Friday was our final morning at Pax Lodge. We woke up to finish our packing, amazed at how fast the week had gone by. We hurried down to eat our last breakfast. The group from the Philippines had left really early and sadly we didn't get to say a final goodbye. We managed to say goodbye to a few of the Pennsylvania Girl Scouts before they headed off for the day, promising our new friends that we'd keep in touch.
We went to our last Flag Ceremony. Many of our group had left so it was over quickly. We brought our bags downstairs so we could pick them up later before our late-night flight. We arranged to meet the Californian group later in the day, but first we went to Camden market and walked around the stalls. We found a lovely Indian shop with beautiful wall hangings, rings, bracelets, incense and other delights.
After Camden, we took the underground to the city centre to visit Harrods. We amused ourselves looking at the ridiculously expensive prices for clothes and shoes. We went shopping in the food hall and bought chocolate for our families and a bakery lunch for ourselves!
After Harrods, we had a quick visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum to look at some older fashions, then we hurried over to Westminster Abbey. We met the Californian troop in the queue and went inside the Abbey. We were all in awe of the beautiful architecture, stained glass windows, and the monuments and graves of kings and queens like Edward the 7th and Mary Queen of Scots. Our visit was on the 100th anniversary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme in World War One, so there were readings and prayers every hour to commemorate the people who died there and poppy wreaths laid out around the Grave of the Unknown Warrior. In Poets Corner we saw memorials to great writers like Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare. As we left, we made time to visit the memorial to Lord and Lady Baden-Powell, who founded the Scout and Guide movements.
After Westminster, we went to get ice-cream, spending our last few minutes together before we had to say our goodbyes to the friends we'd been inseparable from for the week. When we finally said goodbye and had swapped information over and over, we headed back to Pax Lodge to relax for an hour. Then we gathered our things to travel to the airport by underground, chatting about the unforgettable memories and wonderful friends we made this week, and how lucky we were to have had this experience!
We'd like to thank WAGGGS and IGG for giving us this opportunity, and we encourage Guides and Senior Branchers to keep an eye on Trefoil News for other international events coming up.
~ Clodagh Butler and Nia Daly, Kinsale, Co Cork