OUR DEAR BELGIAN FRIENDS WERE WITH US – HOORAY!!!!!
Oh, yes! Our dear Belgian friends were with us once more. It is our fourth time together now and as usual everything went on just fine! They arrived on the 9th and they left on the 16th November … time flew!
The teachers responsible were on the Portuguese side Lígia Luís and Teresa Reis and on the Belgian side Johan Mestdagh and Sarah Segers and we had 20 marvellous students on each side that became quite good pals. We were 44 on the move most of the days!
The programme was challenging … let me make you a summary of what we did together in order to arise curiosity of every student that hasn’t still taken part in such programmes and to make all of us, that joined this year, recall the sweet moments that we shared along these eight days.
On the 9th November, Tuesday, a bus picked up our Belgian partners at the airport and brought them to school … we, the Portuguese, were in our classes but we were eager to meet them, so when the bell rang we all ran to them. We were a bit together and then our Belgian partners left (we had to attend our classes … Bahhhh!!!!) for Parque da Paz and we only got together at lunchtime in Forum to stroll through Almada Velha. We went to the city museum, we talked and talked while we kept walking along the narrow streets, we came down in “Elevador Boca do Vento” and we headed to Cacilhas, a nice walk along the river and with Lisbon just on the other side!!! We came back to school so that our partners could pick up their luggage and then we met again at our teacher’s with a cooked traditional meal to share among ourselves. It was a nice evening, we ate superbly (a special thanks to the mums!!!), we sang together and we talked and talked.
On the 10th, Wednesday, the morning was spent at school, attending classes and in the afternoon off we went to Costa da Caparica. The idea was to surf but the sea betrayed us, the waves were damned high and so we couldn’t go in the water. Well, we didn’t mind as we played some football, volleyball and all the other games we could remember and we sat together and talked. The weather was nice so we had a nice afternoon all together. We went home to have a family dinner but at 9,30pm we were all together again because we wanted to celebrate Candice and Pedro Pires’s birthdays. We sang “Happy birthday”, we gave our friends some gifts and as usual it was hard to say goodbye but we had to go to bed because the following day we had to wake up early.
On the 11th, Thursday, we headed to “Badoca Park” and we had a fantastic day in the park. We saw all the animals on a Safari, we had an African Rafting (we got a bit wet but who cares, right?), we had a nice lunch at the park’s restaurant and then in the afternoon we had two interesting shows/lectures on birds of prey (the eagle was such fun … it seemed like a puppy!!) and lemurs (such curious animals, aren’t they?) and our Belgian friends had the explanation about these unusual and strange animals in Dutch, they were lucky as the lady who took care of them was Dutch herself, but she also spoke good Portuguese!!! We all arrived tired but happy after such a wonderful and sunny day. Thanks Badoca Park, you were super!
On the 12th, Friday the Portuguese had to attend classes (again!!!! Bahhh!!!) and our Belgian friends and the teachers went to Lisbon. In the morning it was modern Lisbon, Expo, of course and in the afternoon it was old Lisbon. Some of the Portuguese students joined us but the poor souls who had classes in the afternoon only arrived near dinner time. Oh, yes, we had dinner all together at a Fado restaurant in the heart of Alfama … we all enjoyed our meal and it was a new experience for most of the group but we had to feel what ‘saudade’ and ‘destino’ mean, right???? Then we walked all the way until Santos and we showed our Belgian friends a bit of the nightlife for youngsters and why Lisbon is known all through Europe as the capital that never sleeps. Well, we did, because we caught the last boat home as on Saturday we had a lot to do.
On the 13th, Saturday, we went to Belém. We travelled by boat, we went up to Paredão dos Descobrimentos, what a nice view we had of Lisbon and the river … we visited Mosteiro dos Jerónimos … and we went to buy some (well, a lot … LLooL) pasteis de Belém, delicious they were … and they sweetened our way back home. We went home for dinner and to rest …
On the 14th, Sunday, it was family day so all of us took our partners to see what we thought best …
On the 15th, Monday, we went to magnificent Sintra. And, for a change, it was a sunny warm day there. We started by eating the traditional ‘travesseiros’ at one of the oldest Cafés in the centre of the city and then we had our guided tour in Sintra National Palace. What a marvellous palace that is … and our guides were patient (if some of you know what I mean …) and told us besides the history the legends that make part of its story … it was a nice morning. In the afternoon we went to Assafora, near S. Julião beach, donkey riding. Well, we didn’t only ride the donkeys, we brushed them, got to know their names – they all had names and they were really sweet but a bit stubborn … We know how some donkeys can be, right?????? In the evening we all had dinner together because our dear Belgian friends were to leave next day. We laughed, sang and a great evening and then we went home to rest because the following morning we had to be at school at 8.30am.
On the 16th, Tuesday, the Portuguese went to classes (there we go again …Bahhhh!!!!!) and our Belgian partners went to Lisbon. They visited the castle of S. Jorge, they went shopping and teacher Johan went to Belém and bought almost 200 pastéis de Belém to take back home. We picked them up in Cacilhas and we travelled along until the airport (Thank God classes had already finished or else …) to say goodbye until April.
Well, that was it and as I said in the beginning time flew!!! So, will we next April, to meet these good friends again. Now, we will share with you some of our photos and if you want to see more go to the European Club website. I’ll report again after our stay there.
The reporter on duty:
Teacher Lígia Luís
Photos by Johan Mestdagh