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Christmas Trip to Aachen!

A group of our pupils have been on a fantastic trip to Aachen this term. Frank (Fifth Form) had the following to say about the trip!

On arriving at St. Pancras station at 6:30 am on Sunday morning, we boarded the Eurostar and set off for Aachen. This involved one change at Brussels and taking the ICE train to our final destination. After a morning of travelling, we arrived at the Aachen Hauptbahnhof at lunchtime and walked the short distance to our hostel. Having unpacked and relaxed for an hour, we walked over to the bustling Christmas market, where we were able to buy traditional food and hand-crafted goods.

On Monday morning we woke up early to enjoy a German breakfast of cereals, fresh sliced meats and cheese, German rolls and the very popular mini-pancake machine! Our first activity of the day was to visit the local Gesamtschule not far from our hostel. We were expected bright and early for the first lesson at 8 am! We were split into groups and had a German buddy who showed us the school and took us to the lessons. Some of us enjoyed a fantastic chemistry lesson with different demonstrations involving explosive nitro-glycerine reactions and voice-changing effects from inhaling helium. Others had interesting Music, English and German lessons. At break time and lunch, we played football with some of the German students before taking a whole group photo with them, exchanging contact details and saying our final goodbyes.

After our morning at school, we had a guided tour around Aachen to learn about its fascinating history from Stone Age settlers to Celtics and Romans and how the Middle Ages has influenced the heritage of the city today. We were also shown the historic water system and sulphur water taps with hot running sulphuric water. During the tour around the city, we were shown more of Aachen’s rich history through some of its Middle Ages folklore, such as the statue of the beast who would take your money and teach townspeople a lesson for drinking too much alcohol. We were shown metal markings with the signature of emperor Charlemagne on them, which indicated where he had walked and stood in the city. We were then brought to the puppet statue, showing multiple figures with moveable parts. Concluding the tour, we visited the grand and highly impressive Aachen Cathedral, constructed under the order of Charlemagne and built in the year 805! After the tour, we returned to the Christmas market for the last time and enjoyed the food stalls (lots of delicious Wurst und Pommes!) and the very popular model railway shop before returning to our rooms for the evening.

On Tuesday morning, we visited a Bäckerei, drank hot chocolate and enjoyed some German treats. It was then time to return to London. Although a short trip, it was an incredible and unforgettable experience. We managed to fit in so many different activities into the few days that we had there. Thank you to the German Department for organising this fantastic trip!