Friday, 24 June 2011

From The City To The Country

Our time in London ended with an early morning coach waiting to carry us and all of our belongings north to the small town of Shrewsbury.  There we'll spend a week exploring sites of the Industrial Revolution.
Bright and early for our 6:45am departure (notice the yawns!)
Along the way to our new Midlands home, we planned a few stops to break up the 3.5 hour journey.   First up, a tour of the ultra-modern Mini Cooper factory in Oxford, where we saw nearly the entire process of bringing one of these iconic cars into being.  While we were unable to take photographs within the factory, there were plenty of opportunities in the adjacent museum.

All suited up in our safety gear and ready for our tour!

Erik F posing with the psychedelic Mini Cooper

Lesley trying out one of the cushy Mini seats
One of the incredible robotic arms we would see precisely assembling and welding cars on the factory floor
The stunt car used in the Italian Job driven by Charlize Theron - notice the two steering wheels!
Listening to our tour guide outline the plant history and process
 Despite the early wake-up call, everyone seemed impressed by the scale and technology employed by the plant, which would serve as an excellent counterpoint to our next stop of the day: Hook Norton Brewing Company.
Group shot outside the brewing company
After a quick 45 minutes through the beautiful Midlands, we arrived at Hook Norton, a brewery that still largely relies on steam power to process it's ales.   Again we were able to experience the process from start to finish, with a few samples along the way, and marveled at how little the process has changed since the brewery started in the 1840's.  It was a stark contrast to our morning tour as well as an excellent connection to the Industrial Revolution sites we will be visiting over the following week.

Learning about the brewing equipment

A large tank for processing the ales

A storage room too small for some of our students!
Exhausted after a full day of touring and travel, the bus went silent for our final leg to Shrewsbury...
Zonked out on the coach

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