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HERSCHEL CULTURAL TOUR TO EUROPE ~ JUNE 2011


26 June 2011 D Day!
After months of organization, D day eventually dawned and I was delighted to witness the excitement of the girls as they arrived at Cape Town International Airport for their domestic flight to Johannesburg. Bruce Probyn was there to bid fond farewell to the touring party and to reassure the parents that their precious children were in good hands! With many hugs, kisses and a few tears, a happy band of travelers made their way through security and boarded their Kulula flight to ORT. It is now 17h30 and I have just spoken to Mr Gouws who reports that all are safely through emigration and enjoying the duty free shops! They will board the magnificent A380 at 18h30 and all are in for a real treat on this veritable hotel in the sky! They are scheduled to arrive in Paris just after 06h00 tomorrow, connecting thereafter to Zurich and I will update the site as soon as I have heard from the chaperones. Please rest assured that all arrangements are firmly in place and a wonderfully enriching tour awaits the Herschel group ~ if you have any interesting snippets to share from your daughters, I would love to hear from you!
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

27 June 2011 Safe arrival!
07h30 Bonjour de Paris! I can confirm that all have arrived safely and are awaiting their flight to Zurich. 12h45 I have just received a message from the chaperones saying that they are all in good spirits and on the coach from Zurich airport to their hotel in Lucerne. 21h00 I have just spoken with Mr Gouws and am delighted to hear that everyone has thoroughly enjoyed a wonderful day! Upon arrival at the hotel they all had time to settle in and freshen up before joining the 2 local guides for a tour of Lucern, which was really informative and memorable. Before the scheduled cruise, the girls were afforded some free time to shop ~ the energizing effect of retail therapy never ceases to amaze me! Bed was a very welcome option after dinner and batteries are being recharged for tomorrow's exciting and full programme! A reminder that they are staying for 2 nights in the Hotel Drei Koenige Tel: 00 41 412 480 480, Fax: 00 41 412 480 490.
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

28 June 2011 A wonderful day in alpine paradise!
Everyone had a really good night's sleep and awoke refreshed and re-energized for the day! After breakfast all hopped on board their coach to the alpine wonderland of Engelberg and they were so excited to ascend to the 10 000ft summit of Mount Titlis in the world's first revolving cable car! The views were apparently magnificent and they had great fun with the selection of snow activities on offer. Tonight the girls will enjoy an authentic Swiss cheese fondue + show at the traditional Swiss restaurant, The Stadkeller and many I know will be encouraged to take part in the yodeling, dancing and alpine horn blowing, no doubt providing many laughs and red faces!
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

29 June 2011 Onward to Venice!
A fond farewell to Switzerland this morning as everyone hopped on board the luxury coach bound for Italy, travelling through the longest tunnel in the country and stopping for a picturesque lunch & swim at Lake Garda. I have received two text messages from the chaperones saying that all are in high spirits, with much on-board entertainment taking place ~ apparently what happens on tour stays on tour!! The views are spectacular and all are brushing up on their Italian vocabulary in preparation for the next 6 days! Please note that I am leaving for Paris tonight with my group so will not be able to update again until tomorrow. A reminder that the group will be staying in the Hotel Ca'Di Valle for the next 2 nights and the contact details are Tel: 00 39 041 968017, Fax: 00 39 041 5370614. I may be contacted on my regular email or in an emergency on 00 33 6 18 43 14 00.
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

30 June 2011 Amazing Venice!
What a wonderful day everyone had in Venice, commencing with a private vaporetto ride to the mainland, where they met with their local guide at St Mark’s Square. The walking tour was really interesting and introduced them to the many wonderful sights of this magical city, including the 9th Century bell tower, the Bridge of Sighs and the Doge’s Palace. After lunch they travelled along the Grand Canal for a view of the incredible architecture & activity on the waterways and then they explored the ‘Laguna islands’ (Torcello, Murano & Burano), where they visited traditional glass blowing factories. In the early evening they were all delighted to enjoy a quintessentially romantic experience as they were serenaded in gondolas! Dinner was served in an authenitc Italian restaurant on the mainland, before the group was transferred back to their hotel and all were unanimous that the floating city of Venice was simply ‘amazing’!
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

1 July 2011 Onward to Florence!
This morning all hopped on board their brand new coach as they excitedly made their way to Florence, the ‘Jewel of the Renaissance’. Upon arrival they had time to relax and settle into their hotel before enjoying some informal exploring. After dinner in a local restaurant boasting an authentic Italian menu, everyone travelled by coach to the Piazzale Michelangelo for a panoramic view over this magnificent city, with the mighty Duomo dominating its skyline. A reminder that the group is staying at the Hotel Castri and the contact details are Tel: 00 39 055 496412, Fax: 00 39 055 475602
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

2 July 2011 An amazing day in Florence!
'What a great day', according to Mr Gouws’ text message! The morning started with a lovely buffet breakfast which fortified all for the 3 hour walking tour through the streets of Firenzi accompanied by their excellent guide who was not only very informative, but also had a wonderful sense of humour! The tour culminated in a visit to the Galleria dell’Accademia, which houses Michelangelo’s famous statue of David and Boticelli’s Madonna & Child and then the girls had some free time to wander through the leather markets ~ we can only imagine their ecstasy! Dinner tonight was served in another beautiful authentic Italian restaurant, with the consensus that the meal was ‘magnifica’! Some were fortunate enough to hear an orchestra playing Vivaldi in the town centre en route to the hotel ~ what an amazing moment in time!
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

3 July 2011 Onward to Cinque Terre via Pisa!
Today everyone enjoyed a relaxing morning, with many returning for some last minute bargains in the leather markets! At midday they all hopped on board their coach and travelled 84 kms through the beautiful Tuscan Hills to Pisa, where they not only visited the Square of Miracles but also ascended the 294 steps to reach the summit of the famous Leaning Tower, which was by all accounts an ‘exhilarating experience’! In the late afternoon they continued along the Italian Riviera to their hotel which is apparently very comfortable and dinner will be served tonight in a traditional restaurant within close proximity. A reminder that the group is staying at the Holiday House Il Gabbiano for the next 2 nights ~ Tel: 00 39 018 724 322, Fax: 00 39 018 720 349.
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

4 July 2011 An unbelievable day in the Cinque Terre!
What an incredible day they spent in the Cinque Terre! Listed as a UNESCO World heritage site, this region comprises 5 small medieval villages on the Ligurian coast which boast some of the finest views on the Italian Riviera. Their day guide was apparently excellent and introduced them to all the magic of this region, including the quaint life style, the hidden paths & the idyllic beaches ~ the memory of this special day will last forever! More tomorrow as they say arrivederci to Italy and bonjour to France!
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

5 July 2011 Onward to Juan les Pins!
This morning all hopped on board their coach and headed off to Provence, which is referred to as ‘paradise on earth’. The scenery en route is spectacular and all really enjoyed their visit to Monaco, where South African flags abounded following the recent Royal marriage! I was also in Monaco today and it was wonderful to lay eyes on the Herschel group! In the late afternoon all arrived at their hotel in Juan les Pins and tonight I have organized a delicious dinner in the pretty gardens of the hotel. Thereafter we will walk down to the beachfront and enjoy all that this vibrant summer resort has to offer! A reminder that the group will be staying for 2 nights at the Hotel Teranga Tel: 00 33 4 92 93 32 60, Fax: 00 33 4 92 93 32 61.
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

6 July 2011 Quelle journée magnifique!
This morning all awoke refreshed & excited for the day ahead and at 09h15 everyone hopped on board the train bound for Antibes. Here I greeted an ebullient Herschel group and the girls’ self-control was commendable as they followed me through the fascinating streets in the vieille ville lined with incredible merchandise! Once I had indicated the Picasso Museum, with its rich collection of paintings & sculptures + the ‘marché provençal’ with its local produce + the amazing yacht-lined harbour, all were granted free time and they rushed off in various directions to explore this jewel on the French Riviera. At 13h30 our coach arrived to transfer us to the Yacht Club in Villeneuve–Loubet where, under the tutorship of professional instructors, everyone enjoyed sailing on a catamaran on the calm waters of the Mediterranean Sea, surrounded by some of the most spectacular scenery on the French Riviera. It was an amazing experience and I was delighted to be part of this, empathizing with the shrieks of joy as well as those of apprehension! In the evening it was arranged for the group to dine at a popular restaurant in Juan les Pins and the girls were offered a choice of pizza or pasta + a drink, which was delicious and a fitting end to a wonderful day!
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

7 July 2011 Saint Paul de Vence + Grasse + Cannes!
After breakfast in the beautiful gardens of the hotel, all boarded the air-conditioned coach for their day excursion. The first visit was to Saint Paul de Vence, a medieval fortified perched village which is renowned as a mecca for painters, sculptors & tourists and all enjoyed wandering through the intriguing and winding narrow streets. At 11h00 they departed for Grasse, known as the ‘balcony of Provence’ for its magnificent views and also dubbed as the ‘home to French perfume’, where the girls thoroughly enjoyed the fascinating guided tour of the Fragonard ‘parfumerie’, followed by the opportunity to purchase authentic products from their on-site boutique. After lunch they visited Cannes where they posed for a photo-shoot on the famous red carpet which drapes the steps of the Palais des Fesitvals! The girls were then afforded some free time to enjoy ‘window shopping’ in the designer boutiques along the illustrious La Croisette, but most chose to do some ‘actual shopping’ along the more reasonably priced ‘back-streets’! Laden with parcels, everyone gathered at the coach @ 15h30 and by 16h00 all were back at the hotel, all looking forward to their final evening on the glorious French Riviera!
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

8 July 2011 Onward to Paris, and what a full day!
They had an early departure this morning from the hotel and all were sad to say farewell to this idyllic part of the world. Upon arrival at Roissy Charles de Gaulle they had a somewhat frustrating search for the coach, since the plane had landed at Terminal 2D as opposed to the scheduled 2F which resulted in the driver + group chasing each other! Anyhow, once safely on board, they made their way to their hotel where Danielle van Rooyen was waiting to greet them. Danielle is one of my former students from St Johns DSG who is now teaching French in Cambodia and she miraculously was available to assist me for these 4 days and act as a guide for the group. After a very quick freshen up all made their way by metro to the Eiffel Tower where they ascended to the 2nd level for a magnificent view over Paris. They then regrouped and enjoyed a cruise on the Bateaux Parisiens, which was relaxing and very informative. Their day is still not over as they will be treated to yet another perspective of Paris as they enjoy a guided coach tour of this magnificent city of lights and I can just imagine the squeals of delight as the Eiffel Tower sparkles at 22h00! Bed I know will be very welcome tonight and they can dream of shopping on the Champs Elysées tomorrow! A reminder that they are staying at the Campanile Gare du Nord and the contact details are Tel: 00 33 1 40 34 38 38, Fax: 00 33 1 40 34 38 50.
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

9 July 2011 Exciting weekend ahead!
I return to SA with my group of students today and therefore will not be able to update this site until late tomorrow. The girls have a wonderful day lined up with 3 hours on the Champs Elysées + a guided visit to the Musée du Louvre + a walk through Montmartre, visiting the Basilica of Sacré Coeur and the Place du Tertre. They are also really excited about tomorrow’s outing to Disneyland Paris...

Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

10 July 2011 Disneyland Paris!
I’m safely back in SA with my group! The girls have really been looking forward to their day at Disneyland Paris and this morning Danielle arrived bright & early to escort them to the RER station for their ‘external’ train ride to Marne la Vallée. With their entry tickets already in hand, they will undoubtedly have a fun-filled day and their journey back to the hotel tonight will be filled with animated anecdotes attesting to their wonderful experience!
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

11 July 2011 Homeward bound!
Today marks the final day on tour and what an incredible 2 weeks the girls have had! This morning everyone was grateful for the later start and so appreciated time to contemplate how to find space for ALL their additional purchases! With cases finally stowed in the ‘bagagerie’, they will set off by metro to the imposing Hôtel de Ville, with the audacious Georges Pompidou Centre standing in close proximity. They will cross to l’Ile de la Cité, where they will visit the magnificent Cathedral of Notre Dame, followed by a final stroll through the famous Quartier Latin. After a relaxing lunch they will return to the hotel to freshen up, collect their luggage and say farewell to Danielle, who has been such a gem and assisted the group admirably ~ merci beaucoup ma chère! The airport transfer from the hotel has been arranged for 16h15 and once at Roissy Charles de Gaulle the group will undoubtedly enjoy the duty free shops before boarding flight AF990 which will depart at 23h20. They are scheduled to arrive at OR Tambo tomorrow, Tuesday 12 July @ 09h50 where the majority of girls will connect to Cape Town on SA337 @ 13h00, arriving @ 15h10. To act ‘in loco parentis’ is no mean task and your daughters have been privileged to travel with Jan Gouws, Nicky Karstens & Michelle van Schalkwyk, an amazing team boasting a wide variety of strengths. Your children have been in exceptional hands from start to finish and the delicate balance of firm discipline, genuine compassion and a great sense of fun formed the perfect recipe for success. The chaperones have been impressed with the girls’ impeccable behaviour and they have been fine ambassadors for both their school and South Africa. All will undoubtedly be exhausted upon return and whilst the many wonderful anecdotes may not immediately be forthcoming, they will I know reveal themselves in the days, months and even years to come! As parents you can rest assured that you have afforded your children the most wonderful opportunity and I have no doubt that each and every girl will return not only academically enriched, but enriched as a person, having matured and grown in confidence and the precious memories & firm bonds of friendships will last a lifetime. It has once again been my joy & privilege to be associated with Herschel School and it remains for me to say ‘merci beaucoup, bon retour et a la prochaine'!
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

You are rendering a unique service to schools and children! I have just read your web-page information on our tour and was once again inspired by how committed you are to what you do.

Parent – St Peter's College

 

I loved the daily reports that you provided ~ thank you for a fantastic tour!

Parent – PBHS

 

Thank you so much for an amazing diary - it was always completely updated and I have loved reading it! It has been the highlight of my day going to your website and seeing what the girls have been up to!

Parent – Herschel

 

I would like to thank you for all that you did to make our Cultural Tour so memorable! Not having to worry about accommodation or tour arrangements because we knew that you had organized everything so skilfully meant that we chaperones could relax and enjoy what was on offer. I really admire your boundless energy and the superbly efficient way in which you took care of every little detail. We all had a fantastic time and thank you, we all had a wonderful trip!

Educator – Herschel School

 

Your daughter Michelle was a delightful co-chaperone and it was so special to travel with her and to see what a beautiful relationship you share. It inspired me to work even harder towards mine with my son, as I believe it takes a lot of love & hard work to create a special family.

Educator – St Peter's College