In February half term 21 boys and girls from Upper 4 accompanied by Will Croston, Maria Brown, Gill Parsons and Sophie Fäs flew to Hamburg for a three day visit to Germany.
The group stayed in the city centre at the Deutsche Seemannsmission, which provided an ideal base to explore the city and its world-famous port. Having only learnt German for a short time, the aim was to give pupils a positive first-hand experience of Germany. The trip was designed to give pupils opportunities to try out their language skills including writing the traditional postcard to the Head Master.
With almost three full days in the city the group were able to include all the major sights in their itinerary. The traffic-free city centre provided a safe area to let small groups go shopping for short periods and the pupils enjoyed finding bargains in the Karstadt department store.
Highlights of the trip were an evening spent at the open-air, floodlit ice-rink, where many tried out 'proper' skating for the first time. Climbing 500 steps to the top of the Michaeliskirche tower for a magnificent view of the port, as well as descending deep under river Elbe to see the 19th century tunnel with lifts for horse and carriage, still operating today taking two cars at a time. Everyone enjoyed an evening at the swimming stadium with its large waterside and floodlit outdoor pool. The group also found out about Hamburg's trading past and present and toured the port for a closer look at the dry docks, container terminals and loading bays.
The group were lucky enough to visit the 7th Year English class of Herr Stammerman where they played some games, tried out their language skills and enjoyed Kaffee und Kuchen together.
Mr Croston said: "The pupils made a delightful group to take away, enthusiastic, polite and well-behaved. They were very open to new experiences and took a keen interest in their surroundings. Their positive behaviour was praised by the staff at the hostel, by people we met on the U-Bahn and in the shops and stalls. The trip to Hamburg is an intensive initiation into the German way of life and offers a great deal of fun as well as a valuable educational experience."