Projektreise nach London im S 3

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Two Elizabethans and our group in the garden of Shakespeare's birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon

Der Leistungskurs Englisch (Kurslehrer Bastian Ecke) hat seine Projektreise im September nach England durchgeführt.  London, Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon waren Ziele auf dieser einwöchigen Reise. Die Kursteilnehmerinnen und -teilnehmer haben eine Reihe von Reiseberichten verfasst …

Travel Report: Our class trip to London, Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon

Sunday, 6th September 2009
It was 4:30 in the early, early, early morning, when we started our trip to London. Everyone was there, except for our teacher, who was just as tired as we were when he finally arrived 10 minutes late. This gave us enough time to express our excitement about learning more interesting and important facts about our personal hero William Shakespeare, whose plays quite certainly are as popular today as they were three and a half centuries ago.
After about ten hours of a long and exhausting bus ride we finally arrived in Calais to take the ferry over to Dover where Mr. Ecke started to record our documentation “In Search of Shakespeare“. He was overwhelmed by our extensive knowledge about him and of course by our knowledge about his language: “Better a witty fool than a foolish wit“, we thought.
Once we had arrived in Dover, another three to four hour bus ride lay ahead of us. But soon, we reached London’s perimeter and could already smell Shakespeare’s omnipresence in the city’s heavy traffic. When some people started to complain and moan, Mr. Ecke eagerly used the situation to quote our hero by saying “How poor are they that have not patience“ and finally, we ended up in our hostel “The Generator“, right in the center of the city. – Our rooms were small and basically had no windows, at least none you could actually open. While we were unpacking our bags, someone kept knocking on our door. “Who’s there, i‘ th‘ name of Belzebub?“, we asked ourselves. However, there was no answer but another knock, so we became really impatient and screamed “Who’s there, in th‘ other devil’s name?“. When we opened the door, we couldn’t see anyone. Later the caretaker told us the place was haunted because some of the ten thousand people who had died of the Plague between 1593 and 1594 were buried underneath this building. He said mysterious complaints about door knockings were no unusual thing. – Terrifying, we thought.
After exploring the surroundings of this haunted building, at midnight eventually, we went to bed, excited about all the great things to come.

Meike K., Mareike S., Kerrin N., Raoul K., Jonas E.

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In the centre of London

Monday, 7th September 2009
After having slept not a wink, for us, the Monday started with a tasty breakfast in the hostel.
Then, Marble Arch was the first destination to go to. Hyde Park is right next to it and our small group of five wanted to debate in “Speakers Corner“ about Shakespeare’s women but unfortunately nobody wanted to discuss with us. Heading through Hyde Park towards Buckingham Palace we started to believe that our luck was gone because the changing of the guards was postponed to the following day. On our way towards Trafalgar Square we were full of excitement imagining how actors on a newly established platform there would maybe play a famous part of Romeo and Juliet, like the one when she asks: “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?“ However, no Romeo was in sight, and our ‚Juliet‘ at Trafalgar Square was just sitting on this platform not doing anything. Finally we could have walked off but decided to continue on Shakespeare’s footsteps and spent some free time by visiting some nice pubs and thought that Shakespeare would have done exactly the same thing during lunch-time.
After our pub time was over we met at the Monument Tube Station. It was 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon when we started our London walk with the topic “The London of Shakespeare and Dickens“. Our tour guide was an elderly lady called Mrs. Jackson, who never missed her part to laugh about cruelties like executions in Shakespeare´s days. She told us a lot of interesting things about William Shakespeare. First of all she explained to us how his father, the master Glover John Shakespeare who urinated onto the gloves to disinfect them, lived in Stratford upon Avon. However, William joined “the Lord Chamberlain’s Men“ which was one of the best of the London players‘ companies that, on their big England tour, must have stopped in Stratford.
Afterwards we went on and stopped next to every other house to hear a lot of interesting facts about Shakespeare’s life. I had the feeling that the increasing number of stops decreased the concentration of our group but it was still a great experience. Finally the walk ended right next to the famous Globe …
The Globe, which was the main showground of Shakespeare’s plays, was rebuilt in the original way Shakespeare saw it 400 years ago. He became a shareholder of the Globe too, which not only brought him a fortune but also the long awaited social ascent. A very brutal sight next to it is the Bear-Garden, where animal fights and executions of criminals took place and were visited by thousands of people. – Apparently, death was nothing strange to the Elizabethans and nobody seemed to care about cruelty to animals or the hanging of people. In Shakespearian times it was not unusual to visit the Bear-Garden on a daily basis.
Now try to imagine for just one second that you are going across the Rathausmarkt, holding your double Big Mac with extra cheese in your hand and right next to you a red-haired woman is executed because of witch-hunt.
After this day, which was interesting and great fun too, we had a good idea of what life must have been in Shakespeare´s days and decided to once again follow him on his footsteps.

Merle A., Christian S., Daniel S. , Sydney N., Ensar G., Farid M.

Tuesday, 8th September 2009
Another eventful Shakespeare day to remember.
After breakfast we all made our way to the British Museum of Archaeology, a museum about human history and culture, existing since 1753, which holds the world’s largest most comprehensive collection of Egyptian antiques outside the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, for example the famous “Rosetta Stone“ (dating 196 BC). Other than the Egyptian department, you can find different sections about certain cultures, i.e. the Asian, African or Middle Eastern and believe us, it takes ages to discover this massive museum.
After a short bath in culture and history, we all had to find our way through London’s subway system jungle to finally meet up again at ‚Covent Garden‘. Led by Shakespeare, we finally made it to this nice artistic place with street performers and a lot of small stalls. Thankfully, we could relax a little bit while watching a funny street performance, which must have existed in somehow similar ways by Shakespearean time, too.
Afterwards Mr. Ecke led us to Greenwich, a quiet district in South-East London to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. In Greenwich, we eagerly climbed up what felt like the biggest mole hill to finally enjoy great views over the city from the top of the ‚Royal Observatory‘. The 0 longitude is marked by a foundation stone, where you could literally stand in line for hours and hours only to take a picture of you standing with one leg on the eastern and the other one on the western hemisphere.
Rolling down the hill, we made our way to discover Greenwich and this time desperately tried to escape from the search for Shakespeare and simply enjoy the beautiful day.
But after a short while, Mr. Ecke, the Shakespeare lover in our group, forced us back to Shakespeare’s time. In London’s Globe Theatre, he made us watch a highly confusing but fascinating Shakespeare play called “Troilus and Cressida“ as dirty and filthy groundlings, standing for millions of hours. Even though the play was excellent and the atmosphere was thrilling, it didn’t seem to ever end.
How some of us would have loved to sit, maybe even on a nice and comfortable cushion, like the wealthy gentlemen and -women did in the old days (and today!!!).
After two hours and forty minutes, we could finally return to the real world and to our uncomfortable beds at the hostel. Having been unbelievably tired, even a bed full of nails would not have bothered us. In our dreams the search for Shakespeare continued and we could not await the next day, packed with even more information about the most amazing playwright this world has ever seen.

Polina K., Anna-Lisa G., Monique T., Imke J.

Wednesday, 9th September 2009
On Wednesday we had to get up very early because we wanted to go to Stratford-upon-Avon. When we arrived there we met our official guide who told us a lot about Shakespeare and showed us the town of Stratford. We felt like being in Shakespeare’s time, this was because our guide knew so much about him that she gave us the impression as if she had been part of the Elizabethan era.
We learned that Shakespeare not only had been a playwright but also a theatrical entrepreneur, an actor and a poet. Within his lifetime he had written 37 plays and 154 sonnets and had become famous for his dramatic language and the invention of about 3000 new words and expressions. Furthermore we found out that Shakespeare’s family had actually been quite poor in the beginning and that he had married at the unusual age of 18 but then had left his wife in Stratford – perhaps he had wanted to make use of his youth – so he had moved to London. After becoming rich and famous he had been able to buy the largest house in Stratford which was called ‚New Place‘.
Afterwards we visited the house in which Shakespeare had been born. The house is now very much restored and known as the ‚Birthplace‘. When we entered Shakespeare’s gardens, Paul turned into the Lord of France and Raoul became King of Scotland.
Finally, Daniel was knighted and we no longer talked of Daniel, but since then of Sir Daniel the XVI.
After experiencing such amazing scenery we finished our time in Stratford going to the Holy Trinity Church to visit Shakespeare’s remains. Above his grave it says: “Good friend, for Jesus‘ sake forbeare to digg the dust enclosed here. Bleste be the man that spares thes stones, and curst be he that moves my bones.“
So if you’re not keen on saddling yourself with a curse, you better keep away from that grave. Because we were actually not, we started to search for our bus for what felt like an hour but finally continued our trip going to Oxford, the city which is most famous for its universities.
When we arrived there, we enjoyed some free time at last, either trying to find traces of Harry Potter, using the opportunity to go shopping, or simply dreaming about Shakespeare over a nice pint in one of the many pubs.

Linda J., Cynthia N., Kerrin N.

Thursday, 10th September 2009
8:00 am, the alarm rang and we were forced to get up, but something was rotten in the state of Denmark. After some partying in the evening before some of us felt still a bit dizzy and would have liked to continue their sleep but it was our last day in London and we were all keen on spending it well.
In the first three days “spending it well“ would have meant to learn a lot about Shakespeare and the theatre which indeed impressed us. His play appealed to us just as to everyone else, both noblemen and groundlings. We were captured by the excitement of the play and roared at the stage just as the people used to do it 400 years ago. The play we watched was the true evidence that Shakespeare’s words are intended to be spoken and played, not written and read.

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'London Eye'

Today against it “spending it well“ meant a lazy day full of relaxation and shopping. We walked through the city in groups and every group did something else.
Some went to Camden Market, a very alternative place with great, but low quality ‚tourist crap‘, as Jonas described it, some explored Oxford Street and others made a last attempt to see Whitehall and the Clock Tower (which is falsely referred to as “Big Ben“).

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'Big Ben' and the House of Parliament

The most exciting meeting had a group which went to the Westfield Shopping Centre. They met the Teletubbies!
Abercrombie & Fitch, Primark, HMV and Hollister… London offers so much and the day tended towards its end. At 6:45 pm we had to meet up again at the hotel to collect our luggage, which we had deposed in the morning. The group was complete and ready to leave but one person was still missing: Mr. Ecke, who rushed by in the last minutes and caught the bus seconds before departure. Now we sat on the bus all exhausted and tired, prepared to leave London. We were all very happy about the trip and deep in our hearts very sad to leave behind the city, so we all thought: “Good Night, London, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.“

Kim N., Ann-Julika M., Paul D.