London 2017


The London group at the Globe Theater

On February 3rd, forty-seven Saint John’s Prep students, teachers, and family members set out on an Interim trip to London, England. Although many of us did not know quite what to expect going into the trip, we all had an amazing experience. In addition to learning more than I’ll ever need to know (probably) about British history, I also picked up on a few basic London survival tips:

1. You can always fit more people into a tube car.
2. Never, ever try Marmite.
3. If you can’t remember the name of a British monarch, just say George or Henry and you’ll have a pretty good chance of being right.
4. Don’t look for Platform 9 ¾ between Platform 9 and Platform 10 at King’s Cross Station. It’s not there. It’s off to the side by a separate brick wall so that tourists can wait in line to pretend to be walking through it. And what’s worse, there isn’t even a brick wall between platforms 9 and 10. There isn’t a wall at all. So don’t even bother – just take a picture of yourself in wizard robes by a random brick wall and say you were there.

King’s Cross Station might not have been exactly how I imagined it, but the London trip was still a great experience for Harry Potter fans. This year, for the first time, the Saint John’s Prep London group took a day trip to the Warner Brother studios north of London, where all eight Harry Potter movies were filmed. We got a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the incredible amount of work that went into making the movies. The studios truly had everything: the Sorcerer’s Stone, the seven horcruxes, the set for Diagon Alley, a gigantic scale model of the entire Hogwarts Castle that was used to film aerial views, and of course, a gift shop filled with everything from specific characters’ wands to creepy Dobby figurines.

For many of the travelers, another highlight of the trip was the theatre. All of us went to see three plays: Les Miserables, Wicked, and The Play that Goes Wrong, a spectacularly executed farce about a disastrous performance of a murder mystery. Some of us also opted to see one of two additional plays: The Phantom of the Opera and The Comedy About a Bank Robbery.

There were also a few surprises on the London trip. For one, we had almost no rain, although it was chilly throughout the week. Most of us weren’t too disappointed about missing out on this typical London experience. A second surprise occurred on the day we arrived. As we started off on a walking tour of London, we were ready to immerse ourselves in the experience of the city and temporarily forget about all things American – especially politics. This mindset didn’t last long, as our tour route took us right through the middle of a large anti-Trump demonstration. Go figure.

We fit an incredible amount into the week that we were in London. In addition to seeing Buckingham Palace, Dover Castle, the Tower of London, Windsor Castle, the Globe Theater, Big Ben, Stonehenge, and numerous museums, some of us also found time to visit the site of the Prime Meridian in Greenwich and the location where a famous David Bowie album cover was shot. The trip truly had something for everyone.

Mr. Erickson, the mastermind organizer and group leader of the London trip, said, “This was perhaps the smoothest trip I have led. We had good weather and the students and adults on the trip were energetic, cooperative, and engaged—a great group of travelers!” Thanks, Mr. Erickson! The travelers were very appreciative of all the hard work that Mr. Erickson and the other chaperones put in to make the trip a success.

The London trip will be offered once again in the year 2020, so for those of you in 6th- 9th grade, I would highly recommend it. Whatever you do, though, don’t try the Marmite.