Monday, 22 June 2015

Whitley students pay their respects at Normandy

Written by our student travellers
Everyone arrived bright and early at 6.30am on the morning of the 22nd, except for the teachers (blame Mr Anderton!!). By 7am, the parents were beginning to leave after being told that they were cramping the students’ style. Off we went, waving our fond farewells and then the sweets started to be unwrapped and consumed in their vast quantities!!
After a relatively calm ferry crossing where Ricky and Matthew purchased numerous toy cars to amuse themselves, we arrived safely in France to begin our four hour trip across to Normandy. We were treated to an authentic French dinner, with of course an extra serving of grumbling from the students. Following dinner, rooms were allocated and students had the chance to strut their stuff on the dancefloor prior to going to bed at 10.30pm, tired but excited for the adventures ahead.
On Saturday, the group was extremely busy as we soaked up the beautiful sights of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mont St Michel. There was some free time to buy gifts and to appreciate the atmosphere of this beautiful place – there was even time for a tour of the abbey and its cloisters.
On Sunday, we paid respect to the D-Day landing beaches, visiting firstly Juno, the Canadian beach, then Gold at Arromanches where we watched the 360 degree cinema film ‘100 days of Normandy’; lastly we moved on to Omaha beach, the American beach and the cemetery at Colleville sur Mer, an experience which will remain with all as a very poignant and memorable afternoon. We returned home exhausted after a long day of sightseeing where the majority of us collapsed into bed following an opportunity to play Frisbee and football on the beach and walk into the local town of Merville.
On our penultimate day (Monday), we went to the Bayeux tapestry and to the British War Memorial, where we laid a wreath in respect from the Academy – our students were respectful and excellent ambassadors for our school. After another tiring day in the sunshine, and some shopping in the city of Caen, we returned to the hotel for our final meal of the week and a presentation of certificates for both educational and amusing reasons.
On our final morning we were up and ready (albeit bleary eyed) at 8am sharp for our final room inspections. After a leisurely breakfast we loaded up the coach with suitcases that were twice as heavy as they were coming over thanks to some impressive souvenir collecting. We set off on our long trek home at 11am. We stopped off at a hypermarket to use up the last of our Euros, (as well as providing certain members of staff the opportunity to re-stock their wine cellars!). The ferry trip and coach journey back up to Coventry was relatively uneventful as we relaxed and watched DVDs all the way. At 9.30pm we were reunited with our relieved parents, tired but happy after a thoroughly enjoyable trip!