We’ve arrived safely in Manchester. Our flight for Knock leaves at 10.35. It is due to leave on schedule and we hope to see everyone again at 12 noon. In the meantime it’s off to check out the duty free. 🙂
This morning we visited our host school and played a football match. They had looked up the rules and videos on Youtube. They even watched last year’s All-Ireland final – Donegal v. Mayo! The game finished in a draw: 3-3 to 3-3. Gerald, our Comenius director from Austria, spoke to us on some future activities planned for next year. Then we had a party! The Mayor of Strasbourg was there. We were given gifts and everyone was so lovely. We presented the children with two board games that were made in Ireland – Discover Ireland & Discover Europe. We also had presents for the teachers. One of the teachers, Mathieu, asked Marie what was the best and worst part of the trip. She said the worst part was leaving France. 🙂
We got the TGV back to Paris and travelled back to our hotel on the metro. We did some shopping in GAP and Monoprix. Then we went to a restaurant for dinner. Afterwards we visited the Eiffel Tower one last time to see it lit up at night. It was beautiful. On our way back to the hotel we went to McDonalds for McFlurrys. We have an early start tomorrow and a coach will collect us at the hotel to take us to the airport. We hope to arrive in Knock Airport at 12 o’clock.
Today we went to the European Parliament for a tour. It is a huge building. The chamber holds 1465 people in total (including visitors).
Next we went to the European Court of Human Rights. We were welcomed by Ann Power who is the judge with regard to Ireland since 2008. We got to see the Grand Chamber which has 17 judges. Ann Power was very nice and explained all about the Court.
Then, after lunch, we went visited the Cathedral in Strasbourg which is called Notre Dame, like in Paris.
Afterwards, we took a tour of Strasbourg on the river Ill. We saw the old and new parts of the city. We had earphones which we used to listen to an explanation of the tour.
Finally we went shopping for souvenirs! We had a great day. 🙂
Today we got up very early – 6.30am!! We had breakfast at 7 and then went by tram to our partner school in Hoenheim. In France they start school at 8 o’clock and at the platform the teachers and children greeted us with Irish flags and a big cheer. It was so nice. We then boarded a coach to visit the Fort of Schoenenbourg. It was the most heavily bombed fort on the Maginot Line in World War 2. The French hoped the Line would prevent a German invasion but the Germans went around it through the Ardennes forest. We had a tour which lasted over two hours.
Afterwards we went back to the school where we were given lunch. We introduced ourselves to the other children. We played basketball and soccer with them. We painted plastic Easter eggs and made some bunnies with marla. Then we sang a French song we had learned with the French children. Everyone clapped. The vice-Mayor of Strasbourg was also there to visit us. The Mayor will come on Thursday to say hello. Strasbourg is in Alsace and the French children did a traditional Alsation dance. Tonight the teachers are taking us out for a traditional Alsation meal. Their traditional dish is like a type of pizza so we’re looking forward to it! 🙂
— Fiona Farry (@ffarry1) March 22, 2013
Today we checked out of our hotel and went to the Irish embassy by metro. The Irish ambassador and his wife greeted us. In case we didn’t know he told us that Mayo had beaten Donegal yesterday. We were given a tour of the embassy by Meg Laffan, the cultural attaché. She is from Limerick. The rooms very big with very high ceilings. The carpets and rugs were made in Donegal. There were lots of old paintings and old-style furniture. There are four floors and twenty-two people working in the embassy. We were told all about the work of the embassy. In February, our president Michael D. Higgins was there and last November the Taoiseach visited. Today, the minister Róisín Shorthall was arriving for a meeting in the afternoon.
Afterwards, We just had enough time to visit the Louvre and see the Mona Lisa. There was a huge crowd of people taking photos and looking at the painting. The painting itself was quite small. The picture opposite was massive but not as many people were looking at that!
Then we went to Gare de l’Est to take the TGV to Strasbourg. It’s our first time on the TGV. We can see on the teacher’s laptop how fast the train is going. The fastest was 320km/h which is 200 miles per hour! We can see what the French countryside looks like. All the fields are very flat and there aren’t any stone walls! We saw a tractor ploughing a huge field. When we got to Strasbourg the French teachers met us at the station and took us to our accommodation.