A week before departure I was quite apprehensive. Would I know all I needed to know? Would I manage to bring it all across in a fairly good way? Would my students have the discipline to prepare themselves? But then in that week I read up a bit more, I had my magical session with Roland, and I exchanged some emails with my studetns which were hope-inspiring, and in the last days before departure I was looking quite forward to it.
So first thing was getting there. When we had done the recce, we had flown in. That's the easy way! But too expensive for over a hundred students. So we would travel by coach, and a few minibuses. So on Saturday morning I was rudely awoken at 5.30, got a shower, got my luggage, and biked to university. There I parked my bike in my office, had a final coffee, and went to where we would meet our students. And as soon as we saw a bunch of coaches pull over, we checked if we had them all, and embarked.
Coach 3, my means of transport, proudly parked at campus
All went well. Until we came to a traffic light near Bristol. Where the bus suddenly didn't want to go into first gear. And you can pull up in second gear; I've tried that myself. But it shouldn't be necessary. So only two hours up the road we already lost a coach. Luckily this is taken into account: there's enough space on the others to accommodate refugees from a stranded coach. But it was somewhat of a bad omen...
Coach 3 two hours later
Without further incidents we came to the ferryport though. And onto the ferry. And four hours later also off again. And then we were off again!
Hazy view from the ferry
I had been headhunted by some of the men travelling by minibus, in order to vacate some space in the now a bit more crowded coaches, and together we moved faster and more luxurious to our destination. And we couldn't possibly enjoy the amazing surroundings; it was pitch dark. It was close to midnight when we got there. I randomly picked a hotel room that would turn out to be spiffing, resisted some offers for a pint, and went to bed. The next morning it would get real... Stay tuned for more exciting news!
The view next morning out of my hotel room