A report by German students
students: Raphael Bansen Lassala, Lenya Trinkis, Alice Osifo, Naima Schnüttgen, Carina Bähr
teachers: Annika Roettig, Christian Rohlfing und Jana Fritzsch
Saturday 4th March
We took off from Hamburg airport on 4 March. The outward flight went without further complications and we landed in Porto. We took the train to the hotel and checked into our rooms. Everyone freshened up briefly and then we met to see the city centre of Porto. We walked through the city centre. As it was a Saturday, it was accordingly crowded and we also saw some street performers with small crowds standing around them. We went to the “Ponte Dom Luis I” and walked across the half-timbered arch bridge over the Douro between Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. As the sky was clear, we had a beautiful view of Porto from the other side of the Douro. As everyone got hungry, we walked up and down the streets looking for a suitable restaurant that would satisfy everyone. We decided on a small Italian restaurant where we spent a few convivial hours. Afterwards, we went back to the hotel in a good mood and fell into bed tired and satisfied.
Sunday 5th March 2023
Unlike Saturday, Sunday had very rainy and undesirable weather. But that didn’t stop us from “exploring” the city of Porto. We, the students, walked through the city together and visited many beautiful places. We went to an old palace garden, which was very beautiful, very green, and sadly, very wet.
In the early afternoon, it was time to go to the host families (mostly in Barcelos). After a pleasant train ride, everyone arrived, and we met the Portuguese people again. It was great to see them again. Without waiting for long, we went straight to the host houses, and our day was already almost over. We were all very tired from the train ride, even though it was comfortable, the bad weather and the nearly 2-hour train journey made us all very tired.
Monday 6th March 2023
On Monday we met at school at 8 a.m. We went to class with our host student for the first two lessons. After that the headmistress greeted us and later we went to the library and ate some Portuguese snacks. Around 11 a.m. each of us had half an hour of Portuguese lesson and half an hour of Portuguese history. At 12 a.m. we went to the school canteen for lunch. In between we always had some small breaks, in which we could talk and get an overview of the school.
In the afternoon we went to the city centre of Barcelos and had a little treasure hunt there. We had to find different stations in the city and answer questions, for example about different monuments from different countries or the Roman history. In the end we walked back to school and had to go to class again until 6 p.m. Then we were picked up and spent the rest of the day with the host families. It was a very long day with many new impressions!
Tuesday 7th March 2023
On Tuesday we took the bus to Braga at 9:00 am. It rained but the atmosphere was good and after about an hour we arrived. The walk to the D. Diogo Museum didn’t take long and we still had some time until the visit to the museum took place, so most of the students formed a circle and we played a game. When the museum opened the door at 10:00 am, two ladies told us a lot about the Romans and their eating habits, fighting techniques and which clothes woman and man wore. We were asked the question How roman are you? . We dealt with this question in the museum. At the end of the visit we learned what makes a Roman and how many Roman habits are actually in us and our cultures. So we received a piece of paper to write down the answer to the main question. At 12 pm we had lunch in the cafeteria of the museum. After lunch we had some free time, which we spent in the city center. At 15:45 we drove to the so-called Bom Jesus Lift, a lift powered by waterpower. When we arrived at the top, you could take a look at Braga from above, the church Bom Jesus do Monte could also be visited. At 16:45 the return to Barcelos took place, but we took a stop at the sea for some minutes.
Wednesday 8th March 2023
On Wednesday at 8 am we drove to Porto by bus. We arrived at the Palace of justice. Our guide was Dr. Joel Cleto who is an archeologist, a teacher at an university and the author and presenter of a weekly television program about history and heritage. To hear his lecture we received headphones. His coworker translated it to English so we could understand him. Our guide showed us some important places of the city, as well as a historical courtroom inside the Palace of justice and we learned a lot about Porto and its history. We said goodbye to Dr. Joel Cleto and his assistant at 12 pm and went to eat burgers in a restaurant with all students and teachers. After that we had free time and were allowed to explore Porto on our own. Most students went shopping, visited cafés or just enjoyed the city. Despite the bad weather we had a very nice day in Porto. At 16:30 pm our bus picked us up again. Before we drove back to Barcelos we made a short break at the beach.
Thursday 9th March 2023
This morning the Germans, Spaniards, Portuguese, Greeks, Croats and Italians once again met at the Group Rosa Ramalho school to visit the Barcelos market according to the plan. However, fate had other plans for us so we had to scrap our trip due to bad weather conditions. In order to kill the time that had now arisen, it was decided that all exchange students would go to class with their hosts. However, this was a voluntary offer which some gratefully accepted, hoping that the weather will improve soon. Our prayers were answered, but now it was too late to start the trip. Because at 12 o’clock lunch was served in the canteen. We ate fish with rice, after which we were given free time until noon, 2 p.m. Where for the first time that day we all sat outside in the sun and talked.
From there it continued as planned with the presentations of the individual countries about their form of democracy. Germany started and Italy ended at 4:30 p.m. sharp. To everyone’s amazement, a little spectacle was put on after the end of Italy’s presentation. The birthday of the two German students Alice and Lenya was celebrated with two small cakes, gifts and happy birthday songs in all languages that were present and with an ukulele as accompaniment. Afterwards we had some freedom to calm down after all the excitement. At 6 p.m. we drove back to our host families and ended the evening there with delicious food and playing cards.
Friday, March 10, 2023
If I had to describe Friday in one word, it would be “musical,” as most of us visited a conservatory where we got to listen to and watch orchestra pieces, presentations, and lessons. However, unfortunately, not everyone could go there, so a few of us stayed behind to cook because in the evening, there was a celebration, our “farewell party.”
After the conservatory visit, we all gathered to have lunch together, like almost every day in the cafeteria. After everyone finished eating, we started preparing ourselves for our party, setting up tables, getting drinks, and even dressing up a bit fancier.
When the time came, we all ate and drank together until the Portuguese people had the brilliant idea to dance. At first, only a few people were dancing, but as the time passed by, more and more joined in until almost everyone was there. We all danced, talked, laughed, and some even cried. The songs ranged from Spanish to German, giving everyone a taste of each culture.
As the different countries started to leave the party, we all said our goodbyes together. Some tears were shed, but it was all very beautiful. We all had an incredibly fun time together.
Saturday 11th March 2023
On our departure day we met at 9 am at the teacher’s hotel. We said goodbye to our exchange students. Then our taxi came to bring us to the airport. There we had a little more time to relax before our flight to Frankfurt went at 12 pm. Despite some complications with our flight everything went well and we arrived at Frankfurt – nearly on time. After a short stay we entered our last flight to Hamburg. Our flight went well and we arrived at about 20pm. Luckily everything went well with our baggage as well 😉 After that everyone went home.