On behalf of all of the hockey staff at Down High School I want to thank the parents again for their continued support throughout the organisation of this tour. Without you all this trip wouldn't have been possible.
I also want to thank the girls, they were brilliant while we where away. They were a credit not only to their families but also to the school, their behaviour and manners were exemplary.
We hope you all have a very enjoyable and restful half term and we shall see you on Monday 3rd November.
he final part of our hockey tour to New York & Boston is our flight home. It's safe to safe the girls and the staff as absolutely exhausted and this was very evident by the sea of people asleep on the aeroplane on the way home. It's also safe to say that anyone who didn't manage to sleep, it's was t for lack of trying.
6 hours later, and a 4 hour time difference we all arrive safely back in Belfast. The girls will definitely sleep tonight! It took every ounce of energy they had to find their bags at the baggage reclaim area before going to meet their parents at the arrival gate.
The bus journey to Newark was quite quiet compared to many of the other bus journeys we had been on during our trip. The girls were exhausted and many of them slept on route from Boston to New York.
We left in good time, but with rush hour traffic plus 4/5 accidents on route we didn't arrive at the airport until 8.15pm. We then spent another 30mins trying to find the correct terminal.
When we finally arrived, we headed to the check in desks. Having phoned ahead to explain what had happened the United Airlines staff rushed us through. We then waited to get through security before proceeding to the check in desk. All the staff and pupils boarded the plane with very little time to spare but it will definitely be yet another unforgettable part of an amazing tour.
Today (Sunday) the girls got the chance to have a lie in, providing of course they were packed. Breakfast at 9am instead of 7/7.30am was music to the ears of both the pupils and the staff. The popular American breakfast of waffles seemed to be the most popular choice on the last day.
The girls cleared their rooms for 10am and then placed their luggage in storage until later in the afternoon when it would be packed onto the bus.
The mornings itinerary allowed for last minute shopping for those who wanted to and those that didn't were able to mingle around the hostel.
Many girls were shopped out and opted to stay behind and relax. They sang songs, played pool and played the piano in the hostel lobby to keep themselves amused.
By 2.15pm we had packed up the bus, had lunch and left Boston to head to Newark Airport for our flight home.
We boarded the bus to take a trip to the world famous Harvard University. We did a self guided tour of the impressive site, bought some memorabilia and relaxed in the square while enjoying a cup of coffee.
When we returned from Harvard we freshened up and got changed for our end of tour dinner.
Final tour dinner was to a Seafood Restaurant close to the hostel. The staff and girls ate great food in a lovely restaurant before walking back to the hostel to pack.
Today we took the girls to the harbour to go on a duck tour of Boston. The Boston Duck Tour is the single biggest duck tour company in the world. The girls boarded the retired 2nd World War vessel to get another tour of Boston only this time the perspective was slightly different as we floated done the river.
This afternoon we took the girls shopping for an hour in Quincy Market. This allowed them to relax for a while and get their lunch before we headed to Harvard University.
Tonight we walked to the Champions Sports Bar were we have a lovely relaxing meal. The girls just relaxed and enjoyed their penultimate meal before heading back to the hostel to go to bed.
This afternoon we went on a guided tour of the Boston Freedom Trail. We walked from the Hostel to Boston Common to meet our guide, and after a bit of navigation we managed to find her. The tour was led by a costumed guide called Debbie who made the tour very enjoyable for all. We learnt of about the conflict between the American Colonies and the British, we learnt about the vital role that the French played during this time. We learnt about the Famous Boston Tea Party, along with a variety of significant men who played a vital role in the journey to American Independence.
The girls listen contently for 90 minutes as we walked through the streets of Boston and were more than willing to get involved in the more 'dramatic' aspects of the tour. This definitely has to be one of our tour highlights so far.
Today we were due to play our final game but due to adverse weather conditions the match wasn't able to go ahead. To make up for the girls disappointment we took them shopping. They got the opportunity to experience an American shopping mall in Bedford which housed over 100 shops including the Apple Store, Hollister, and Macy's.
The girls made the most of this additional time to make a few more necessary purchases and the staff relaxed at the Cheesecake Factory.
When we returned from shopping the girls grabbed a bite to eat before getting ready for our walking tour later on in the afternoon.
Today we got up early to grab a bit of breakfast before a last minute shop in the souvenir shop. The smile on the shop owners face when 23 girls walked through his door was quite remarkable. The girls bought NYPD hoody's and t-shirts, keyrings and other NYC memorabilia. The other 6 girls made the most of that time to pack before we all boarding the bus for Boston.
We took a pit stop on route in what can only be described as typical American Service Station. The girls got lunch from McDonalds, Subway, Dunkin' Donuts etc before boarding the coach again for the remainder of the journey. The on board wifi kept the girls occupied for the journey allowing them time to catch up with life back home as well as taken pictures on scenes in and outside the bus like the UN building in New York and the Springfield road sign on route 84.
After the 5 hour journey we arrived and checked into the rooms at the International Hostel, Boston. The girls were given time to unpack and freshen up for dinner which tonight will be in the famous 'Cheers' bar before we head to see the Boston Bruins Ice Hockey Team play against the New York Rangers.