Over the Christmas holiday 15 Third Form pupils travelled to Germany to follow the famous fairy tale trail. On the first day the group headed into Hameln to meet the Rattenfänger (Pied Piper) for a tour through the streets of the town, skipping to the sound of his pipe, taking in the stories and mysteries surrounding his past.

The pupils were all keen to explore the Christmas Market and sample the culinary delights of the Market. The afternoon’s programme included climbing (a lot of stairs) to the top of the Marktkirche, from where we gained amazing views of the town and area. It was no surprise that after this a hot chocolate with cream and sprinkles was on everybody’s agenda. We therefore headed to the oldest pancake house in Hameln to see what they had on offer. I was surprised that after supper there was any energy left to return to the Market, but there is no stopping 13 year olds, and we headed back into town to experience the Christmas Market by night.

On the Sunday we rose early to make our way to Bückeburg where we had a tour of the castle, riding school and museum, before wandering around the local Christmas Market, again sampling the wonderful roasted nuts, pancakes and famous German sausages. The afternoon’s programme was a performance of ‘Around the World in 80 Days’, with horses and riders, and all set to music.

Monday we left for Hannover, where we had a superb tour of the city, and learned lots about the development and changes that Hannover has seen during various times in history, including the origins of the Royal Family. Christmas Markets were in abundance, and we had an enchanted lunch stop sitting under large firs, on blocks of wood, in a forest-like creation, listening to German music. The afternoon saw us head out to the zoo, to the Winter Wonderland Experience. All pupils went ice skating, took a run on the tobogganing track and sampled German sausages, Kinderpunsch  and other festive delicacies.

On our last day, we had a tour of the palace and gardens, before we headed back into town for a German Stammtisch at the Ernst August Brewery Restaurant, where pupils sampled a range of traditional, meaty dishes. Finally, we squeezed in some free time in the afternoon to buy some gifts, and a last hot chocolate at the station.