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Euro Space Centre Belgium February 2019
Trip to Euro Space Centre – Belgium, 15 to 17 February 2019
In February a group of 45 pupils from Y9 to 13 travelled to Belgium to visit the town of Bouillon and the Euro Space Centre. The aim was to show pupils that the study of languages goes well with the study of science since science is international and many important scientific centres are located in French speaking countries. The secondary aim was to enable pupils to experience the sights and culture of a country where French is spoken.
After a long overnight coach journey, the group arrived in Bouillon and headed straight to its impressive medieval fortress for a guided tour.
The Castle dominates the small town of Bouillon and lies high on a ridge overlooking the town and the River. It is a remarkable monument retracing almost a thousand years of history and military architecture. Constructed in the 10th century on a strategic crossroads, the chateau was radically rebuilt in the 18th century by Louis XIV’s military genius Vauban and is now considered to be one of the most beautiful medieval castles in Belgium.
With our guides, dressed up for the occasion, we explored the extraordinary maze of tunnels and passageways leading through dark dungeons to lofty battlements, and towers with vertiginous views over the river below.
After our visit, we headed to the youth hostel, situated on the hill opposite the castle where we were treated to fantastic views of the castle by day and by night.
On the Saturday morning, we headed to the Euro Space centre for a fun-packed morning on our ISS Mission. After a short video about life on the International Space station, we went on a guided tour of the centre’s multimedia exhibition to find out facts about space exploration and relive some key moments of the space conquest. After the visit, we all had a go on the multi-axis chair, an astronaut training simulator whereby the aim is to disorientate future astronauts. The chair was developed by NASA. We also tried the Moon and Mars virtual walks, strapped to a chair that lets you experience the challenges of walking on the Moon and Mars.
After all the excitement, it was time for lunch: the traditional meatballs in tomato sauce and chips (yes, it is a tradition in Belgium!)
To round the day off, we then went for a little bit of retail therapy where pupils could practise a bit of French. We then all went to the local supermarket and purchased a lot of chocolate!
In the evening, after our lovely dinner at the youth hostel, a small group of pupils and staff went to explore the town by night (and heard the wolves howling in the nearby forest) and we finished our day with a general knowledge quiz.
Finally, on Sunday, before returning, we had to go and visit an artisan chocolatier. It would be inconceivable to visit Belgium without visiting a chocolatier. We visited “Les chocolats D’Edouard”. First, we were offered a homemade hot chocolate and then Edouard gave us a little history of chocolate and an explanation of how the taste of chocolate changes depending on where it is grown. We were given three little samples to judge for ourselves. We then headed to Edouard’s workshop where he gave us some very scientific explanations on how to work with chocolate with demonstrations. Finally, we went back to his tea rooms and were given three more chocolates to taste. Needless to say we all found the chocolates very tasty and we all brought some back!
We all had an amazing time in Belgium. All three visits were fantastic and the weather was glorious too (not a given in Belgium).