Today we went to Malbork Castle, the largest castle made of brick stones. We took the bus to the castle together with the Polish students. There we were divided into seven groups, each consisting of Polish and German students, Each group received a quiz sheet with 30 questions about the castle, and with the help of teamwork and audio guides we were given 3 hours to look around the entire castle and answer all of the questions. The group with the most correct answers would win a prize. However, 3 hours were very short because the castle is huge! We could enter almost every room, view and learn about many artefacts and hear the story of the people who lived, built and worked in the castle from the 13th century onwards. It was incredibly interesting and fun and the relationships between the Polish and German students was strenghened by teamwork. At the end of trip we went back to school and still had a whole afternoon to spend with our partners and friends.
Today we went with the student exchange group to the Westerplatte and then to the Stutthof concentration camp. At the Westerplatte we had a short guided tour while Jakub Moraczewski (a Polish exchange student) informed about the events that happened there during the Second World War and actually were the beginning of it. Afterwards, we held a minute’s silence on the Westerplatte for all the victims.
After that we drove on to the Concentration camp Stutthof where we had a tour of the camp and got everything explained. There were many original buildings and things, for example the Gates, barracks or the gas chamber. After the tour we watched a film about what happened to the German soldiers after the liberation of the camp. In conclusion the place was really emotional and it was hard to imagine the things that happened there.
My host family organised a trip to the Hel Peninsula today. We first visited the seal rescue station. They take care of sick or injured seals until they can return to the sea. It sometimes happens that the seals live with humans for too long and can therefore no longer be released into the sea, as they have become too accustomed to humans. You can then go and visit these seals as they swim around in different swimming pools, being fed and performing tricks. This year, their new personal record was 80 seals rescued, up from just under 50 last year. Before such stations were established and when many fishermen still hunted seals, the number of seals was a few thousand; today the number has risen to around 40,000. Right next to the station is an old church, which was also used as a sentry post and has now been preserved as a museum, which we could not visit, because we did not have enough time. After a longer walk we sat down in a restaurant where we ate 3 different local fish. The restaurant is called „Knajpka Portowa“ and is highly recommended. We finished our walk in the small harbour of the peninsula, where fishing boats go in and out every day. There is also a ferry that goes to Gdansk, but larger ships do not dock in the harbour. On the way home, we stopped at an old fisherman’s house, where original objects used in fishing were still on display. Typical for such houses was that the entrance door led directly into the kitchen and every other room could be entered from there, as the kitchen was the most used room. At that time, the fishermen used washed-up rubbish from the sea, mostly wooden planks from ships, to build their houses. That is why they all had only one storey. The bones of fish or seals were used to make tools for hunting, for example. After the visit to the fishermen’s house, the excursion was over and we went back home.
My host family woke up earlier than me but they waited for me to wake up so we could have breakfast together. For breakfast we had sandwiches and muffins made by me and my exchange partner. For breakfast we also ate desssert, a cake bought from the pastry shop. After dessert we all went to Oliwa Cathedral. Oliwa, Gdańsk Archcathedral is a church in Oliwa, Gdańsk. My family is religious and they go to church every Sunday. The churches in Germany are similar to those in Poland. After that we took a walk in the Oliwa park . Oliwa Park is popular for its Chinese garden, botanical gardens and palm house. For lunch we ate Zurek, a traditional Polish soup. The soup contains meats such as sausages, bacon, or ham, and vegetables. I had the evening meal at home, it was prepared by my exchange partner’s mother. She prepared for us Barszcz czerwony, borscht in the Polish version. My mother often cooks borsch at home and I was excited to try another version of borsch.
First we enjoyed a two-hour guided tour of the old town of Gdansk, which was very informative and enlightening. We were able to learn a lot about the German and Polish past in the inter-war and post-war periods. Our guide also told us a lot about other German tourists who experienced Gdansk at that time, which also had interesting backgrounds.
Afterwards we went to the museum about WW2 in Danzig. We had audio guides telling us about the history of the exponats and just general history. The first thing you saw was a film avout the catalysts of WW2. Afterwards you went through different rooms in which for example the different totalist regims were explained. I found the replicated polish street realy striking because you felt like you traveled into another time. Over all the museum shows the horros of the war realy well and you can almost feel some of the terror the people must have felt back then. Sadly I didn’t have enough time to see the intire museum because we only had 1½ hour. I probably would have needed at least 3 hours but could have spent probably 5 hours. Despite that I found the museum fascinating and would probably go there again with more time.
The trip to Leba. Today we met at the school at 0845. We travelled with a bus to Leba, which took us 2 hours. In Leba electro busses waited for us and took us to the dunes. The weather was very rainy and there was a lot of wind. We walked in the dunes and to the beach. It was very cold but we had a lot of fun. We saw deers and a fox. Then we took the bus back to Danzig. Afterwards we had free time and in the evening many of us met and spend the rest of the day at the mall.
Am 15. September ist es soweit; 20 Oberstufenschüler werden mit Frau Krämer und Frau Dopp nach Danzig, Polen, fliegen und dort unsere Partnerschule, das 5. Lyzeum besuchen.
Für eine Woche leben die Teilnehmer in Gastfamilien, gehen in die Schule und lernen Danzig und Umgebung kennen.
Arrival and integration meeting
We arrived at the airport in Gdansk around 14 o’clock, where our Polish exchange partners welcomed us with name tags. Then we went home together and met their families. We had some time together until all of us met again at the school. There we started with a few games to get to know each other. In addition, we learned a few dances, for example „Belgijka”, and we had a quiz about the exchange, which was a lot of fun. After that, our exchange partners showed us around their school. When we got back, we had dinner with the whole family, which was delicious. All in all, it was a great first day.