I have to admit that I wish that we had ended with it instead of England. The one amazing piece of England that gives me goosebumps was seeing the grave of William Shakespeare and his family at the Trinity Church in Stratford. It was very amazing to see it and to see Anne Hathaway's Cottage where Shakespeare's kids were raised. We also saw the house that Shakespeare was raised in, the house of his father John Shakespeare the Glove maker. Seeing these bits and pieces of Shakespeare's life is amazing and I wish Amy was with me hear to appreciate it. Tomorrow we are off to Oxford, I am sorry to say this but I don't have any pictures because I ran out of room on my card from Ireland and those pictures are more important to me. I miss my family and friends very much but most of all I miss Amy. I love you all. I'll write again when I can.

Love, Jeremy McCamish

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sweets and sword fights.

We left Dublin early Thursday morning via ferry. From Wales we made our way south and are now in lovely Stratford, England.

On our way to Stratford we made a few stops through Wales. Our first stope was a quick hike through the Welsh mountains. And of course, our boys ran up the sides of the mountains like goats.

Conwy Castle:

Our last stop of the day was Conwy and the impressive Conwy Castle. The castle was built sometime between 1283 and 1287 by King Edward I. We got to explore the ruins and climb the steep spiraling staircases leading to the tops of high towers.

This was one of the most complete ruins we had seen yet with multiple high towers, a complete outer wall, and a 91 ft. well. Naturally, we threw coins in and made wishes.

After we had our fill of the castle, we roamed around the city of Conwy. We found the Smallest House in Britain. It's perfect for Bethany, but Spencer would have a harder time living there.

We also decided it would be a great idea to see how many people we could cram into a phone booth. The number was 8. Friday we stopped in Chester and experienced our first dreary English morning. However, we all found ways to keep our selves occupied for a couple of hours. Chester is a historic city with a great Roman wall surrounding the entire city and plenty of great shopping highlights. =)
Iron Bridge Gorge:

The Iron Bridge that the area is named after was the first bridge to be made of cast iron. Located on the river Severn in Shropshire, England, the bridge represents a new age of industrialism and iron crafting.

We went to two great museums and learned about the industrial history of the Coalbrookdale area. The museums were fun and interactive. Kaitlin pums water on a miniature of an old coal furnace in the picture directly below.

Holy Trinity Church:

When we arrived in Stratford our first stop was the Holy Trinity Church, the place where beloved poet and playwright William Shakespear is buried.

Cadbury World:

Today we started our day with Cadbury World (angelic music begins to play.) There was tons of chocolate and we ate our fill of it.
We toured through Cadbury history as well as the modern day factory. We saw choclate making demonstrations and even rode a ride! It was like being at Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.

After a cup full of freshly made liqid fresh dairy milk chocolate we loaded ourselves and our sweets onto the bus and headed to Warwick Castle.

Warwick Castle:

We arrived at "Britains Ultimate Castle" with hundreds of other people enjoying the gorgeous day. Warwick Castle has been commercialized far more than any of the other castles we'd seen, bt it was great fun. The castle was built in 1068 but there were exhibits to portray all eras of life in the castle.

There were sword fights and wizards...

and we tried to pull out the sword in the stone.

We also saw a trebuchet demonstration and they fung a ball of fire through the air. It was awesome. Sadly, it was difficult to get a decent picture.

The inside of the castle was furnished, complete with Henry VIII and a pleasant victorian man.

There were wonderful exhibits in which we behaved ourselves completely.

Tomorrow is our Shakespeare and Stratford day! It's hard to believe our trip is over half way done, but we miss you all and we'll be seeing you soon. Well, that is if Eyjafjallajökull permits.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

And we're back...

To this blog and to Dublin!

It has been a while, but we are well an getting ready for an early morning ferry ride to Wales tomorrow. In the past few days we've seen quite a bit of Ireland's natural beauty and historical religious sites.

Cliff of Moher:
We left Galway and headed to the magnificent Cliffs of Moher. Pictures taken on our little digital cameras could not do the cliffs justice. But, we'll try...

The drive from each location was almost as beautiful as our destinations. We drove through Burreu, which means the Stone Place, and saw how farmers separated their farms with stone walls and stopped off at some beautifl cliffs over the ocean.

The blue flowers in the pictre above are illegal to pick because they are only found in this part of Ireland.

Ring of Kerry:
We ended up in County Kerry, which is the home of leprachauns and fairies according to or AMAZING coach driver, Damien. (This is Damien with his son who was a bit shy. We stopped off in Killkenny for about an hour. It's Damien's hometown.)

On Monday we drove the Ring of Kerry. The Ring of Kerry is just a route around the southern County Kerry. We made plenty of stops to get beautiful pictures and to just revel in the natural beauty.

We were able to watch a sheep dog demonstration by a nice man named Brendan. He raises sheep and trains sheep dogs. He usually keeps the sheep dogs for his work, but will sometimes sell the puppies after training them. These dogs are extraordinary. Brendan teaches each dog its own set of commands so Brendan can command them separately when they're in the fields working.

Another stop was the coastal town of Waterville. We stopped off and walked along beaches that were very similar to our cold Oregon beaches.

Waterville is also the last place Charlie Chaplain lived before he died.

Damien was not technically supposed to be our guide, but he suggested the best places to eat, take pictures, and just experience Ireland. He was also ridiculously funny. The picture below is of Damien explaining how the Irish have been using peat (decayed and dried out vegetation) for decades as fuel.

There were a few great spots that gave great views of the vallies in County Kerry. We also saw a man who had baby sheep and a baby deer with him. Needless to say, we were overcome with the cute factor.

Our last stop on the Ring of Kerry was the Torc Wateralls in Killarney National Park. The fellas quickly took to climbing the waterfall and not withouth minor injury. But, what are you gonna do?
Ross Castle and Muckross House:

On Tuesday we started our morning off with a wonderful ride in a jaunting cart. Our driver was hilarious and loved flirting with our single ladies; Terrie and Jerrie.

The jaunting cart took us to Ross Castle for a quick stop. The pictures below is of the group's "band picture." Allison is rocking a power pose. =)

Terrie and Jerrie in front of Ross Castle.

We also stopped off at the Muckross house and traditional farms. We took a tour of the house that had an expansive history starting in 1843 when it was built for a member of parliment. Sadly, we were not allowed to take pictures inside.

However, we did get a chance to walk around the traditional farms on the Muckross lands. There were different examples of farming life ranging from small one-room cottages, to larger farms.


Ballymaloe Cookery School is the dream come true of Darina Allen, one of Ireland's best-known chefs. Her son, Toby, gave us a tour of their farm after we had a taste of some of the pastries from the school. The school began in 1983 and holds classes regularly.

Toby showed us all of the innovative ways that the school is decreasing its carbon footprint and promoting others to do the same. They grow just about everything they use in the kitchens on their land. Including the bacon. These pigs are massive.

Rock of Cashel:

We left Cobh early in the morning and drove to the Rock of Cashel, one of the most visited and important historical sites in Ireland.

The Rock of Cashel was originally used in the 4th centry as a seat of the High Kings of Munster. In 1101, the land was handed over to the Ecclesiastic powers that were becoming more and more prominent in Ireland.

The piture below is of Jeremy ridding himself of tooth aches for the rest of his life. Local tradition says that anyone who can reach around this high cross and touch their hands will no longer have any tootch aches.

The site consists of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Cormac's chapel, a traditional round tower (similar to the one in Clonmacnoise), and the vicar's choral. It was a very very cold tour and we hurried onto the bus soon after.

Our last stop monastic site was Glendalough. It was started by St. Kevin and like many small monestaries in Ireland, was outshone by the Romanesqe traditions and grand churches.

We arrived in Dublin around 6-ish and were very sad to see Damien go and to say goodbye to the beauty of Ireland's countryside. The weather, thank God, held up for the most part while we were taking our tours outside. Hopefully we'll be just as lucky on the second part of our trip.