Here's a list of the folks who will be
participating in the January 2013 study tour:
The following is a breakdown of what we anticipate will be included in the "Dickens, Hardy, and the Victorian Age" study tour in January 2013. Exchange rate fluctuations, gas prices, and inflation will determine how much extra stuff we can include, but this is the plan for the moment. At the very least, we know that the tour will include the following for the price of admission:
We plan to book the Celtic Hotel for our nine nights in London. Our booking will include a full English breakfast each morning. The Celtic is a very short walk from the British Museum and is very close to a number of underground stations, so getting around town from the hotel will be relatively easy. The rooms are with shared facilities. That is the nice way of saying that the showers and toilets are down the hall (and maybe even up or down some stairs). During the London portion of the 2005 and 2007 tours, the group stayed at a hotel owned by the same people who own the Celtic Hotel, and we found everything to be very clean, easily accessible, and certainly better than most Mudd dorm rooms. During the London portion of the 2009 and 2011 tours, we stayed at at the Celtic and found it to be a bit quirky, but clean and functional.
Unlimited use bus/tube (subway) passes for the entire nine days in London. These passes cover the inner two zones of London and include 99% of the places you are likely to want to go. You can find a tube map here.
We plan to go on three London walking tours led by London Walks guides (London Walks is the oldest and most well-known walking tour company in London). We work with David Tucker from London Walks, tailoring the walks for the tour. David and his wife Mary own London Walks. David has a Ph.D. in literature and is a Dickens expert. We are hoping that he will guide one or more of the walks. We are planning on two 2-hour walks and one 3-hour walk. The walks have been customized by David to apply directly to the Dickens novels we will be reading in the course.
We will arrange a day trip to Rochester to experience sites Dickens depicted in The Pickwick Papers and Great Expectations (both of which we will read during the course). Professors Groves and Eckert will conduct a walking tour of this small and delightful city. The day trip will include roundtrip train fare to Rochester, a tour of the cathedral, a tour of the castle, and a tour of the city in general. You will be on your own for lunch.
We will hold one other formal, sit-down, class meeting in London. This is in addition to the other scheduled course activities. This class meeting will be held in a cool old meeting room and/or pub. On previous tours our class meetings in London have been held in the Samuel Johnson Room at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Pub on Fleet Street (the Cheshire Cheese was built in 1667 after the Great Fire and was a frequent haunt of Dickens and Dr. Johnson), the Inverness Court Hotel (commissioned by Edward VII as a London residence for Lillie Langtry and designed by the same architect who designed the Ritz Hotel in London), and the Dickens House Museum (the house in which Dickens was residing while writing The Pickwick Papers and Oliver Twist). This time we are hoping to return to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese as the location to hold our London class meeting
We will once again be running our infamous orienteering exercise in London (you might want to ask Professor Erlinger about this), and the final checkpoint of the exercise will be at a famous London landmark (you have to come along to figure out where and what it is--no cheating and asking a tour alum!). A light lunch at that site will be included.
We are planning a welcoming dinner for the first night. On the past several tours we have arranged dinner at Wagamama's. Professor Eckert hates the place, which makes it just that much more fun! On our final Saturday evening in London, we are hoping to hold a dinner, and we hope to have a number of Mudd alums currently living in the UK join us. Our plan is to hold the dinner at The Albert pub but that is still under discussion.
We will be spending five nights in Dorset. At the moment, our Dorset accomodations have not been finalized. On the first two tours we stayed in Dorchester (Hardy's "Casterbridge") and it was quite convenient. Since that tour, we have stayed 7 miles south of Dorchester, in Weymouth. Weymouth is cheaper but a bit inconvenient, and there isn't much to do in the evenings, should we give you some free time. Dorchester is more expensive, more convenient, and there is a bit more to do in the evenings.
We will be chauffeured about in a "luxury" coach that picks us up at our hotel in London and squires us around Hardy's Wessex until we are dropped back at our hotel in London almost a week later. We hope to secure Roy Wall as our driver. Roy has been our driver on the first five tours, and he can, and will, squeeze a thirty-five-seat coach through a space narrow enough to give a Moped nightmares.
Three Hardy coach tours, one each covering the areas associated with Far From the Madding Crowd, The Return of the Native, and Tess of the D'Urbervilles, will be on our agenda. One of the coach tours will be on the day we travel from London to Dorchester. We won't cling to the coach on these tours--we'll be getting on and off frequently, and occasionally we'll ramble for a considerable distance.
We will go on a Hardy walking tour of Dorchester conducted by our guide. This will cover the sites described in The Mayor of Casterbridge.
On two of the coach tours, we are planning for lunch to be included.
Included in the price of the tour are all of the admission fees for the Dorset portion of the tour; we hope to be able to once again include an inner circle visit to Stonehenge and a roof tour of Salisbury Cathedral.
Admission fees in Dorset: Hardy's Cottage, the Dorchester Museum, Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral roof tour, plus a few we have likely forgotten are also part of the deal.
That is it (as if that were not enough).
A note about the flights to and from London: In the early days of the course we would arrange a group booking and shepherd a majority of the tour members on and off the flights. This posed a hardship for some of the tour members as they found themselves having to fly a significant distance to get back to Los Angeles for the flight to London. We are sure you can appreciate the lack of enthusiasm displayed for flying from the east coast to the west coast so that one can then catch a flight to fly east again. However, we need a minimum number of tour members flying as a group in order to receive a group rate. Therefore, to eliminate this problem, we have decided to remove the flights/airfare from the tour pricing, requiring that tour members join us at our hotel in London no later than midday on the first day of the tour, January 6th, 2013. We will be happy to help small groups or individuals (or even a large group) to arrange their flights, but that will be apart from the tour planning this time around.
The number of course members is expected to be limited to no more than twenty-two students. This number is determined to be the maximum that we can accommodate in a productive discussion setting at Mudd. This number gives us a class meeting size that works well for a discussion-intensive course of this type. As in the past, for this tour we will have other, non students, joining us for the tour. In the past we have had faculty members, alums, parents and siblings of course members, and friends of course members join the tour, subject to our approval. These additional tour members are required to have read the novels covered in the course and must participate fully in the required tour activities. It should be noted that we will not allow the size of the group to become so large as to detract from the educational mission of the tour. Having said that, a tour group size of 30 would likely make us the smallest tour group we will see while in England, and a very manageable group for traipsing about London and Dorset. Because we employ a thirty-five-seat coach for the Dorset portion of the tour, there is an absolute upper limit on the number that can accompany us on the tour.
Okay--other than airfare, what is NOT included and what additional money will you need for the tour? You will need money for lunches and, with the exception of the two London dinners listed above, dinners in London. If you want to go cheap you can take advantage of the full English breakfast and then eat your other meals at a fast food joint. The last time we checked, you could get a Quarter Pounder w/ Cheese value meal at McDonalds for about £5.50. So, lunch and dinner at fast food places could run you under $150.00 for London. We would hate to see you eat all of your meals at fast food places, but if that allows you to take the course and it gets you to England....
In Dorset, you will need to come up with two or three lunches and maybe one or two dinners; it all depends on whether we stay in Weymouth or Dorchester. That's it. There is not a lot by way of fast food in Dorset, but there is a McDonalds in Weymouth and all sorts of fast food stuff in Salisbury. You will need to buy lunch in Salisbury and perhaps buy lunch one day in Weymouth. We know that there is nothing of the fast food sort in Dorchester. Without access to fast food you will likely need $10+ for a lunch. This only matters if you want lunch. Full breakfasts and dinners will be included in Dorset, so you may not feel that lunch is necessary. Perhaps just a bit of berry tart with clotted cream...ummmmmmm
So, excluding the usual pocket money for knick knacks, free day events, entrance fees, and the like, you will need a minimum of about $200 above and beyond the tour price. Now, that is for a subsistence level existence, and we think you really are going to want more money than that to take with you. We would recommend $500 above and beyond the tour price. That is what we recommended last time and most people spent less than that. We think that the average was around $250, although on one tour we did have a student who bought over $1,000 worth of stuff. Remember, going to the theatre and/or going to see the sights on your free days in London will not be cheap. We have posted the links to many of the most popular sites/ attractions on the In Your Free Time page page.
That's the scoop on what you get for your hard earned dollars. If you have questions, please feel free to ask us. If you have ideas, please forward them to us.