Report from our Easter trip to Bournemouth

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So here it is. Easter Sunday,7.45pm. You reckon Bournemouth is sleeping, going to church and relaxing with a nice Sunday roast? You´re slightly mistaking there I fear…
Bass booms up to the reception of Glendevon Hotel, hard laughs and loud shouts are swinging alongside: It´s IP Karaoke Night! Some 30 kids have gathered in the IP Ocean to enjoy yet another night of fun and excitement – but here is what happened so far…
Saturday afternoon, it´s nice and sunny outside in Stuttgart, the first kids are checking in and put their bags into the baggage compartments of our big and comfortable bus. The bus drivers throw in some jokes and we are heading of, ready to drive through the night. After a trip without any problems at all the two buses reached Bournemouth within five minutes. Now that´s what you would call good timing!
The kids living in host-families were mostly picked up by their families, the kids could check into the hotel. At least in an ideal world: Some of the rooms were still getting cleaned, but after a short while of the kids could move in. The day passed by in an instance with the town wanting to be explored during a walk across town. Again we had the best weather possibly imagineable for this time of year, lucky us! Some great knowledge in the fields of music, celebrities, films and common knowledge was revealed later on during a pub-quiz in the  Ocean and with that we closed day number one. I assume everyone was sleeping like a baby that day after the bus-ride and the moving in.
With some smallish problems for some students to find the school the placement test was held on Monday – after all learning English should be the most valuable outcome of the trip. So classes were held for the first time before going for some lunch around the square – Bournemouth´s lively town centre. In the afternoon the beach was conquered: soccer, rugby and baseball with a bunch of motivated and talented kids made for good fun. The less sportive or just relaxed ones had a lovely walk across the beach promenade. Followed by a good dinner in the host-families or the hotel the crew was ready for outdoor adventures again: Capture the flag! The sun set an end to the games as darkness took over and the second day ended with the promise to repeat this activity.
Classes were all settled in and started properly on Tuesday, day number three. It was the day with the first half-day trip to the Jurassic Coast. So we bussed down and had to withstand some rain on our way there, fortunately it would only be during the bus ride and we could enjoy the UNESCO World Heritage Site in cloudy though dry weather. Climbing the cliffs and taking pictures while airborne, walking along the spectacular coast or just enjoying the view – opportunities were plentyful and everyone was tired but happy when we got to the point we were getting picked up by our bus to get back to Bournemouth.

Wednesday again started with classes at Europa school of English, before playing soccer in the park or doing a wellness and beauty workshop in the hotel. Chocolate masks and foot massages for the girls, tackles and physical exercise for the boys. And even this didn´t get the group separated really as some girls tagged along for soccer! In the evening kilos and kilos of popcorn were needed to satisfy around 30 kids that had come to see the great comedy ´Zombieland´. Oh, and the night-checks from now on have to be undertaken earlier as students wanted to sleep early – apparently the leisure programme got them tired!

Thursday´s highlight was Casino Night. The Ocean transformed into a gambling hall with Poker, BlackJack, Bingo and dices on offer. Straws were cut and served as money that could be changed for sweets and chocolates at the end of the day. The dealers did their very best to keep the kids busy, but there were just too many. All tables were well visited, from small stakes games to all-ins – kids were risking their play money like never before!

Friday then brought a day without classes – thank god for Easter! The students used the free time to have a crazy photo scavenger hunt across town, beach and the promenade. After receiving the list of photos that they had to take, the groups ran off to look for policemen, families of animals or funny cars to capture them in a photo. As they all had to have a little mascot, this fostered te students´ communication skills and forced them to talk to strangers – in English obviously. Some really nice pictures, some awesomely crazy ideas and generally good participation made this one a huge success for everyone as it also meant the supervisors had some time of to relax on the square with cold drinks! Another beauty workshop some more sports by the beach topped of this day – the night should get fancy again! Fancy Dress Party! Colourful outfits, dancing beats and free soft drinks let the younger ones go wild and the teamers dance. With the night ending in time everyone prepared for London…

Early breakfast, quick counting o make sure everyone is aboard and then some 2 ½ hours to London until we hit Tate Gallery! The first part of the trip was sightseeing at its best: a walking tour on the crowded streets of the capital. A dream for the students, usually a nightmare for supervisors. Usually… This group amazes us, they stick to all rules, don´t get lost, listen to what they are told and therefore make our job easy. Even in London, how good is that??!
So… The Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, National Gallery, Buckingham Palace. Seen it all! We got back to Trafalgar square with enough time to let the students spend the rest of the day according to their own interest – mainly shopping on Oxford Street! 6 shopping bags should be the record, not too bad considering they only had 2 ½ hours for that! In the evning, back at the hotel, everyone really just had one thing in mind: Relaxation. And that´s just what we did – Laze in the Lounge!

Easter Sunday should bring the Easter Egg Hunt everyone was looking for – hints that were hidden across town and choclate eggs to be won in the end got the students going! Everything went wrong when the students were quicker than they were allowed to and our Easter Bunny Mo didn´t find the time to hide… so he had to give his eggs away without having a fair chance! Score one for the students. With the time gained there were spontaneous system-games in the Ocean Lounge that got the students thinking, but at the end everyone had the right solution! Some more sports, some more relaxation and some karaoke in the evening topped off this first week of the IP Easter trip to Bournemouth!