Music Tour to Lake Garda July 2019
At the start of the Summer holidays 32 children and 6 members of staff embarked on the first Chandlings' music tour to Lake Garda. It was a wonderful trip and the diary can be seen below.
Day 1: Saturday 6 July 4pm: 32 children and passports - check, 6 staff - check, travel sickness tablets for what seems most of the children - check, an awful lot of luggage and musical equipment - check .....after over a year in planning, the journey finally begins!
8.15pm: After 4 hours of Pixar DVD viewing on the coach, we board our P&O Ferry at Dover for Calais and head straight for the restaurant for our evening meal. There is a good choice of food, but most children seem to choose 'white goods'! (namely, pasta/mash potato and rice?!) It is interesting to see some children do their best impression of the 'Cat in the Hat' as they balance their tray of food, fizzy drink, rucksack ("maybe put it on your back?"), whilst searching for their money and wondering whether to use Euros or Sterling at this stage. Fortunately only one smashed plate through this endeavour! Oh and one sea-sick member of the team.....sorry Mrs S!
10.45pm: We make our way to the coach to begin our overnight journey down through France. It seems that most of the children may have spent the majority of their sterling in the duty free shop on cuddly toys! Still if it helps them sleep!
Day 2: Sunday 7 July 7am: The small French Service Station doesn't know what's hit them as we wipe out their counter of the biggest pain aux chocolat and croissants we have ever seen (as well as taking all their change with our 20 and 50 euro notes!). Mr Gower manages to consume a number of coffees to get him through the rest of the journey, which begins with incredible views of Mont Blanc before we enter the tunnel.
4pm: We arrive at the hotel, all in good spirits, if a little hot and tired. Everyone is incredibly impressed with the views of the hotel and we all get unpacked in our various rooms.
8pm: Our first meal at the hotel. It seems most of the children get filled up with their pasta starter! An evening walk around our lakeside resort concludes what has seemed like one big long day!
Day 3 Monday 8 July 7.30am: An early morning wake up call for all, as this is our day in Venice!
11.30am: We arrive on the outskirts of Venice to board a water bus, or so I think. We actually all board a private water taxi, and very luxurious it is too! It takes us to just outside the Doges Palace, by St Mark's Square, where we have our packed lunch. We soon find out that we have a member of staff who is afraid of birds, as we become the interest of a number of pigeons!
12.30pm: After a bit of a queue we finally made our way into the Palace, which included a very interesting guided tour. Very impressed with all the children who listened intently and asked informative questions too. They enjoyed going over the Bridge of Sighs down into the prison cells and were completely captivated by one of the biggest rooms in Europe.
4pm: A short moment in St Mark's Square, due to time, heat and the crowds of people everywhere, before making our way back by the same glorious water taxi. Then journeyed back to the hotel for our evening meal and an early night after an exhaustingly hot day.
Day 4 Tuesday 9 July: Slightly later wake up call of 7.45am.
9am: As this was going to be a late night, we had a leisurely start on the Lake Beach. Mrs Nelson, with hat and shades on, and whistle in hand was on lifeguard duty as the children enjoyed the refreshing water (including Mr Saunders and Mrs Newman later on too) and some sandcastle building. There was also a time to spend some more Euros at the market, where some children enjoyed their first experience of haggling in Italian. After our lunch at the hotel, it was time to make our way to Verona.
2.45pm: Our afternoon in Verona began with a visit to the Arena di Verona, a one time venue like the Colosseum in Rome for Gladiators and other events, but now used for the Opera. We were greeted by the huge props that were being used in Aida and walked all around the vast space, including climbing all the steps to the top. After this we made our way to the medieval piazza, again another opportunity to haggle within the marketplace and a stop at a café...….just in time, as the heavens opened! It was actually a blessing as it took a bit off the temperature as we made our way to Casa di Giulietta, said to be the house and balcony of Juliet, of Romeo and Juliet fame! We then boarded the coach for our journey to our first concert venue.
9pm: After a bit of a rush to set up the concert and have a quick tea (due to horrendous traffic near the outskirts of Venice), we were ready for our first. The venue was within a huge villa. It was lovely to see, amongst the audience, some of our own children's parents who had made it over. All the children performed really well and in many ways this was a good run through for our next concert, which will be in a bigger public place!
10.45pm: We said our goodbyes and made our way back to the hotel......….....it's going to be a late one!
1am - the 'zombies' get off the coach and make their way to bed!
Day 5 Wednesday 10 July .....in need of a lie-in, wake up call 8.30am!
11.00am: We all excitedly made our way down to the lake-front for our boat trip down the lake to Malcesine, one of many picturesque medieval towns along the shorefront. The weather was perfect (no seasickness from anyone this time!) and we all enjoyed the leisurely trip with breath-taking views. It was also time for the Stratfords to re-enact Kate Winslet and Leonardo Di Caprio at the front of the boat!
12.00pm: After a short ascent up to the Cable Car, just outside the town, we had lunch and waited patiently in the queue to board the cable cars. Amazing views again on the way up, as the car turns 360 degrees as you ascend!
2pm: At the top of Monte Baldo. Wow - the temperature difference at over 2200metres was refreshing to say the least, although it didn't stop most children having an ice cream! (Staff went for coffee and hot chocolate!)
4.30pm: Once back down to the heat that we were beginning to get used to, it was seemingly time for another ice cream as we awaited our return boat to Torbole.
8pm: After another filling meal at the hotel and a quick freshen up, we set up for our next musical performance in Torbole's main Piazza Lietzmann. A beautiful venue just off the lake. We soon realised whilst getting ready that there was a nice breeze blowing up the lake, tricky for the sheet music (and also Mrs Stratford's skirt!). Clothes pegs at the ready!!!
10.30pm: A truly amazing concert by all involved, a real buzz and by the end a sizeable audience of more parents, holidaymakers and locals looking out from balconies all around! What an experience!
12pm: After calming all the adrenaline down - time for bed!
Day 6 Thursday 11 July: A well deserved and fun-filled day at Caneva Aquapark!
The weather was perfect for us, and after plenty of suntan lotion, we all had the most amazing time exploring the varied rides within the park, both serene and the giant scary ones too!
8.30pm: Even after all the fun we had so far had today, there was still time to squeeze in a little bit more! Chandlings Got Talent! With our very own Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and Simon Cowell judging, the children had used any small moment of spare time (mainly whilst on the coach) to plan some amazing acts, which varied from some of their own compositions, amazing piano pieces, dancing routines, showing off the 'tatt' they had bought from the market stalls, to jokes, card tricks and other magical moments! It was all rounded off by some fine staff moments too, including Mrs Nelson's performance of 'Wonderwall', Mrs Stratford and Mrs Newman's duet of More Than Words, all ably accompanied by Mr Gower, who then joined Mr Stratford and Mr Saunders with a ballet routine which morphed into some synchronised swimming...….(and a lot of wet children!)
We closed the evening with an awards ceremony and some huge thank yous to both children and staff alike. What a day!
10.30am: Some children left us a little earlier with their parents to continue their holidaying. It was sad to say goodbye, especially to some Year 6s, as it signalled the end of their Chandlings era.
After clearing up, we left the hotel for a hearty meal of pizza by the lakefront. Our first of the week! This was much needed as we then began our long journey back.
Day 8 Saturday 13 July: Homeward bound!
At one stage it looked like we would get home an hour earlier than planned as we managed to get a slightly earlier ferry...then we had to contend with the joys of the M25!
12pm: 23 hours after setting off from Torbole we make our way back up the drive to Chandlings, to be greeted by a round of applause from the parents!!!
Again, sad to say goodbye to all, especially those who have now begun their journey at their new school, as this truly was a fun-packed and very memorable trip for all involved.
A huge thank you to all the children, who were a credit to all and especially to the staff, who looked after everyone, including ....me!
More photos can be found at the gallery