Partnerschaften in Europa

May 23, 2015 3:14 pm

From Thursday 14th May to Monday 18th May 2015 seven students and two members of staff participated in a cultural and sports festival hosted by the town of Denzlingen in the Upper Rhine Valley at the edge of the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) in Germany. The festival was attended by young people from the Denzlingen’s twin towns of St. Cyr sur Mer (France), Citta della Pieve (Italy) and Konstancin (Poland); our students were ambassadors for the United Kingdom, with some being residents of North Hykeham, the British twin town of Denzlingen.

Lincoln UTC students arrived on Thursday evening after a short flight from Luton Airport to Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg Airport. We were greeted by the German Committee members of Denzlingen’s Twinning Committee who provided the transport for the hour drive to Denzlingen. Our accommodation would be the Sport-Halle Denzlingen where everyone would be staying and using camping beds to sleep on in the sports hall floor. We were joined by the young people and teachers from France and Italy, while the Polish students and teachers had already arrived and were staying with German host families. That evening we went to the Concordia-Chore fundraising outdoor party where we ate schnitzel and French fries. We walked back from the venue in the centre of Denzlingen, our first chance for sightseeing.

Saturday morning was an opportunity for everyone to meet and get introduced to each other. The first activity was to mingle together and try out the local swimming pool named the Mach Blau; a recently renovated leisure pool with inside and outside pools, 10 meter diving board, outdoor slides and a 50m outdoor training pool. After two hours had passed it was time for lunch; either schnitzel and French fries or spaghetti bolognaise. The afternoon was the first semi-competitive sports events in the nearby Ballsport-Halle indoor gymnasium; basketball, handball and indoor hockey competitions. There were eight teams, with participants from each country represented in each team – an opportunity to meet with other young people and get to know them. Our students were all in different teams so socialising and working with young people from other countries was compulsory. In the evening all the participants had a chance to come together as a group and spend time in the Sport-Halle Denzlingen where informal games of indoor football and basketball were organised by the students themselves, others sat in the canteen area to relax.

The sun was shining on Saturday bringing 25 degree temperatures. Events were centred during the morning in the athletic stadium. Students participated in a continuous relay over 1600m where each person ran with the baton 100m before passing it on, while a mini biathlon involved a lap of the track then an activity station at 300m. At the activity station students had to throw at targets, missing the target would mean the young person had to run a short penalty loop before running to the finish line. The main events in the afternoon were an obstacle course and Touch Rugby. However, the German rules for the rugby are a little different to the ones played in England – forward passing is allowed, while you can only score by touching-down between the posts. It was a little disconcerting for our students, but all the games ended without injury and caused a little disbelief and much laughter from the side-line in equal measures. We can be safe in the knowledge that Germany will not be threatening the rugby supremacy of any of the six nation’s teams any time soon. In the evening we all ate pizza, then the German hosts organised a social event in the local youth centre for everyone to attend.

On Sunday the groups from France and Italy returned home, leaving the remaining participants to have a day of adventure. This involved travelling a short distance into the Black Forest to a recreational park that included the chance to go on a boating lake in pedaloes; follow a man-made tree-top walkway 50m in the air to reach the top of the emerging trees; then take a 190m tunnel slide back down the hill strapped into a felt-textile sledge. By the end of the day we were all tired from the heat of the sun, yet feeling the adrenaline of the tunnel super-slide. We sat down at the bottom of the hill and watched a family play cricket in the park area- not a day that any of us had imagined when we awoke.

Monday was the last day. Up early as we had to leave our accommodation by seven thirty in the morning. Breakfast was at the students favourite eating place and the order of the day after coffee, tea, chocolate and cakes was to eat strawberries on the way to Freiburg, Denzlingen’s nearby city. A historical centre with an ancient cathedral, it straddles the Dreisam River that is channelled through the city’s streets via miniature canals that you can step across. Should you accidently fall into one apparently you will end up marrying a person from Freiburg and live there forever. A cultural morning was completed in a roof-top café overlooking the historical centre under clear blue skies, and eating the local 30cm red sausage hot-dog delicacy of the region. After everyone had ice-cream it was unfortunately time to head to the airport and home.

We would like to thank our very generous hosts for a superb weekend – we hope we can come back again next year!

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