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HOLLAND 2022

Thursday 16th June 

A fantastic final day in Holland. Here is a little treat for all the parents. 

 

Don’t forget it’s 6:15pm at Belfast International Airport!

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Wednesday 15th June 

 

Another great night’s sleep with more and more children having to be woken by the teachers! The day started with our now customary, delicious breakfast before meeting our driver. This was a bit of an experience as he spoke no English and Mr Beckett certainly didn’t speak any Dutch, you’d think after all these years he’d at least make an effort! Only down to the miracle of google translate, we were able to set off on the road to Cologne, full of anticipation about the day ahead. The children are becoming professional travellers now, before we could even get started they had their USB cables plugged in and ready to charge. As we approached Cologne, Mr Massey got the mic and took over giving the children a talk about the history of Cologne Cathedral and the war. 

 

Once in Cologne we headed straight for the Cathedral - what an impressive building! The children found out that this was one of the only buildings in Cologne not to be bombed during the 1000 bomber raids of WW2 because the RAF used it as a navigation point to plot their attacks.  We then made our way in and were lucky enough to visit the tomb of the 3 kings (The Magi). After a whistle stop tour, (spending a long time in a cathedral with 45 children is never a good idea) it was time to hit the highlight of Cologne and no this was not the architecture and it wasn’t the numerous historical points of interest, it was Starbucks! Who ever thought a Starbucks would excite the children so much. 

 

After the children, and staff, had enjoyed their frappuccinos, it was time to return to the bus before heading to the zoo. 

 

When we arrived, the weather was getting warmer and warmer - this really was going to be a scorcher! You would think the first thing the children would want to do was visit the many animals, but no. Money definitely seems to burn a hole in some of your children's pockets! No sooner had Mr Massey given them their pocket money than the children were heading straight for the gift shops. We saw many animals including hippos, cheetahs, giraffes and even got to see 2 gorillas having a bit of a fight- they really were some size! However, the highlight had to be the baboons - what a fascinating spectacle that was! Mrs Norton was in shock at how well they caught the apples, one baboon even managed to catch 4 in its hand and 2 in its mouth - the kids cheered every catch! After that they decided to take part in some after dinner relaxation and grooming, so we hurried the children on!! 

 

From here we headed to see the large cats. At this point the weather was just getting a little much. It’s not often that Mrs Anderson is complaining about the heat. There was only one thing for it, a drink and an ice lolly, the shops must’ve been rubbing their hands every time they saw us coming - these kids really know how to spend! 

 

We then headed to see the bears, meerkats and finally the flamingos! 

 

The weather was now showing 34 degrees and the executive decision to visit the indoor aquarium was made. This allowed the children to see many exotic fish, alligators, frogs, snakes and lizards whilst also keeping them out of the now extreme heat.

 

Every child had an absolutely brilliant day and really made the most of their time in Cologne. 

 

Tiredness had clearly hit and the teachers were looking forward to a quiet bus ride home. Mr Massey even having a fancy eye mask with him to help him nap (it must be his wife’s). However, not this group! As tiredness increases so does the volume. Turns out Mr Massey knew what he was doing! We arrived back a little early and this gave everyone the opportunity to have a shower and get themselves looking their best for tea.

 

We had another two 1sts this year at Dinner! First, was the introduction of a brand new pizza oven with fresh pizzas being made, this was tough for the chef to keep up with the demand. The other first was like something out of first dates with a romantic double dinner dates.

 

Once they had demolished the ice-cream and water melon, a real hit this year, it was straight out to a newly discovered green area. This was a great find as it was exactly what this year group needed. The football was out, the gymnastics were being practiced and there was a few Tik-Tok videos getting perfected. The kids just loved being together, spending time playing and generally just having fun. 

Before we left for the hotel and bed, there was still time for an ice lolly!

 

Another fantastic day had by all, including the adults. It really has been a pleasure to have this group away with us this year - a true credit to their families! One last big day of fun tomorrow before our journey home. Enjoy the photographs.

 

 

Tuesday 14th June

 

An early start this morning with the kids up and ready for 8am. After a lovely breakfast we headed off to Phantasialand for a fun filled day of adventure. We had a new bus driver today called Arno, he ran a tight ship and had the kids very settled and quiet for the journey - definitely the teachers favourite bus driver yet! The weather was looking amazing with not a cloud in the sky and our very own sun worshippers, Mrs Anderson and a few of our girls were very excited - today was going to be a great day!

 

When we arrived Mr Beckett handed out the tickets. The children were chomping at the bit to get into the park and once the barrier was raised poor Mrs Norton and the attendants were nearly ran over!

 

Once inside, we headed straight for the swings and once on these there was no doubt that Towerview had arrived! A full ride load of children in their white polo shirts screaming and chanting as they were whizzed around! Then it was off to the Runaway Train. This had been classed as a 'ride for everyone' and therefore most of the children braved it. On closer inspection, and by the looks on some of the children's faces by the end, this may need to be upgraded next year! 

 

As it was 24 degrees, we decided to head to the ‘Log Flumes’. This was one of the rides that we saw some of the children really push themselves. With one of the biggest drops for a log flume in Europe it could’ve put some children off but, not this group, this was their time to shine and many stood up to their fear - they really wanted to make the most of their time. Once on, the soaking began and by the end there were quite a few children that looked a little more like drenched animals, especially Mr Beckett who managed to get soaked right through to his smalls! 

After this it was off to the ‘Black Mamba’ to try and use a little G-force to help dry us a little. The kids really were buzzing when they came off this they couldn’t wait to get on to the next one. The teachers on the other hand were struggling to keep up with the pace and had gone a full 3 hours without a coffee or a tea!

 

Next, it was time for lunch and we decided to head to china town where you could get chicken nuggets or noodles. However, the queue for these items seemed to be very short and the teachers were a little confused, until we started to notice children returning with chocolate crepes, candy floss, slush puppies, metre long sweets and even chocolate covered popcorn - just look at some of the pictures!!

 

After lunch we headed for the toilets before hitting the 'Taron', - the fastest multi-launch roller-coaster in the world!! The children were all very brave and couldn't wait to get on it. However, the queue was very long and as kids do, 2 boys hadn’t visited the toilet when they were suppose to and were now looking very uncomfortable as we waited. It was at this point that there was a new first for our long running trip to Holland. As we turned a corner there was a little foliage and needless to say the boys made good use of the coverage 🙈. The rollercoaster was definitely worth the wait and was a favourite for many of the kids that went on this. 

 

Whilst this group was waiting, the children that didn’t fancy the Taron headed back to the swings. They seemed to really enjoy this ride and five goes later, yes FIVE, they finally decided to give Mr Massey a break. The children just loved every second of it before meeting up with the rest of the group.

 

Once together again, we went to take on some more of the rides Phantasialand had to offer. We went on 'Fear and Force' and ‘Au chocolatier'. By this stage it was 26 degrees and we had to stop to take on plenty of fluids in preparation for one last big push. Much against the wishes of some of the staff, the children wanted to give the ‘Talocan’ a go! Mr Massey, Mr Beckett and Mrs Hill pulled the short straw and took a small group of very brave children to face the challenge! This is no ordinary ride, check out the video! The kids were so brave, the same however can not be said about the teachers! There was screaming, shouting and maybe even a few expletives shared and that was just from Mr Beckett!

 

Today at Phantasialand it really was an amazing day. Many of the kids faced their fears, gave there all, pushed themselves and gained so much confidence as the day went on. It was amazing to see their faces totally lit up with pride and excitement as they shared their very own adventure stories and experiences with one another. You should be very proud parents - we’re very proud leaders!

 

We returned to the bus to be greeted once again by Arno. He had obviously read our minds and as we turned up we were greeted with a chilled drink from the bus cooler - this was very welcomed by all!

 

On the journey home the children were exhausted and many fell asleep - the excitement had been too much for many of them, including the teachers. This was a fantastic trip and the children really pushed themselves to get the most out of their experience. A day that they will remember and talk about for many, many years to come.

 

The evening was much quieter as the children settled down to an ice lolly, some fun outside and a stroll in the evening sun before heading off to bed after another very busy day!

 

All tucked up in bed now, ready for another exciting day in Cologne tomorrow. The children continue to be full of fun and excitement and really are having a blast! Again be very proud of them, a super group! Until tomorrow, enjoy the photos.

 

 

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Monday 13th June

 

What a fantastic day, definitely one to remember!! All kids are now showered and tucked up safely for bed after an epic first day. 

 

The day started well with the kids waking up after a good night’s sleep ready for what the day had to offer.

 

Breakfast was a real treat! We had eggs, toast, cereal, fruit salads, you name it the kids ate it, and then ate it again and again! The hotel has never gone through so much chocolate spread and watermelon in one morning - they really did get their money’s worth! The staff are so kind and really are catering for our children!

 

Our first activity was to show the children around the quiet, continental town of Valkenburg. Needless to say it didn't stay like this for long as 45 children were let loose on the local gift shops! You're all very lucky parents, some of the presents bought today really will sit proudly on your mantlepiece and even on your person!!  Hats also seem to be the in thing this year, some very interesting selections and taste!

 

From Valkenburg it was onto a very picturesque Drielandenpunt! Once we arrived we had our lunch in the park before heading to the tri-point (the place were 3 countries meet - Holland, Germany and Belgium) where we all did a bit of jet setting, travelling from one country to the next with a simple step! Then it was off to the maze! The staff showed the children how to get in and sat down for 5 minutes. Now we know there are some water features in this maze, but they are for decoration only. We were rather surprised when the children had escaped from the maze, to find they had bathed in them. Following this our visit to the play park was a rather messy affair! The children had a ball but the base of the play-park is sand. So, you may have a bit of washing to do! Sorry! As always, Mr Beckett decided that this was a good opportunity to get a bit of ‘friendly’ competition going!  This consisted of the kids hanging for as long as they could on the monkey bars. This quickly then turned into a teacher competition and there was only ever going to be one winner... Mrs Hill’s time on the farm has definitely paid off as she blew the competition out of the water humiliating the male members of staff!

 

Once on the bus it was off to Mosaqua swimming pool. As they entered the building the excitement was palpable!

We took 45 children into the swimming pool and within seconds 45 children they were no where to be seen! So the staff decided- if we can’t beat em we’ll just join them. So in we went!

It was a great fun. Mrs Anderson and Mrs Norton looked after the bags and were the responsible adults whilst Mr Massey, Mrs Hill and Mr Beckett raced each other down the slides. The kids went down slides on their back, front, sideways, backwards and sometimes even upside down! After a while the pace slowed down with the kids(and Mrs Hill) taking some time out to enjoy a jacuzzi. 2 hours of pure fun and enjoyment and not a whistle was heard! The children continue to be a real credit to both yourselves and Towerview!

 

We raced home to our first dinner. The kids couldn't believe that it was a three course meal!!   They had chips, chicken, pasta, fish, potato croquettes and all the bread that they could eat. After dinner it was time for dessert and the hotel staff had to go to the freezer for more ice cream but the children were so well mannered,even the older guests complimented their behaviour. 

 

After dinner it was straight up to the rooms, grab their stuff and off to lazer tag in the caves. Everyone was very excited, including Mrs Norton. Our children are always very mannerly and polite, however, once they had that laser pack on them they changed!! Innocent girls became ferocious assassins and as for the boys, I think those hour of games have really had an affect on them! Needless to say it was a very competitive game with the children finding all sorts of hiding places and picking off their targets!!! This year however, there was an extra added surprise. A new attraction had been added to the caves and after a bit of Del Boy like bartering by Mr Beckett, we were able to agree on a price to allow the kids to enjoy ‘The Bounce’. This was a large netted climbing area that went up about 100ft in the air. As you climbed up there were sections of sprung nets that reached out over the side and had large bouncy balls in it. This became the real battle zone!! AQE prep had obviously angered a few of the kids and this was their time for revenge. Bouncy balls were flying everywhere, manly in the direction of the teachers and in the end the white flags were flying!

 

Once back at the hotel the children had some time to relax in their rooms. This didn’t last long as they were exhausted and all headed to bed quite quickly. It’s lovely to see the bonding and friendships that have been formed over their time at Towerview. We really have become a close knit community. 

 

Everything has been so easy going and stress free - let’s hope this continues. A big day ahead tomorrow at Phantasialand. Prepare yourselves for all the pictures of the kids and their healthy snacks!

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Sunday 12th June

 

Greetings from Holland!! All arrived safely and in bed HOPEFULLY sleeping. 

 

What a great day’s travel! After a frantic start with everyone arriving up at the international airport, we quickly got going and received some VIP treatment. Mrs Flanagan had rang up ahead of us and used her power of baking to blag us some preferential treatment. The children were whizzed through check in without even having to queue. Luckily enough for Mrs Anderson, the bags didn't even get weighed. People stopped to take notice as Towerview Primary School strolled straight through, wearing their new sunglasses and holiday clothes - the holiday had begun! 

 

A big thank you to Mrs Flanagan and Jean from Swissport, we really were treated like royalty, it's amazing what friends in high places (that can make a lovely chocolate cake) can get you! 

 

Also a special mention to Connor’s mum for all the tasty treats. Although they have added to the E numbers with the kids, they have also been a life saver for the staff to keep them going!

 

Our first adventure was our trip through security. This all seemed to be going very smoothly until we got to our last child. At this point there was a pause and the bag was searched - first out popped a pen knife, next a wrench and finally a pair of scissors. If it was bingo for things that you were not allowed to bring I think we may have been shooting full house! Although stressful at the time it’s things like this that create memories and stories for us when we return. No doubt if you have any other siblings going on the trip that you’ll hear this story again, at the meeting!

 

When through, the children were let loose on the shops. Most children went and did the sensible thing by buying a drink and some snacks for the plane. However, some of the others with a more discerning palette took this as an opportunity to head straight for their Frappuccino, or iced chocolate. Starbucks didn’t know what had hit them. Many seemed to have lifted the wrong drink as their names didn’t seem to match what was written on their cups - I didn’t remember taking a ‘Bob’ with us!?! 

 

We did warn you that if your children had money, they would spend it! Along with these fancy drinks we had head phones, sweets galore, a peppa pig book and even a woolly hat with a sheep on it (following in his brother’s footsteps) and even a large leprechaun, Irish hat! Some of these boys really are one of a kind!

 

As the plane journey approached the excitement was growing to fever pitch levels. You could see the fear in the eyes of the other travelling passengers as they realised that this group of 45 children were heading straight for their queue - ear phones at the ready, and that was just for the staff!

 

Once in the air the flight went by without any issues. The children were all very well behaved and were even able to work out our complex seating arrangements that allowed them to sit beside their friends. It only felt like we had just got up in the air and it was time to get our seatbelts on again and get ready to land. All the pupils were a credit to Towerview and we were very proud of every one of them, even getting a special mention from members of the public and the air hostesses for their exemplary behaviour.

 

We arrived in Schipol and headed straight for the passport control. This was very busy. However, believe it or not they seem to be allowed to smile in Holland. I am pleased to report that all the baggage has arrived safely - although not all children seemed to recognise their own bags and it was only after lifting another man’s large black bag that they realised that it wasn’t his but that the small silver bag left on the belt was!

 

The coach met us at the terminal and we met our bus driver Rene, he’s a lovely man and speaks very good English, thank goodness, as Mrs Hill’s Dutch isn’t great. The weather is dry and warm, and it looks like the sun is going to shine - Mr Massey and Mrs Anderson are expecting to top up their tan!! 

 

The children were great travellers! Whoever invented apps and iPads deserves a medal. We got to see plenty of Holland including windmills, bridges and rivers. However, the most fascinating thing for the children was using the on board toilet, seems like a right adventure!

 

We arrived at the hotel and had some time to settle into our rooms. Within 2 minutes it was made just like home for some of them. Clothes everywhere, sweets and crisp packets stacked up and socks in the sink! However, because it was very late, it was a quick turn around and off to bed.

 

A super day of travelling had by all, what a great start to our trip! The fun really begins tomorrow with the first of our organised activities. Every child is having a ball.

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