Royal Blind School visit Carl Strehl-Schule

Posted: 29/06/2015 | Education,

Last week pupils and staff from the Royal Blind School enjoyed a cultural exchange trip to Marburg in Germany. This diary blog highlights their adventure!

Monday 

Marburg here we come!

German bbq on arrival

Smooth trip helped by fast tracking (thanks Edinburgh Airport), well behaved pupils, priority boarding, packed lunches from our fab domestic team and good weather both home and away. Welcomed by our German partners with a fabulous barbecue, prepared by a local chef. After a long day, settled down to a good night's sleep in comfortable accommodation.

Tuesday

Getting to know you. 

Mrs Hughes and Reece at Carl Strehl-Schule, Marburg in GermanyThat morning we had breakfast before going for a tour of the school and were invited to have breakfast with our German partners. Two breakfasts, not bad!

The school campus is much bigger than the Royal Blind School. We saw lots of different classes and visited the workshop where Blista produce tactile graphic maps and diagrams, Reece found Mrs Hughes explanation especially interesting!

The sun shone all day and we enjoyed joining our new friends for lessons 

Staff and pupils visiting Carl Strehl-Schule in Marburg, Germany

as well as relaxing and chatting together in the summer weather. Mrs Lockhart particularly enjoyed the pudding provided for us at school and declared: "I definitely won't be sharing any of mine!"

We took a tour of Marburg, with a twist. We looked around the old town and church and our guide explained local historic tales. We then split into three groups and had to guess if the tales were true or false. The winning team got jelly beans, the teachers' team was very disappointed that it didn't win.

Picture of pupils outside St Elizabeth Church in Marburg

Outside St Elisabeth Church we explored a tactile replica. This was a great opportunity to experience the whole building and gain an appreciation of the gothic architecture.

Harry joined his partner Sebastian for a Judo session in the gym and met Holland's national judo coach.

After a long day exploring we went for ice-cream and all managed to order in German with a little help from our new friends.

Then it was back to the guest flat where we were looking forward to Glenn's famous omelettes. Unfortunately when he went to crack the eggs he discovered our flat had been stocked with hard boiled ones only. Just as well we had had two breakfasts.

After a good deal of the giggles and a Les Mis-style sing off courtesy of Mrs Hughes, Mrs Lockhart and Jake, we all went to bed with big smiles on our faces.

Wednesday

Sun is shining.

Pupils met their partners at 7.55 sharp to get to lessons for 8.00am.Classroom at Carl Strehl-Schule

Mrs Lockhart and Mrs Hughes observed a French lesson, with allowances for Mrs Hughes to speak English as her French is a little rusty. No excuses for Mrs Lockhart, Royal Blind School's French teacher, who was in her element. Pupils used a variety of methods to access their work; video magnifiers, CCTVs, laptops, PCs and Braille. They gave presentations in French and even sang a French song.

The weather was glorious once again and all our pupils made friends and socialised well with their German buddies, who enjoyed practising their English and meeting young people from Scotland.

In the afternoon the boys all went horse-riding and were intrigued by the fabric saddles used on the horses. Quite a difference to the leather saddles they are used to at home.

Jake attended a service at the beautiful St Elisabeth Church where he found the experience quite a change from his usual services.

Reece and Jake cooked their own supper, chicken nuggets, chips and vegetables. Well done boys!

Thursday

Fun in Frankfurt.

We took a day trip to Frankfurt which started with a double decker train ride. Reece noted the German trains don't have carpets and everybody noticed they were a lot quieter and smoother.

We went on a special sensory tour of Frankfurt where we were given tactile diagrams of the historical buildings. We then went to the local market and were surprised at how many stalls there were selling different sweets, meats and treats.

We had lunch in a rooftop restaurant which gave us a view across Frankfurt. And in the afternoon the sun came out and we all went on a wonderful boat cruise along the river Main.

After a long day on our feet we got back to the flat where we all had some of Glenn's spaghetti which was so delicious that Scott offered to do all the dishes as a thank you.

Friday

Last chance for lessons. Last lunch in school.

Everyone loved air-tramp, pupils and staff alike. We all laughed so much. Great fun!

Ordering pizza was a little challenging for Glenn and Mrs Hughes as the man in the restaurant didn't speak any English. However, when he said he spoke Italian Mrs Hughes was suddenly at ease with the man from Palermo.

Scott and Glenn went with several of our German buddies to visit Marburg Castle. The view was worth it after the long, hard climb uphill and what seemed like thousands of steps. Sebastian was a great guide and was able to tell us plenty about the castle's history.

Rock and Roll Cinderella in the evening. Wow, what a show! Some of the German dialogue passed us by but we all knew the story and characters and the songs and performance were fabulous.

Saturday

Final day and fond farewells.

The Blista pupils were in school for Saturday lessons while we enjoyed a lovely lie in and were collected at 10.30am to go to Chemikum.

Joined by our German partners we visited Chemikum for some fun chemistry experiments. We did a variety of tests involving bubbles, smells, dry ice, can crushing and spinning on chairs. The science teacher in Mrs Hughes was in her element.

Shopping in Marburg was next with trips to the 200 year old pottery shop, followed by fabulous chocolate and jelly sweet shops. Sebastian shared the most sour sweets we have ever tasted, which were topped by Daniel’s hot chilli sweets. Our tongues were numb for at least 10 minutes.

Spaghetti eis was the next stop. A plate of ice cream disguised as spaghetti bolognaise.

In the evening we enjoyed a meal with our hosts which included more spaghetti eis. Then there was a final exchange of numbers and emails between pupils and staff, together with fond farewells. Now we are looking forward to the return trip of our new German friends in September.

Auf wiedersehen Blista!

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