The start of this hayseed's journey takes her to Rushden in Northants - lovingly referred to as the Shire. There I visited Kirsty, Tom, Ella and Ben and watched far too much GreenWing than can be healthy. From the Shire I went to London, where my final day in England consisted of a wander round London with Aisling - the Queen was even in - and the start of an overnight journey to Köln. Being a Bumpkin, got to say, London's a bit big. It's 12 miles from the outside of London to the inside where Victoria coach station was. From my neck of the woods, that would get you through three towns. The first hour of our coach journey to Germany was in London. Driving entirely through Belgium lasted four hours. HOW BIG IS THIS CITY?!
The upside of the journey was that I met quite a few others who ere going to the training course as well - all of whom were lovely and friendly and have all, thanks to FB, managed to stay in touch. The not so good side was that I've never felt so ill travelling. The silver lining however; I've learnt not to get on a coach again, and I've learnt to hunt down cheap flights.
The training course itself was really good. We got to meet even more language assistants who are all amazing and made friends with people who were placed in the same region as us, and an ongoing joke about priests and poles meant probably no one has never found a rail of coat pegs so funny. I learnt (a little) about teaching - sort of - and now I'm (supposedly) adequately qualified to be let loose on some poor unsuspecting English pupils. What was better about the course was actually where it was. Situated about a half hour's drive east of Köln is Altenberg. The village itself is small - not much to report there - but the scenery was gorgeous. Valleys and streams, quaint German villages and, best of all, an old monastery, which the organisers had chosen as out venue. There was a courtyard, 3 walls of which were the dorms, conference rooms and the foodhall. The fourth however, was the towering structure of the monastery, complete with 6 am bell peel, built as if rising out of the conference halls. I've got to say, it was Hogwarts. Sarah, Richard and I, while taking a quick wander to the village, found the opportune camera angle through an arched gateway. Then we found sticks. What happened next I haven't done since I was 10. But duels should happen more often.