This morning we went to visit Arsenal Stadium a.k.a Emirate Stadium, it is a brand new stadium and absolutely amazing. I guess they have some new technology that sucks the water out of the grass so that no game can be water logged. 25 matches have been played there, and the grass looks untouched. We got to take some fun pictures in their dressing rooms, press centers, and box offices. We bought some clothes at the shop, and moved on to do whatever we felt like until 3 when we met to leave to play Charlton Ladies.
Our third match of the tour was played at the new David Beckham Academy. The final score was 4-0 WSU, and it was another good opportunity to play internationally. We played great and everyone was pleased with the performance. Following the game we went back to the hotel and ate dinner and went to bed because we were exhausted from waking up so early and walking around during our free time.
Thursday, March 15th
Today we left Bristol and traveled through some of the prettiest countryside I have ever seen. Perfectly green rolling hills with some castles thrown here and there. Yeah, that's right. Castles. Then we stopped at an old Manor House in Stourhead, if you don't know what a Manor House is, then you should take Hist 441. After that, we then moved on to see Coach Potter's old stomping ground. We bought some English candy, stuffed as much as we could in our bags, and moved on to Stonehenge. No big deal or anything, just one of the seven wonders of the world!
This was the highlight of my day, because we got to take free audio tours if we wanted, which gave us information on anything we wanted. We took some good pictures, and bought some souvenirs and then moved on to London.
In London we took a boat tour on the river Thames, which gave us an unusual perspective of Parliament, Big Ben, and the London Tower Bridge. Everything was amazing, especially London Tower which I guess used to be a prison which was interesting considering it looked similar to Windsor Castle on a smaller scale. After the long day, we headed to our new hotel called the International Hotel. We then went to bed because we had to get up early for a tour.
Wednesday, March 14th
Today was the first day we didn't have a game, so we took advantage of the opportunity to do some sightseeing. After breakfast we drove to a town called Bath and got the whole afternoon to explore the city. Bath was originally settled by the Roman's, and to this day remains a beautiful city. We toured the famous Roman Bath Houses, and took a few hours to check out the scenery and do some shopping.
After spending the day in Bath, we headed back to Bristol and got ready for a night out. Instead of our usual dinner at the hotel, Mike took us to a restaurant downtown and we got to watch soccer with some of the locals while enjoying our dinner.
Tuesday, March 13th
We got an early start this morning so that we would have time to stop at Windsor Castle on our way to Bristol. Mike (our tour guide) dropped us off in Windsor and gave us a few hours to check things out on our own. We all decided to take advantage of the group rate to get a tour of the castle. While this did save us all a few bucks, it was apparently complicated for the people who work at the palace. After a very long wait in line, they finally gave us all tickets. Seeing the castle was definitely worth the wait! It probably would have taken us all day to see the whole thing, but we made the most of our two hours then headed toward Bristol.
Our game started pretty late, so we got a chance to wander around Bristol and check things out before we left. It's a lot different from London, but it's also a really cool city.
The game went much better tonight! We beat Bristol Academy 3-0. Elysse, Kim, and Kiersten each scored a goal. After the game we had dinner at the field, and got a chance to meet some of the Bristol Academy girls.
Monday, March 12th
After a very long day yesterday we had a chance to relax a little today. We got to sleep in until 10! (A very rare treat on a road trip). We started the day off with a traditional English breakfast. However, most of us decided it wasn't a good idea to be adventurous eaters before a game, so we stuck with toast, cereal and fruit. We played Arsenal Academy and lost 1-0. It was a pretty uncharacteristic performance, and obviously not the result we wanted, but we are looking forward to making up for the loss when we play Bristol Academy tomorrow night.
The game today gave us a taste of the soccer-crazy culture here. There was a primary school behind our field and all the kids were screaming for Arsenal across the fence. I think half the school must have convinced their teachers to let them come watch the game because they all showed up at kickoff and were singing and screaming their heads off for Arsenal the whole game.
After the game we stopped in St. Albans for some shopping and sightseeing.
Sunday, March 11th....our first day in the UK!!!
We got to London Gatwick airport at 9 in the morning after 11 long hours of flying, with no sleep and a lot of movie watching for most of us (Laura slept the entire way - so lucky). We waited for an hour to go through customs, and then hopped on the bus (not a double decker unfortunately) with our tour guide, Mike. We drove into London and saw the Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Hyde Park, and caught a glimpse of Buckingham Palace. After that, we got a chance to get off the bus and walk around to find something to eat and stretch our legs near Covent Gardens. It was a really nice day outside - - sunny and pretty warm (at least by Pullman standards), and it was a lot of fun to see all that was going around near us. There was a guy that juggled the ball for the entire time we ate lunch which was really cool. Then we hopped back on the bus and made our way to the hotel for a much needed dinner and nice comfy beds. We had our first dinner in England - -fish and chips for a lot of us, and then headed to bed for our first real night of sleep in almost two days!! Getting ready for the game tomorrow!! Hope all is well in the U.S.