Christmas Cheer

Last week 44 Year 8 students and 5 members of staff from Hedingham School set off to visit the Christmas markets in Cologne in Germany. As well as having lots of fun and buying presents for friends and family, the idea was that the students, who are all studying German at school, would be able to practise speaking German.

After a long journey by ferry and coach the students arrived in Cologne and after a good night’s sleep they were ready to tackle over 500 steps to climb to the top of the beautiful cathedral tower to have an fantastic view across the city. As Daniel Sing who is 12 years old commented, ’The cathedral was pretty exciting because the stained glass was so beautiful and the view from the top of the tower was amazing, but I got very tired going up and down the stairs!’ The cathedral was surrounded by a huge Christmas market resplendent with twinkly lights and just to make it all feel extra Christmassy, it started to snow as the students arrived at the cathedral steps.

Following the long climb, the students were ready to try out their German phrases to buy food at the Christmas market stalls and were soon munching bratwurst sausages and tucking into huge waffles smothered in cream! Natasha Hill from Sible Hedingham said, ‘There were many fairground rides in the markets too, such as a mini Ferris wheel, a carousel and an ice skating rink. Many of us got Christmas presents for our family and friends so we didn’t spend all the money on ourselves!

The next stop was greatly anticipated – the Lindt Chocolate Museum which is situated in a beautiful position right on the banks of the Rhine. Students were fascinated to learn more about how chocolate is made from cocoa bean to the finished product and were delighted to test rivers of molten Lindt chocolate flowing from the biggest chocolate fountain they had ever seen! As 12 year old Charlotte Coach commented, ‘We had lots of fun at the Christmas markets but the best thing of all was the Lindt chocolate museum. The free entry chocolates were very nice and the chocolate fountain dunked wafers were so good that we disguised ourselves with different hats and went up for seconds!’ In the evening students gave presentations to the rest of the group in German explaining all the exciting things they had done during the day which really helped them to practise their language skills.

On Saturday, after a visit to another Christmas market on the Dutch border at Aachen, the students and teachers had to start for home but as Daisy Newton said, ‘The coach journeys were very entertaining - our driver, John had been a DJ before he became a coach driver so he played many songs for us to sing along to and he even fiddled with the coach lights to make it seem like a disco. None of us wanted to get off when we got back to Hedingham!’

As 12 year old Layla Goodchild from Sible Hedingham summed up,’ Overall we had loads of fun and loved every minute of the trip!