Our Oakridger Nitin takes you through his adventure journey across Belgium and Netherlands
Sometimes we feel like taking a break from the regular chores and enjoy a holiday like never before. For giving that break, our school (Oakridge International School) recently took us for a rejuvenating holiday, a trip to Belgium and Netherlands. This is an article about my overall experience, excitement and learning from the trip. In the escape, I started my journey landing in the Zaventem Airport in Brussels which is the capital of Belgium in Europe. Soon after the lunch at the hotel, the journey took us to explore the history of Belgium towards Antwerp also known as Antwerpen. On the Day 1, we visited various places and learned the history while connecting to the stories of each artifact as our tour guide, Frank was narrating the whole story behind every place which included the Brabo Fountain, Cathedral of Our Lady, Paintings of The Elevation of the Cross and The Descent of the Cross, Nello and Patrasche Statue, and Het Steen Castle.
On the Day 2, I woke up in the early morning with full of excitement as it was my birthday. Though I already celebrated my birthday three days back so that I could celebrate at School, it was a great feeling to be on a trip in the lands of beauty and history. The second-day trip took us to the Belgian Comic Strip Center, a Comics Art Museum in Brussels, where we click pictures with a lot of Belgian comic characters and also learned how comics were made. Afterward, we departed for the ESC (European Space Center), however, during the journey we covered places like the Palace of the Belgian Royal Family, Headquarters of the European Union and The Grand Place. We then got into our rooms and went for a briefing session on how to keep the room neat and the place safe. After the briefing, we had our snack at the refectory and we went back to the briefing hall where we were sorted into teams of 8 (Blue) and 12 (White). We went to the Refectory to have an Indian Style Cuisine made by the European Space Center’s Cooks. It was a great surprise to all of us when we were taken to watch the movie “Gravity.” My birthday was well spent! Afterward, we departed for the ESC (European Space Center), however, during the journey we covered places like the Palace of the Belgian Royal Family, Headquarters of the European Union and The Grand Place. We then got into our rooms and went for a briefing session on how to keep the room neat and the place safe. After the briefing, we had our snack at the refectory and we went back to the briefing hall where we were sorted into teams of 8 (Blue) and 12 (White). We went to the Refectory to have an Indian Style Cuisine made by the European Space Center’s Cooks. It was a great surprise to all of us when we were taken to watch the movie “Gravity.” My birthday was well spent!
On the Day 3, we had a second briefing session on the Rocket Launch Simulation, which enlightened us on various factors of the rocket such as Orbiter, SSME or Space shuttle main engine, ET or External Tank, SRB or Solid Rocket Booster, and Orbital Manoeuvring System (OMS). We learned the times in which the SRB’s and the ET detach. Also that a mission would start at T-9.00. This apart, we learned various job roles in a Rocket Launch Simulation and played such roles practically which includes Pilot, Commander, Flight Director (FD), Launch and Landing Director (LD), Environmental Life Support Systems (ELSS), Weather and Tracking (WXT), Spacecraft Systems Officer (SSO), and Public Affairs Officers (PAO). We learned the deep science of Space and had a chance to experience the feel of real space world through various practical activities. At the end of the tour Day 3, we all went to a Planetarium in the ESC and learned about the stars and constellations. We then had our dinner and enjoyed watching movie “The Amazing Spider-Man.”
On the Day 4, after the Rocket Launch simulation visit, we went for shopping and then took a space tour in the ESC and learned about the planets, stars, and astronomers. We also received a deep insight on Nicholas Copernicus, The Polish Astronomer who proposed the idea of the heliocentric solar system. We then learned about Galileo Galilei who made the telescope and proved that our solar system was heliocentric. After that, we all had our lunch and proceeded for the further session. We created rockets and launched them at the launch site at the ESC. Everyone’s rockets worked and they went high in the sky. After the rocket launch, we were given certificates and I was given a special appreciation for of my quickness at answering the questions.
On the Day 5, we headed towards Mini Europe during which we also went to Atomium and discovered that it was built for the 1957 World Expo. It has now become the symbol of the city of Brussels. Later, we went inside the Mini Europe and visited the wonders of the world like the Eiffel Tower, the Arc du Triomphe, Big Ben and the British Houses of Parliament. After Mini Europe, we went on a three-hour journey to the city of Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. When we reached Amsterdam our tour manager said that the city of Amsterdam got it name when a dam was built on the River Amstel. Another fact we learned was that the Netherlands got it name because most of the Netherlands was under sea level (Neder-land in Dutch). We went to the canal cruise and got to learn about the city of Amsterdam. We then headed to the Rotterdam, a dam which was built on the River Rotte. On each and every place, we learned how the places have got their names and the history of the same which is a great addition to our new learnings.
On the Day 6, we returned back to our homes while visiting via Dubai to Hyderabad and Hyderabad to Visakhapatnam. Overall, the entire experience gave us a lot of unforgettable memories and learnings that would last a lifetime. During the trip, I have had a chance to meet many kinds of people in Europe and learn different cultures of this world.