Last Day

Trip Start May 04, 2007
1
16
Trip End May 21, 2007


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Sunday, May 20, 2007

20 May Sunday

Today is our last day. We had a leisurely day planned-our only scheduled event was taking our curriculum partners out to dinner tonight. I spent the morning, after sleeping in, catching up and posting more blogs.

Around noon, Tory and I went out. We wanted to check out the Russell Cotes Museum, just a few minutes from our hotel. We'd hear many recommendations for this home that had been converted into a museum. Julie was taking some extra time to finish her blogs.

The weather, finally, was just great for our last day. We'd mainly dealt with rain and clouds, but today was sunny and warm. The museum was easy to find and quite interesting. Several rooms were closed for reorganization, but the rest was worth seeing. I was actually more impressed with the design of the rooms themselves than necessarily all the art collected by the Russell Cotes family. It is an good example of a Victorian home, with different dedicated (now) to different art collections. There were stained glass windows, elaborate door trims, an even stained-glass skylights. The view from the house, of the Bournemouth beach, was beautiful. The grounds also contain a small but nice garden.

After exploring the house, we headed towards town centre. I wanted to check out a tea shop, Whittard's. We came upon the Bournemouth town park we explored last week, so we decided to take it in again. The park was full of people, to be expected for a warm, Sunday afternoon. We first found an aviary, filled with different sizes of beautiful birds. We then wandered through the park to the Bournemouth Eye. The Bournemouth Eye is a tethered helium balloon that people can ride up to a height of nearly 500 feet. Tory had seen it earlier and we were curious. We decided to overcome our fear of heights and take a ride.

Although we both had a few jitters as the balloon drew us up into the air, the view it provided of the city and the coast was worth it. We even meet a nice lady from Maine who was visiting family. The view was a wonderful end to our visit to Bournemouth. We could see the entire city, see where we'd visited.

After coming back down from the balloon, we walked to the tea shop. I took several minutes deciding what to get (I also try to find unique varieties of tea), then we walked back to the hotel. Julie left us a note that we were to meet Claire at 6pm in the lobby, when she'd drive us to the pub and restaurant for our dinner tonight.

We met Roy, Jacob, and louise The Lord Nelson pub in Poole. We talked and laughed and enjoyed each other's company. After a drink or two, we needed over to an Indian restaurant, where I had a tasty order of Persian Chicken Biryani. We talked for hours about ourselves and about teaching. It was great to have this final collegial, friendly time together.

We looked for another pub to continue our conversation, but they were all closed. So, we decided to say goodnight. I will miss Claire and Jacob and Louise and Roy-they have been very friendly and very open. I definitely hope to see them again soon.

Claire drove us back to the hotel, where we said goodbye. I spent the next few hours packing. Tomorrow I have a 6am taxi ride to Gatwick to catch my plane home. I've had a great time on this exchange, with experiences and friendships I will treasure. But, it is time to head home.
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