CAMPUS HORTICOLE - AUGUST 2008

CAMPUS HORTICOLE - AUGUST 2008

 

9 August 2008 D Day!

After months of preparation and anticipation, D Day has eventually arrived! I hope that all goes well with check-in this evening and that the flight is pleasant. I will see you all on Campus Horticole tomorrow - bon voyage et a demain!

Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

10 August 2008 Safe arrival in Antibes

Bienvenue en France! My apologies for the late update, but I have spent the day on the TGV from Paris to Antibes and this is the first opportunity I have had to gain access to the internet. The Redhill group arrived at approximately the same time at the airport in Nice and they traveled with our group to Campus Horticole, where they left their suitcases. After a brief orientation tour of Antibes, they enjoyed a swim in the warm waters of the Mediterranean, before returning to campus. After dinner in the restaurant, everyone was allocated a room and given some time to settle in. At 9.00pm there was a formal meeting with the campus management, where the rules & formalities were outlined. This was followed by an ice-breaker social, where everyone had the opportunity to interact with students from the other countries. After a long journey, they were all exhausted and I know with certainty that bed will be very welcome tonight!

Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

11 August 2008 Quelle journee!

Everyone gathered in the courtyard at 8.30am and all seemed a little anxious for their first morning of class. The students have been placed according to their individual level of French and with no more than 15 per class, all are assured of personal attention. At tea-time, all signs of trepidation had disappeared and some of the comments were: 'Wow, these lessons are really cool'; 'We have learnt so much already'; 'My class is such fun'; 'I have made friends with people from other countries'; 'My teacher is fantastic' etc! After a lovely lunch in the restaurant, we spent the afternoon exploring la vieille ville in Antibes. Since the weather was so beautiful, some chose to swim in the calm waters of the Mediterranean or sunbathe on the beach. At 6.00pm a happy group gathered on the Place de Gaulle and all returned to the Campus in high spirits. After dinner, a karaoke evening was organized by the animateurs & animatrices and this was a great success!

Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

12 August 2008 Excursion to Cannes

I chatted to the group after breakfast and all were very excited and motivated to go to class.... unlike yesterday! They found the lessons really stimulating and the teachers are very impressed with the South Africans. I was working in the staffroom this morning when I overheard the educators chatting about the wonderful behaviour of our students. They praised them for their level of commitment, the effort which they make in class and their genuine desire to progress. All the teachers wish that their classes were filled with South Africans throughout the year! After lunch we traveled by coach to the station where we hopped on board the train to Cannes. We started with a visit to the ancient neighbourhood of Le Suquet, from where there is a splendid panoramic view of the Bay of Cannes & the Esteral Mountains. After a visit to the Palais des Festivals and a photo-shoot on the red carpet, we had some 'temps libre' – some free time! Most headed off to the litt le back-street shops which are full of bargains, whilst others preferred to window shop in the designer boutiques along La Croisette. In spite of the intense heat, only a few decided to swim or sunbathe on the beach. We returned to Campus at 6.30pm where a wonderful soiree barbeque awaited them in the courtyard. The food selection was vast and the effort that had gone into this evening was unbelievable. Two discos had been arranged and the soiree promises to be great fun!

Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

13 August 2008 Parfumerie + Confisserie!

Everyone was very excited about today's excursion! The weather continues to be extremely hot and we really appreciated our air-conditioned coach to Grasse. We had a very interesting tour of the Fragonard 'parfumerie' and judging by the packets, many purchases were made! After a quick visit to the 'vieille ville', we departed for the Gorges du Loup and the scenery en route was magnificent. The Florian confisserie is world renowned and they make sweets, chocolates & jams on site - the free tastings were greatly appreciated! Laden with even more packets, we returned to the campus around 6.30pm with enough time to have a swim, eat dinner and change for our evening outing to Juan les Pins. In summer this little town adjacent to Antibes becomes a wonderful attraction for tourists. The beachfront is strewn with colourful stalls and the sight of diners enjoying a meal on the beach in the moonlight with the waves lapping at their feet, is so romantic! Everyone loved the outing and all returned to campus in a very jovial mood! Please note the number of the phone booth on campus: 00 33 4 97 21 29 24

Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

14 August 2008 Fun in the sun!

After another stimulating morning of lessons and yet another delicious lunch, all made their way to the beach for an afternoon of sailing on a catamaran! This excursion is run by a professional sailing school and upon arrival all were asked to don life jackets and given formal instructions. The weather was superb and the sight of the colourful boats bobbing up and down on the calm, azure blue waters of the Mediterranean, with the Alps and the vieille ville of Antibes as a backdrop will be indelibly printed on everyone's mind forever! The children were then given the choice of remaining on the beach or walking to the vieille ville to do some shopping – the majority opting for the former! After a wonderfully relaxing afternoon, all returned to the campus in time to freshen up before dinner. A pool party has been organized for this evening and it promises to be great fun!

Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

15 August 2008 Excursion to Nice & Monaco

Since today is a public holiday in France, there were no classes. A full day outing by coach was organized to Nice and Monaco and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the excursion. We approached the 'Queen of the Riviera' along the beautiful Promenade des Anglais, which is lined with its legendary palm trees. The newly revamped Place Massena was our central meeting point and everyone was given some free time to explore Nice. Many shopped along Boulevard Jean Medecin, which boasts a wealth of name-brand boutiques, some meandered through the narrow streets of 'la vieille ville' noting the strong Italian influence, whilst others decided to sunbathe on the rather uncomfortable pebble beach and cool off in the azure waters of the Mediterranean. At 1.00pm we departed for the Principality of Monaco, traveling along the spectacular coastal route. Everyone was astounded by the breathtaking views of beaches, coves & mountains which descended dramatically into the sea and it was a delight to pass through beautiful towns like Beaulieu sur Mer and Villefranche. Everyone took photos of the famous palace situated on 'le rocher' before visiting the Cathedral, where Prince Rainier and Princess Grace are laid to rest. The views from the top never fail to impress, with stunning villas, white yachts, blue seas, purple mountains all creating a picture postcard. Everyone enjoyed the inclusion of a tour aboard 'le petit train', which weaved through the streets of Monaco, passing along the route of the Formula 1 Grand Prix. It was a wonderful excursion and a highlight for many! The coach returned to campus at 6.00pm and due to popular demand, I have agreed to schedule an additional excursion to Juan les Pins ... rumour has it that there will be a fireworks display over the ocean tonight!

Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

16 August 2008 A relaxing day!

This morning there was much activity on campus as 2 of my groups prepared to depart. The Redhill students left for Chamonix, whilst the students from St Peters and Brescia returned to Johannesburg. Our group enjoyed a relaxing few hours on the beach in Antibes and tonight we will once again visit Juan les Pins, in the hope of seeing the magnificent fireworks display, which was cancelled last night owing to strong winds.

Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

17 August 2008 Fun at AquaSplash!

The group arrived back at Campus Horticole around 5.00pm, having thoroughly enjoyed a most wonderful and relaxing day at AquaSplash! All were impressed by the cleanliness and orderliness of the water-park and each ride was monitored by an official bearing the word 'surveillant' to ensure safety. Everyone loved swimming in the wave pool and all experienced the slides, toboggans, flumes and rubber-ring rides. They were given strict instructions to use plenty of sunscreen, to find some shade and to try to negotiate free loungers if possible! Some new students arrived on campus today and the animateurs organized some ice-breaker games which would help all to integrate. Bravo to the South Africans, won the prize for the best war-cry! Everyone should sleep very well tonight!

Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

18 August 2008 Cultural differences

Everyone was eager to resume lessons again and the teachers continue to be delighted with the commitment and keen response of the students. Not many share the same class, so it is always interesting to hear their conversations about the different teaching styles, the other students in their class, the work which has been covered etc. One of the main focuses of a tour like this is to interact with people from other countries. We have asked the students to specifically look for cultural differences in people, shop assistants, supermarkets, restaurants, levels of service, transport etc and our list is growing fast! They have all leant to be less judgemental and rather to be interested in/tolerant of these differences, which is a wonderful progression. After lunch we decided to relax a little on campus and take the later bus into Antibes, where many explored new areas of the vieille ville, whilst others headed straight for the beach! In the evening there was a cabaret show, which proved to be great fun! The animateurs put on a praise-worthy spectacle and our students in turn did South Africa proud. They did a rap in 4 different languages – English, Afrikaans, Sotho & Zulu and then sang Amazing Grace in perfect harmony. The audience was really appreciative of both acts and well done to those who participated!

Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

19 August 2008 Excursion to St Raphael

For logistical reasons, I have rescheduled the excursions for this week and today we travelled by train to the seaside resort of St Raphael, passing through some magnificent scenery en route. We had a lovely relaxing afternoon and many swam in the warm waters, whilst others strolled along the beachfront with ice-creams and the keen shoppers even managed to arrive at the station with some parcels! In the evening there was another 'soirée barbeque' in the courtyard, where an enormous amount of food was on offer! This was followed by a disco, which gave everyone the opportunity to relax and integrate with the others on the campus.

Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

20 August 2008 Sailing again on the Med!

Mme Markantonis and I chatted to the head of pedagogy at Le Centre International d'Antibes today and she was sincere in her praise of the children's focus, commitment and participation in the lessons, which is indeed commendable. After lunch, our group boarded the bus with other students from the campus and made their way to the beach, where all thoroughly enjoyed a second opportunity to sail on the Mediterranean. This time they had the added enjoyment of rowing on a kayak as well as sailing on a catamaran ... they were all delighted! After dinner we had our final excursion to Juan-les-Pins and all returned to Campus at 11.00pm in high spirits!

Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

21 August 2008 Second excursion to Cannes!

There was a unanimous decision/plea to return to Cannes today instead of our scheduled excursion to Cagnes-sur-Mer, so we headed south along the Côte d'Azur instead of north! All have fallen in love with this jewel on the French Riviera and everyone had a wonderful afternoon either shopping, swimming or sunbathing. The summer programme offered by Le Centre International d'Antibes draws to a close this weekend and the evening entertainment focused on the election of a Mr and Miss Campus Horticole. Six couples entered the competition and Dale, Christine and Tokolla sat on the panel of judges. In a reversal of roles, our very own Michelle (aka Innes), wearing a skimpy bikini from St Tropez, was crowned Miss Horticole and his 'handsome' Brazilian partner Alexandre (aka Louisa) was crowned Mr Horticole! Amidst loud applause and cheering, both were the proud recipients of a bright yellow 'animateurs' tee-shirt! The evening was great fun and there was much laughter... a fitting finale for a very successful 10 weeks for the campus.

Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

22 August 2008 Our final day on the Cote d'Azur

Today marked the final day of lessons at Le Centre International d'Antibes, where all have benefitted from 24 hours of formal French tuition. They were delighted to receive their assessment certificate, which specified the number of hours attended + their progress. This is a fully accredited certificate and is certainly something to be proud of and valued. After lunch, those who wished to return to Antibes for the final time did so, whilst others chose to relax on campus. At 8.00pm I called a meeting with the group to formally explain the procedure for our departure tomorrow and to outline the envisaged programme for Paris. It also provided us with an opportunity to recap on our time together on the French Riviera and it was so entertaining to share spontaneous anecdotes. All have made so many wonderful memories and all unanimously agreed that the tour had been both academically enriching and an extremely valuable learning curve in terms of life skills. Since we depart from the campus at 5.30am tomorrow, everyone has been encouraged to have an early night... including the chaperones!

Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

23 August 2008 Paris + home!

This entry is written on Friday night, since I will not have access to the internet thereafter.... Our final day in la belle France will begin with breakfast at 5.00am and we will depart from Nice at 07h55. Upon our arrival in Roissy Charles de Gaulle, we will leave our hand luggage at a 'bagagerie' and then commence our 'petit cicuit de Paris'. The envisaged programme will include taking the RER B to Chatelet Les Halles, shopping along the Champs Elysées, walking from the Arc de Triomphe to the Eiffel Tower, strolling through the Jardins des Tuileries, seeing the Musée d'Orsay, the Musée du Louvre, the Hotel de Ville, Notre Dame, the Georges Pompidou Centre and finally returning to Roissy Charles de Gaulle, where we will collect our luggage ... phew! At 7.30pm I will say farewell to the group, since I will be continuing on to London, where I will spend a relaxing few days with my daughter. The return flight has been confirmed and I remind you that the group will depart Paris on AF 990 @ 23h15 on Saturday 23 August, arriving at 09h35 on Sunday 24 August. They will be in the capable hands of Mme Rosemary Markantonis and she may be contacted on either + 33 6 34 69 41 53 or + 27 72 912 6979. I would like to sincerely thank Rose for being a great confidante and friend to me, as well as an outstanding chaperone, acting at all times with great integrity and professionalism. It has been a privilege for me to work with St Stithians and it remains for me to say 'merci beaucoup, bon retour et a la prochaine'!

Written by: Jenny Peddle