Year 13 students embarked on an exciting Residential Trip in their last year of secondary school. After a long day of travel from Beijing, the students reached the NAE camp at "Les plans sur Bex' late last night. They had time to eat a delicious dinner of pizzas and salad before attending a briefing by NAE staff about safety, behaviour expectations and the plan for the week. This morning, after a satisfying breakfast that included Swiss cheese, the groups have set out on their adventures.
Group 1 update from Minyoung:
We took a cable car to reach Schilthorn (2970m), it lies above the the village Mürren so we could have a walk in the beautiful village. At Birg, which is another summit that lies on the east of Schilthorn, we had a thrilling walk over. It was a cliff see-through pathway and was really exciting with the magnificent scenery. And at the Schilthorn, we could see the Jungfrau and other summits. After that we went to the Adventure park Interlaken to have a treetop course. Some of our group member have finished the hardest course!
We went on a historical and cultural tour in Lucern. We first went to see ‘Lion monument’, a dying lion carved out of a wall of rock above a pond. Then we visited ‘Bourbaki Panorama’ where has a cylindrical painting depicting the Franco-Prussian War. After that, we went to ‘Museggmauer’ which is the old city wall with some towers. And lastly we had a walk on the Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge) which is the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe. Then we had a last lunch in Switzerland at a fancy restaurant located right next to the Reuss river with Chapel Bridge.
Then we come back to NAE camp and had a group reflection time, discussing what we did well and what could have been improved. We generally felt that this trip reinforced our independence as we had to plan the schedule, book accommodation and find out the way to go by ourselves. We definitely learnt a lot of things from this trip and would like to recommend to the future Year 13s.
After having arrived at our lovely mountain hut yesterday, we were greeted by a Nepalese mountain guide who would be our chef and caretaker for our stay. The hut offered some stunning postcard like views of the surrounding areas. The hike up to the hut was physically demanding however we maintained a high team spirit and kept going until we reached the top. In the evening we all enjoyed some hot chocolate and shared our thoughts and opinions of the trip so far.
The next morning we hiked back down to the Sulwald cable car station which brought us back down to the bigger village. From there we caught a train to Bern where our group split and did various sightseeing activities, followed by a reflection session and some dinner. Tomorrow is our last day together as a group and we plan to sightsee untill about lunch time, then we will head back to the NAE camp at Les Plans Village.
The next day, our group was separated into smaller groups and each enjoyed shopping and sightseeing in Bern. Some had fun walking around and looking for some souvenirs (Swiss chocolate + Swiss skincare products) for their families and themselves, some went to the street market and bought raclette cheese and herb tea. Also one group visited the ‘Klee, Chaplin, Sonderegger’ exhibition at the Zentrum Paul Klee art museum. They said that it was a variable experience to see Klee’s artworks from his childhood in his familiar place. All of us met in the restaurant for lunch and had burgers and schnitzels. Then we headed back to NAE camp after having a reflection session. We all agreed that this residential trip worked super well.
Group 3 update from Jeremy:
The day began with a guided tour of CERN, something surprisingly difficult to book, but well worth the effort. At the very forefront of scientific innovation, we witnessed how researchers here unravel the mysteries of this universe. Then came the breathtaking Palace of Nations, where human rights is always the question at hand. We visited the many conference rooms where some of the most momentous decisions in recent history were decided, and observed global cooperation first-hand. Unfortunately, we were unable to visit some of the most famous halls due to active conferences taking place, but the experience was still enlightening. Tomorrow, we head out to Bern, for not only a change in scenery, but a change in regional language too.
We spent exploring the beautiful lake-side town of Lausanne. Our morning began with the grand Palais de Rumine, site of historical events like the peace process following WWI. Within were numerous museums featuring a wide range of objects, from bronze age artifacts to a massive collection of taxidermied animals. Lunch brought with it a delicious cheese fondue and a small selection of escargot (snails). It was the most expensive meal we've had here in Switzerland, but it was also the best; money well spent.
After our meal, we visited the Lausanne Cathedral, located conveniently next to the museum. Within were grand stained glass windows and an organ recital we were lucky enough to catch. We even managed to climb to the top of the bell towers, from which we could see the entirety of Lausanne. Unfortuantly, our time in Switzerland was over. We headed back to the chalet in the evening, ready to fly out early next morning.