During October and November a group of Leaders for Durham South headed out on a trip to tick off not one but two Girlguiding World Centres – Pax Lodge, London & Our Cabana, Mexico. On their travels to Mexico it seemed a shame to go all the way over the Atlantic and not detour to some parts of The USA for a bit of sight-seeing!
First stop on the trip was sunny California, visiting San Francisco for three nights, experiencing the very hilly city by its hop on – hop off bus, the traditional trams and the one ordeal by foot (that was not to be repeated… the San Fran Streets are VERY steep!). Within the whistle stop tour of San Fran the group hit the highlights including The Golden Gate Bridge, Pier 39 and Alcatraz.
From San Francisco the group boarded the Coastal Starlight Train, a 12 hour train ride, taking in the farming plains of California then hugging the coast for some beautiful scenic views before arriving in to Los Angeles.
Soaking up the sights in L.A. on a private tour to see Santa Monica, Rodeo Drive, the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Hollywood Sign, just to name a few!
Our Cabana – Mexico
From L.A. the group then flew to Mexico, a few other Leaders joining them there, to travel together to Our Cabana for their ‘Day of the Dead’ event. With members of Girlguiding and Girl Scouting from Worldwide, the group had fun and friendship on an international scale – making friends from Australia, Canada, USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, Venezuela and even some close neighbours from Cumbria! The group also extended their friendship with a group from The Netherlands who they had met two years prior at the World Centre in India – Sangam.
The programme at Our Cabana included learning Mexican culture through crafts, games and activities and visiting a few towns to see how the locals celebrate and remember their friends and family on the day of the Dead. The week also involved a community project, providing crafts and activities for children from a local orphanage, this was a highlight for many of the group, making a positive impact on the children giving them a chance to have fun and have new experiences.
Leaving Our Cabana, the group headed for the US Capital, Washington D.C. spending two nights there. Cramming in as many sights as possible in the short time available the group went to the top of the Washington Monument to see the views; also visiting memorials, the White House, the Capitol building and more! A busy few days before heading to the Big Apple.
New York City
The final stop of the trip was New York City, again only for 2 nights, it was a jam packed few days. A visit to the 9/11 memorial pools before heading up the One World Trade Observatory gave the group a fantastic view of Manhattan. Fitting in loads more, the group split up to cover the most sights – Coney Island, Staten Island, Grand Central Station and Central Park to name a few!
All in all a fantastic trip was had by everyone, with some leaders not knowing others very well at the start of the trip, came home good friends.