Thursday 12th November The Hague

Hi everybody

The Dutch thought that we had to get up very early today (for us this is normal). We had to meet at 7.30 in front of the busses. Some people were sleeping in the bus because we had a small party yesterday.

We chose a special route to the Hague. We drove along the storm surge barriers and made a little stop in Rotterdam to have a look at some special buildings.

Our fist stop in The Hague was the Palace of Peace. We learned about how peace between two countries can be made without war but with arbitrating and diplomacy and why there exist peace contracts.

Most of us had a sandwich from “Subway” for lunch and we could visit a traditional Dutch market. It was not that big but there were lots of interesting books. After lunch we saw the Royal Palace and its guards. Sadly we couldn’t take pictures as this was forbidden.

Later we went to a really nice museum, the “Panorama Mesdag”, a panorama picture of the landscape near The Hague. The painting was really creepy for your brain because it looked so real. After that we went to the “Mauritshuis” where we saw paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer and other famous painters. We had to build groups and try to copy one of Rembrandt’s paintings in about two minutes. Our sketches looked quite awful!

After all this sightseeing it was shopping-time. We could do our stuff for three hours and all got back to the busses with full shopping bags!

Laurin and Aron

Wednesday 11th November storm surge barrier

Hi everybody

Today everybody was at school on time.We watched a film called “Delta Finale”.The film was about how they constructed the storm surge barrier in the Netherlands.The Dutch had other problems than we in Switzerland: They were constantly fighting against the sea. All the Swiss students were interested in the film but the Dutch students took out the phones. We were shocked that the Dutch teachers didn’t do anything, but of course for the Dutch this is all part of their daily life.

We walked along the sea with the other Xchange students form Italy and Spain and saw some parts of this huge construction. We took a lot of group pictures there.

In Veere, a nice little village, which is crowded with tourists in summer, we took our lunch. It was a pity that some of us had to sit outside because they didn’t have enough seats for everybody inside.

After that we went back to Middelburg to the Zeeuws Museum (a museum which shows all kinds of art of the province of Zeeland) where we had to do a workshop.We made small drawings on a piece of paper and art students who were our guides explained to us what these things were. Sometimes their plan didn’t work, but it was funny! At the end all of the groups had to make small drawings on a huge paper which will be displayed as a wall carpet in Nehalennia.

Tamara and Alina

Tuesday 10th November Antwerpen

Hi everybody and goedendag!

Today we were in Antwerp.The bus took us there in about an hour.We were there a little bit late so we had to run to the museum called Rubenshuis. We didn’t travel there alone, a Spanish and an Italian group who also take part in the Xchange programme did the journey with us.The Swiss were at the museum first, but they let the Spanish in first. So we had to wait and wait and WAIT….Meanwhile we did a round in the city centre.

Rubens is a world famous painter who is famous for having painted fat women. But we didn’t see many of his paintings, the museum shows mainly paintings of contemporary painters and we could see his beautiful and richly decorated house. It was a little difficult for us to understand the guide so we were glad we could go and have lunch after that: We enjoyed French fries and waffles.

Did you know that the name “French fries” comes from the Americans who fought in Belgium , ate these special potatoes, came home and told their families and friends about these fries. They thought they had been in France! So actually we should call them “Belgian fries”.

Martin and Fabian

Monday 9th November

We woke up at 7.15, and we had a piece of bread with cheese and ham and other Dutch specialities for breakfast. School started at 8.30. First the teachers hold a presentation about the Netherlands. After that we had to “speed date” each other. The Dutch presented us typical specialities of their country like “stroopwafels”, “lakritz” (which hardly anybody liked) and “speculaas”. We also told each other about our hobbies.

Then it was time for our city-trip.We started with a boat ride on one of the canals. The guide told us a lot of Middelburg’s history while driving.For example: Middelburg was a very important city in the 16th century; it was an important trading centre. We hopped off the boat and went to the “Lange Jan” where we climbed the 207 steps to have a fantastic view over Middleburg. Then we walked to a kind of a fortress which used to be an abbey later. After all this useful information by Mr.Francke, the Dutch teacher, we walked back to school. There we met our Dutch friends and went home again.

This day we’ve learnt a lot about Middleburg’s history.

Marco and Jan

Sunday – family day

After 16 hours we arrived in Middelburg. Everyone was getting nervous and afraid to see his/her Xchange partner.. The Dutch students, their parents and the teachers (except one) were already expecting us. The warm welcome was a real highlight: They had even taken a Dutch flag with them!

First, our Xchange-families took us to their home. After lunch we went to the beach of Vlissingen. We enjoyed the beautiful view and walked along the sea shore.We could even see some huge container ships. We were looking for some shells and found some to take home. It was very windy and therefore cold, behind the dunes it was quite a bit warmer.

Later we went to a restaurant and were talking and eating something.

After this great day we went to bed early because we were very tired. It was a wonderful first day in Holland.

Michelle, Moira and Fabienne

… and off we go!

Finally the day has come, we met at the train station in Andelfingen at 19.15. We said goodbye to our families and friends and drove to Zurich main station.We were all very excited to get into the City Night Line. As soon as we were all in our rooms, we had to realise that they were very tiny.We brought our stuff and then it was rather quiet. In our room (Tamara, Alina, Vanessa and Fatima) we opened the window and every time we were at a station we were talking a bit with some people.

At 22.30 we had to be quiet and go to sleep, but most of us didn’t do so. At midnight three drunk guys came along the train and tried to open the doors but we had locked them, so they couldn’t get in.

Sunday morning we woke up at about 7.30 and ate some breakfast. The train was late, so we couldn’t catch the scheduled train. We took the next one. As soon as we had arrived we went into a bus and drove a bit through Holland .We were very amazed by the trees and the houses(it’s called “unintentional sightseeing”). Then we got to the next train station to catch another train . We were very amazed by the trees and the houses.

Yes- and we are relieved that we’ve finally made it to Holland and are looking forward to this week.

By Fatima and Vanessa