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Impressions of Belgian students and teachers from:

    Comenius trip to Zadar 4 - 9 May, 2015  


   At 8.50 pm gathering in the school to get on the bus at 9:00 am that would bring us to Charleroi. First all hand luggage and two suitcases had to be weighed. After many overloaded we finally had the correct weight .When we get on the bus we had already lost two children: Halil and Redouane. Halil had to go to the bank and Redouane had forgotten his identity card. Fortunately, he had already discovered that in Antwerp and not in Charleroi. Arrived at the airport the check-in of the luggage went smoothly but when wehad to go through passport control ourselves ,it revealed that Domenica and Konrad still had a wrong passport. Despite our preparation and good intentions, we had not noticed that there is little difference between a Belgian (European) passport and a temporary residence passport and despite all attempts the border controls did not give in and Domenica and Konrad had to stay behind. We immediately contacted the school to pick them up and left the two students behind in a safe place because we had to take our flight. This unexpected incident was a downer for the feelings and we often thought about stragglers, but ... SHIT HAPPENS. The flight went well. Some students have had serious sweaty hands, but we arrived safely at Zadar Airport. Dino (Edin) was waiting for us and after a warm welcome we went by bus to Zadar.dar.dar.dar.dar.

   Arrived at the youth hostel we divided and installed our rooms the rooms and we could settle in. Miss Katleen and Mr. Pol had to leave us soon for some official affairs and we got from our Croatian "nursing school student guides" a city tour in Grad Zadar. It soon became clear that Zadar has a long and rich history. For our dinner we were welcomed in a student restaurant and despite an uneasy start (about halal food and meat ) the food was very enjoyable.

   Than the students had some free time and Dino led us , teachers to a cozy terrace where we could enjoy a cozy chat and a local delicacy. On the way back to our hostel we saw the clearly troubled Kiani and Tina. Timothy and Monica had a relational problem and the Dalmatian population is not aware of the fierce nature of our students end therefore called the police. Fortunately the friendly watchman of the hostel took care over the lovebirds (chickens) and after a short time-out the love-crisis was over and we were able to go to sleep . On the boys room there was a restless moment with some turbulence and noise at night, but nothing that we could not solve. So that small fire was quickly extinguished.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

   Early wakeup because at 9:00 pm there was an official reception planned in the 'medical school'. Before we walked over there we could enjoy a very tasty breakfast in a much too small dining room. At the school we were welcomed by the headmaster and Dino and his team. Then we got a tour of the school and we were given an idea of what the students here see during the medical training.
   dentistry, child care, elder care, physiotherapy and more. Hassan tried to inject a dummy arm and Moufasa even got a massage. Then we were split up and the boys went to the Naval School and the girls went to a school for beauticare. They were well taken care of but It soon became clear that the level of our students is not lower than the level of the Zadar students. In the navalschool we got a tour and we were allowed to witness how the 3rd year students learn to work with maritime simulators. So we got a real picture of an engine and the control of ships.

    Than the local TV crew interviewed Moufasa and he would turn up later that day during the evening news. For lunch we went back to the student restaurant was where it was verry crowded, but the food was top and the table manners as well. A short 'feet-in-the-fountain' moment and then we got a city tour with a guide. who could tell us a lot about the special places and buildings. He did it succinctly but also fascinating. At various places of 10 sqm you could find remains of the 1st, 10th, 17th and 19th centuries. And all through, on, under and between each other.

   In the evening, the teachers of all countries were expected for a meal together. Our students had to rely on themselves and were given enough Kuna (Croatian money) to satisfy their hunger and thirst. We had learned our lesson and decided that one of us would be around at the hostel and so be available in case of another problem . Sure enough, during the evening Tine showed up with a swollen leg as a result of an insect bite. Because the pain and swelling intensified we went to a pharmacist, took him out of his bed for some liniment . Because we had no icepack we have plundered the refrigerator from the hostel and we have someone fresh beer used as ice pack. The next morning we put the now warm beer back in the freezer. Furthermore, this second night went quiet and calm, with no police , hair pulling and yelling adolescents.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

   Again up early because this was the big day. We had to come together at 9.00 am to build up the stands and workshops . Together We went full power and manage to do a great job . We were the only school that offered a workshop and became some appreciation for that the. Our students showed themselves at their best and did a great job, congratulations for that . After the cleanup of the room we all got an afternoon buffet offered in the arsenal. It was a very rich and tasty buffet , here our students also showed themselves at their best and did a great job,now they showed some appreciation.
   That afternoon we were free and we went swimming all together. Outside the city, we went looking for a suitable place, but the first place we saw appeared to be very slippery. When the first four students slipped and landed flat on their back before they had reached the water, we have wisely decided to look for another place. A little further we found a pebble beach. Here it was not easy to get into the water because of a lot of large, small, sharp and / or slippery stones and pretty cold water. Ultimately, almost everybody ended up in the water and we had a great time.
   For our evening meal we had to go to a youth hostel just outside the city where the Poles and Czechs were sleeping. We took the bus over here. Because the Germans as usual thought they knew it and and we followed them , we still had a long way to go on foot. The food tasted after a good walk . For dessert we got a huge piece of very heavy but delicious cake and then the start signal was given for the dance. That did not really get going until the two pacesetters of the ' crazy Belgians ' gave way. So the ball started rolling. After a while and some searching for the right bus stop, we all went fairly early to bed because it would be an early morning again.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

   Up early for a day trip by boat to the Kornati Island. 3 hours sailing back and of course 3 hours back. Beautiful weather, beautiful calm sea, cozy atmosphere, scenic views, frolicking dolphins, stunt flying seagulls and spectacular cliffs. Then we docked in a cozy, natural harbor.

   We could choose from a walk to the double-salt lake to enjoy a swim or a walk around the lake or to climb the cliffs for a magnificent view. The lake water was significantly warmer than the sea and we have enjoyed it to the fullest. Dalmatians drop their sheep on these islands. They are actually there to fend for themselves, and thus they naturalize. Those wild sheep they call Devil-sheeps. With their old donkeys they do the same. We have not seen those animals but found giant shit turds from devilsheeps of old donkeys whether the Dalmatians themselves ... we do not know. Again, the swimming was painfull because of the many sharp stones.

   Back on the boat we were offered a meal of fresh fish and we had to experienced the singing of the head-master . we had no way to run on a boat so … just undergo it and then back towards Zadar. We still had great weather, beautiful calm sea, cozy atmosphere, nice views, no frolicking dolphins, still stunt flying seagulls and sunburned and dying Germans. Back arrived in Zadar they have to take the dying German boy to the hospital where he was treated for a severe form of heat stroke, but by late evening he was allowed to return home.

   We had a free evening and so everybody could eat their own choice and enjoy "Zadar by night". We ,teachers, went to a terrace and had an enjoyable evening with Dino ,the Turks and some Czechs. It was a long but very successful day.

Friday, May 8, 2015

   Our last day in Zadar we could fill at will, so ... a longer sleep!!! easeful breakfast and then all of us sung “Happy Birthday” to Halil because it was his 18th birthday. Then we climbed the tower and enjoyed the beautiful view. We walked along the fortress walls to the glass museum where those who are interested were allowed inside. curiously almost everyone wanted to go. we saw quite beautiful and interesting historical things and we got a fascinating demonstration of a lady who made miniature vases.

   Then again there was a moment of free time to shop, to eat or do whatever we want, and in the afternoon we went swimming again. This time the water was much colder (about 4 cm cold!!!!), so only the very brave of heart, or craziest people went into the sea. Obvious we came out again pretty quickly. The sun was much too hot to sit in, so we went back to the hostel and most of us already start packing. In the evening we went all together to a pizza restaurant to end this wonderful week. The students were enjoying a last night off. We enjoyed one last ice cream from the best ice cream shop of Zadar and sat one last time at the sea organ.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

   Again up early, have a quickly breakfast and then start weigh our suitcases: reloading, weigh again , another reloading, weigh again and then hope for a good-humored balance at the airport. Short intermission by Dino for a Dalmatian coffee or a Bullshit and then heading to the bus that would take us to the airport. This time we had to leave nobody behind and everything went smoothly. No co-pilots with suicidal tendencies, no terrorist attacks thus safe and secure, and faster than expected back in Charleroi. It took some time to get our two suitcases and we had to wait for the bus, but we finally made it back to the Kerkstraat in Antwerp. Time to say goodbye had come. I think I may say that for everyone it was a very successful trip and we will remember it for a long time.

What you certainly did not know...

In Zadar you order either a coffee and then you get a small cup of strong coffee or a bullshit and then you get a big cup of coffee with milk.
At the quay of Zadar is a sea organ. the sea water pushes air in a set of 35 sound tubes and squeeze out 'once in a lifetime' music .
Some students get famous sweaty hands in a plane.
80 decibels is very loud, especially at night.
quaystones in Zadar can be very slippery.
Mufasa sometimes has asthma and than his stomach can explode.
Redouans can damage t-shirts during his sleep.
Redouane is doing sports "Jacky chan", but now is going to do ballet.
The girls in Zadar are "whoula asahbi wheyoow, wheyoow."
Moufasa takes pictures of his pizza in case he gets hungry, he can look at that picture to stop his hunger.
They have a lot of delicious ice cream in Zadar .
Among the 400 islands of Zadar there is a small round island as flat as a pancake where you can marry, and therefore can not go running early.
Dalmatians rather sit with sheep than with a woman.
Halil was pleased with his organ music.
In World War II, Zadar was destroyed for 90% by Allied bombs.
Zadar has a long and eventful history, under the Croatian, Roman, Byzantine, Hungarian, Venetian, French, Austrian and Italian.
Zadar was in the 6th century destroyed by a major earthquake.
In Zadar are many Italian influences noticeable. You notice it in names, streetnames, glass, ice cream and pizza.
6 days in Zadar is too short for most of us.
Nothing ever happens to the Germans.
Our students are fantastic, and our colleagues are too.
Dino is a wise, magnanimous, and bighearted person.

Mr. T. (Kid)