City Grammar 1955
Trip to Belgium

 

Belgium, 1955

Once more we were abroad, this time in Burssels.  At about eleven o'clock in the evening, a weary and dishevelled throng of City Grammarians descended upon the Hotel Van Belle, where we heartily ate an excellent dinner.  And so to bed.

The next day we made our acquaintance with the city, crowned as it is by the splendid Palais de Justice, a building which covers six and a half acres of ground and is the largest of its kind in Europe.  From its steps we could see Brussels spread before us in the sun, the clustering houses giving way to parks and gardens, which in their turn merged into extensive woodlands.  As we drove through the city we saw the Palace, where the Royal family was in residence.  Of special interest to the boys was the Belgian Congo War Museum, full of interesting relics.

Our first excursion was to the battlefield of Waterloo, and since I had not been there since my fifth form history lessons, I was surprised to find it is now a peaceful farming district, quite different from what I had imagined.

Later we went to the only hilly part of Belgium to visit the famous grottoes of Han.  These are subterranean caverns full of natural phenomena, very similar to those at Castleton, but much larger - it took us two and a half hours to walk round them!

From Brussels we moved to Bruges, that quaint and interesting town, well-known from our history books and even more fascinating in reality.  Bruges, with its ancient belfry, its old Flemish and Spanish styles houses sits riverside gardens gay with flowers, its island with the swans, its low bridges - and its smelly canals?  There, too, is the centre of the lace-making world, characteristic of the industry and creative instinct of the Flemish people.

Whilst staying at Bruges, we took a trip round the coast, calling at Knocke and Blankenburg.  Perhaps some of the people in the party will remember the "playful little waves" at the latter place.

We visited Ghent, and Antwerp with it s dockside squalor alongside its expensive shops and towering skyscrapers.

Our stay in our last centre, Middelkerke, a small seaside resort, ended the fortnight's holiday.  Here, life was quiet and uneventful, but this was a change from the strain of city life.  We had hoped to spend our time lazing on the beach, but alas, the weather turned rainy and chilly.  Thus we lingered around the gift shops, trying out our German and feverishly making financial calculations.

Much as we had enjoyed our stay, the white cliffs seemed even whiter when we reached them.  Our thanks go to Mr & Mrs Davies, without whose kind help and excellent organisation this wonderful holiday would not have been possible.

 Jacqueline P Scott (6D).

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I was on the school trip to Belgium. I cannot remember if anyone had a camera. I am trying to locate some badges which I collected at every place visited. They included Waterloo. Ardennes, Ghent, Bruxelles, Bruges, Knokke, Blankenberg, Antwerp.

We visited a Lace Factory and Chocolate Shop/Factory. I remember we had a bottle of beer at every meal in the Hostel and horsemeat was on the menu in place of beef. At Knokke and Blankenberg on the coast we were all tucking into chips served with mayonnaise in cone shaped cups. We were allowed to go and drink in the local cafes and I think several of us cut our liquor intake on the favourite drink (posters everywhere) DUBONNET.

I remember it being a great trip and I was the first of all my family to have been abroad. I got a lot of attention from them all on return. I Just remembered we were all given a memento (cheap metal souvenier) of the MANEQUIN PIS! - famous statue of young boy urinating into a fountain.
 
John Howard
 
 

If anyone has any photographs of this trip please send them for copying - Click on the E-Mail link below.

alanlomax@alanlomax.co.uk

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