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Over the half term break, 50 Lower School pupils and 6 members of staff took part in a cultural, linguistic, gastronomic and historical trip to Normandy. The trip began very early on Saturday morning, with a 6.00am departure from Trent. We travelled by coach down to Folkestone, for our mid-morning departure on the EuroTunnel, and arrived at the hotel, a little later than expected, for our first evening meal. An early night was certainly in order as we had a busy schedule ahead of us.
Our first full day in Normandy focused on the history of the area with visits to the Bayeux Tapestry, a war cemetery, the landing beach and accompanying museum at Arromanches. For many of the pupils it was a chance to experience first-hand what they had studied in the classroom and was a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by so many throughout the ages. Thanks to our wonderful bus driver, Neil, who was integral to the success of our trip, we travelled to a local beach in the early evening to make the most of the beautiful weather we had had that day.
Day two focused on food typical to the area and began with a visit to a goat’s cheese farm where the pupils learnt about the whole process involved in making the cheese. Most fully embraced the day and tried various ‘vintages’ and got up close and personal with the goats roaming the accompanying fields. Unfortunately, the planned trip to the Boulangerie in the afternoon was cancelled but again Neil came to the rescue and took us to an even better beach, where the pupils swan, sunbathed, played cricket and touch rugby in glorious sunshine.
The third day of the trip saw us visit a local French market and a bell foundry. Although slightly abstract, the foundry proved to be a real highlight, especially the opportunity to play a tune on bells of various shapes and sizes. The afternoon was spent at leisure at the beautiful, Mont St Michel. Everyone took full advantage of the tourist paradise stocking up on souvenirs, sweets and the obligatory ice cream(s)!
Our fourth and final day started with a fond farewell to our hotel and it’s fantastic staff. The accommodation, food and location were ideal and we certainly aim to return there on any future trips to the region. We then headed to the Calvados region to visit a very picturesque Cider brewery. Having toured the various part, there was opportunity to sample the end product, apple juice for the pupils and a refreshing cider for the teachers; a nice perk! We then set off on our long drive home but with Neil’s smooth driving and various DVDs, the journey passed by relatively quickly and we arrived back at Trent just before mid-night.
Overall, the trip was a huge success. Our pupils were excellent ambassadors for Trent and there were many occasions when tour guides and members of the public complimented them on their attitude and conduct. I would like to add a personal thank you to Miss Walker, Mr Webster, Mrs Webster, Miss Berry and Miss Bletsoe-Brown for their good humour and continual support on the trip.