Editing: Cluadia Portelli
It was late October when our teacher, Mr Mario Xerri, informed us that there was the realistic possibility that later on during this scholastic year, a group of us will have the opportunity to visit Poitiers in France. Due to the links established with Lycee Pilote Innovant International through an etwinning project called Eurobots, our school was invited to participate in an International Week which is organised annually by this French school.
When this possibility became a reality, preparations intensified. Through the etwinning project’s twinspace, we got to know more about the school and we met our hosting partners virtually. We started meeting very often during the mid-day breaks to prepare a presentation that we were to deliver during our visit in front of all the other delegations which came from China, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia and Spain and Sweden.
We were counting the days … and finally it was departure time. A short diary which recounts our memorable experience follows:
Early morning on Wednesday 16th March 2011, we all woke up at 2.00 am to start a very long day of travelling in order to reach our destination, Poitiers. Our first meeting point was Mgarr terminal from where we caught the 3.30 am ferry.
At Cirkewwa, a minibus was waiting for us which took us to the Malta International Airport and we flew to Charles de Gaulle. We landed at 10.15a.m. From there our journey proceeded via TGV train to Poitiers. We arrived there at around 4.00 pm where we found a delegation from Lycee Pilote Innovant International waiting for us. Using two school minibuses we were transferred to the school. There we met the other students of the group and after an introductory meeting we left school with our hosting partners to take a good rest.
This was our second day at Poitiers. We met at school at 8.00 am and started our long day which was marked by different workshops. We had actually chosen our preferred workshops before leaving Malta.
At 9.00 am we met at the entrance of the Lycee Pilot Innovant International School. From there, under the guidance of the organisers we walked to the Futuroscope Park and we spent a whole day there. We enjoyed the attractions and rides. It was simply fantastic! At around 5.00 p.m. some of us returned home with the hosting families. The others had the opportunity to attend a concert which was held in the internal school yard.
On the fourth day we went for an excursion to the historical centre of Poitiers. We allocated some time for shopping too! In the afternoon we had the opportunity to observe what was going on in the school pre
mises as an Open Day was held on that day. Lots of activities and exhibitions had been prepared.
We spent this day with our hosting families. We had more time to get to know better a typical French family lifestyle.
We met at 8.00 am and after a two hour drive, we were at La Rochelle. This is a city in western France and a seaport on the Bay of Biscay, facing the Atlantic Ocean. It is the capital of the Charente-Maritime department.
We visited La Rochelle Aquarium which is housed in a modern glass building on the harbour. Within the aquarium there are 70 separate sections containing 12,000 marine animals and - most exciting for visitors - 20 species of shark.
After breakfast, we left Poitiers at 9.00 a.m and arrived in Paris at around 11.00 a.m. O
nce we got off the train at Gare Montparnasse, we found a mini-van waiting for us to take us for a four-hour Paris city tour. Our first stop was at the Eiffel Tower, Paris’ landmark monument. Afterwards, we headed off to L’Arc de Triomphe and the famous Champs Elysee. Finally, we visited the Sacre Coeur, situated on the hill of Montmartre. In the evening, after a very long walk from our hotel, which was situated in the Quartier Latin towards the city centre, we took the metro and from Pont Neuf we took an unforgettable boat tour along the Seine river.
Every beginning has its end and though we hoped that our journey will be an exception, this day meant the end of our trip. After taking a good breakfast, we left the hotel and headed towards the airport.
On behalf of the group we would like to thank our teachers, school administration, Gozo College Principal, central educational authorities and above all Lycee Pilote Innovant International for making such a memorable experience possible.