Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Home school posts from George and Charlie

As part of the on going home schooling, George and Charlie were set an English assignment today: to write about, using descriptive language the four most interesting things of their travels in Europe so far. They wrote these longhand – I have typed them up and entered them into the blog for you to read.

4 Amazing Experiences in Europe

Flam, Norway:
We arrived in Flam in Norway one soggy, cold evening in September. Dad set to work with the caravan, while Mum, Charlie and I went off to the shop, to get the supplies we needed. When we got home to the caravan, we tucked into a delicious shepherd’s pie, made by mum.

The next morning was warm but with a hint of rain. Waterfalls cascaded down the tremendous mountains and cluttered the valley we were in, like ivy. We discovered that this was the cause of a weekly torrent of rain. In a few days they would all dry up to just a trickle. We walked through sloshy puddles to the train station. Then we caught a steam train up to the highest peak. The view was spectacular. The tiny houses were dotted around like lego and the trees rampaged in a tangle of branches, across the complex hills in an eternal fusion of glory.
As we began the steady descent down, the small dribble of rain turned into a huge shower. The clouds were colossal, grey nuggets. As we trudged doggedly on down a slope with 21 hairpin bends, we sapped up the scenery like sponges.

By this time we were soaked but it was all part of the adventurous fun we were having. A surge of thrill pulsated through my gleeful body as I giggled out of pure joy. I would give anything to do this again. We ran down the hill as I laughed and rushed through the tunnel at the end of the path. When we came out the other side we ran straight into a small, tumbling waterfall coming off the over hang of rock above our heads. We shrieked with shock and then laughed. Then we tipped our heads up and drank. The water was sweet and refreshing. When I say sweet I mean sweet like sugar. It was incredibly tasty. We kept walking in silence because we were knackered. Our boots felt like lead and every step took tremendous effort.
At last we reached a farm with hundreds of goats, big and small, swarming around the path. We went through the open gates and bought some goats’ cheese and goats’ salami! Two juvenile sheep came over to me and Charlie and nuzzled our legs so we stroked their ears. Then we carried on walking. This time, we were concentrating so hard to get to the station that we were oblivious to our surroundings. At long last, we got to the station. We arrived with only two minutes to spare as the train pulled in. we were relieved and jumped into the cosy, comfy train to go home.

The campsite wood, Stockholm, Sweden:
I trampled moss and grass as I strolled through the wood near to the campsite in Stockholm. As I walked, I felt a sense of belonging. I clambered over rocks and foraged my way through the undergrowth. I came to a part where the sun didn’t shine. Someone had had a fire but it had gone out. A state of rapture shone through me as I explored. I jumped off boulders, kicked down mushrooms and ransacked the leaves of their contents. I found a sick with a carved end an I made a trail with it by smashing up mushrooms. Each time I came into a clearing I would turn in a circle. Then another part of the wood would beckon to me and I would rush off to be part of it.

Each place would offer something new to explore. I plunged into the dense thickets of fir trees only to find myself on a path on the other side. I followed it back to our caravan. I told everyone about my adventure and remembered it with a sense of nostalgia.

Dresden, Germany:
It was a warm day. We had just done a 4km run around the beautiful lake at the bottom of our campsite and now it was time to cool down. We put our swimming clothes on and took our boogie-boards down to the lake. We splashed about in the cool water and covered our sweaty bodies with water. I finally plucked up the courage to swim across the lake. I dived into the icy liquid and it engulfed my body, sending a shiver through me. I surfaced for air. Then I began a steady breaststroke. My feet got tangled in the cold depths while my body stayed afloat on the warm surface. I started to struggle for breath and my aching legs were dragging me down. I struggled over to the shallows and trod water while I regained my breath. Then I swam on. The cold bit into me, even though I was wearing a rashy. The beach seemed quite close, so I put my feet down. I fell under and swallowed water. I surfaced, hacking up water. I panicked and put on a burst of speed. Eventually I reached the other side.  A surge of relief and achievement swept through me as I climbed out onto the warm land. I ran all the way back to my mum and received a huge hug.

Venice, Italy:
As we strolled through the corridors of Venice, we felt a feeling of awe. We walked through to the water. It was a shimmering turquoise and looked forbidding and inviting at the same time. We took a Gondala over to the other side of the canal. The house looked very odd with crumbling first floors and washing hanging out of the mass of windows. We crept along the tangled maze of alleyways and back streets and peeked through windows to catch a glimpse of a normal Venetian family. The bulging houses looked like they had eaten too much and some looked like they were about to collapse at any moment.

In my point of view there are three parts to the city of Venice: The fancy Prada shops and all the stalls selling little masks, the houses and streets waiting to be explored and the streets daring people to come down through their scary, dingy tunnels of darkness.
Some people say that Stockholm is the’ Venice of the North’ but in actual fact, there is nothing that compares with Venice.

This from Charlie:

My Four Favourite Things On This Trip So Far.
Venice, Italy:

In September my family and I set off with our caravan to Europe. Now we are in the middle of our trip and I am going to tell you about the things I liked best so far.
If you ever go to Venice in Italy I recommend going on a local Gondala and looking at all the amazing things in the city built on water. Also, go down the side streets and look at the houses. Venice is built on a marsh and all the houses are built on the water and canals, it has a lovely layout.

We also watched glass blowing on the island of Murano.  When a man blew a piece like a balloon he popped it and almost gave me a heart attack! Dad bought a prancing Ferrari horse that we watched the man make. The colour of the water in the Venice lagoon is like a creamy turquoise.
The best thing to do in Venice is to get lost on purpose, you find your way around better that way!

Vienna, Austria:
When we went to Vienna (in Austria) we went to watch the famous Lipizzaner horses in the Spanish riding school. Mummy and Daddy bought tickets for us to watch them training! Even though we had to get up really early I really enjoyed watching the horses. And there was a girl! (a girl rider). One of the horses was really grumpy, and almost bucked! None of them liked being next to the wall. Every time the music stopped the horses went off and new ones came back on, we thought the riders were the same but they weren’t!

Berlin, Germany:
When we were in Berlin in Germany we went on a Trabi safari. Trabis are old fashioned cars from East Germany. They are very polluting cars and they aren’t allowed to be made in Germany anymore. We booked the convertible leopard coloured Trabi but when we got to the lady, somebody else had booked the leopard so we did heads or tails. So they picked tails and we got heads…And….we won! We had great fun doing tyre squeals, handbrake starts and we drove through a red light! The people behind were always getting stuck in the red lights. We crossed over at Checkpoint Charlie and entered what used to be East Germany before the Berlin Wall came down When we came back we were so happy and I was so full with happiness I thought I would burst.

Vienna, Austria:
The night before we went to the Spanish Riding School we went to a Mozart concert. It was really fun and just when I started to think that the evening couldn’t get any better the doors opened and an opera singer came in and sang a lovely song in Italian. Then a lady let open the door and the opera singer went out and a ballerina came in and danced with a male ballerina and they were lovely. In the second half all the musicians were wearing snazzy clothes because they were playing Strauss. The opera singer made eyes with dad. We all went home and fell asleep. But not before we had ice cream for dinner!

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