Belgium Trip - July 2018
56 students and 9 members of staff have just returned from a 5-day trip to Belgium as part of the school’s 2018 Activities Week programme.
The students stayed in the youth hostel in the beautiful town of Namur on the river Meuse in French-speaking Belgium. En route to the hostel a highlight of the trip this time was a battlefields visit to the French National Necropolis at Saint Nazaire where the names of the 580 000 soldiers who fell in the Battle of the Artois are listed alphabetically regardless of nationality. This was a truly moving and memorable visit.
In the following days students enjoyed a day exploring and shopping in Namur, a boat trip on the River Meuse, day-trips to Aachen in Germany and to Dreilandecke on the border between Germany, Belgium and Holland. Here students were able to stand, sit or lie in three countries all at once! In the evenings students enjoyed riverside walks, bowling and a restaurant visit for traditional Belgian waffles. On the return journey via the Eurotunnel there was a last-minute shopping trip to the Cité Europe hypermarket near Calais.
Students joined in fully with every aspect of the visit, trying out their languages, trying new food and really appreciating the architecture and cultural aspects of the trip. The experience of staying in central Europe, crossing borders several times a day, hearing and using different languages within one day and spotting different customs made for a really rich cultural experience which they will never forget.
Below are day by day accounts written by the students:
Day 1 - Tuesday
We must have started the trip between 12.30am and 1.30am, though I can’t remember the exact time. What I do remember is how quickly everyone in my area went to sleep. By around 2am, the 8 of us in the downstairs compartment were fast asleep, which we were very glad of since we woke up at 6am the next day.
After getting off and having breakfast, we headed straight for the Eurotunnel. I think we got into the tunnel at around 9.30am (English time) and then, in less than an hour we were in France! It was an amazing feeling to get to be in another country.
We reached the War Memorial a little later. All around us were what seemed like miles of crosses, and ahead of us, a huge stone structure. The memorial is located on the site of The Battle of Artois and the names of the dead are listed together, regardless of each soldier’s nationality.
We headed to the Ring of Remembrance, 580,000 names written on blocks arranged in a circle, and spent a while looking through for people with family surnames to try and find someone related to us – it was surprising how many of us succeeded.
Eventually it was time to leave. After having lunch we got back on the coach, crossed over to Belgium and finally reached the hostel at Namur where we unpacked and had dinner. After dinner we went for a walk along the River Meuse, returned to the hostel and went to bed.
Day 2 - Wednesday
Connor and Jake Eves
On the Wednesday we planned to go the Namur Citadel and travel round the town centre. With a bowling night after dinner.
Our first breakfast consisted of breads, condiments, ham, cheese, rice cakes, fruit and hard boiled eggs. Afterwards we packed a lunch to go in our day bag. After getting stuff ready, we headed on a walk to the Namur Citadel. The view from below and above was stunning and from the top you could see for miles.
Once we got there we split off into groups and wandered the grounds for free-time. We met up by the information centre and walked down to a nice place for lunch by the riverside. Afterwards, we headed on a boat trip down the river Meuse. Once we got off the boat we headed into the city centre.
We stopped at the “Market of vegetables” which was this square of shops and cafes/restaurants. We headed off for free time shopping around the area. We then headed back to the hostel, had some free time, ate dinner (which was pastry with chicken and mushrooms, with chips and a creamy sauce). Then we set off for bowling.
Bowling was fun, but annoying as the football was on. Which was important! We headed off back to the hostel to watch the rest of the match. (It is a shame that England have now taken 4th place in the leader board).
Day 3 - Thursday
Anna-Maria Gomez, Loveday Davies, Maddie Jones and Christina Merritt
On our trip to pretty Aachen,
it took 1 ½ hours,
there was a market in the square,
surrounded by lots of flowers.
The cathedral was gold and blue,
Where you had to bow to enter,
There was a town hall – big and bold,
Right in the city’s centre.
It took us a while to find a shop,
That sold Spaghetti Eis,
We asked a lady from a Printen shop,
And she was very nice.
Printen are small goodies,
That are gingery and full of spice,
They are a German speciality,
And taste exceptionally nice!
After we visited Dreilandepunkt,
And climbed a super tall tower,
We stood in Holland, Belgium and Germany,
And after we all needed a shower!
In the evening we went to a restaurant,
And had waffles with fruit and cream,
We had to order in only French,
But they were so nice, we all wanted to scream!
Overall our trip to Belgium,
Was really great and fun,
So thank you Frau Ward – we had a lovely time,
And thanks for letting us all come!
Day 4 - Friday
… and Friday was the last day, and the long journey home via the exciting Cite d’Europe shopping centre and the Eurotunnel.
Below you can see more photos of the Belgium Trip: