Almost all the students in year eight of the Hohenstaufen-Gymnasium Bad Wimpfen set off for the south of England on Saturday the 19th of October at 4 am.
It took us about nine hours to drive to Dunkirk where we crossed the Channel. Most of the students slept on the coach for the first few hours and when we finally had woken up, the teachers told us about our host families. Before we arrived at Dunkirk harbour, our passports had to be checked by customs officers. Nobody was held up so we could enter the harbour and go on the ferry. It took us approximately two hours to cross the Channel and go to Dover. It was quite windy on the ferry but the weather was really nice and it was a new experience for some students as we could see the famous cliffs when we approached England. A few hours later, we finally arrived in Brighton Lancing at about 6 pm (local time) and our host families welcomed us and took us with them to show us where we would spend the week.
On Sunday we went to Hastings by coach. The first thing we did was to go to the aquarium. We took a quiz about sea animals and about the animals in the aquarium. After that, we had two hours of free time. Every student used their free time differently, some of us went into the old town, some of us took a lot of pictures and some of us spent time at the beach. Some even tried traditional fish and chips! We went to the ruins of Hastings Castle in the afternoon and watched a short film about the Battle of Hastings there. After the film, we went to the smugglers’ caves where we found out about all the goods they smuggled and what the caves were used for in the last centuries.
On Monday we went to Eton College and our teachers told us about its pupils and its traditions. After that we went to Windsor Castle and we had to do a quiz there too. The quiz was a bit difficult but the castle was very beautiful and the Royal Standard was hoisted, which means that the Queen was there. But sadly, we didn’t see Her Majesty. When we were done with the quiz, we were allowed to walk around town in small groups, so we had a few hours of free time for ourselves to try more English food or go shopping for souvenirs.
Tuesday was a day full of hiking and walking, because we went to the Seven Sisters. Before that we made a short stop in Alfriston, a small but very pretty traditional English village. We visited an old church named St. Andrew’s Church. It doesn’t look that big from the outside, but when you go inside it’s really huge, which is why people call it Cathedral of the Downs. After that we set off to the Seven Sisters. It was very beautiful there and we had a great view at the sea from the cliffs. After our hike, we could have cream tea and scones if we wanted to, before we drove to Beachy Head for a photo stop and to Eastbourne where we could spent some time for ourselves.
On Wednesday we went to London but this time we didn’t go by coach, we went by train. In London, our teachers split us up into different groups. With our group and one teacher we walked through London and saw lots of sights, for example the Elizabeth Tower, which most people call Big Ben even if this is just the bell inside the tower, Tower Bridge or Westminster Abbey. After a lot of walking we arrived at Camden Market and had free time there. You had a big selection of different food from all over the world there and the shops were also very cool.
On our last day in England we went to Brighton. First, we went to the Royal Pavilion and had a guided tour there. The Royal Pavilion looks very unique from the outside and it is also very pretty and unique from the inside. After our tour we had the afternoon off, but we had to do a quiz about Brighton while walking around the city. We all met at about 6 pm at Brighton Palace Pier and then we drove back to Germany. We arrived back home at about noon after a long, exhausting bus trip where we slept most of the time. In my opinion, the trip to England was much fun, very refreshing and I’m sad that it’s already over. Thanks to all our teachers who made that trip possible.