Year 9 Visit to Germany
The Easter holidays saw the first overseas trip take place for three years when 45 Year 9 students set off on a five-day trip to the beautiful Rhine valley in Germany. Once over the shock of a 3.30am start, the students and staff settled down for the 500 mile journey. We already knew that the P&O Ferries were not running but no-one was prepared for the added effects of post-Brexit paperwork and the British weather! Though we arrived at Dover at 6.30am we didn’t board a ferry until 5pm! The crossing was also particularly rough and a number of students turned a funny shade of green. We finally arrived at the hotel at 2.30am (a mere 8 hours late) and everyone was very glad just to slump into bed.
Our first full day began – after 6 hours sleep – with a long and steep walk up the side of the valley for a lovely view of the Rhine. Following the first of many photo opportunities, the walk down into the town of Rüdesheim through a vineyard proved to be equally as steep. After a spot of lunch and some free time, there was a chance to use some German and order an ice cream. As the day had started relatively late, we had to forego a scheduled chairlift ride and returned to the hotel for an early dinner before enjoying an evening of Bowling in the nearby city of Koblenz.
The third day brought a visit to Holiday Park, a theme park. We had to take a small river ferry across the Rhine which was thankfully much calmer than the English Channel! Once we arrived at the park, we were told that not only were we the first overseas visitors to the park since Covid, we were their first coach party since lockdown! Despite a couple of rides not being available – as it was the first day open following the winter break – there were not many people around and the queues were non-existent. A good time was had by all!
Day four involved an excursion to Cochem on the Mosel river where we enjoyed a guided tour of the town’s castle followed by an hour or so wandering around the small town. This also gave some of the students their first chance to sample the famous German delicacy of Currywurst mit Pommes (sausage in curry sauce with chips!). The afternoon brought a brief stop at the confluence of the Rhine and the Mosel rivers in Koblenz – good for the geographers amongst us – followed by a visit to the town of Boppard where another round of ice cream ordering was required. En route to the hotel, there was a quick stop at a supermarket to stock up on snacks for the way home – the Haribo and chocolate aisle was stripped bare. Following dinner the final evening included a closely fought quiz, completing diaries in German and writing postcards to Mr Carroll.
There was a certain amount of trepidation for the return journey – and having to evacuate the service station because of a fire didn’t help matters – but we managed to catch an earlier than scheduled ferry and it was a tired but happy group of students and staff who arrived back at Vandyke.
I would like to express my thanks to Ms Rhoden, Mrs Elding, Miss Briand and Mr Gilmour for all their support on the trip and especially to the impeccably behaved students, especially given the arduous outward journey and what for some, was their first ever overseas trip.