TY School Tour 2014
In the early hours of the morning on April 11th we met in Cork airport to set off to Amsterdam. We arrived in Amsterdam at about eight o clock and hopped on the coach to go into the city. The first activity we had planned that day was a canal tour of the city, we found this very interesting and it was a good laugh! The canal boat stopped on the bank opposite the Reijk museum where we would spend the rest of our morning. We then got back on the coach which dropped us in the city centre where we were given two hours to see the rest of the city. Amsterdam is a beautiful city with many great shops and we all had a great time! We spent the first night in a small hotel in a seaside town. We had dinner and were given time to go out and see the village, we all spent most of the time on the beach playing soccer.
We woke bright and early the next morning in anticipation for the Duinrell amusement and waterpark. This was by far the best day of the tour; everyone had a great time on the roller-coasters and waterslides! The warm sunny weather contributed to the enjoyment of the day. Unfortunately we had to get on the bus and endure a four hour journey to our next hotel in the medieval town of Ypres. We went for dinner in a lovely hotel and we all went to bed early after our exhausting day in Duinrell.
On Sunday morning we again arose early for the day’s activities. Today we would be going on a platoon experience and fulfilling the role of an Australian soldier during the battle of Pachendale. Before all of this we were guided on a tour around the battle museum which boasted many impressive weapons and war apparatus. The museum had also built replica trenches which gave us an insight into gruelling life of a soldier at war. We were then kitted out in the Australian soldier’s uniform. For lunch we ate a tommy tucker meal which few seemed to enjoy. We were then given a role and identity of a real soldier giving us the brief history of his life before setting out on the journey to Tyncot cemetery. This was a long demanding walk in the heat of the day but we all learned a lot about the history of the battle. Upon arrival at the cemetery we handed in our riffles before getting a guided tour of the cemetery. This was an emotional experience especially the fact that we were walking across the final resting place of over 11,000 men who perished in battle. Once again we went for dinner in the town square in which we enjoyed lovely Spag Bol!! Before heading back to the hotel for an early night after another tough day!
On the final day of the tour we visited the historic city of Brussels. When we arrived we were dropped between the old and the new city where we began our walking tour. We were split into two groups and the guides were very knowledgeable and interesting. The architecture in Brussels was unreal; it was like nothing I have ever seen before. The history of the city was very interesting and we all enjoyed the tour of the old city very much. Before beginning our tour of the new city we were given an hour free time to bask in the magnificence of the historic city. We visited many shops and bought loads of souvenirs to remind of us of our day spent in the city. We also got something to eat as we had not eaten since breakfast. After that we got back on the coach to begin our bus tour of the new city. We saw many striking buildings including the royal palace and the European Union buildings. The guide showed us the contrast between the modern glass buildings and the ancient stone buildings. We visited the EU building where we got a tour and were free to walk around and embrace the history of European politics. Afterwards we got back on the bus for what would be the final time and headed for the airport. We checked in and two hours later boarded the plane to fly home.
Overall we did many different activities and we all had a good laugh doing them, it was a very enjoyable and memorable weekend for all involved! #TheDam2014
By David Stack and Daniel O’ Mahony.