Our journey to the Kronberg – Aberystwyth Twinning festivities started at around 04:15am on Wednesday the 20th of June. The group consisted of 14 children (Emyr Penry Dance, Katy John, Greg Parry, Cameron James, Freya Clare, Bryn Dennis, Erin Hassan, Flynn Ellis, Morgan Langley, Isaac Evans, Max Glasser, Arran Clarke, Nick Smith and Josh Ireland) and 3 adults (Mr. A Phillips, Mr. A Hassan and Mrs. C John). Most of us travelled in the minibus with Mr Phillips, followed closely by Mr. Hassan in the second minibus with all the luggage. Due to heavy traffic we arrived at Birmingham International airport only just in time for our flight to Frankfurt. For one or two of us it was our first experience of flight (for me several firsts were to happen on the trip). We touched down in Frankfurt Main at around mid day and met with Gunter and Barbara who then took us to lunch at Hainklause at 14:00pm where we had various pizza, pasta and salad meals. We then went to practice the German orchestral pieces for the Thursday night concert. After the practice we left for the hotel feeling tired after our long day. The next morning we woke at around 8:00am and went for breakfast. The hotel services were brilliant and the owners were really friendly. Breakfast was a variety of cooked meats, freshly baked rolls, cereals, jams, fruit, cheese and drinks like hot chocolate, orange juice and milk. We left after breakfast to do another practice session with the German orchestra. The music and the way we played, I think, was very good. After the second practice we left to have a guided tour of the fruit trees with the ramblers group. I liked the tour because the guide was telling me things that I did not know before. During the tour Morgan got so excited about seeing a mouse just off the track that he cried out „MOUSE!“ during the speech, which of course brought out a few laughs. We had lunch at Pepperoni’s where we had pizzas. Afterwards we had a tour around Kronberg castle and had an insight into its history and crucial role in the making of Kronberg and its old owner the Empress Victoria, eldest daughter of Queen Victoria. At 19:30 the group had a concert with the German orchestra, firstly playing on our own, then playing with the orchestra, then watching the German choir singing several songs in English including „Dancing Queen“ by ABBA. After the concert we were taxied back to the hotel by Barbara. We went to sleep ready for the next day.
On Friday we woke well rested with a leisurely day ahead. After breakfast we left by bus for the Taunustherme in Frankfurt. There were several pools to explore including various outdoor pools, several Jacuzzis and two Saunas. One of the outdoor pools was freezing cold and had a small waterfall coming from above it that pelted you with cold water. (For me it felt as though I was being moulded like clay). After around two hours there we left so that we could get food and head off to the concert that would take place at 16:15 at Kursana, a home for the elderly. We played our pieces and afterwards were given cake. We then had to take a bus to the train station and from there some of us took a train, while the rest took the minibus with Barbara to the birthday party of a friend of Mr. Phillips‘ called Marcel Karrasch. We listened to the speeches, ate food, played our pieces then said thank you and went to catch our buses and trains back to the hotel. Our return journey was very eventful because it was in fact the day of the German World Cup football match and in case you don’t know Germany won. The night was a little rowdy outside the hotel but all for good reason.
Saturday was a relaxing day for us kids. We left later than usual because we were in no rush. At first we went to the market in Kronberg where we played to the best of our abilities. For the song „My Way“ Emyr sang the words whilst Arran did the solo on his euphonium. Barbara (as if she hadn’t done enough) brought us two bowls full of luscious, freshly picked strawberries, and a bowl of similarly delicious looking cherries. Afterwards we got ice cream and looked around the square and the fountain that symbolised the friendship between Kronberg and Aberystwyth. During the day our group went on a train to Frankfurt and had a tour around the shops, passed through a Bob Marley tribute and bought various gifts or souvenirs. After some confusion over which platform to use, we managed to board the correct train to Kronberg and then as many people as could fit in the minibus went back to the hotel while the rest stayed outside Barbara’s house waiting for the others to get back. We drove to the hosted meal at Haus Altkonig and went about setting up our instruments. For some reason the band decided that Josh and I should sing „My Way“. We played our pieces very well and „My Way“ wasn’t too bad considering it was the first time Katy was drumming, and the first time Josh and I had sung the song. For food there was a buffet at one end of the room with starters, mains and puddings. After eating there were several speeches; from the Ramblers, the German hosts who gave out presents and finally us. Emyr gave a speech in English giving a big thank you to everyone who helped make it possible to come, then some of the band handed out presents as well. When the speeches were finished we packed away into the minibus. Several people stayed because there wasn’t enough space in the minibus for all of us in one trip. Finally, when the bus got back we packed the last of the instruments in and drove to Barbara’s house where we dropped off the drum kit and said goodbye. We got back to the hotel and packed for the journey on Sunday.
At 04:15 in the morning everybody was awake (well, nearly everybody) whether willingly or not and we all went down to breakfast – yes, the owners had kindly agreed to provide an early breakfast for us! To my surprise it was as big as always, and just as tasty. After breakfast we left as quickly as possible in order to arrive at the airport in plenty of time to get on the 08:05 plane. The plane journey was brilliant, but whilst landing the plane was shuddering and shaking because of the crosswinds (it was so exciting). Once back in Birmingham we had to go through the customs then collect our luggage off the conveyor belt. We then took the shuttle train to where we could wait for Mr. Phillips and Mr. Hassan to collect us with the two minibuses. When they arrived we packed them, and then left on the final stage of our journey. We got back to the Penweddig car park in Aberystwyth at around 13:30 pm.
On behalf of myself, and the rest of the group, I would like to thank all the adults who contributed to making this trip so successful and enjoyable. We would not have been able to do it without you.
Ar fy rhan i, a phawb arall yn y grwp, buaswn yn hoffi diolch i pob un o’r oedolion wnaeth cyfrannu i wneud y trip yma mor lwyddiannus a ddymunol. Ni fuaswn wedi gallu gwneud hebddoch chi.
Bryn Owen Dennis