By voyage reporter David Lawrence
Welcome to Stuttgart!
This was the tenth time that Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School had taken a group of young German enthusiasts to Stuttgart but this was certainly the most eventful of all the trips.
First part of the drama
The drama began on the very first morning when everyone arrived at Heathrow terminal 5 to discover that our flight had been cancelled. This was the second day that terminal 5 had been open and after the first day was an absolute disaster, lots of press were around. They will definitely have noticed a circle of HABS boys and girls sitting on the floor singing. Soon many reporters had walked over in the hope of finding a story. However, Mr Donaghey, the consummate professional, refused to speak to the reporters as it would have infringed the school rules. Eventually a coach was hired to take our party to Stuttgart.
Welcome in Stuttgart
A mere 13 hours later we arrived in Stuttgart at 4:00 in the morning. Unbelievably, we were greeted with a huge cheer as our coach pulled in. Every German family had waited outside for us to arrive and this typified their hospitality towards us throughout the trip. Fortunately the following day was to be spent with our exchanges and gave many of us the opportunity to catch up on some much-needed sleep.
Dancing and school lessons
In the afternoon many of our German exchanges met up for a dancing lesson. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, the English were not allowed to take part. The Monday was a day in school and the contrast between HABS and the Hegelgymnasium was obvious. The lessons were certainly more "laid back" and the Germans found it strange that at HABS there was such a thing as a school uniform. Our exchanges didn’t seem to mind that school started at 8am as it finished at either 1:30 or 3:30. HABS students enjoyed being the centre of attention throughout English lessons but were also totally ignored during a double history lesson where several games of hangman took place behind the teacher’s back.
Swimming and shopping
Tuesday was for many the highlight of the entire exchange, a trip to Aquatoll swimming complex where students enjoyed zooming down chutes at high speeds. That was followed by shopping in Heidelberg and a tour of Heidelberg castle which was up a mammoth hill and that certainly induced some complaints from the boys and girls.