The twenty three students and two teachers spent twenty days visiting places of art, architectural and literary significance. Travelling first to Dubai, the main challenge initially was getting used to the 45 degree heat. A visit to the Aquaventure Water Park at the Hotel Atlantis provided some relief as well as an opportunity to relax after a long flight and a very long school term. Dubai certainly provided the Design and Technology students with a wealth of inspirational buildings to marvel at, including the iconic Burj Al Arab and the Burj Khalifa (at over 828m the world's tallest building). A morning out in the desert on a 'dune bashing' safari added some thrills and an afternoon at Dubai Mall (the world's biggest mall) gave some of the girls their first taste of shopping.
Next stop was London. Staying in Earls Court (where else?) we weren't far from the city centre - and only a short walk to Harrods. The first day was spent on a Hop On Hop Off bus tour, although the traffic was so bad that once we hopped off we didn't bother hopping on again, preferring to explore the city by foot: Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Horse Guards Parade. A day trip to Bath was also on the agenda, architecturally and historically a fascinating city, and of course the setting for many Jane Austen novels, so a visit to the Jane Austen Museum was a must. Other highlights for the literature students were a day trip to Stratford upon Avon and a morning spent at the Globe Theatre in London. Of course, you can't be in London without a visit to the West End (Wizard of Oz) and as we were there during the week that the new Harry Potter movie opened, that was also a must-see. We also spent a day on the tourist route visiting St Paul's Cathedral, the London Eye and screamed our way around the London Dungeons.
A quick trip on the Eurostar through the Channel Tunnel and we were in Paris. We all enjoyed exploring Montmartre and the Louvre, not to mention the Eiffel Tower (despite the rain). The highlight for all though was the Moulin Rouge with the girls being awed by the dancing and the boys ... well, they enjoyed it too.
Our last stage of the journey, New York, was highly anticipated and definitely lived up to expectation. What an amazing and vibrant city. Staying in Midtown Manhattan, so close to Central Park, allowed us to explore a lot of places by foot, although the fact that we arrived in the middle of a heat wave made this a little more challenging, especially when trying to ferry bags of goodies from M&M World back to the hotel without the chocolate melting. The students were in awe of the many iconic places we visited – The Empire State Building, the Guggenheim Museum, The Met (including the Alexander McQueen exhibition!), Times Square and, of course, Ground Zero. But perhaps the highlights for many (apart from the shopping) were the Off Broadway show – Blue Man Group – and The New York Yankees game we went to on the final night.
Many lifelong memories and friends were created on the trip and after twenty days of travel the group became a real 'family', with Mr Humber and Ms Drummond becoming 'Mum' and 'Dad' (or Mr and Mrs Trump when they were handing out the food money for the day).
It was without doubt, a tremendous experience.