WE DEPARTED ON THE 25TH … HOORAY!!!! AND WE WERE BACK ON THE 2ND MAY … BAH!!!!
And in Belgium we were…
Oh, yes, we took off from Lisbon about 8.00am and we arrived in Brussels about midday … we were a bit late but this time it was not our fault … LoL … and our dear Belgian friends were all waiting for us at the airport … it was really nice to see them again!
Our partners took us home to unpack, have lunch, rest for a while and catch up on the nearly 5 months apart and afterwards we all met at school for some games and a nice meal that the dear nice Belgian parents had prepared for us. Well, guess where we had dinner???? At the school yard! No, I’m not joking, we took the tables outside from the canteen because it was such nice weather that it was worth sitting outside for our delicious meal, odd, isn’t it???? Nice and warm weather in Belgium … magic was in the air … a fantastic week to come, for sure…
Tuesday morning we met at school at 8.45 am and we took the bus to Brussels, it was a nice trip through the fields until we arrived at the beautiful capital city of Belgium. We headed straight to the chocolate factory Duval, we listened attentively to all the explanations of chocolate while watching and trying all the varieties… that was really ‘sweet’ and then João Pires ‘made’ some pralines … well, he would have to practice a lot to be a bit quicker but we can state that he had the skills … well done, João!
We left the factory all sweetened up and off we went downtown … we visited Jeanneke Pis (oh, yes, there is a little girl peeing as well … we are expert guides in Brussels), the famous and brave Manneken Pis (this is the little boy) and La Grand-Place … and when we get there we are overwhelmed by the beauty that surrounds us … it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in whole Europe … we all sat for a little while looking around us and listening to teacher Johan’s brief explanation. We stayed in Brussels until 6.00pm and then we returned to Kapelle. We had dinner and we all met again at Sarah’s for a garden party – thanks Sarah’s parents and Sarah for the wonderful evening!
On Wednesday morning we all went to school, we attended classes and teacher Johan welcomed us in his class and led us through a ‘music tour’ since the 50s to show us that some of the well known singers and bands that we all believed to be French, English or even American, were in fact Belgian … oops, how embarrassing !!!!
Soon after our ‘smoskes ’, tasty, typical lunch, we rode the bikes to Breendonck, the concentration camp. (Well, teachers Sara and Lígia took the car because we would need support if anything went wrong, like a flat tyre or ‘no breaks’ – which actually happened!!! Portuguese teachers sacrifice themselves for the well-being of their students!!!!!!!) At the concentration camp, we stepped back in history until World War II and we experienced one of the darkest times of Europe … we felt disturbed and filled with an overwhelming sense of outrage but at the same time more enlightened and more aware of the injustices and cruelty of such times! We all felt that we will never allow something like this to happen again! We rode back to school and started preparing our typical Belgian dinner. We had a wonderful dinner with delicious food … what a nice day!
On Thursday we took the train to Antwerp. What a city! The old and the modern part are gorgeous. We walked from the station until the harbour, then we strolled through the old city until the Grote Markt where teacher Johan told us about the legend of the giant killed by a young hero, Brabo, who was just standing in front of us holding the giant’s hand. We had a lunch break and then it was time for the ‘city foto-game’ … it rained a bit but we were all enthusiastically following the tips to conclude the game successfully, so who cared, right??? We still had some free time to go shopping and so we all window shopped for a while and then back home … we needed a rest, so it was a quiet evening with our partners!
On Friday off we went to Durbuy in the Ardennes! The bus was waiting for us at school at 7.45 a.m. and we started early getting ready for our adventure in the river. We arrived at the kayaks about 11, we dressed accordingly, or even better we undressed because we knew beforehand that we were going to get wet … some more than others, of course, it depended on our expertise… oops … some of us had a hard time … left bank, right bank … again left bank, right bank … oh, no, not again … why can’t we go straight???? Rivers can be tricky, right girls and boys???? But we all arrived safely … we were brave enough … and we’ll never forget it, for sure! It was fun! We all had lunch in town, which is said to be the smallest town in the world. Durbuy is an idyllic place! We got back tired but happy and we went apart because Saturday was family day.
On Sunday we went to Bruges and to the coast, Ostend. We left from school at 8.30 a.m. and we arrived in Bruges at 10.00 a.m. We had a guided tour through the medieval city, we went on a boat trip along the canals … thank God we weren’t rowing or I don’t know what would have happened to the other boats full of tourists … LoL!!!! We had lunch in the city and then we travelled to the coast. There we rode the ‘go carts’ and as the weather was sunny and warm we had a very nice Sunday afternoon. We came back to see the Atomium and after dinner we had our Goodbye party in Londerzeel.
On Monday morning there we were at the airport … it was really hard to say goodbye … well, for some more than others … LoL … being naughty, I am!!!! But, honestly, it was hard for all of us, we had had a fantastic week and it is always hard to realise that it must come to an end, right??? We kissed and we said ‘ta-ta’ … we’ll be again together, I’m sure!!!!
The reporter on duty: teacher Lígia Luís
PS – a kiss to my dear friend teacher Teresa Reis who couldn’t join us this year but that I’m certain will have a nice time reading this chronicle!