Redland Green School

RGS Bristol

2012 German Christmas Markets visit with Year 9: Cologne and Aachen

Just before the end of last term, a group of Year 9 students travelled to Germany to enjoy the Christmas Markets in Cologne and Aachen. It was an intense four-day visit, offering students the opportunity to practise their German and, perhaps more importantly, to experience its culture. The following is an account of the visit, as seen by one of the students, Issy.

Arriving at school at 5.45am, slightly sleepy, but full of excitement, everyone took their seats. With 12 hours on a coach, everyone got comfy. No one bought DVDs, which limited us to Mr Kennett’s select selection of films. At around 7.30am we were driving down the motorway watching School of Rock and singing along. We got on board the ferry and explored the deck, which was super windy and the sea was very choppy. Mr Kennett and Mr Norris were photo bombing, which created a few interesting pictures. It was exciting to get our first glimpse of France!

12-ish hours, 4 countries and a ferry journey later, we finally arrived at the hostel, a modern and stylish hotel, which we shared with three other schools. It was situated in the centre of Cologne, and only a short walk away from most of the Christmas Markets. After pulling our suitcases up one flight of stairs, we arrived.  Each room had a German view, but ours only had a brick wall! We tried to keep our rooms as neat as possible [for room inspections], which only happen on the final day, which was lucky as ours was a tip! Each morning we left the hostel early, full of energy and ready to have fun and then arrived back late, grateful for our free time and beds.

One of the main reasons for going to Germany was to experience the culture and food. Some people did not try anything completely German, sticking to what they know. However, many people drank Kinderpunsch, the taste of which varied from market to market, and for a small amount of money could keep the cup. During the second day a group of people tried meat on a stick, which proved to be very tasty and filling!







The first morning was a crisp sunny morning and we walked to the Cathedral. Everyone climbed a staggering 506 concrete steps, which spiralled upwards leading to a breathtaking view of Cologne. Once back at the bottom we were met by Miss Tune looking up saying, ‘you just climbed that’.

In the markets, everyone managed to haggle the price of goods down, even if it meant only knocking 50 per cent off of the price. However, there was someone in the group who managed to haggle the price up! Most stall owners spoke English, which made our fledgling attempts to speak in German slightly less embarrassing.

The Chocolate Museum was surprisingly good with tasters and a tropical room. We saw loads of people in white with Lindt written on them making amazing chocolates.  There was even a golden fountain with chocolate coming out of it!

One of our excursions was an Advent-cruise along the River Rhein. To our horror/surprise we were asked to help Father Christmas sing along to classical Christmas songs in front of the whole boat. Everyone managed to come up on stage and sing slightly out of tune in front of a huge audience, receiving a chocolate santa for their efforts.

Later that evening, we took a short walk, and found ourselves under the stars in a Christmas market. In the busy night-time market we bought more Kinderpunsch and waffles, and of course more presents for family and friends. And despite being worn out, there was still a lot of haggling going on!

The talent show was an evening to remember, expertly led by Mr Davies and fairly-judged by Miss Tune, Ms Tobin and Mr Kennett. Loads of memories like the slow-motion comedy fight and the cleverly prepared Frog song. Third place went to some impressive football tricks, second place was a Mighty Boosh song, tied with the Frog song, and first prize went to The Herb Girls song and dance routine.  I remember Miss Tune’s thoughtful comments and Mr Kennett's encouraging comments.

Then it was time to pack and prepare for the journey home, which all happened in a blur! The market at Aachen was wonderful and we spent our last few cents on presents and Chips From Around The World, before we travelled back across Europe to arrive home, tired but happy, late in the evening.

Thanks to Miss Tune for being a great trip leader and to Ms Tobin, Mr Kennett, Mr Davies and Mr Norris for looking after us so well.

Issy, Year 9

Wow! A busy account of what we all got up to, and I am sure that if you ask other students who went on the trip what their most memorable moments were, you will find out even more about just how much we managed to jam in to the short break! On behalf of the staff, I would like to thank the students who accompanied us to Germany: they were a real credit to themselves, their families and the school. Long may the memories remain...

If you want to see what the students tweeted whilst in Germany, visit

If you want to read what the staff tweeted whilst in Germany, visit

You do not need to sign up to Twitter, simply click the link and enjoy!

Mr P Norris

Teacher of Modern Foreign Languages