Thursday, June 26, 2014

no time for sleep with ef!

I'm baaaaack! Europe was amazeballs and I have learned exactly how much I love to travel.

I went on a this trip with one of my best friends, who is also a teacher. She took 5 of her students (and I was her sixth traveler). She booked the trip through Education First (EF) and this is the way I plan to travel from here on out!

EF is great because you don't have to do any thinking, planning, or really preparing, other than just showing up the the airport. They book every ticket - from the airlines, to the train tickets, to the metro tickets. They book the hotels and get you from one place to another, which is why I got to see London, Paris, Venice, and Rome in 10 days. This is not the kind of vacation to take to relax, in fact, I'm exhausted...but I learned so much! Most importantly, I learned that I have a very strong desire to see more places around the world!

I'm going to write a little bit about the trip each day in July, but here's a brief overview:

Day one was travel time...flew from Chicago to London on a nonstop flight. Spent two and a half days in London and saw Big Ben, the London Eye, Trafalgar Square, and the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. We were actually supposed to see a lot more, but there was some missing luggage with someone else in our group and we just got off to kinda a slow start...

This is Heather, one of my best friends from high school. Crazy that we've already been friends for like 20 years, and we talked about our next 50 ahead on our trip. Here we were on the day we arrived London and in Trafalgar Square. I'll share more about that on another post! (This is also the only day my hair looked good.... had major problems with the electricity situation and blow dryers and flat irons!)

We left London on the morning of day 4 on the Eurostar to Paris. This train goes under the English Channel - I think it was a four hour trip. We spent our next two and a half days in Paris. We saw the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, The Louvre (the Mona Lisa!), the Latin Quarter, and Notre Dame. That was all guided by EF, and then Heather and I also tried to find some filming locations from Sex and the City's Series Final episodes. Even though we weren't super successful, we did have a great day!

This moment was one of the top two of my whole trip! It's so touristy, but such an icon that I'm so glad we got to see!

At the end of day six, we took a night train to Venice. The night train was an experience like one I've never had before (more to come on that!) but we arrived in Venice on the morning of Day 7. We only had one day in Venice but it was amazing. Venice is actually the one place I *need* to see again! There we met in St. Mark's Square and had a brief walking tour. Because we were running a little late, we had to miss the glass-blowing demo because we really wanted to take a gondola ride instead! We got to do a little shopping and I bought a beautiful quartz ring and then we had an amazing Italian dinner: prosciutto and cheese, followed by gnocchi, and then roast beef and potatoes, and tiramisu! (I'll blog about all the amazing food later, too!) The restaurant was awesome with live music and a beautiful outdoor seating area. I *loved* Venice!
on a Gondola, nbd :-)
We spent one night in Venice (in an amazing hotel after that night train!) and then we were on another four-hour train ride to Rome. When we arrived in Rome, we went straight away to a quick lunch at Piazza del Popolo (had an awesome pizza there!) We then took the coach to see the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. That night, a few of us went back out to see Piazza Navona, Castel Sant'Angelo, and Vatican City lit up at night. The next morning, we had our official guided tour of the Vatican, the museum inside, the Sistine Chapel (amazing, but no pictures/video allowed), and St. Peter's Basilica. We then had free time, so we ate at Piazza Navona, and then walked to the Pantheon and the Spanish Steps. Our last dinner was in pizza in Rome, and then we returned early to pack up to travel back to the states on day ten.

Travel back wasn't as nice as going out there! We were dropped off five hours before our flight, then I flew on a 9 hour trip to Montreal, was delayed there for an extra hour and a half, to finally arrive back at O'Hare at 10pm last night. I was definitely up for 24 hours straight yesterday!

But, that is no big deal and totally worth it. Love traveling, love EF, and I'm hoping to plan a trip back in Summer 2017! Definites are Spain and Italy again....have to see what EF has available and which of my former students want to come with me!

So my plans are to write a little bit each day of July for a BigTime Blogging Challenge! Do you want to join me? I'm giving a PD to teachers in my district on July 1st, and then providing them with a possible calendar of topics to cover. But the caveat is that you are encouraged to write about whatever you want for the whole month - the challenge is just to write every day in July.

I'll have the Blogging Challenge Calendar up in my TpT store as a freebie later today or tomorrow. You'll be able to link up with me every day in July, so I hope you'll write along with me and the other teacher bloggers from D100!

So many more stories to come from my travels....excited to share it with you all and also document all my memories!



  1. That looks like an amazing trip!!! Time to check out the blogging challenge--looks fun.

    1. Hi Alyce! Thanks for leaving some love about my trip! Just wanted to let you know I just posted the challenge details! There's a new post on my blog explaining everything...hope you can join in! :-)

  2. I am loving your blog! two days I'm heading back to Europe (London, Paris and Amsterdam) with Go Ahead, which is a division of EF! I'm so excited!!

    Beyond The Gradebook

    1. So awesome! I already want to plan another trip! Have a blast! :-)

  3. Wow. That sounds like an amazing trip. I can't wait to see and read more!


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