Program Blog for July 07 - July 20, 2023

July 7, 2023

Welcome to TTN The STEAM Experience!

We are looking forward to sharing our European adventures with you. Join us for the next 14 days as we explore cities that are making a difference in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. We will work with Scotland Yard to solve a Tower or London crime,explore the campus of Oxford and Cambridge, serve the community in Paris, and visit the UN Geneva.

All of our group arrived by 5 pm today. We got acquainted at the park while enjoying a picnic lunch, or at the airport waiting for our new friends to arrive.

After dinner, we played icebreaker games and became better acquainted. They are excited to make new friends and begin our European journey.

It’s already a pleasure to know our group.

The TTN Team,
Gina, Marie, and Pablo

July 8, 2023

Written by Leaders of the Day: Suzie & Elijah

First, we started our day around 8 o’clock with a hotel buffet breakfast. Then we made our way to the metro where we swiped our metro cards and headed to Buckingham palace. We met our tour-guide for a walk around Westminster and explored the numerous palaces while listening about past and present royalty, and how those affected some of the royal grounds we visited as-well as some English historical events. Then we headed off to lunch, finishing our active morning.

At lunch, we traveled down into an underground pub and had authentic plates of fish and chips and “lemonade” (Sprite). After we finished our meals, we walked through the rain towards the National Gallery of Art, encountering a trans rights pride gathering along the way. We explored the art of the museum and saw the work of famous painters like Van Gogh and Monet.

Next, we boarded the London Eye and were met with great views of the city and skyline! We went through the gift shop and returned to the London Underground shortly after.

We rode “the tube” throughout the city and visited a Harry Potter gift shop. Lastly, we walked back to our hotel and had a burger and a berry tart. It was exhausting, but a ton of fun!!

July 9, 2023

Written by Leaders of the Day: Hana & Luka

This morning we welcomed Harlan, who arrived a day later due to airline delays.

Today we visited London’s Science Museum. This gallery displays a number of intriguing exhibits ranging across a broad variety of science-related and science-adjacent fields, including energy such as windmill technology, media such as video editing, and medicine, there was quite an extensive history of medicine. It’s one of the UK’s most popular museums, and the range of content it has far surpasses what one can see in the two hours we were there.

We took the world-known and famed Tube today around London, although it was a bit toasty down there. After we finished in the museum, we enjoyed lunch at the museum café, which had plant-based options as well, including some delicious salted caramel ice cream.

After lunch at the museum cafe, we took the Tube to the Apollo Victoria theater to watch the hit musical Wicked. We spent two and a half hours watching the musical, and by the end of it, it seemed to be a consensus that the musical was quite good (although it was even better for me because of the British accents). After the show, the group walked a little way to a restaurant/pub: The Albert. While waiting for the food (traditional roast beef for some and soup for the vegetarians and vegans), we ate salad with bread and butter. However, we all agreed the bread was far better.

Finished with the meal, the student leaders led an exceptionally fast-paced walk back to the Tube, which we used to return to Kings Cross Station and eventually to our hotel. We then ended the night with some mentor and culture awareness sessions and more icebreaker games.

July 10, 2023

Written by leaders of the day: Sophia and Ethan

Today we visited Oxford and its many attractions! When we arrived, we started out with a guided tour that went all around the town. It covered the major buildings in Oxford, the history behind these buildings, along with other bits of information. One thing I found interesting was that Oxford is not just one college; It’s actually an abundance of small universities all coming together as Oxford University. Following that, we went to Christ Church. This college made Oxford popular due to it being part of the Harry Potter movies and from other famous stories based on the college. To get the full experience, we all listened to an audio tour while walking around the campus. After finishing the tour, we went to the Four Candles and ate lunch.

After lunch at the Four Candles, we got shopping time in the Oxford shopping center. It had a large variety of stores where we could get dessert and souvenirs. We had 30 minutes where everyone was able to go to whichever stores they wanted. After we were done, the group joined back together at the Carfax Tower. Then we followed our lovely tour guide to the Pitt Rivers Museum. The museum had a variety of exhibits. There were ancient relics, replicas of animal fossils, insects, and even a Dodo bird to look at and learn about. Everyone had a good experience and wished we had more time to explore.

After our time at the museum, we took about a two-hour bus ride back to the Travellodge. We came back and had sausage and fruit pie for dinner and dessert.

Finally, we wrapped up the day with a couple of group activities.

July 11, 2023

Written by leaders of the day: Lily & Lucas

Today we solved a murder. A fake one, of course, set up by a real detective from Scotland Yard. We were given evidence, like footprints and fingerprints, and were shown how they use them to solve cases in real life. For example, Scotland Yard has a database of every single shoe footprint, so that when they find a footprint at a crime scene, they can use it to correctly identify the shoe the perpetrator could’ve been wearing.

For lunch we went to Slug and Lettuce and were able to order whatever kind of sandwich we wanted. Everyone enjoyed it, clean plates all around!

After lunch at the restaurant, we headed over to the Tower of London. Unfortunately, because it was raining hard, our tour got canceled. But since the tour got canceled, we headed over to the White Tower, looked at all the amazing artifacts from the medieval times that were stored there. From samurai armor to swords to guns and more! There were even some interactive workshops in there, for example, the shooting or sword swinging games. Afterwards, we joined in with a tour group and learned some things about the Tower of London. After that, we waited for around 15 minutes to go to look at the crown jewels. What we saw were magnificent, beautiful, colorful jewels just lining the walls. We also saw crowns, robes, staffs, and more. After that, we walked back to the metro and headed back to our hotel for dinner.

July 12, 2023

Written by leaders of the day: Zoe & Bianca

We ate breakfast at 8:30 this morning and promptly loaded onto our bus. Nearly two hours later, we met our tour guide and were taught about the complex histories of several of the colleges (and some of their pranks as well)! We said our goodbyes to our guide and went punting throughout the campus. We saw beautiful scenes of King’s College Chapel and Trinity Hall as our tour guide taught us more fun facts about the college!

Directly after an Italian lunch at Wildwood Restauramt,  we were given free time to explore Cambridge. The town has over 31 individual colleges as well as numerous shops, churches, and museums. Highlights from the afternoon include a free Zoology museum dating back to 1827 and a glimpse of a children’s church choir warming up before mass at Great St Mary’s Church.

Then, we walked back to the bus and hopped on for our almost two hour long journey back, followed by our last dinner at the Travelodge. This concludes our London experience as tomorrow we are headed to Paris, France!


Leaders of the Day,

Zoe & Bianca

July 14, 2023

Written by leaders of the day: Elizabeth & London

Today we woke up to our very first morning in Paris! With an early rise, we stuffed ourselves at the breakfast buffet and headed to the metro. Our first event of the day was having the opportunity to help people living on the streets of Paris by giving out coffee, sandwiches, and hygiene kits, along with hearing an inspiring story from a refugee. Then we headed off to lunch at a beautiful tavern, where we enjoyed a three course meal. An appetizer, fish with rice for main course, and pain perdu or chocolate lava cake for dessert. Most people had lunch as the highlight of their day!

After lunch, we headed across the street to the largest science museum in Europe, the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, where we were given a few hours to explore on our own. Highlights from our time at the museum include the Planetarium, a mathematics exhibit, and a brain exhibit. We not only learned a ton of science, but we all put our French skills to use navigating the five floors of exhibits! Once we had perfected our S’il-vous-plaîts (please) and Mercis (thank you), we hopped back on the Metro to take us to our home base for dinner. The group particularly enjoyed the Paris-Brest, a traditional French dessert made up of choux pastry and hazelnut cream. We ended our first full day in Paris with some friendly competition in French trivia and charades! We are so excited to explore the rest of this beautiful city for the next few days in Paris!

Leaders of the Day,

Elizabeth & London

July 15, 2023

Written by leaders of the day: Lexi & Harlan

We started our day at 7:30 with a delicious hotel brunch then loaded onto the bus, taking us to our tour at Montmartre. Montmartre is a famous village known for its artistic heritage.

Our first stop was at the Moulin Rouge where we learned about the Can-Can dance which led to the spread of cabarets across Europe. We then walked to Van Gogh’s old apartment where we found out the scenery around him during his time contributed to many of his rural and vivid paintings that are so famous today.

We also saw the “I love you” wall where that phrase is written over and over again in more than 250 languages. The group then made our way down to the Le Bateau Lavoir,  which is a place where many notable aspiring artists would take residence. One of the most famous being Pablo Picasso and his best friend Carlos Casagemas. We got to hear the history behind their friendship. Carlos was in love with a woman named Germaine who did not recuperate his feelings and left him to take his own life. This led Picasso to use more blue in his paintings during his time of mourning because he associated it with sadness. He then finds love with Germaine, making him see life in a new way and used more pinks in his paintings instead.

Our last stop was the Basilica Sacrè-Coeur, which was built as a cultural monument to gain moral order in France after capture by Napoleon.

-Written by Lexi

Today we went on a tour and learned about famous French artists. Many of them committed suicide because of prideful reasons. We were able to see some of the most important landmarks in France. The tour we received was from a Romanian guy named Reuben. Then we went to the Eiffel Tower. It ended up raining, which was a pretty iconic moment. People were in a booth and did not want to leave due to the rain. We took a private bus back to the hotel and had dinner.

-Written by Harlan

Leaders of the Day,

Lexi & Harlan

July 16, 2023

Written by leaders of the day: Zoe & Suzie

We ate packed lunches on the bus before promptly arriving at the Louvre. We traveled through the famed glass pyramid and were met with a grand lobby full of cafes, shops, and paths to various exhibitions! Once we had split up, we all traveled throughout the museum and saw the Louvre’s most prized possession; the Mona Lisa. Along with this piece, the Louvre held works such as Venus de Milo, Liberty Leading the People, and The Coronation of Napoleon. With three hours to explore, we traveled to the expansive museum and ventured through the gift shop. Once we had concluded our visit, we passed the time waiting for our bus by traversing the many souvenir shops along the road. Packed with silly magnets and keychains, we got on our bus and rode back to the hotel. After a much needed rest, we had dinner while playing a musical trivia game (with Gina’s group being the apparent winners)! At last, we announced the schedule for the next day and went to our rooms to relax and prepare for our next adventure!

Today we started off our mornings with a hotel buffet breakfast, and were met with a private bus outside to take us to the palace of Versailles! Along the way, we played some songs and bonded while we drove through Paris. Once we were dropped off, we were met with a golden gate welcoming us! We showed our tickets and mostly stuck together, while we also enjoyed some free time inside the grounds. Some ventured off into stores, while others went off to cafes; we all met back up then ventured off into the gardens where we stuck with our chosen buddy and explored the lush grounds. Wrapping the morning up, we headed back to the bus where we were greeted with a packed lunch to head off to the Louvre.

Leaders of the Day

Zoe & Suzie

July 18, 2023

Written by leaders of the day: Lily and Lucas

Today, we started off the day with a very flavorful breakfast buffet. Afterwards, we headed off to the United Nations and went on a guided tour of the entire, highly secured building. The United Nations is a place where  representatives from all over the world, meet to discuss problems in our society and to vote and hopefully fix them. On the tour, we sat in the chairs of the representatives and learned a lot about the United Nations as well. Even better, we saw a live meeting taking place in one of the rooms! We even got to listen in on some of their conversations and speeches. Afterwards, we headed off to the garden, to see the beautifully placed rocks on the ground, and unfortunately, we saw no peacocks.

After finishing the tour, we headed off to the Red Cross Foundation’s building across from the United Nations to have a great lunch.

We used public transportation to get to “old town” which is in downtown Geneva. There are lots of shops scattered around. After three hours of walking,shopping, and talking we reunited with the group and showed off the goodies we had purchased. One particular place everyone seemed to have found was an olive oil and charcuterie shop. People came out of the stores with so many different things.

We had a quick boat ride around lake Geneva. And for dinner we got fondue which smelled bad but tasted great. For the main course we got to pick if we wanted pasta or pizza. After we had eaten our fill, it we sang happy birthday to Hana and surprised her with a Covid 19 vaccine plushie (one she had admired in the United Nations gift shop)and a card we all signed.

Leaders of the Day,

Lily and Lucas

July 19, 2023

Written by leaders of the day: Owen, Lily, & Hana

Today we started with waking up early and getting on a bus to the CERN facility. There were many interesting parts of CERN, such as the intricate wall art, and the public particle physics exhibit. where we saw a light show and learned about the Big Bang and creation of our universe through interactive exhibits and audio guides. After seeing this exhibit, we went on guided tours of CERN in two separate groups. Both groups got to see the first particle collider at CERN and the particle collider that discovered the Higgs boson, which was a major feat of technology. Once our tour finished, we got changed and went back on the bus to go to the lake.

After touring CERN, the group was sweaty and overheated. Luckily we had swimming in Lake Geneva arranged for the afternoon. We boarded the bus and after a short ride, we arrived on the sandy shore of beautiful turquoise Lake Geneva. We had to take a swim test arranged by our mentors, but everyone passed with flying colors, leaving us to play in the beautiful albeit freezing water freely. We engaged in an intense game of Marco Polo, leaving us winded and thoroughly cooled down. But soon enough, we had to leave the beautiful lake and head to the chocolate workshop.

At the chocolate workshop, we each got to design our own chocolate bars using milk and dark chocolate. We also got to taste test some of DuRhône’s signature award winning chocolates. After which we were able to collect our personally designed chocolate bars covered in messages like “live laugh love” or messages to parents.

Once we headed back to the hotel, we ate a quick dinner and had our last group activity and mentor session. However, the night wasn’t over and one of our group members arranged an impromptu tea party with tea from Britain, cheese from France, and chocolate from Geneva (truly a great reflection of our journey). We then split off into small groups to play foosball, pool, and ping-pong. Truly a great last memory for the trip. We bid each other our final goodbyes to those who are going to leave early in the morning and closed the curtains to our TTN experience.

Leaders of the Day,

Owen, Lily, & Hana