The Music Department took 50 students to perform in Austria in July 2011
Austria Tour July 2011
After 2 years of preparation it was finally time for 50 of the St Thomas More pupils and staff to set off on a trip to remember. At half past one the school hall was full of suitcases, teachers and pupils bidding farewell to their excited friends. After what only could have been described as a loud coach ride we all shuffled into the crowded airport. We eventually checked in, most of us worrying about whether we’d kept within the baggage weight restrictions and then enjoyed an hour of shopping in the duty-free. A stuffy plane ride and a boring coach journey later we were in Austria and at our hotel, ‘Jugendgastehaus Markusof’ in Wagrain. We were shown to our rooms, which were more like apartments, and enjoyed a sleepless night.
We woke up, and the first thing we did was run on to the balcony to see the amazing view… but oh no! It was misty! We were all shattered and the weather wasn’t great so you can imagine our despair when the teachers told us that we’d be spending the day walking up a mountain. Luckily a cable car took us most of the way up the mountain. Once we were at the top we were literally up in the clouds. We were then split up into groups and led into the Ice Caves. We were led through the Ice Caves in a parade with gas lanterns through huge caves that were full of what looked like a frozen pictures of flowing water. Later that evening we went to perform our first concert, it wasn’t our best concert but we didn’t give up.
The second day was warmer and generally more enjoyable, we went to the Hellbrunn Palace and Water Gardens in Salzburg and got absolutely soaking (Mrs Garmeson was always happy to push us into the paths of the jets) and then went shopping in Salzburg Old Town and saw Mozart’s house. After all of that fun we continued on to the Mirabel Gardens, featured in ‘The Sound of Music’ (still wet from the water gardens!) That is where we played the best concert, the best concert we’d ever performed. Featured were perfect piano solos, enthusiastic Jazz Band pieces, and a pitch-perfect Choir, all performed to a delighted audience. We left, pleased with ourselves, back to our hotel for sleep.
We woke up the next morning. We were looking forward to the day’s activities: going to the Eagle’s Nest and Berchetsgaden salt mines. First, we drove to the bottom of the mountain. Everyone was discussing our method of travel, would we walk to the top? Would we get a cable car? Would the coach drive to the top? It turned out we would have to get a bus up to the top, up a road that whenever the bus turns round a hairpin bend the bus looks like it is going to fall of the edge of a almost-vertical cliff. The bus parked near the top and we all realised with despair that we would have to walk the last bit. We were led into a tunnel and told that we would not have to walk. We were led into an elevator, right in the middle of the mountain, coated in brass to the top. We came out in the building which was built as Hitler’s 50th birthday present. It was now a restaurant. We spent some time up there looking at the wonderful view. We also visited the salt mines and had a fantastic time, we even went on a mini train! We were shown lighting effects and even got to taste some salt.
The following morning we ate breakfast (which mainly was Nutella) and travelled to St Gilgen, a peaceful lakeside village. A boat took us across the lake to St Wolfgang where we did more shopping and some of us went on the pedalos. Finally, it was time for us to get on the boat back to St Gilgen, where we would do our final concert. The concert took place at the bandstand in front of quite a lot of people, including an English couple. The concert was good and the English couple said that we were fantastic. We went back to the hotel in a good mood for our final night. However, we still had one last performance, we were holding a Talent Show in the hotel disco room. Entertainingly presented by Harriet and James, we had a lot of great performances, including Austrian-style dancing, singing, and piano-playing. It all ended in everyone dancing, including a spirited performance of dancing from Mrs Garmeson after everyone had shouted ‘On! On! On!...’
The next morning would be our last in Austria. Our final activity would be the Wasserwelt (Water Park) in Wagrain. It was an indoor swimming pool which extended outside with slides going in to it. After several turns on the slides and time swimming in the pool we had to leave for Munich airport. It was a night flight but when we were boarding the plane there was thunder and lightening and it was very windy. We were scared but luckily the plane still took off. None of us wanted to go home as we had a great experience in Austria. All of us wanted to go back.
We realised as we arrived back home, this wouldn’t just be a trip to remember, it would be a trip never to forget…
By Eve MC & Dan N (Year 9)