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After the success of the trip to Daytona Beach in 2000, we
were really excited when we heard that the 2001 Festival would be held in
Osmington Bay, England. Tackling the toughest part of exactly how we were going
to get there, we started making plans early and luckily we would not be
disappointed. Not only did we manage to fundraise enough money and arrange
all the travel plans for the dance festival, many of us also took an extra few
days away from classes before the trip to take an excursion into London and
Paris before we were scheduled to arrive for the start of the festival.
After arriving at Heathrow Airport and checking into our hotel we started off
our first day by walking around London and trying to hit the main tourist
attractions: Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, and the Royal Palace.
The following day we went back to the airport to take a short flight to Paris and checked into the Best Western which turned out to be surprisingly nice (especially after our previous experience with the Best Western in Florida.) We spent three days in Paris, which most of us thought was a beautiful city even if it was a little cold at the time we were there. Since Suzette was the only one who spoke French with any fluency, we all stuck close to her for translations. We got to almost all the main sites, the Eiffel tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, and many more. We also managed to squeeze in a boat cruise at night along the Seine even though it was drizzling and we were all starving. Of course we had to check out the night life at a club for some Latin dancing and also the local restaurants and shopping district. The last night we were there we went to Loraine's, a restaurant that was recommend to us for authentic French food. It was by far the best meal that we had on the trip, and probably some of the best food ever, especially when it came to dessert.
After leaving Paris and getting back off at Heathrow, we got on a bus that took us down to Osmington Bay on the southern coast of England. The vacation site that was hosting the festival was really nice with a gorgeous view of the countryside. During the week we attended workshops during the day and competed in regular competition as well as fun events during the evening followed by social dancing into the early morning. We also took a day out of the festival to go on an adventure up to Amesbury to see Stonehenge. It was quite a trip, having to go through a lot of trouble to find a rental car and then rushing up to Amesbury on what seemed like the wrong side of the road in a backwards car. We did make it up to Stonehenge although we didn't spend a whole lot of time there before we had to squeeze the six of us back into the car for the drive home in time for the competition. We all did really well in the competitions and we all came back better dancers, having learned a lot in the workshops and lessons.