London - Winter 2016 20 study abroad students explore the sights and sounds of UK's capital city
This is my first time for me to be in Europe. I am truly excited about traveling to one of my dream cities, London. We got off the plane on 14th afternoon and it took about 1.5 hours to get to hotel from Heathrow Airport. We have a quick fresh up and gather together in “Giraffe” to have the welcome dinner.
On the first day, we visit the Pure Event which is the service driven events agency specialized in event solutions for the corporate market. The CEO of Pure Event introduce the major business of the company is bringing guests from all over the world to the event that can be held in all kinds of destination in the world. Meeting and conferencing are a lot lower risk than social event in this industry. She illustrated the importance of technology in event and educating audience. At the end, she concluded that credibility plus value over risk equal trust. This is absolutely a golden rule in hospitality industry.
After we finished the lunch, we have our private tour of walking in west of London. We discovered the area of Westminster including Buckingham palace, horse guards parade, Big Ben, Parliament and a glimpse of No.10 Downing Street, where Minister lives. After that, I had dinner with my friend from Brighton and got back to hotel.
On Day 2, we explored and learned so much about history of UK and Westminster Abbey by having a private tour in Westminster. I learned that there are three major principles of building this church. The first one is as a Royal shrine, the second one is being a coronation place, and the last one is as a royal funeral. Also, I learned a lot of royal trivia from our tour guide, and it is very interesting. During the lunch time, I went to the Trafalgar Square, which also a famous tour site in London. In the afternoon, we visited the Fuller’s Griffin Brewery. The tour guide gave us a introduction of the history of this brewery, also the brewing process, and showed us around the brewery. Finally, we got to taste their recognized products.
On Day 3, we went to Tower of London to explore Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress. I got to see the old time royal jail in London and the royal jewelry showcase. The two princes were killed by their uncle is the most sadness tragedy that happened in the Tower of London. Tower Bridge is so beautiful outside of the Tower of London. I am so exciting about taking a photo with it. I am also dying to walk on it, but since we got limited free time, I didn’t do it. Instead, I went to the nearby Trinity Square, and I found out it was one of the memorial places that memorialize the 100 years anniversary of World War One in London. It is such a peaceful and lovely place. Really hope all the contributors rest in peace. At night, we watch the broadway play The Book of Mormon.
On Day 4, we visited the Gatwick Airport and Hilton Hotel nearby. It is such a great opportunity to learn more about Hilton hotel group and talk with successful hotelier. I learned that the most important thing to succeed in hospitality is to make a difference. You have to know things and try to learn as much as possible. You have to understand it is important to add value to your guest’s stay and the importance of taking a responsibility. In the afternoon, we visited the British Museum. With our private tour guide, we got to see the amazing ancient Egypt culture and its discovery.
On Day 5, we went to Wimbledon to see the fields of Wimbledon Championship and learned the past and future of Wimbledon. We went to the tea room to have traditional high tea. We have a wonderful conversation during the tea time.
On Day 6, we went to Brixton and Borough Markets. Compared to Brixton market, I am more fond of Borough Market because it is much more trendy and got a great ambience. You can get the most unforgettable gourmet tasting tour in there. After that, we walk through the Millennium Bridge and to the St. Paul Cathedral. St. Paul Cathedral is amazing and breathtaking both from the inside and outside. I learned the history of building this cathedral and how it can be survived during the World War Two.
I get two days left in London. Although I am so tired of walking all around the London City, I do love the city. I really hope I can come back in the future.
Today is our our eighth day in London; we visited both Brixton and Borough Markets along with St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Our first stop of the day was Brixton market. We took the tube across the river into Brixton and entered a whole different part of London. It is a very ethnic area with a lot of Caribbean influences that has been reborn into a nouveau food Mecca. As we entered the first section of the Brixton markets, it looks much like some flea markets you would see in the states, selling cloths and different items. As we ventured further in, we started to see all the various wonderful foods. It almost seemed reminiscent of the old world, with fish mongers laying out all their fresh catches and butchers with their displays stacked high with different cuts of meat.
I thought the history the tour guide gave us about the market and the surrounding area was very intersting. Brixton has much Caribbean influence because after the war, many people from islands Great Britain had conquered came to the motherland with promise of a new life and work. Many settled in the Brixton area and the market flourished with a fresh new Caribbean twist. Nowadays, we also see a lot of new and fashionable eateries all over the market area, giving it a sort of re-birth.
I think this is very similar to what is going on in the Wynwood/Midtown area of Miami — new food and fresh ideas are bringing in a young new generation, which brings wealth to the area. I think these new restaurants show how hospitality can be a source of revival for an area. Although many locals still use the market on a daily basis, the area really comes to life at night when all the new eateries open and people from all over descend upon Brixton to share in the food and culture.
Our next stop for the day was Borough market. A market has stood in that area for over a thousand years, which I found fascinating. This market, in stark contrast to the one at Brixton, was bustling and full of life. There were not really any sit down eateries, just stall after stall of different foods and ingredients and sauces all homemade, freshly grown, and even freshly killed. It was vibrant with people doing Christmas shopping, and all the vendors were excited for us to try their product as well as tell us about it. I purchased a very uniquely flavored loaf of bread from an artisan bread stall. It was garlic and chili flavored; it had a subtle kick which was delicious. I also purchased a jar of fresh honey from a honey vendor. We tried all different flavors which had different hints of fruits and flowers.
We had a nice walking tour around the market grounds, and we saw one of the oldest prisons in London, along with a replica of Sir Francis Drake’s ship. Later on in the day, we walked across the Millennium Bridge, which is a pedestrian-only bridge that spans the Thames River. It had beautiful views of the city and it was a pleasant walk.
We made our way to St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is the east church of London. As we learned on the tour, there has been a church there since the 600’s, but what we call St. Paul’s today was built after the fire of 1666. It was designed in the fashion of an old Anglican Church and it still holds services daily. The cathedral barely endured any damage during the bombings of the Second World War, except for the main altar was destroyed. I think it is a beautiful thing that they rebuilt that area of the church as a chapel honoring all those US forces that died serving here in the UK during the war.
A group of us decided to take a trek up the stairs into the dome, and we got a beautiful view of the nave from the inner dome. We continued upward and made it up to the outer dome and got a beautiful 360 view of London at sunset.
I think my favorite part of the day was visiting Brixton and Borough markets. I think it’s so great that so many people come together in such an old fashioned way to exchange goods. I think food is at the center of a lot of great things and this market is definitely one of them. It has been being people together for over 1,000 years, which is amazing and will continue to for years to come. The Brixton market was fascinating though, because it does have so much history behind it.. I think it’s great that it is in an area that was built up by immigrants, it has had a lot of tough times, but they have held tough and prospered throughout. I think I also find it fascinating because, being from Miami and being Cuban, I can see how the Cubans came into Miami and kind of created their own areas and prospered, assimilating into their new environment while allowing their culture to prosper.
Today really showed us how hospitality can bring communities together and can help areas prosper. These markets have been centers of commerce for years and have allowed business to grow. It will be interesting to see what happens with the Brixton market and the surrounding area in coming years due to the ‘urban renewal’ that is occurring with all the trendy eateries.
This morning I said “Good Morning London.” After having been in London for 6 days and with the rainy and cold weather, today was different; it was sunny and absolutely beautiful. The sun was shining and it was not so cold. And to add to the weather conditions, our class’s journey and destination this morning was “Wimbledon.” Yes, you heard right: we were where the crème of the crème of tennis players have played before my time, during, and the future to come. What a great day to write a blog for my class.
As a child, I enjoyed watching tennis matches on TV as they played at Wimbledon. It was one of my favorite sports. Quite often, I played with the best opponent in the world, my dad. We would play for hours and I would visualize that I was on the courts of Wimbledon. Well, the wish did come true. I actually visited Wimbledon. My class and I, accompanied by Dr. K and Dawn Fagnan, took the train to Wimbledon. Actually, the last stop on the train was “Wimbledon.”
After, the stop we walked almost 2 miles to get to the actual grounds. We were welcomed by Ben, who provided the class a 2-hour guided tour of the grounds, with very interesting information and protocols that go on before the annual matches in the summer. Ben gave the class a 101 on Wimbledon.
The Wimbledon Championship is said to be known as the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world. One of the distinguished details of tennis-playing in Wimbledon is that players play on the grass. The championship is held for 2 weeks starting is June and ending in July. You can obtain your tickets through a lottery, which is not always guaranteed, or by “ queue.” These types of tickets are given the day of and only a certain amount are allocated.
The Wimbledon is not funded by the government; instead, it has its members, just like a country club would have members. The way of becoming one, you must be approved and reviewed by 6 members. And if you are accepted, you must wait until someone dies in order to take their position.
Only tennis matches are held at the Wimbledon. It is used for no other events, though at times, the grounds might have a special event on the complex. Also, there is a great display of Wimbledon in their museum. It has 63 restaurants on the grounds, but the most popular food to eat at Wimbledon is strawberries and crème. The site visit was all I expected. I felt that I had a real seat at the Wimbledon this morning.
After, the tour we had some free time. I sat, had a glass of wine, and prepared myself for our next activity, which was high tea. We went to “Bea’s Bloomsbury” tea house, right in front of St Paul’s Cathedral. I had vanilla black, which is a tea that I added milk to. As a matter a fact, this is the first time that I added milk to my tea — its taste was very soothing. I enjoyed it with small sandwiches and sweets, one being the authentic scone which was quite delicious.
After tea, I walked with my 2 classmates, Karol and Jazmin, to Piccadilly Circle. I had been there before, but I wanted to show them. This area reminds me of Times Square in New York. After all this, we headed to Mickey D’s. I was craving a burger. We sat and enjoyed just like in Miami.
Today was my blog day, but there has not been a day that I have not enjoyed this trip – rain or shine. I am looking forward to tomorrow’s journey. Good night.
Today was our first official Friday here in London; and so far it has been a spectacular stay. As indicated in our itinerary, today we visited one, if not thee, best tennis stadiums on Earth: Wimbledon (The All England Lawn Tennis Club).
We had the pleasure of having Ben as our host, who introduced us to very great and detail-oriented information in which he takes part of all year-round, only to have the stadium open for championships, which we were informed starts in the beginning of July 2015. Hospitality did not stay behind in this magnificent orientation. The stadium hosts at least three different types of tiers for hospitality in which fans and/or players from all around the world are able enjoy during these remarkable and memorable games. As hospitality majors, it was vital for us to learn about this remarkable club found in the heart of the British and how applying dedication and finesse in such a detailed manner could really bring back, not millions, but billions of viewers every year.
After some free time, some of us were able to experience a 3D movie played in the miniature theater, which provided a taste of what it is like at the stadium when the games come around. It was also intriguing to learn about the amount of interest they have in regards to growing and preparing the grass for the players.
We learned about how this historical and famous sport in England dates back from the 1860s, and we learned that women used to wear large corsets and were even paid less than men to play. Fortunately, women are now being paid the same amount as men and no longer need to wear such large and heavy corsets. What they wear now are typically white short skirts with undershorts that have a one fourth inch logo either on the shorts and/or chest area. Other players using a more fashionable line rather than a sporty line place this logo on the sleeve of their top.
We also learned about the substantial amount of money that players earn when they win a tournament, which turns out to be approximately £ 25 million, split between five hundred players.
Though the temperature in weather dropped significantly today, the group still managed to get through the cold winds and withstand their chilly hands. Despite our time coming to an end, we also had the chance to go to Bea’s of Bloomsbury around St. Paul’s Cathedral. There, we had the opportunity to enjoy our favored English tea along, with some absolutely amazing sweet assortments under beautiful teapot lights. It was definitely a great experience here because the group was able to see what the culture is like here in London, and we had a taste how the British enjoy their tea.
Today we not only were we able to see the beauty and activities that this city has to offer but we were also able to experience and learn about it, which is a great endorsement for those who are considering to study or move to London.
Since we were near St. Paul’s Cathedral, which had a handful of attractions, some of us withdrew from the group and enjoyed the life around the city by going skating at the Somerset House, enjoying a variety of pubs, or even enjoying all the different activities in the famous Piccadilly Square. The group really enjoyed these very informative and once in a lifetime experiences with FIU, and we are happy to show you our experiences through pictures. Enjoy!
It has passed a week since we said hello to London, and the time has come to say goodbye. London is a truly amazing city that combines tradition with innovation. The city is replete with remarkable buildings that hold years if not centuries within its walls. On the other hand, London its home to the most innovative places when it comes to design, gastronomy, and fashion. In addition, the city offers unlimited options for leisure and recreation from its beautiful green spaces to magnificent museums. As any global city in the world, London faces some challenges such as astronomical rents prices, high taxation, and racial issues. However, the advantages of the city upset its challenges making London a desirable place to live-in and visit.
Well enough about what makes the city great and lets highlight what made The London Adventures 2014 an unforgettable experience. If we had an MVP award for the trip, it would go without a doubt to no other than Tia Maria. With her spark and energy, she added a Cuban flavor to the trip and London in general. She’ is a true diva and very kind with her fans. In fact, she when on and display some of her talent in the underground (subway) and I have a video that could become viral if it makes it to you to be. There have been talks about a possible movie but were yet to find the right tittle. In the mind time just follow her @tiamaria and play for the chance to have the Cuban Tea Time with pastelitos y colada at her castle in downtime Hialeah.
The runner-up for the MVP was Jorgito Barreto with his high high high high energy and charisma. He was always enthusiast about any activity extending his vitality through Miami’s top hits and latest fashion trends. He really had wings but its flights were sometimes or almost every time delay. It made me happy he came to London and that he had his own room to recharge. I’m sure that nightlife at London wont be the same without him.
London gave me the opportunity to meet with old high school friends and colleagues who show me different parts of the city having the chance of visiting some of the most amazing hospitality venues in the world. Also, It was a pleasure to share the room with Rafael or Ricardo or I don’t know Rafael Ricardo, meet his sister, and take care of his mother calls.
Everybody had a free day today. Some people explore different places around the city, others revisited the places they loved the most, and others used the time to take advantage of the amenities at Lancaster Gate Hotel. From my part, I spend the day falling love with London. My most remarkable visit was to the Victoria & Albert Museum, which is filled of porcelain and ceramics from all over the world, incredible dresses from different eras, and an arrange of distinctive furniture pieces. It truly shows how great royalty celebrated and how they spent there spare time or I mean all of their time. It is probably one of my favorite museums in the world created by whose many people consider the greatest queen in history, Queen Victoria.
It is time to say goodbye to London or preferably see you later. It has been an incredible experience and hopefully one that would enrich our careers as well as personal lives. Happy Holidays to everyone and best wishes.
This is our last night in the United Kingdom, and we will go back to Miami tomorrow. When I saw the schedule for the first time, I thought that December 22 will be wonderful because this is the only free day that we have. However, when I waked up in the morning, I was thinking like “Are we had to go outside? I’m so tired that I cannot afford walking for another day! Please let me die in my bed!!!” It seems like that there are 10,000 miles between my bed and the bathroom in our room.
We went out to mailed postcards for our friends, some of them living in China, some of them living in the USA, and we were confused by all the different kinds of stamps, which is the third thing that made me crazy after I arrived in England. The first one is the subway, or I should call it “underground” in the UK style. If you want to choose the one that you are going to take from so many different lines, you need to pay attention to the words on the head of the train. This is the only way that can help you, because there are different district lines with different destinations, circle line, country line, and overground. And the second thing is their coins. Back in America, there are only four different types of coins, one cent, five cent, one dime, and quarter. However, there are eight types of coin in UK! One penny, two penny, five penny, ten penny, twenty penny, fifty penny, one pound, and two pound.
Since I was so tired, I decided to take a little nap before dinner in order to enjoy my farewell dinner in UK. Unfortunately, I lost my way. It took me more than one hour to get on the right line. I got on the circle line at the King’s Cross St. Pancras station. While waiting for the subway carried me to the Bayswater station, I start to review my trip in London.
London was my dream place once I was in university, how I wish that I could been there one day. It is the study abroad program which makes my dream came true. The Big Ben, the London Tower, the Westminster abbey, the London Bridge, the St. Paul’s, the London eye…All of these places made me caught a glimpse of the culture of London, or the Unite Kingdom. We laughed here, we walked here, and we visited the Pure Events, the Fuller’s Griffin Brewery, the Hilton Hotel, the Gatwick Airport, and the “All England Lawn Tennis Club” and listened to different people’s explanations about companies which they are working for. I should say that it gave me a clear thought about what could be include in hospitality industry. It is not only things about tourism, hotels, events, but also about what kind of culture or spirit that you want to show to your customers.
How I wish that I could lost in the culture of British forever.
This was my first time to London; it was an amazing trip for me. As we had a 10 day trip in London, every day I could see new things. I was so excited with all of them.
The first memory in my mind was Big Ben. Our tour guide Florence leaded us to the Westminster station by tube. It was so cool, because I didn’t take a subway in Florida. And I also found the speed of London was so fast, everyone walked fast on their way. When we arrived there, the scene surprised me. The Big Ben stand front me, it was so amazing. The gold tower with the great weather, I think it was more magnificent than I found in website.
The second memory was Westminster Abbey. I used to go to other church to visit in China, but Westminster Abbey was the first that I visit at abroad. According to my travel book, “It was famous as the resting place of Britain’s monarchs, and as the setting for coronations and other great pageants, such as the marriage of Prince William in 2011” (Jane, 2014). It was a great experience to visit here and I knew more about it after I visited.
Next one was fuller’s Griffin Brewery. I had no ideas before I visited fuller’s Griffin Brewery. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour and great information presented by our guide. This is a unique opportunity to learn about the history behind this family business. The guide was patient to tell us the history and the process of their beer. After visited, we tasted the different beers. To be honest, it tasted good.
Another one is the Tower of London. My travel book says, “For much of its 900-year history the Tower was an object of fear. Those who had committed treason or threatened the throne were held within its dank walls. A lucky few lived in comparative comfort, but the majority had to endure appalling conditions. Many did not get out alive, and some were tortured before meeting violent deaths on nearby Tower Hill” (Jane, 2014). The most attractive part is the jewel house. The diamond shows the luxurious life in that history.
I also think the food in London was delicious. Most of our dinner I liked. We can taste the different foods here. In our free time, we went to the Chinese restaurants. I think it was so good, just like we ate in China, even better than that. That was unbelievable. Another thing that I wanted to do is shopping. The store in London has so many choices for us. The Harrods showed the luxury brands and convent garden had more unique stores for us to look around.
I really liked the feeling to walk around at the street in London. I liked to see the immemorial buildings and also wanted to see more differences things at here. There are so many other things I want to know from London. Maybe I will come back again.
This trip also was very unforgettable; we had a lot of happy time together, such as dinnertime, the time on subway and also the time we visited the scenic spots. I also want to say thanks to our professor, Dr. Kitterlin. She is so nice and patience, even though we are so tired in the trip, she always waits us and make sure we are not lost.
Jane, S. (2014). Dk Eyewitness Travel Guide. New York: DK Publishing. DOI: www.dk.com
Day 7 in London
A week and seven days have passed since we have come to London. Today is one of the best days for me, I enjoyed what I did today so much. We visited Wimbledon and enjoyed afternoon tea at Bea’s of Bloomsbury.
We met up at the lobby at 9:15 am, and left from the hotel. We got used to how to take a tube. Everyone could pass through ticketing gate smoothly. After taking the tube and walking a lot, we arrived at Wimbledon, one of the most famous and prestigious tennis courts in the world. The Wimbledon Championship is held there every year for the first two weeks of July. The tour guide started with his presentation on how great Wimbledon is compared to any other professional sport. I did not know how much impact advertising during the championship has. Many famous companies spend a lot of money for Wimbledon to advertise their product. It is like the Superbowl in United States. Advertising in the Wimbledon Championship has great economic impact because over a billion people watch the match from all over the world on TV. For me, his presentation was really interesting.
After that, we went to inside of the building of “The All England Lawn Tennis Club.” There are so many things they do in here to satisfy players. The most interesting place for me was the press conference room. In there, they can ask any questions to player but only related to tennis. One of our students went on the stage and played like a famous tennis player. He`s really funny!
We also looked at some courts that held the championship match. The tour guide told us really interesting and extraordinary facts about the grass of the court. There`s a guy who manages the court and counts every piece of grass to make a perfect court! Unbelievable!
We went to the museum after the tour. It has some historical things, the cup for men and the plate for women. There was also a cinema to watch a great 3D show. I walked out of the cinema feeling like a champion! I really enjoyed the museum because I could touch and play with the displays. Honestly, I didn’t expect anything going there because I was not interested in tennis, and I did not understand relationship of tennis and hospitality. After the tour, I change my mind because everyone including me really enjoyed this activity! I learned that sports and hospitality are connected strongly. For example, the things we learned from hospitality marketing class are useful for advertising during sport events.
We enjoyed British traditional, afternoon tea at Bea’s of Bloomsbury. I ordered vanilla black tea. It was served with a teapot. The tea was really good, and we even brought home some desserts!
I cannot believe we have only four days left! We have had good time and learned many things in London so far. I hope I can enjoy and learn even more the rest of our trip!
Today is the sixth day in London and the earliest we have had to be up during the trip. The day started with breakfast at 7:30 am right before we had to board the coach at 7:50 am to head to the Gatwick Airport.
On the ride over to the Hilton at Gatwick Airport, the sun was rising and almost everyone on the bus took advantage of this time to go to sleep, since it was an hour and a half ride to get there. In the meantime, I was wide awake and taking pictures of Andrea, watching professor Kitterlin take pictures of Dawn sleeping as well, and enjoying the view over. Once we got to the Hilton, we immediately walked in and Mr. Jeremy Taylor greeted us and walked us over to the room. On our seats, we had a magazine that is published by the company and a little plane.
Jeremy Taylor (Chief Executive of Gatwick Diamond Business) and Guy Hilton (Hilton Hotel), the presenters, gave us background information of their companies. One of the things I found most beneficial was that throughout his presentation, Mr. Taylor kept mentioning how important it is to stand out from others and to take responsibility for your actions. After the presentations, we had a brief 20–minute back of the house tour. My group started by going to the ballrooms that they reserve when flights are delayed and have guests waiting there. Then, we headed over to the kitchen and met the Executive Chef, Andy, and from there we walked over to the elevator to the fourth floor to see two rooms. The first room we saw had three beds and up to six people could easily fit. The second room we saw was a much smaller room for one person. One thing that really caught my attention was the bathroom. It was super nice and had a shower and a bath 😮 !
At the end of the tour, we went back to the room we were in and had a brief discussion and Q &A section. The way we ended the trip at the Hilton was by visiting the south terminal of Gatwick Airport and getting an idea of what it looks like.
Around 12 pm, we were on the bus headed to the British Museum. On our way, we passed a bridge and it had the most beautiful view. I could see Big Ben, the London Eye, etc. Before we went to the British Museum, we had time to go get a quick snack. I went to get a Croissant stuffed with chocolate and a Coke. At 1:50, we met inside the museum and the tour guide was there and guided us through the museum.
Once we were done with the museum, we headed over to dinner at Roti Chai. I’ve never tried Indian food, but I’m so happy I did because it was delicious. Today was an extremely long day and I can’t wait to go to sleep and have more adventures tomorrow! 🙂