We started our third and final day in Strasbourg with a well needed sleep-in until 9:00am, especially after spending the night before spending time with our newly made friends from Ireland. Our last breakfast was a quick one, and after we finished we headed back to our rooms to pack our bags. When all our bags were packed, we put on our jackets, hats and scarves as we got ready to bear the brunt of the cold that faced us around Strasbourg. We left the hotel at 10:00am, and met our tour guide who would take us around Strasbourg.
She began by taking us on a walk along the side of the Rhine, and showed us the different architecture that was around Strasbourg. She told us about the history of Strasbourg and showed us the beautiful scenery that was visible in almost every direction you could look. We found out that Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France, and that its metropolitan area was the ninth largest in France. Towards the end of the tour, we were shown the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the 6th tallest church in the world. It was a fascinating building, with a lot of interesting history behind it. After this, the tour guide left us and we were given free time to wander the city of Strasbourg.
Of course, we first had to taste some of the fine French cuisine – so we went for dinner in McDonalds. After this, we shopped around, buying presents for loved ones and attempting to speak to the shop assistants in French, however we were restricted to “Bonjour” which led to be a problem. Other than that, the city had much to offer with different shops and even more scenery. The walk back to the hotel to get our bus was an emotional one, as we knew that it would be our last time walking it for this trip. However, the warmth of the hotel beat the cold any day.
We got on the bus to Frankfurt at 4pm, and arrived later that evening. The bus journey was relaxing, and used as a time to catch up on sleep from the trip. When we reached the airport, we checked in and what seemed to be minutes after, our plane was ready to take off. However, the fact that the German security suspected Tedd of bringing something other than joy into Germany was shocking to say the least. When the plane descended onto Irish soil, we said our goodbyes to our newly-made Irish friends and raced for the bus home. As we arrived back in Limerick at 2:00am Saturday morning, we all undoubtedly missed the beautiful city of Strasbourg. It was a very enjoyable trip and we were all incredibly grateful to Euroscola for giving us the wonderful opportunity.
The hotel wake-up call rang at quarter to 7, ensuring that we were ready for breakfast by 7:15. It was an important day, hence the early morning. We all piled into the bus at quarter to 8 and greeted our new friends. The bus journey to the Parliament Building was our first look at Strasbourg by the daylight. At the Louis Weiss Parliament Building we properly met Ireland’s other representatives, and were split into our groups. We were brought into The Hemicycle, and took our seats where the Members of Parliament debate issues. There was a presentation from all 28 countries introducing themselves, their school and their country. We were represented by Maurice Lynch, who told hundreds of people about Coláiste Chiaráin in German. There was a question and answer session with the representatives from the European Parliament, which was really interesting. At lunch we had to split into teams to take part in the Eurogame. We were given a quiz, with each question in a different language. We had to find teammates from different countries and find people to help translate the questions for us; there was no time for language barriers. After lunch we split into our groups to discuss the topics we were given. I got to take part in the Freedom of Information Committee, which was a really interesting place to be. We began by electing a rapporteur and a chairperson to report our conclusions to the rest of Euroscola. We were delighted to elect Cait Bird from Belfast and Luis Utor from Spain. For an hour we discussed freedom of information and what could and should be done about the topic. We came up with proposals had debated our points. We were then brought back to the Hemicycle to hear what the other groups had been discussing in their groups. Luis spoke for us answered all questions posed to him. We were given to chance to challenge the proposals of other groups, and ultimately vote on them. We were given headphones to listen to so we could hear the interpreter when languages other than English were spoken. There were also interpreters for German and French. Finally, four teams from the Eurogame were called up for the final. Ian Moloney was in the Green Team, but unfortunately the Red Team won. We all stood as they played the anthem of the European Union, Ode to Joy. Just like that, it was time to leave the European Parliament and go back to the hotel. There we gratefully ate our dinners and spent the night hanging out with our new friends.
Our trip to Strasbourg began on the morning of the 4th of February when eight students, their teacher and their teddy bear all made their way to Dublin Airport. Once at the airport we immediately met another group from Northern Ireland that would be journeying to the European Parliament with us. We quickly became friends with them and they became the first of many people who would come to love the charming rogue that is Tedd. Within a few minutes we were checked-in, had our bags dropped off and were through security and then we had some free time to enjoy before our flight. Before we did anything else though, we went for food where some delicious pizzas were in order. Afterwards we ventured to W.H. Smith where Tedd perused through books such as Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them (Tedd of course being a fantastic beast himself) and 50 Shades of Grey (he hadn’t realised what he was reading). After no time at all we found ourselves on-board our flight, jetting through the sky on our way to Frankfurt. It was late evening when we finally touched down in Germany and we were all abuzz with excitement. A coach was waiting there to bring us to France and we boarded along with the forty other students from the Republic and Northern Ireland. Two hours later we were driving through the beautiful streets of Strasbourg until, after a long day of travelling, we reached our hotel. As it was half eleven, Tedd and the rest of us were all pretty tired but that didn’t abate the sense of excitement that was in the air. We were ready for the rest of the trip!
Here are some photos of Tedd inside the European Parliament.
Here are some of the photos from our Strasbourg Trip … Stay Tuned for more….