The eagle eyed reader amongst you would have noticed a whole swathe of films featuring Belgium and Paris cropping up on the pages of this blog during the last week and a half.
That's because I had the priviledge of leading a fantastic bunch of S3's on our annual MFL trip...except this year was different. In an effort to maintain it's currency we linked with the History dept and went to Belgium to visit the WW1 sites of the Ypres Salient.
I had never been there before and there were many moments when I couldn't speak for fear of blubbing: seeing VJ Strudwick's grave at Essex Farm, hearing the music played by a Canadian family as they attended the grave of a lost relative for the first ever time at Tyne Cot. Seriously moving stuff.
What made these vists for me was the guide we had around the battlefields, Wouter Sinaeve. Wouter works in the Education Dept at the In Flanders Fields Museum and he knows his stuff. BUT he doesn't just know it in a dry academic way he knows how to speak to children about it, he knows how to bring the stories behind the gravestones to life. He was an awesome guide, and I thoroughly recommend him if you are organising a similar venture.
However what made the trip an outstanding success for me was the interaction we got from back home. Thanks to free wifi in the hotels we were able to post films (me) and photos (my history colleague James Davidson (or as the kids called him Papa D...long story)). This allowed colleagues and parents to follow us. Although the blog didn't get many comments it certainly got hit and the students kept coming to us saying they had just had a text from so and so saying they had seen us on the rollercoaster in Parc Asterix. Everyone I met in the corridors today said how much they had enjoyed following our adventures...maybe that's why I didn't get so much of the usual "Enjoy your holiday then." I have to say though that for a trip like this my newly acquired Flip Ultra was awesome. Easy to use, light, showerproof and most of all a cinch to transfer the clips.
In case you might be interested here is a list of the what we did and where we stayed etc:
Pax Hotel, Diksmuide
Hotel Inn, Val de Fontenay (currently being refurbished and rooms too small for 3 to share, but easy access to RER)
In Flanders Fields Museum
St Charles de Potyse Cemetery
Tyne Cot Cemetery
IJzer Tower, Diksmuide
Trench of Death, Diksmuide
Menin Gate Last Post Ceremony
Atlantis Bowling, Ypres
Evenings in Paris we ate in Flunch.