Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Great Britain/Normandy Historical Tour Itinerary April 5 - 20, 2010


April 5 (Monday)
Depart SeaTac – Arrive 2 full hours before departure time
Group A  American #1144 departs Sea-Tac at 9:30 AM
Group B American  #1014 departs Sea-Tac at 2:25 PM 

..And group B got pinned down in thunder and lightning and torrential rain in Chicago. After a pretty bumpy ride (good for ones prayer life, and for reviewing Scripture memory) we arrived two hours late to meet Mr. H and group A. Everyone was a bit weary, but the weather was fair, and London awaits!

What a blessing these kids are, thanks be to the mercy and goodness of Christ in their lives. I sat on the plane listening to one of our young men share his faith in Christ with his seat mate--a Muslim twice the young man's age, but, undaunted, this young man spent a good chunk of the flight from Seattle to Chicago glorifying God in both deed and in words. Wonderful!

April 6 (Tuesday)
Arrive LondonSt. Paul’s exterior visit; Tower of London tour
Holland House Youth Hostel (London)  Ph. # 011-44-2079-370748 for April 6 and 7.

The video below is such a remarkable example of Norman architecture. Built sometime around 1078, only a dozen years or so after the Norman Conquest, St. John the Evangelist's Chapel is where Henry VII's first son Arthur was married to Catherine of Aragon, who after her first husband's death (they were 14 years old), was married to Henry VIII (in royalty, kids kissed dating goodbye long ago), which led to the infamous divorce, which led to the Act of Supremacy (1534) and England's break with Rome and the Pope. With such a sordid intermingling of tyrannical, immoral, and all-around, low-down, good-for-nothing motives, English Reformation history is a paramount model of how God works his sovereign good pleasure in spite of the deeply flawed motives of human agents.

I was attempting to count and figured this was my eleventh visit to London (though anything after 10 fingers is suspect). They've done some changes and improvements in some of the displays at the Tower, this one of Charles I's tournament armor, is a good example

Giddy with sleep deprivation, CHS students having a great time at the Tower:

(Night walk to Kensington Palace from YHA)
April 7, Wednesday: Westminster Abbey and London options. We had a bit of a glitch or two getting everyone to the High Street Kensington underground station, including a couple of never-to-be-named young people forgetting some rather important items on the coach (prescription medicine and a passport, no big deal), and one forgetting his underground pass and disappearing back to the Holland House YHA... never mind. We made it to Westminster Abbey where we reviewed the history of the kings and queens of England, the important role of the Westminster Divines crafting the WCF here in the Jerusalem Chamber, and where the Solemn League
and Covenant was signed next door at St. Margaret's in 1643 (Samuel Rutherford and the rest, more in Scotland on this).  

Les Miserables –Queen’s Theatre or Oliver! Royal Drury Theatre.

I have seen Les Miserables 6 or 7 times now but this was the most nuanced performance I have experienced. Yes, I did shed a few tears, when Jean Valjean sings his final prayer just before he dies (Oh, my goodness), "God in heaven, hear my prayer... keep these children in thy embrace and give them your grace..." Absolutely marvelous. CHS students seemed to appreciate the performance (and stayed awake, even in spite of high-octane jet-lag). The down side: the crudities of the Master of the house scene and a few others seem to get worse each time I've seen it, or I get more disgusted with it, can't tell which for sure.

Check out the CHS students patiently awaiting the performance below:

Check out the London police mounted on horses dressed in day-glow green saddle blankets. Oh, those Brits!

April 8 (Thursday)
Bunhill Fields, Wesley Chapel;  

Watch and listen to CHS students singing the Pilgrim Hymn at John Bunyan's grave, Bunhill Fields, London.

British Museum, Chartwell – Churchill’s home;
Overnight ferry from Portsmouth to St. Malo, France


April 9 (Friday)Mont-St.-Michel Island, NormandyBayeux D-Day Beaches,
Hotel le Bayeux in Bayeux, France   Ph.# 011-33- 231- 927008

April 10 (Saturday)
Bayeux Cathedral and Bayeux Tapestry – ferry departs Caen for Portsmouth

Watch a clip of the night crossing from Portsmouth to St. Malo, Normandy, France

We arrived at St. Malo to a gorgeous morning. See images below from Mont-Saint-Michel, Omaha Beach, and Bayeux Cathedral's magnificent exterior at night and the interior of the nave in the morning light. This is a charming town. Also notice the medieval beams of the little restaurant we ate at just across the cobbled street from the cathedral. Did I mention that this is a charming place? And the food... The French have done food and cathedrals very well over the centuries, a few of them excelling in theology, but only a few.

Here's what CHS students saw as they wandered through more than 8,000 grave markers at the American cemetery at Omaha Beach. Intensely sobering place. "Remember your Creator in the days of your youth."

Saint-Mere-Eglise, paratrooper John Steel memorialized
Night walk to Canterbury Cathedral and along the Medieval city wall Canterbury Youth Hostel  ph. # 011-44-1304-201314

April 11 (Sunday)
Morning worship at Canterbury Cathedral, tour cathedral, explore Canterbury. The Old Weavers was a wonderful place to have a very English Steak and pickled walnut pie, etc. I love Canterbury, though archbishops seated here, like infamous William Laud, did beat up Presbyterians over the years. We had a warm reception at the said service, the presiding priest remembering CHS from previous visits and extending a warm welcome to the young people. They stuck with the Scripture readings and prayers throughout. I found several good books at unbelievably low prices: Lewis's Screwtape Letters, 1942 edition, hardback with dusk cover, great condition; a Scottish Reformation history; and Pascal's Pensees. Found a tea shop and downed threecups (my usual morning consumption) and read, read, read.

Hear and see what the CHS students heard and saw inside Canterbury Cathedral, Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday afternoon: Walking church tour of Cambridge Colleges, dinner and evening worship Cambridge Presbyterian Cambridge Youth Hostel  ph.# 011-44-1223-354601. We got off the coach at the backs and walked over to St. Edward's Church, "The Cradle of the Reformation" where the gospel of grace in Christ alone was first proclaimed in 1525. Hugh Latimer preached regularly at this church, later burned by Bloody Mary at Oxford. "Cambridge grew them; Oxford slew them." The kids have been very cooperative, fun to be with, energetic, listening well (giving away lots of cadbury bars for correct answers... a few push-ups too). Ian Hamilton, pastor of Cambridge Presbyterian Church, met us and gave us a walking tour of King's, St. John's, etc., and All Saint's, the new meeting place for Cam Pres. Church, and the highest steeple in all Cambridge (that's Ian in front of the "new" church). The church hosted a "light" supper (the most ravenous teenage male fairly rolled out of there), and then we worshiped with the saints there, Ian preaching from Genesis 22, Isaac as a prototype of Christ our redeeming sacrifice, our substitute, our righteousness. Wonderful fellowship and ministry of the Word.

Ian Hamilton at All Saints, Cambridge Presbyterian Church 

Great St. Mary's Cambridge where Thomas Cartwright, Nicholas Ridley and other Reformers preached the gospel of grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. When Cartwright preached through Acts here so many students flocked to hear the preaching of God's Word that they were forced to remove the windows so young men and townsfolk unable to get inside the packed church could gather outside at the windows to hear the gospel. O, that God's Spirit  would be poured out like that again!

April 12 (Monday)  
John Bunyan’s Elstow and Bedford,

Click to hear CHS students singing "Hobgoblin, nor foul fiend can daunt his spirit..." at Bunyan's Elstow Abbey where he grew up going to church, and cutting out on services to play tip-cat.

John Newton, William Cowper, Olney, 

Shakespeare’s Birthplace Home,
Attend Antony and Cleopatra  performed by Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-Upon-Avon
Stratford-Upon-Avon Youth Hostel  ph.# 011-44-1789-297093

April 13 (Tuesday)
Durham Cathedral, Hadrian’s Wall and Vindolanda Roman Fort
Once Brewed Youth Hostel  ph.# 011-44-1434-344360


April 14 (Wednesday)
SCOTLAND! Jedburgh Abbey (where Samuel Rutherford studied as a boy), Sir Walter Scott’s home Abbotsford,

then to Edinburgh,and the traditional hike up Arthur's Seat; weather was a gift, sunny, blue skies, little wind, warm, so un-Scotland! Thanks be to God. The "Freedom" at left would be Galatians 5:1 standing fast in the freedom wherewith Christ has made us free. No kidding, (I had never met him before) I bumped into Steven Vanderhill and his wife on the summit, president of Redeemer Seminary, Dallas, and on the executive board of my publisher, P&R! It is--forgive the cliche--a small world.

Edinburgh Central Youth Hostel   Ph. # 011-44-1315-242090
A smaller gaggle of CHS scholars invited me to supervise their "girls night out" in Edinburgh. We stopped first at the monument to Horatius Bonar at Cannongate Kirk.

Then at John Knox's home at Trunk Close, Royal Mile, Edinburgh

Then for Haggis, Neeps, and Tatties at Dirty Dick's, Edinburgh
New College, University of Edinburgh (bumped in to Chris Bechtel on the street, no kidding)

April 15 (Thursday)
Edinburgh Castle, Reformation and Covenanter sites, free time

Greyfriars Abbey where Covenanters signed the National Covenant (1638) to "uphold the Crown rights of the Redeemer in his Kirk."

Grassmarket where many Covenanter Christians were martyred for "resisting the usurper of the Crown Rights of the Redeemer in his Kirk."

CHS gang on steps of St. Giles High Kirk, Edinburgh, Scotland

Chris and Jackie and Julien Bechtel, CHS grads (except Julien... yet) living and studying at New College, University of Edinburgh.

Working Edinburgh, near where Thomas Chalmers is buried--what a hike that was! Took a cab back to Knox's house and sat and wrote where he lived from 1560-1572, where he died, his wife reading to him from I Corinthians 15, John 17, and Calvin's sermons on Ephesians as he lay dying.

April 16 (Friday)
St. Andrews Castle and Cathedral ruins and martyr sites in a.m. We began under brilliant Scottish sunshine at San Salvator's College chapel (below interior, including a pulpit Knox preached in) before which the first martyr of the Scottish Reformation, Patrick Hamilton, was burned in a slow 6-hour fire for prclaiming the gospel of grace in Christ alone. The year was 1528; Hamilton was 24 years old. Sang together "The Sands of Time are Sinking" at Rutherford's grave. He died in 1661 at nearby St. Mary's where he taught theology, replying to a royal summons to answer charges of treason, "I have a higher summans and I go to bive answer to a higher judicatory. I go where few kings and great men come."

Before St. Andrews Castle where Knox first preached the gospel publically (after breaking into tears and fleeing the room when they first asked him to preach). In 1547 the castle fell to the combined French and royal Scottish troops. knox served the next 19 months as a galley slave of the French.

William Wallace Monument, 246 steps to the top...

...and Bannockburn Battlefield in afternoon (1314)

CHS students turn Bannockburn (1314) into a football (soccer) contest (2010)

Travel to Newmilns arrive 6:30 PM, meet Scottish host families, stay in homes
Staying here Friday through Sunday evening. Here are my always-gracious hosts, the MacCallums... and the ubiquitous Rebecca Hamilton, the best food, the best rest, home away from home.
Newmilns emergency phone # 011-44 -1560-320734 (Angus Steel)

April 17 (Saturday)
Day with host families: Burn's Cottage,

Culzean Castle with the ever-gracious MacCallums (and ubiquitous Rebecca Hamilton, whom I have been calling "Cedric")

Volcano continues to ground flights as ash cloud spreads over Europe

No aircraft allowed in or out of Britain until at least 7am tomorrow (Sunday) as Icelandic eruption shows no sign of abating (from The Guardian, Saturday afternoon, UK time). CHS parents should check the airline schedules closely coming out of UK. Things are pretty backed up over here, and I have no idea how much it will effect our scheduled departure for Tuesday. Pray that we can get through on schedule or find some place to house 55 people while we wait developments.

April 18 (Sunday)
Morning worship, day with host families, after evening worship travel to Carlisle
County Hotel in Carlisle, England   ph# 011-44-1228-531316

Loudoun Keep (prototype for my book REBEL'S KEEP), where in 1685 8 Covenanter prisoners were aided in escaping from the prison and thereby avoiding being executed the next day. My good friend Eric MacCallum stands with me a stone's throw from Loudon Parish Church, seen above with Pastor David Randall praying; a solid biblical sermon from Lamentations 4:1-11, The transforming power of sin and the transforming power of the gospel. Newmilns is blessed in her new pastor/preacher.

Watch for cars! Go, go! In the UK peds do not necessarily have priority. Not to worry. We've lost not one kid, so far. Here's some excitement! Our coach broke down (no lights) in Newmilns, which is a remote village with no access to repairs on a Sunday evening. So after loading the coach, discovering that we had problems, we off-loaded everyone and redistributed the kids to host families. So I'm back with the McCallums and 4 CHS young men. Hopefully we will have a replacement coach in the morning. As you wait, enjoy the folks from Newmilns.

Pastor Randall's wife loaned Mary Anderson a violin and she stepped right in with the musicians at Loudoun. Well done, Mary.

The Steel clan (some of them, Ian, Calum, and Angus not there). Charming girls (makes me miss my 3 girls).

David Randall, pastor of Loudoun Parish Church, and his son Luke. Sunday evening he preached from Col 3:1-17 (a text I had used in devotions in London) on dying with Christ, and thereby seeking those things which are above and not those things which are on earth. Good sermon.


Mary A and Naomi Scade, Gillian and Kevin's youngest (Gillian Scade is where we discovered the name for our Gillian).

Keep watching the flight situation. Pray that Iceland gets their volcano tidied up soon or we won't be getting home any time soon. News in UK is restricted airspace until Monday evening. We're scheduled to fly out Tuesday. Pray that this comes together. God makes volcanoes, ash, teens, and all things, and he rules the earth, the sky, the sea, and all that in them is. Just listening to the news. "UK flights will not fly until 7:00 pm Monday. 1/2 of the flights throughout Europe.  UK government says it is doing everything it can to get travelers home, including considering getting the British Navy involved. So CHS comes home on a British aircraft carrier? That's a joke (though the suggestions I just heard on the night news, no kidding). 10,000s

April 19 (Monday)
Travel to Oxford,
CS Lewis Church and Oxford University
Oxford Youth Hostel  ph.#011-44- 8707-705970

We are in Oxford for two nights, then to host families at Cambridge Presbyterian Church, then to London, flights home Sunday and Monday. Check with CHS office for details.

Self-catering at Oxford YHA. It saves money, and we need to save money! This looked really good!

Read above for the full scoop on the CBS London. This was the moment of panic for me. He's calling me to the mic

Wycliffe, Adam Smith, Earl Grey (and Richard Dawkins...) Baliol College Hall. Pull up your chair and let's eat!

REGROUPING. What we did on our extra week (nearly) in UK.

English country walk (4 miles) in Kidlington--farms, sheep, canal boats, warm sun, blue skies. Go ahead: feel sorry for us. Life's pretty tough. 

And back to Cambridge, hosted by the gracious folks at Cambridge Presbyterian.

David Banz at the helm, King's College Chapel looming magnificently (as always) in the background. We are gathering in a few minutes for evensong at the chapel. Hopefully we'll all be able to get in. The punting proved to be pretty entertaining, not only for CHS students but for most of the Cambridge crowd basking in the sun on the grassy banks of the river. A student with initials CP decided to reach up and grab the arch of the old stone bridge as his boat drifted underneath. He miscalculated and the boat kept going without him. There he was hanging between heaven and the cold Cam. Finally he realized he had no alternative but to let go and enjoy a cool dip in the river.

Great St. Mary's, Cambridge (picture Latimer, Ridley and others preaching the gospel of grace alone in Christ alone from the pulpit at left.

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
NOT----April 20 (Tuesday)
Depart London for home:
Group A  American #105 to JFK then American #269 arrives Sea-Tac 8:50 PM
Group B American #47 to Chicago then American #1801 

arrives Sea-Tac 7:55 PM


  1. Thanks so much for posting all of this Mr. Bond! It's so nice to see photos with my parents, sister and the rest of the clan! (I can't believe it has been 8 years since that trip my junior year at Cov)Enjoy your last week in GB!!

  2. This is so much fun to watch your trip and 'see' what great things you all are doing. Many friends and family members are keeping tabs on this Great Adventure - thanks for posting!!

    -David K's Mom

  3. This is great. I love keeping up on you guys, thanks Mr. Bond for posting. See you guys at the airport in 5 days! Bring me back something nice. lol.

  4. After reading that this same volcano in Iceland erupted for more than a year in 1821, I’m comforted by the fact that were our students to be stranded in merry ole England for the next 5 weeks (or until graduation), they would not miss a beat of studies since nearly all classes would be covered as they enjoy the company of English, Math, Science, Speech, Bible, and History professors on this trip. My only question is whether Mr. Hannula would be willing to lead the Home Economics class. Imagine, the reincarnation of Julia Child in Queen’s Land. “Today, children, we’re going to learn how the English make kidney pie!”

  5. All of us back here "across the pond" are praying that God will provide a window of opportunity for your flight to depart on-time and safely! We serve a mighty God!

  6. I do believe that if you were to stay stranded there for 5 weeks, I would most certianly fly over and join you...

  7. Mr. Bond, this blog is not only a delight to view,but also soothing to the heart to see our son/brother embracing his travels in Godly company and learning so much! Thank you.

  8. So... Iceland is flying flights in Norway. If you guys can get there, you could fly from Norway to Iceland to home! :) just a friendly suggestion... I would kind of like to have you guys back.

  9. SUNDAY!!!!??? Are you kidding me? I don't know if you read this, but if you do, have Eden give me a call asap at the number she knows... I can't believe this.

  10. So... the GB airports are all opening still stuck there till sunday?

  11. I am laughing so hard at your most recent update about punting! And also have to say I am very jealous because that is one of my dreams, ever since I took that picture for photography class in Cambridge :)
    Saw your guys made it on the front (bottom) page of the TNT as well!

  12. Blessings to all of you wonderful warriors and warrior-esses in training (and your wonderful chaperons!) May the Lord bless your days of waiting and may you live these days with eyes and ears WIDE OPEN to His sweet song that will feed you now and in your future. Praying His peace and joy and fellowship over you all. Heb. 13:20 &21.

    with love,
    phil's mom

  13. Thanks for all your prayers! God willing, see you all soon, DB