GEMS Students Trip to London

We could tell of our experience..we could go on and on..

The UK Trip

London

 

12th Feb. 2016

It was the time we had all been waiting for. Friday morning, Thursday night. Eighteen secondary school students from CIK were going to London! Unfortunately, Melissa (a Year 11 student) passport could not be found. So she had to come the next day on a different airline.

So the seventeen of us left school at half-past midnight off to the airport. All squirming with excitement in the back of the Einstein school bus. Ms. Brenda and Mr. Paul in the front of the bus (very nervous I suppose) because they were now our ‘parents’.

We checked in at Entebbe airport at 02:15, did a little window shopping, got a little bite to eat and bought some sweets for the flight to Istanbul. We were flying on Turkish Airlines through Istanbul and then London, Heathrow Airport.

When we arrived in Istanbul we didn’t spend so much time there, we only had enough to grab something to drink from Starbucks and then hop onto the next flight to Heathrow. It was quite cold inIstanbul, but of course it was heated indoors.

It was a three hour flight to Heathrow London, where Mr. Ray was waiting for us. We only said a quick hello and then Ms. Brenda had to fly back to Uganda to pick up Melissa because our visas were only valid if we were accompanied by either Mr. Paul or Ms. Brenda.

Heathrow Airport

 Wembley was pretty far from Heathrow Airport and we had to take quite a number of tubes before we got there. The London tubes are very busy on a Friday night so we had to keep close and try not to lose anything.

We arrived at our hotel at quarter to six in the evening but it was already dark. As opposed to Uganda where the sun sets at quarter past seven! It was an eight minute walk from the Wembley Park tube station to our hotel, which was right opposite Wembley Stadium.

Wembley Park

Mr. Paul gave us some time to go to our rooms and freshen up before dinner. There was a shopping center very close to our hotel where we planned to eat from. We had hoped to eat at the wonderful Nando’s but it was full, so we ended up eating at Pizza Express.

Waiting for our delicious meal at Pizza Express

Of course we were all very tired, but very excited too! It had been almost 36 hours without rest! Which is quite a bit. So as soon as we got back from Pizza Express everybody rushed back to their rooms and were out like a light.

 

13th Feb. 2016

Saturday morning. Our first day of exciting activities in the city of London! We had breakfast at the hotel – which was amazing – at about nine o’clock. Then we had a little look at the shopping center next door for a few minutes and then it was Wembley Stadium! The weather wasn’t the best on this Saturday morning, there were slight drizzles but freezing cold!!! Our appointment for Wembley was at eleven o’clock so we had to be there at least ten minutes However we had some time to do a little shopping at the shopping center right beside our hotel. There were many nice shops but we had very little time. Wembley Stadium is one of the biggest stadiums in the world and isn’t just used for football. Many stars perform at Wembley because it has such a nice big space. It is also England’s national stadium. The tour was very exciting because we saw the changing rooms of the players, the warm up rooms and much more!

The Stadium!                                                                           

 We also got out onto the pitch but sadly we could not stand on the grass. However we saw how the seats were distributed according to the view, comfort and angle. We also saw where the very important people (VIP) sit i.e. Prince William.

The tour ended at about noon so we decided to have lunch at the famous McDonalds! Gladly McDonalds wasn’t full and could take all eighteen of us including Mr. Paul. McDonalds was great!

After lunch we walked back to the tube station to get to Oxford Street. We had to go to an Apple Store because Isha had to buy a new mobile phone because she needed to take lots of pictures for her family and her phone wasn’t working as well as she thought it would.

We then took a few pictures at Oxford Street, it is the busiest street in the whole of London! It was very easy to get lost, so Mr. Paul had to do lots of headcounts.

With two advertisers of a toy store!           Oxford Street!

 

At four o’clock we had an appointment to watch Michael Jackson’s Thriller Live! We were accompanied by Mr. Ray and his wife who are really good friends of Mr. Paul. The Thriller was amazing! I have to say it might have been my highlight of the trip. In the middle of the show there was half time because people were not allowed to go in and out of the theatre while the show was going on. This gave people an opportunity to use the bathroom and have a drink.

Thrillllerr!!

 

After Thriller we were worn out and we went back to Wembley Park. We couldn’t eat out because Gaana and David’s relatives were coming to see them at the hotel. So we bought some snacks from ‘Sainsbury’s’ a supermarket near our hotel for the night. But most people ordered dinner from room service because we were really hungry.

We were allowed to go to each other’s rooms but at ten o’clock we had to be in our own rooms, we didn’t have to sleep at ten, we just had to be in our own rooms.

 

14th Feb. 2016

Valentine's Day! A day of love, but we are just kids so no worries we never did anything romantic. This day was filled with a lot of activities. We all woke up at the usual time, got ready and then went for breakfast. After breakfast we met in the reception area and sorted the money for the day. After a short discussion, we walked to the station and took off to the sea life center! As we entered we all separated, as it was a one way direction so no one could get lost, and went around the sea life center, as we saw many creatures and took exciting pictures! We had great fun. We spent approximately an hour around the center as it was quite huge! 

       At the Sea Life Centre!

 

After all those pictures and looking at amazing sea life creatures, we left the London eye, which is a giant Ferris wheel known as the viewing point in London. Many people sit on it to look at the views of London in different angles, and experiencing a beautiful view, great place to sit and relax too! We all waited in a line, it was quite long. When it was time we all entered inside. And the ride began! Many pictures, selfies were taken. As everyone was loving the view! It was true, London is a beautiful place. We saw the Big Ben, Tower of London and many more things. 

 

   

BIG BEN!                                 Big Ben from the Eye                           

After the ride, we got off and went straight for lunch at Giraffe, yummy! The meals were great. And we had a delightful lunch. Moreover we went Roller skating! It was certainly not part of the plan but we went there just for fun! Mr. Paul decided not to do it, as of course he was having a "back pain". And he stood there laughing at everyone falling! It was great fun! Moustapha and Suhaylah I shall say we're pretty good, not forgetting Miss Brenda's fall! It was too good, more of hilarious.

Anysha and Francine on the ring     Anysha and Ananya hoping not to fall over!

 

Next part to the adventure, we went to the LONDON DUNGEONS. Sounds scary? Yes! The experience is not to be said it’s just to be done, not forgetting the ride at the end...the journey, was filled with Haunt and dead faces, screams echoed around the area, as you stood there Trapped in fear of a Dungeon. Where were we? Only they knew. But the movement of each person showed a sign of fear, and death! A dungeon to be experienced.

Later on after the one hour journey. We took off for Dinner at McDonald's the place of heaven… Water is already dripping from my mouth. 

What a long day! Filled with loads of excitement and amazing memories. 

As we went back to the hotel we all went to each other's rooms for some time and at 10:00 went back to the rooms to sleep! Everyone was exhausted and took a relaxing nap, until the next day.

 

15th Feb. 2016

Monday! Shopping!

Monday was our big shopping day however we had a bit of a lie in. We had to leave for the tube station at 11.00 so we had the whole morning to ourselves. We had the choice of sleeping until we had to go for breakfast, watch T.V the whole morning or we could go to the ‘Living Well Health Club’ in the hotel to have a swim.

So many of us chose to go for a swim (it was an indoor pool of course). There was also a sauna next to the pool. We swam for about thirty minutes in the nice warm heated pool and then we went back to our rooms to freshen up before breakfast. Even if we were a bit late.

We set off for Westfield Mall at quarter to eleven so that we could get to the tube station at eleven. We got to Westfield at half past midday and were given 3 hours to shop.

There were two sides of Westfield, one side was called ‘TheVillage’ where all the expensive stuff were like Versace, Gucci and all of those. On the other side there were all the normal stores that weren’t as expensive.

We all split up in different groups, preferably in three’s and went our different directions. Rachael, Ananya and I went to so many shop, including; H&M, Marks and Spencer’s, Topshop, Next, Claire’s, Nike, GAME and a few more.

We had lunch in the food court at a ‘Fish n Chips’ place at about half past one. We continued shopping after that but we didn’t have much time, so we went to about two more stores.

We met at the water fountain where we had agreed to meet at half past three too meet Mr. Paul and Ms. Brenda. They decided to give us one more hour to shop because most people needed more time. Ananya and I didn’t do so much in the hour, we just bought some juice at a pretzel stand. Rachael went with Kwezi buy some clothes at H&M.

We head back to Oxford Street at half past five to go to the Nike store because the one at Westfield wasn’t as good. Moustapha bought the new boots by Neymar and I think a few more bought new shoes, but most of us didn’t really buy anything from Nike.

We got back on the tube at about six o’clock to the theatre to watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at seven. We arrived a bit early so that we could buy some snacks and drinks before the show. The theatre was similar to the one we went to, to watch Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

We were sitting at the very back so we couldn’t see so well but the music and the songs were amazing. We had been shopping the whole day so of course people were super tired! So many people slept through the play but myself, Kwezi, Moustapha and a few others stayed up the whole thing even if we were absolutely shattered.

We got back to the hotel at half past eleven so we couldn’t go to other rooms or even have dinner because it was very late. We also had to get ready and packed because the next morning we were leaving for Sunderland. I am sure many of us slept really late that night.

 

16th Feb. 2016

Tuesday! Sunderland!

I got up quite early on Tuesday because I had to check that I had packed everything and I had enough jackets and scarves in my backpack because Sunderland was much colder that London because it was up in the North.

At about half past eight I went downstairs to the lobby and Uncle Matthew had come to see me! We talked briefly and took a selfie and then he had to go to work and I had to go finish checking my hotel room.

I head to breakfast at half past nine and had a heavy meal for the journey. We needed to be down at the lobby at quarter to 11 so that we won’t miss our train.

Sadly we couldn’t get any snacks from Sainsbury’s because we were rushing so we had to wait until the train station. We jumped on the tube to Kings Cross Station – the busiest train station in the whole of the UK. Our train was at 12.53 and we were at the train station at half past eleven so we still had some time.

There were many nice shops at the train station that we could shop from. I went to Accesorize to buy gifts for my family and then to W.H Smith to buy snacks for the long train ride to Sunderland! My last stop was at Starbucks where I got a take a way coffee for the train.

The train was quite comfortable, the toilets were clean and the seats were very spacious. There was also a little shop that we could buy from at the end of the train. Their chicken salad sandwiches were amazing!!

The ride was approximately four hours and I never even slept! It must have been the coffee that kept me up.

We were welcomed in Sunderland by Mr. Paul’s father and his best mate Jason, or Jase. They kindly took us to the hotel ‘Marriot’ where we were staying, some went in the mini-van and a few others went in Mr. Paul’s father’s car.

In the Marriot, the Wi-Fi only worked in the public area, so there was not much communication in the rooms, except if you had a sim card of course. Many students also had the international bundle so they could call their parents back in Uganda.

We had dinner that night at an Italian Restaurant, near our hotel which had really good pasta with bacon bits. I even earned myself the nickname ‘Pasta Girl’ by Mr. Paul because I ate a lot of pasta. I guess I must have been hungry. We had some fun at the restaurant, a few laughs, and great food. We head back to the hotel after about two hours and had even more fun in the rooms.

 

Sunderland

 

17th Feb. 2016

A day of energy! Where do I even begin? This day was just amazing, not mentioning how cold it was. We all woke up early did the daily routine and we took off in our van, wearing our warmest clothes possible! The ride to the carting/archery and Tomahawk center was memorable as Mr. Paul was singing to the songs e.g., "it only takes a minute girl, to fall in love, to fall in love". Trust me, that song was extremely catchy! As we reached, we were divided into two groups the first group went tomahawking and archery, as the second group went on the journey of carting! Both groups had great fun and then swapped. In my experience I have to say go carting was the best part of the entire trip, it was fun energetic and worth a try! Although the weather was terrible and freezing we still had a lot of fun. After the ride though, everyone's hands and legs were numb due to the coldness. It certainly took time to heal but we were all ready and off to go for our next journey but before we went for some lunch.

Karting!!

Tomahawking                                     Archery

Lunch was over. It was time for climbing walls! Once again we sat in our minivan to reach the destination. When we arrived we all met the instructor, who told us about the safety rules and allowed to take a practice round. Furthermore we finished the first round and moved on to a harder section, everyone tried except Mr. Paul due to his "back pain" some managed to reach the top whereas others tried but couldn't.

The different levels

We kept doing different levels, each level got harder but we had great fun and jolly laughs! It was very tiring though. We finished all that and went back to our hotel just to freshen up a bit before our last activity. Movie time! We all went to watch Goosebumps except Melissa, Rebekah and Desire who decided to watch Dead pool instead. The movies were great! I don't know about Dead pool but goosebumps was an amazing movie!

After that we went back to our hotel. For a Goodnight nap! We had some time so we went to other people's room just to chill and end the day peacefully, so we could begin tomorrow with other fun experience.

 

18th Feb. 2016

Thursday! Skiing!! Lazer Quest!!

Today was Ananya’s big day! You must be wondering, Why Ananya? Yes folks! It was her birthday! She was becoming teenager on this bright and sunny day, (I wish I could say it was warm).

As you can see above that we had skiing scheduled in our plan for the day but it we were to leave the hotel fifteen minutes to midday. So we had a bit of a lie in again.

Some of us decided to get up early because Mr. Paul wanted to take a walk on the beach – Sunderland is on the seaside – before we actually left for skiing. Walking on the beach with Mr. Paul was such a great experience, we took some photos and had a good time.

 

Writing on the sand                                             Beach Walks

Thinking it couldn’t get any better, we went to the arcade! We couldn’t spend much time at the arcade because we had to be back at the hotel before 11:45 to pick up some of the girls and Ms. Brenda who decided not to join us on the beach.

Skiing! We all jumped into the minivan to proceed to the ski slope. Ananya and I sat in the front seats because we are ‘lucky fishes’. Mr. Paul stopped by a grocery store to buy himself a drink and Ananya a chocolate ball because it was her birthday.

It was about a thirty minute ride from our hotel to the ski slope where we were joined by Jase, Mr. Paul’s parents, his sister and her children.

Mr. Paul couldn’t ski due to his ‘knee pain’, and Ms. Brenda was recovering from her nose bleed. Mr. Paul was always there to laugh at us and take pictures when we fell, what a great principal he is. There were tons of falls! Luckily none of our clothes got torn as we were not skiing on ice, we were skiing on a different type of material.

 

 

The hysterical falls

The more stable ones

 

Skiing was great fun! We really enjoyed ourselves. The next stop was lunch!

We finally managed to go to Nando’s! We had some delicious food with spectacular spices!

We all thought that we were going for Lazer Quest after lunch, but there was one unexpected stop…

Yes! It was the Stadium of Light!

Mr. Paul’s very best team! Sunderland SAFC or The Black Cats.

We proceeded to Lazer Quest after taking a few photos at the Stadium of Light. Lazer Quest was so much fun! It was really funny at first because nobody really knew what they were doing, but the second time it was great! We were divided up into two teams, the red team and the green team. The green team won with a huge gap!

Lazer Quest was over at about 18:30, and then we went back to the hotel for a few minutes before dinner. We were dining at an Indian restaurant, Ananya’s choice, but she wasn’t feeling so good that night so she went back to the hotel and ordered room service at the hotel.

 

19th Feb. 2016

 Sunderland

After taking a few pictures we went back to the train station, said goodbye to Mr. Paul’s family and the head off to London!

We waited for about 20 minutes for the train to come and it was so cold. Freezing is an understatement. Many people slept on this train ride because we were exhausted, so there are not many stories to tell. The tube ride from Kings Cross to Heathrow Terminal 1 was very long I even fell asleep!

After the long tube ride we had to get on a bus to the hotel we were staying at, The Marriot. It was a beautiful hotel, similar to the Marriot we stayed at in Sunderland, but better. Too bad we were only staying there for one night.

For dinner we ate at the hotel restaurant, most of us had some delicious nachos with guacamole dip on the side. There was even a bit of salsa, but it was very spicy. We then went back to our rooms because we had a long journey ahead of us the next day and a very early flight too.

 

20th Feb. 2016

We had to be packed and ready in the lobby at 05:00 sharp so that we could catch the bus to Heathrow Airport. We checked in on time and then had an hour to do some final shopping in London or perhaps buy some breakfast before boarding. I had breakfast at a coffee shop with the wonderful head girl Rebekah just before boarding.

The aircraft from London to Istanbul was amazing! Very spacious, good movies and very comfortable too. It was three hours long and then we had a long wait at Istanbul airport before the flight to Entebbe.

Isha, Kwezi and I went to Duty Free to buy some chocolates and then to the Food Court to have lunch at Burger King.

We boarded for the six hour flight to Entebbe from Istanbul in the evening around six. We had a one hour stop in Kigali, Rwanda but we did not leave the plane. We arrived at Entebbe airport at 04:00 Sunday morning and we were all shattered.

Isha and Moustapha were picked up from the airport and Desire was picked up from a nearby petrol station the rest of us came back to school. We were given a day off from school because we were really tired but Mr. Paul managed to be there on Monday.

We really enjoyed our trip and all 18 of us are very thankful to the team that made it happen.

Written by Francine Gasasira and Ananya Talwar.