Ely High School 1905-1972 - Trip to Belgium, August 1953

from the July 1954 Ely High School magazine

A Holiday in Belgium.

At half-past nine on Thursday, August 6th, a party of fifteen girls met at Ely Station to start on the exciting journey to Belgium.

Our trip had been carefully arranged, and we had all been in a state of excitement since Easter, and then on this beautiful morning our plans began to be realised. We arrived at Dover by train quite happily, and proceeded through the Customs barrier, with no trouble at all, and settled comfortably on our boat. The crossing was a great thrill for most of us, especially as the water was perfectly calm, and we were able to explore our surroundings.

We arrived at Ostend at half-past eight, and again we sailed through the Customs, and caught the train to Brussels. We did not arrive at our hotel until very late, but we were still not tired and everything seemed so different, and at twelve o'clock we were eating our supper, very comfortable and still cheerful.

The next day we went on a tour of Brussels, and we took many photographs of the interesting and important buildings shown to us. Revived by a short rest we went out again in the afternoon to look at the shops. In the evening Mrs Lord took us to see the illuminations, and the shops that we had admired before looked even more exciting with the colourful lights.

On Saturday morning we went exploring on our own and bought several souvenirs to take home, and a small present for Mrs Lord who was so very kind to us all. In the afternoon we went by trolley bus to Waterloo, and climbed many steps to eat our picnic tea around the monument.

We returned to our hotel in time to have a short rest before we set out again to see a magnificent Firework Display in the form of a competition between Belgium and Germany. We all thought we had seen some beautiful fireworks before, but they were nothing compared with the colourful and gigantic ones which we saw that evening.

The next day we had to move to our hotel in Bruges, and although we were rather disappointed to leave Brussels and the first part of our holiday behind, we were too excited and thrilled about everything going on around us to be deeply sorry.

Bruges seemed to be a much quieter place than Brussels, and the hotel and the surroundings all seemed to be very pleasant. In the afternoon we went for a walk to explore the shops and then took a picnic tea down to the canal bank and lay in the shade of the trees and thoroughly enjoyed the rest. We returned to our hotel for the evening meal, and then went into the Square immediately outside to listen to a Band Concert.

On Monday morning we went for another shopping expedition and collected a few more souvenirs and photographs. After dinner we went for a walk through a park and along the canal bank, and had another picnic tea, and then in the evening we went to listen to a Carillon Concert from the Belfry.

The next morning we were taken on a guided tour of the important buildings in Bruges; we also saw some lace-makers, and took several photographs of the interesting monuments and buildings. In the evening, after tea at a Pavement Cafe, we went for a trip on the canals, and all the buildings which we had seen during the day were floodlit, and looked even more interesting.

Our holiday seemed to be coming to an end very quickly, but on the last day we went by motor coach into Holland, and this was probably the most exciting day of the week. The guide pointed out to us all the interesting things on the way, and then we crossed the River Schelde by steamer to Flushing. From there we went by coach to Middelburg and spent two hours exploring on our own. We photographed several Dutch women in national costume, and entered several churches, including a Dutch Reformed Church. We returned to Bruges through Knoche and several other small villages, and arrived back very tired but happy in the evening.

The next day we were escorted to the station by our guide and caught our train and boat quite happily, although the latter was very crowded, because of the French strike. The crossing was a little more rocky than when we had come, but we were lucky, for we were on the very top deck and missed all the sway. We reached Dover three quarters of an hour late, and passed through the Customs again with ease, and caught our connecting train without any trouble.

Our journey to Ely was very comfortable, and, although we were rather sad that it was all over so quickly, it was very nice to come home again, especially as we had so much to tell everyone, and our brown happy faces expressed our deep gratitude to Mrs Lord for an unforgettable holiday.

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