Friday, December 4, 2015

The Lord Mayor's Parade

Hey everyone!On one of our many trips to London, we saw the Lord Mayor's Parade. The Lord Mayor's Parade is the Lord Mayor making his way up north of the River Thames, to swear his oath to the crown. This began in 1215 when King John let London choose its own mayor, but every year the mayor has to travel north of the Thames to swear his oath to the crown. It has grown so popular to see, it has turned into a parade. Below is a picture of some London guards, playing in a marching band.  

In the picture below, you can see the Lord Mayor's Carriage, and you might be able to see the Lord Mayor, popping his head out. You can also see the pikemen who guard the carriage. The carriage of the Lord Mayor is about 350 years old. In the parade, we saw many floats, marching bands, and policemen. This year, 2015, is very special because it is the 800th anniversary for the Lord Mayor's Parade.

For more detailed history, visit 
After the parade and a delicious lunch, we went up to the Museum of London. The London museum had many things about the history of London, especially Roman. What you can see below is part of the old Roman wall going around London. The big circular thing in the picture would've been something like a watchtower.

After the Museum of London, we went off to a walking tour, which was part of the Lord Mayor's Parade.
The tour was about Blackfriars, an area of central London. We saw a ton of stuff, including part of the Blackfriars Monastery, a large monastery in London. A monastery is a church building where monks live under religious vows.

We would say that our day out at the Lord Mayor's Parade was totally EXCELLENT!

Thursday, December 3, 2015


Hi everyone! Recently we got back from a trip of a lifetime to Rome. We went all over the city and saw tons of cool stuff we can't wait to share with you. We first went to the Colosseum. Since everyone knows what the outside looks like, we included a picture of the lesser known inside area. In the center of the picture you can see an intricate network of underground tunnels, which held slaves, gladiators, and wild animals like lions, all awaiting their fate. Do you know how the Romans brought the animals to the stage level? I found the answer very interesting. The Romans actually used an elevator system powered by counterweights and run by slaves. The stage/ platform that gladiators fought on was held up by large wooden beams, right on top of the tunnel network.
Next to the Colosseum is the Arco di Constantino, or the Arch of Constantine. The arch was erected by the Roman Senate to celebrate Emperor Constantine's victory over Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. The arch of Constantine is unique because it is the only one of the arches in Rome to overly reuse sculptures from other monuments built in the past. The arch was also built next to Palatine Hill, one of the most well known of Rome's seven hills.
Whilst in Rome, we often walked by an overlooked but very interesting section of Roman ruins called Trajan's Forum. In the picture below you can see Trajan's Column, a monument to the Emperor Trajan's victories in the Dacian Wars. It was completed in AD 113. To right of Trajan's column, off of the picture, is the main part of Trajan's Forum. Trajan's Forum was a large extension to the already large Roman Forum, which had been added on to by many emperors. The most incredible part of his forum was Trajan's Market, a multi-story market with more than a hundred stalls. It is now considered the worlds first shopping mall!
In Rome our favorite thing of all to see was the Pantheon. The Pantheon was built by Emperor Hadrian and completed in 126 AD. The Pantheon is famous for having a the largest oculus, or hole, in the center of the dome. It was designed to have the same distance from the floor to the oculus, as from one side to another. Also, the Pantheon is one the best preserved ancient Roman buildings in the world, with polished multicolored marble decorating the inside. When it was built, the Pantheon was colored on the outside with beautiful metals like gold and bronze, but many people have pillaged and taken it off of it.
We also went to the Trevi Fountain in Rome. The Trevi Fountain is one of the most famous fountains in the world, and the largest fountain in Rome. It was designed by architect Nicola Salvi, and was completed in the year 1762. We learned a very interesting story about how there used to be a barbershop to the right of the fountain when it was being built. The owner despised the idea of the fountain, and was not on board with it. So the builders built a huge wave in front of the shop blocking the view. The barber shop then went out of business because they did not have a view of the beautiful fountain.
Overall, we'd say Rome was EXCELLENT!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Camp Nou and Park Guell

Hello everyone! In Barcelona, we went to two awesome places, Camp Nou and Park Guell, and we'd say they were excellent. Park Guell was designed by Antoni Gaudi, the famous architect who built the Sagrada Familia. Park Guell was intended to be a residential community, but work was unsuccessful. It became Barcelona's property in 1923. Below, you can see a mosaic at the entrance of Park Guell.
Below, you can see Park Guell's entrance, truly magnificent. You can see that Gaudi did many mosaics. In the entrance, there is a divided staircase with beautiful fountains and plants in the middle, and a pretty cool looking 3d lizard mosaic. Then you can see a raised platform by doric columns, with an intricate mosaic bench going around. Park Guell only has two of sixty intended houses. One of the houses Gaudi lived in for the last 20 years of his life.
After Park Guell, we took a tour bus up to Camp Nou, FC Barcelona's stadium. There, we took a tour of the stadium. Did you know that camp nou means new stadium in Catalan? FC Barcelona is called Barca by the locals. Below you can see a picture of Barca's logo, with St. George's Cross, the Catalonia flag, and a football. St George's Cross is in the logo because St. George is not only the patron saint of England, but also Catalonia!
Below you can see Barca's huge stadium, which holds around 100,000 people, making it the biggest stadium in Europe, and the 3rd biggest in the world. The time spent building the stadium was 3 years, with over 3 times the budget spent! In 1982 Camp Nou hosted the World Cup.
We'd have to say that Park Guell and Camp Nou were EXCELLENT!

Thursday, November 12, 2015


Hi everyone! Last weekend we had an awesome time at Greenwich that we can't wait to share with you. The first thing we did was tour the Cutty Sark, a massive tea trading ship used about a century and a half ago. The Cutty Sark was built in 1869 for the Jock Willis Shipping Line. During it's 85 years of service, the Cutty Sark covered enough distance to travel to the moon and back 2 1/2 times! The Cutty Sark was the fastest Tea Clipper and we can see why.

After that we saw the Old Royal Naval College. The Old Royal Naval College was designed by Christopher Wren, and constructed between 1696 and 1712. The original purpose of the building was to be a hospital for seamen.The hospital closed in 1869 and was reopened in 1873 as the Royal Naval College until 1998. In my opinion, this is one of the most beautiful buildings we've seen yet on our trip. The building on the left is a chapel, and the right is the painted hall.

The painted hall was incredible! It is recognized as the greatest piece of decorative painting in England, and is sometimes called, "the Sistine Chapel of the UK." It was painted by Sir James Thornhill between 1708 and 1727. It uses symbolism to deliver a strong message on subjects like monarchy, religion, maritime power, navigation, and trade. The Painted Hall is some of the most beautiful painting we have ever seen!
After the Old Royal Naval College, we went to the Maritime Museum. Below is a picture of the jacket Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson was wearing when he died during the Battle of Trafalgar. He died when a piece of shrapnel impaled him and his bones shattered. You can see the hole in the upper right hand corner. The Battle of Trafalgar was one in a series of wars called the Napoleonic Wars, against Napoleon.
After that we went to the Royal Observatory to see the Prime Meridian. The Prime Meridian stands at the border of the East and Western hemispheres. It was so cool to stand in 2 hemispheres at the same time.
We'd say Greenwich was EXCELLENT!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Hola everyone! We just got back from an exciting trip in Barcelona, the center of Catalonia, a North-East region of Spain. In Barcelona, the main language is not Spanish, but Catalan, a similar variation of Spanish. In Barcelona, the food was incredible! We ate lots of Spanish tapas, which are small dishes that you order multiple of. Also, like in France, we ate enough bread and cheese to last us a long time.
 At the heart of Barcelona lies the Sagrada Familia, or Sacred Family in English. Designed by Gaudi, it is one of the most modern cathedrals in the world. (You will hear more about Gaudi in a later post.)  Did you know that the Sagrada Familia is still being built, and wont be finished for another 2 decades?! Surprisingly, the above and below pictures are both of the Sagrada Familia. It is very different depending on which side you look on. The picture above is the Passion Facade, depicting Jesus' death. Behind the tree are many sculptures, very plain looking, showing the passion of Christ. Here is a closer look...
The picture below is the Nativity Facade, showing Jesus' birth. Unlike the Passion Facade, the Nativity Facade is very ornate and decorative.
The picture below is of the inside of the Sagrada Familia! Amazing, right! It is just so different from any other cathedral we've ever seen. Gaudi designed the inside columns to appear to be trees in a forest, branching out from one another. The central nave vault goes very high, 150 feet into the air! The columns are placed in a grid, and are angled. 
 In Barcelona, we also saw a very large monument to Christopher Columbus. At nearly 200 feet tall, this monument is very visible at the lower end of La Rambla, a busy street, and not far from the sea. It was constructed to honor Columbus' voyage to the New World, and for the Exposición Universal de Barcelona. You can actually go up to the top, and get a great view of the city.
 Also in Barcelona, we saw the Arc de Triomf. The Arc de Triomf was built as the main entrance for the 1888 Barcelona World Fair. It contains many sculptures and ornate decorations. It was built by many different people. This structure is very similar to others found in London, Paris, and New York, and many others.
In our opinion, Barcelona is EXCELLENT.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Four Countries in One Day!

Hello everyone! On our trip to France, we went to four countries in one day! We woke up in France, country number one. We were so excited to go to Germany that day.

We drove off to Freiburg, Germany, known for its reconstructed medieval town. We went to Munsterplatz, a little plaza which houses Freiburg's cathedral, the Freiburg Minster. We had lunch at a restaurant in Munsterplatz, then went off into the cathedral. The building of the cathedral started in 1200, then continued on to 1230. 

At lunch in Germany, we decided one thing, and that was to go to Switzerland. We went to Basel, Switzerland, and saw their cathedral, the Basel Minster. The main part of Switzerland was eating some delicious ice cream in front of the Basel Town Hall. The crazy thing about Basel was that trams drove in the same lane as you! It was truly crazy.

Sadly, we had to go back to Strasbourg to catch our flight to England. So far we had been in three countries in one day. But when we got back to Stansted Airport in England, we had been in four countries in one day!

Picture from
I'd have to say our whirlwind day in France, Germany, Switzerland, and England was EXCELLENT!

Friday, October 23, 2015


Hello everyone! Last weekend we had an awesome time with our English grandparents, Nan and Bob, to go see Brooklands. Brooklands is a dirt racetrack that was very popular and used often in the 1920's and 1930's, and also an aircraft manufacturing center. The car below was called the Napier Railton, and it used an airplane engine, and broke many speed records between 1933 and 1937. 
The place we spent the most time at in Brooklands was seeing Concorde. Concorde was a super fast, slender airplane that could go over twice the speed of sound. Sadly they were discontinued in the early 2000's because of accidents and lack of interest by companies. We got to go inside it and watch a video about what it would be like to ride in it. It is an incredible piece of engineering.
 We also went into a hangar, where airplanes are stored, and we saw lots of old military aircraft. We got to sit inside a Harrier Jump Jet, one of the only planes that can manage a vertical take off. This is a picture of a plane that crashed in a lake and was then recovered and restored. That is pretty impressive. 
 The last thing we did was look in the car museum. Some of the cars were almost 100 years old! This one was my favorite. We also saw lots of bicycles, some from the 1800's. They were so big, I have no idea how people got on them! It was so cool to see the old racing cars, some of which have broken land speed records!
We'd say Brooklands was excellent!


A little while ago we had an awesome time with our favorite football club, Arsenal! Arsenal is one of, if not the best football clubs in England, and maybe even the world(at least in our opinion). Founded in 1886, they have been around for a long time. Arsenal has won a lot of titles and leagues including: 12 FA Cups, 13 League wins, and an incredible 47 games undefeated in a row, the most in the history of the league. When Arsenal started, they originally trained in an armory, or an arsenal, and that is where they got their name. I'd say Arsenal is pretty amazing.
 A few weeks ago we had a blast doing the Emirates Stadium tour. It is called Emirates Stadium after Arsenal's biggest sponsor, Emirates Airline. Huge is an understatement for this incredible structure. Arsenal Stadium is an incredible 250 meters long, and 200 meters wide. The tour was outstanding! We saw many places in the stadium most people don't normally see including the Director's Box, the Changing Rooms, the Press Conference Rooms, and the Diamond Club. You can pay 25,000 pounds to become a member of the Diamond Club! The stadium tour was an amazing experience.
At the game, we were pretty high up, so we had a good view of the field. The game was so much more interesting in real life than on TV. The stadium was packed, with nearly 60,000 people. With that, Emirates Stadium is the third largest stadium in England. From our seats, all of the players looked like ants, but it was easy to follow the game. Arsenal ended up winning (of course), 2-0, which is awesome.
We've had an excellent time at Arsenal and can't wait for the next game!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Hi everyone! We just got back from an awesome time in France, Strasbourg to be precise. We were there to tour the city and see some old friends, the Masbous. The picture below is of Strasbourg Cathedral, which was the world's tallest building from 1647 to 1874. If you do the math that's 227 years! Like most large buildings of its kind, construction was over the course of an extended period of time. Here, construction took place over 263 years, from 1176 to 1439. Though unlike other cathedrals, Strasbourg's only has one spire.
One reason I love France is the food! Below is a picture of me on our first day eating breakfast. I had a croissant, a baguette, jam, butter, orange juice, and hot chocolate. So much bread! What can go wrong? Nothing. You would never believe this, but over our whole time in France, the best croissant we had cost less than one euro and was from McDonalds. Seriously!
Another cool thing about Strasbourg, and many other European cities is the tram system. You see tram lines everywhere, footpaths, roads, and even on the grass. Charlotte's tram system needs to up their game, because next to this it looks lame. 
While we stayed in Strasbourg, we had a day out with the Masbous, and we first went to a castle, or château in french, called Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg. The castle at Kœnigsbourg is very old, some parts dating back to the 800's. Though abandoned during the Middle Ages, it was restored and rebuilt to its original glory under the German emperor Wilhelm II, from 1900 to 1908. I thought the defense structures and mechanisms inside and outside were the coolest part of it. For example, the massive portcullis, and a bridge over the entry that could be dropped if the castle was invaded. Also, if you look closely on the side of the castle, you will see little holes. Some of those holes are where human waste leaves the castle. I highly recommend you  look up Kœnigsbourg because it is very interesting.
Later that day, we went to an eagle sanctuary to see the birds and a show. During the show, the birds would fly right over your head, and it was awesome. The birds are specially trained to do that, as well as fly really fast, and even land on a volunteer's hand. That is what Matthew is doing in the picture below. He is holding a vulture, which came to him because the trainer put a piece of meat on the glove Matthew is wearing.
Another cool thing about the eagle sanctuary are the birds. We saw huge bald eagles and owls, right up close. But this was my favorite. I don't know its name, but it looks to me like a cute fuzzy ostrich. 
We had a great time in Strasbourg and thought it was excellent!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Hastings, Eastbourne and Brighton

Hello everyone! We had an awesome time last weekend at some beaches in Southern England. Our first stop was Hastings, where William the Conqueror invaded England in 1066, during the Battle of Hastings. We couldn't find any museums, but it was cool to see where the battle took place. Below is a photo of the beach at Hastings, with a pier on the left.
After Hastings, stop number 2 was Eastbourne. At Eastbourne, we hiked along some cliffs to a place called Beachy Head. But these aren't any ordinary cliffs, these are Britain's highest chalk cliffs, at over 500 feet. That's almost twice as high as we went on St. Paul's Cathedral. They were pretty impressive.
After the chalk cliffs, we went to the beach to see an amazing fireworks display,parade, and bonfire, put on by the Eastbourne Bonfire Society. The Eastbourne Bonfire Society is a society in Eastbourne which has an interest in cultural and historical roots, and they put on celebrations and parades. The biggest of which is November 5, or Guy Fawkes night, the night in which he was caught trying to blow up parliament. It was the biggest bonfire and one of the biggest fireworks displays I have ever seen. Eastbourne was incredible!

The next day, we went to stop number 3: Brighton. In Brighton we went on a really cool pier with 2 really cool arcades, and a mini amusement park.You also get good views of the English Channel. The picture below is of the pier, which we went on.
After the pier, we went to the Brighton Museum, and the Royal Pavilion. The Brighton Museum was nice, but the Pavilion was way more excellent. John Nash designed it, and George IV built it. Did you know that in World War 1, the Brighton Pavilion was used as a hospital for Indian soldiers? In 1920 restoration was started for the Pavilion, but it was held back in 1975 because an arson attack and in the great storm of 1987 , a ball of stone fell through a ceiling, burying itself in the carpet.
After the Pavilion we went to the Lanes, which is a ton of tiny lanes with lots of shops. After the Lanes, we had lunch at a fish and chips shop, which was delicious. Then we walked along the shore of Brighton, which was really nice. Since we had so much fun in Hastings, Eastbourne, and Brighton, I'd say this trip has been EXCELLENT!


Friday, October 2, 2015

South Shields and Durham

Hello everyone! We have been to some more exciting places that we can't wait to tell you about! Recently we went to a town called South Shields, where my mum grew up. We had some amazing fresh fish and chips at a restaurant called Colmans. The fish was sssoooo good. We also went to a really fun play park. Did you know that South Shields was the place where the first lifeboat was built and used in the late 1700's?
The next day we went to Durham, to see Durham Cathedral. (below) The present cathedral dates back to Norman times and was founded in 1093. Durham cathedral is home to the shrine of St. Cuthbert, as well as his final resting place. St. Cuthbert is one of the most important medieval saints of Northern England.
While we were at Durham Cathedral, we climbed 325 steps up the center tower! From the top you had a great view of all of Durham, as well as the top of the cathedral. This picture is of the main entrance to the cathedral as seen from the tower we were on.
As well as climbing the tower, we also participated in a fundraiser at Durham Cathedral. The fundraiser where you could pay one pound for a lego brick, to help complete this model of Durham Cathedral. In my opinion it's a brilliant idea.
We had an excellent time at South Shields and Durham Cathedral!