The Highlight of 2023: Our classtrip to England

Sunday, 02/07/2023, 9am, Swimming pool car park Konz, Germany

Finally, our trip to England started. We met at 9am at the swimming pool car park in Konz. It felt like hundreds of people were gathered in front of the two coaches. I was trying to get through the crowd to find my friends or a teacher. When I finally found my teacher, she pointed at one of the coaches and explained that I had to go there so my suitcase could be stored. I found my friends and my classmates. I think nearly everyone was wearing sweatpants. After a while all the luggage was packed, so it was time to say goodbye. We got on the coach and when everyone had found a seat, the teachers counted us several times to check that no one was missing. Then the coach driver could finally depart. He first introduced himself and explained his rules for the ride: No eating in the coach and everyone needed to wear a seatbelt. In return for us following the rules, the coach driver gave us the password for the wifi, which was a huge benefit for everyone. After only 45 minutes we had our first break at a petrol station. At this point everyone was pretty excited and in a good mood. We drove another three hours to the harbour of Calais.

1:30pm, Harbour Calais, France

We had to wait for one hour at the passport control, so the general mood suffered. As it turned out, that was not enough waiting. We had to wait another two hours in the queue for the second passport control. When it was finally our turn, every single student had to leave the coach with their passports. The customs officers scanned our passports for the second time. After a while it was time to board the ferry. The ferry took off to sea and started its way to Dover. We spent about one and a half hours at sea.

7:30pm, Harbour Dover, England

When we arrived in England, it was time to get back on the coaches again. Everyone had to go back to their seats and then the teachers checked again if everyone was there. After we had left the ferry, the ride from Dover to Herne Bay, the village we were accommodated at, was only about 45 minutes and pretty unspectacular …well, except for the cliffs, they looked stunning. I observed the beautiful landscape during the ride. By that time I was already very tired and exhausted.

8:30pm, Coach park Herne Bay, England

Finally, we arrived at our destination. One of our four teachers made an announcement and explained the following steps. Then every group was called off the coach to meet their host families. From that moment on, everyone was in their own groups of two to four students. After we had got to know the host families, we grabbed our suitcases and made our way to the host families‘ houses. Some of the host families came by car and others on foot. My friend and I talked a lot with our host mother on our way home. As soon as we made it to their home, our host mother showed us around and explained her rules. Then we had time to unpack our suitcases and get comfortable in our room while our host mother made us dinner. My first impression was actually very mixed. On one hand I was exited but on the other hand I also felt unsure, because everything was different from what it was like at home in Germany. After only a few minutes, dinner was ready and we could finally eat something. Our host mother used the opportunity to explain the events of the following day. We had dinner and afterwards we just got ready for bed and called our families in Germany. I fell asleep super tired and excited for the next day.

Monday, 03/07/2023, 6:30am, Herne Bay, England

It was time to get up. After a short night, we had a long day upcoming. So we got out of bed and got dressed. Our host mother prepared breakfast for the two of us. I was thrilled about that part, because I was not sure what to expect. English breakfast? The night before we had pizza, so we didn’t have a chance to taste a typical English meal. But we only had some cornflakes and toast for breakfast. I realised that our host mother’s accent was very strong and totally different from what I had expected. I understood what she said, so it was alright. After we had got completely ready, our host mother dropped us off at the coach park. I think we were supposed to be there by 8 am. But we and some other students arrived there at around 7:30 am, because our hostess had to be at work at 8 am.

10am, Greenwich park, England

Of course, it took a while until we could depart, because some people were not on time and the teachers checked several times if we were complete. That we were going to visit Greenwich in the morning. We drove one and a half hours to Greenwich Park. Once there, we started our way through Greenwich. We went to the statue of General Wolfe. From there we enjoyed the amazing view of Greenwich Hill towards London. Afterwards we looked at the Prime Meridian and then went to Greenwich Market. There we had the chance to walk around in small groups of three to five people. The market was very interesting.

12pm, Cutty Sark, England

After one and a half hours of free time we had to go back to meet our teachers at Greenwich Pier, where our boat ride was about to start. When we arrived we had to wait a few minutes in line, before we could get on board. Everyone took a seat on deck, so we could enjoy as much of the view as possible. We saw the main sights like the Tower Bridge, the Shard, the highest building in England, and of course the London Eye. After the boat ride we walked to the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

4pm, Shakespeare’s Globe, England

Finally our tour started. The tour was on the one hand about acting, but on the other hand also about the history of the Globe, Shakespeare and acting. At the beginning of the tour, the guide explained a few acting games, we played those games for about 45 minutes. From that point on the tour was basically only about history, which was very interesting. Our tour ended after one and a half hours.

7:30pm, Herne Bay, England

The first day was almost over when we arrived in Herne Bay. Our host families were already waiting for us at the coach park. After saying goodbye to our teachers, we left the car park and went to our accommodations, went straight to our room and talked to our parents on the phone. In Germany it was one hour later because of the timeshift. Meanwhile our host mother prepared dinner for us. After only ten minutes, dinner was ready, so we could finally eat a hot meal. We had some pasta with tomato sauce. The last thing we had eaten was our packed lunch, which is not comparable to lunch in Germany. Then we just got ready for bed and fell asleep. That day was a lot of fun. I was getting more and more comfortable with the host family and the language.

Tuesday, 04/07/2023, 6:30am, Herne Bay, England

After a short night it was time to get up. The morning went exactly the same as the day before, we got dressed, had breakfast and brushed our teeth and left the house for the coach park. We arrived there around 7:30 am and left around 8:15 am to Dover. The plan for that day was Dover castle and then a visit to the beach. It took us only 45 minutes to the castle.

9am, Dover castle, England

When we arrived in Dover, we first had to wait in a line before we could get inside the building. The castle site was gigantic. We walked through lots of different dark underground tunnels. Then we also went inside the actual castle, which also had a cool photo spot. Afterwards we got on top of the castle. We had a great view over the coast and the sea. Of course we couldn’t miss the church that was on the castle site. The inside of the church was absolutely stunning. All of that made us hungry so we left the castle and enjoyed our lunch packet with an amazing view over the sea. Some seagulls tried to steal our food, which made it hard to enjoy.

1:30pm, Beach, Dover, England

The coach took us from the castle to a parking lot near the beach. We walked around 10 minutes to the beach. Once there, we settled down and waited for instructions from our teachers. After a little while, those told us that the ones who wanted to swim were only allowed to do so if they had submitted a swimming badge before the trip had started. But due to the cold and windy weather, most of the students spent their afternoon on the beach and not in the water. Anyhow the time we spent there was amazing and everyone enjoyed it. After four hours there we packed our things and headed back to the coach which brought us back to the host family by 6:45 pm.

Wednesday, 05/07/2023, Herne Bay, England

Just like the other days, we met our classmates and teachers at around 7:30 am at the coach park in Herne Bay. Before we left to see London again, we went to the supermarket across the street and got some more food, because there was a lot on today’s agenda. I was very excited for this day. We arrived at a parking lot outside of London after one and a half hours. Once there we took the underground to get to our first activity. You can only imagine what it was like to take the underground with 60 people. That’s why our teachers went through the process with us before we entered the underground and explained a few rules so nobody would get lost.

9:30am, National History Museum, London, England

When we were inside the museum, we first had to get together in small groups. We had two hours to solve a quiz. The questions were based on the information in the museum. So it might seem like two hours is a lot of time, but the museum is huge so it was not as simple as it seemed. The museum was very fascinating and very interesting.

11:30am, Outside the National History Museum, London, England

After the museum tour we walked through the streets of London to Covent Garden for about an hour. On our way we passed Buckingham Palace and took some pictures. We also took a break in St. James‘ Park and the teachers gave the winners of the quiz a prize.

1pm, Covent Garden, London, England

When we had arrived at Covent Garden we got back together in small groups and then we had a few hours on our own to explore Covent Garden and the near surroundings. It was so much fun to walk over the market and to look at all the amazing shops.

5pm, Covent garden, London, England

About three and a half hours later the class got back together and we walked back to the coach. The coach couldn’t drive all the way into the city centre, which is why we had to walk a bit to get back to the coach. After a long day we got back to the host families at around 7 pm.

7pm, Herne bay, England

This was the last night we were going to stay with the host families, because we were going to spend the last night of the trip on the coach. Our night routine was basically the same as the nights before, but we also had to pack before leaving tomorrow morning. Wednesday was probably the most exhausting day but also very exciting and so much fun.

Thursday, 06/07/2023, 7:30am Herne Bay, England

We arrived like all the other days at 7:30 am at the coach park, but this time we also had to bring our suitcases, because we were not going to come back to Herne Bay after today’s trip. On today’s agenda was a visit to Canterbury and its famous cathedral. After we said goodbye to our host families and the luggage was packed, we walked to the nearest bus stop. We were going to drive all night long back to Germany, so the coach driver couldn’t take us to Canterbury, because he had to save his energy. That’s why we used the regular bus service to get there. Luckily the ride was only about 25 minutes long.

9am, Cathedral Canterbury, England

Once we had arrived in Canterbury we walked to the cathedral and got into groups of three to five people. We were walking through the huge cathedral and again had to take a quiz. The cathedral was far bigger than I had imagined. The quiz followed the rooms that we entered on our way through the cathedral. Sometimes it was very hard to find the answers to the questions. Some questions required asking the employees, because the answers weren’t written anywhere.

11am, Canterbury, England

After we had finished the quiz, we left the cathedral and had a chance to explore Canterbury on our own, of course we were not really alone, but divided in small groups. Canterbury was exactly how I had imagined a little town in England to be like. There were many small alleys and litte stores. Compared to London it was actually very quiet and definitely less busy. Overall, I think Canterbury was a very unique place and had its own very comfortable and inviting vibe. Time flew by and suddenly it was already time to leave. We walked a short distance to a car park outside of Canterbury where the coach was parked. Before departing everyone could use the restroom and got back to their seats on the coach. We knew that a long ride was upcoming. We left the car park around 3:30 pm.

4:15pm, Harbour Dover, England

Once we arrived at the harbour we had to go through passport control before we could board the ferry. I still remembered that on the way to England we had to go through two passport controls and that it took ages. We were actually supposed to take a different ferry, but the whole check-in process went faster than expected so we caught an earlier ferry, which also meant that we were going to arrive sooner at Konz.

6:30pm, Ferry, Dover, England

When we boarded the ship, we had to remember the deck that the coach was parked on. On the ferry, I reflected on the trip. Was it what I had imagined? I would say, that this journey was more than I had expected. For me this trip was so much more than getting to know the language and the English culture. It was about all the amazing memories I created with my friends and class mates.

10pm, Calais, France

The ride on the ferry was over after only one hour at sea and we drove off the ship and back to Konz. Although everyone had a long and exhausting day none of us were tired and it was still rather loud in the bus. After we had a break around midnight, the teachers told us to be quiet and try to rest, which of course most people didn’t do, but at least it wasn’t so loud anymore. Almost four hours later we were back in Konz. Our parents were not very amused about the fact that they had to pick us up at 2:30 am in the middle of the night. So when we had finished cleaning the coach and had unloaded the luggage, it was time to say goodbye and go home to sleep in our own beds.

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