Report by Claire Friary & Julia Perrie S6
60 excited pupils from S2-S6 at Our Lady’s High set off on another fabulous tour with the impressive wind band. Roughly 30 members of the band alongside another 30 ‘groupies’ began their journey on the morning of June 20th with eight very stressed teachers (plus two clowns posing as teachers…) looking forward to winding down after a year filled with hard work.
A long journey ahead was promised as the group were forced to deal with staying on the bus all the way from Motherwell to Dover – with limited stops in between. At 8 o’clock in the evening the troupe finally had a chance to stretch their legs properly on the ferry to Calais, France. However a very bumpy ride was in store with extremely rough winds and the group was relieved to return to the bus on arriving in France. Travelling overnight proved to be a challenge to many individuals, with some of the older boys (Joseph Dempsey and Mark McDonald in particular…) thinking it appropriate to quote from films through the night, much to the annoyance of the groggy passengers.
After a long drive through the scenic country of Switzerland the clan finally reached their destination – Hotel Centro Turistico Gardesano. Situated in the picturesque area of Lake Garda, the hotel had much to offer – including a pool, to the delight of many, who were more than happy to test it out the minute they arrived at the hotel. After what appeared to be a mediocre dinner in the hotel, the group were content with chilling out for the remainder of the night – as a fun day ahead was on the cards.
Tuesday morning promised a scorching day in the beautiful Verona, where the group had a chance to visit ‘Casa di Giulietta’ and the ‘Amphitheatre’ – interesting landmarks situated in the heart of the city. Pupils then had a chance to explore on their own and find a place to dine – hopefully somewhere better than the food in the hotel! Some of the group opted for McDonalds, whereas some pushed the boat out and went to a classy pizzeria. After some free time the group then set off to perform a concert in a quiet park nearby, which luckily attracted the attention of many passers by.
Tuesday night included a trip to the gorgeous Bardelino – where many pupils actually had the chance to meet up with family members who were there for a holiday themselves. This night involved some more free time, where individuals were able to find a quiet place for a drink and a bite to eat. The group then set off home to prepare for what was perhaps the highlight of the holiday – the theme park, Gardaland, to be encountered on the Wednesday.
Gardaland had much to offer for all members of the group – some wanting to tackle the thrill rides and others happy just to hold the bags!! The beautiful weather and the buzzing atmosphere contributed to a successful day at the park and the troupe went home with many souvenirs and photos.
Thursday involved another trip to Bardelino in which the group came across the famous market – which appeared to sell just about everything. This gave the group the chance to buy presents for their friends and families and many purchases were made. The team then set off for a boat trip on the dazzling Lake Garda before heading back to the hotel for a dip in the pool – a much needed cooling off was in order!
On Thursday night, the gang set off to Garda town for dinner in a fabulous pizzeria – in which they had the opportunity to watch a wind band from another Scottish school play to the crowds. Following this, many band members felt that the pressure was on, and vowed to play to the best of their ability that night. After an amazing meal, the band took their places and managed to stay true to their word – the playing was fantastic and all of the people watching seemed very impressed (with some even coming up and complimenting us personally!)
After packing up the bus with instruments and music, the group set off to the hotel to enjoy their last proper night in Italy. The bus trip was filled with laughter and songs as the group kept their high spirits. There was an element of sadness for many as we said goodbye to the old 6th years as this was their definite ‘closure’ of their time at Our Lady’s High School. However, this was not to ruin the night and the group still had a fantastic time, bringing the extremely memorable week to a close.
Many of the crew dreaded the gruelling journey home, but surprisingly things were easier than they were on the way there. Although the group knew they were going home, everyone stayed happy and a lot of banter was created – with many being gorged in toothpaste and hair removal cream as they slept! After 31 painful hours, the whole group managed to arrive home in one piece, much to the relief of Mrs Glover!!
Overall, the holiday was a complete success and the memories will stay with us for a long time. The members of the band have always held a fantastic bond with the teachers of the music department which we personally hope will remain in our final year at Our Lady’s. We want to give a special thanks to everyone who organised the holiday and made it so good while we were there. Also a great thanks to Mrs Clements who, even though she took great care in arranging the trip for us all, could not be present as she was busy giving birth! We look forward to any future trips you have in store for us… maybe we could go abroad in 2011 to celebrate our leaving school?!? 😉