Study Tour in the UK: London and Devon
I spent the past week in the UK with my Sustainable Development class. The trip was the perfect combination of seeing what we are learning being applied in real situations and fun! I love my classmates and we got a lot closer over the course of the week. I’m sad this is our last trip together!
On Sunday, we left Copenhagen for London! Once in London, we dropped our bags off at the hotel, had a fabulous organic lunch (complete with sticky toffee pudding–my new favorite dessert), and then departed on a bike tour of the city. Seeing the city by bike was great! It made it a lot more fun and we still got to see a lot of the big attractions (we rode around for 4 hours!). After the bike tour, we went back to the hotel, settled in, then were on our own for dinner. I set out with a few of my classmates in search of fish and chips. We navigated the tube quite well and found a cute, authentic-looking pub that had fish and chips on the menu, only to find out they were out of fish! We ate there anyways since we were exhausted after a long day. We explored the city a little more after dinner, then called it a night.
On Monday, we had some free time in the morning and decided to go see the Olympic Stadium. Once we got there, we realized that you couldn’t get into the stadium, or even very close…hence the pictures from the mall across the street. It was still very cool to see though! On the way back into the city we stopped at Platform 9 3/4, I’ve never been the biggest Harry Potter fan but the train station it was in was so cool (see pictures below). We met back up with the rest of the class in the afternoon to visit the Carbon Disclosure Project, a non-profit that collects and publicizes information from businesses mainly regarding their carbon emissions. It was a very interesting presentation and an inspiring place. We had more free time in the afternoon, which we spent exploring the Tower of London, London Bridge, London Eye, Big Ben, and other attractions. Then we met the rest of the class for dinner in a beautiful building where we had fancy fish and chips! We spent the rest of the evening out on the town.
We visited the Hackney City Farm on Tuesday morning, a farm in the middle of the city. It was great to see that people living in such an urban area can still have a connection to the environment. From the farm, we made our way to the train station and departed for Totnes. It was a short trip in London but I still managed to see a lot! And I plan to go back in December for the Chocolate Festival (duh).
When we got to Totnes, a man named Hal met us at the train station and took us to where we were staying. It turns out we were staying at Sharpham Estate, a huge, beautiful mansion with a vineyard in the front yard, a river winding around it, and gorgeous countryside in every direction. Needless to say, we were ecstatic to be there. We walked around the area a little before going back to the house for a delicious (organic) dinner. After dinner, we had planned to walk to a pub in town. It was pouring rain and quite windy, but myself and a few others were still motivated to walk (even though we found out it was a few miles and there were no street lights of any sort). We made it to the pub after an hour long journey through the rain, but it was quite the adventure and I’m glad I didn’t take the bus!
On Wednesday, we started our Transition Movement program. The Transition Movement is an environmental movement focused on resilience in local communities in light of peak oil, the economic crisis, and climate change. The first “Transition Town” was Totnes, so what better place to learn about it! We learned a lot about each other, the movement, the history of the town, and how to go about inspiring change in a community. We visited a local microbrewery, had dinner, then returned to the estate and hung out for the rest of the night.
On Thursday, we visited Dartmoor National Park. It was so beautiful! We hiked around for quite a bit, then stopped at Riverford Organic Farm on the way back to Sharpham. We had one of the best meals I’ve ever had at the Farm, it was like Thanksgiving! We eat really well on these study tours… Back at Sharpham, we had some time to reflect individually about the past few days in nature and then had a group bon fire and tea! We spent the rest of the night singing, playing charades, doing acrobatic yoga (very interesting), and other silly things.
On Friday, we left Sharpham (rather reluctantly) and headed to Windsor Castle. After our tour of the castle, we had high tea at a hotel nearby. I love high tea! I really appreciate that the British drink so much tea, I had 6 cups on average each day probably! I could get used to that…
From Windsor, we returned to the airport and came back to Copenhagen. It feels great to be back, but what a fun trip we had!