Thank you to all our lovely pupils who made the trip so enjoyable, you really were a credit to us.
Thanks to Mrs Quigley for doing the blog and I apologise it was not on whilst we were away, that was entirely my fault as I could not remember my password!!
Thanks also to Mrs Mason, Mrs Hart, Mr Beddow, Mr Osborne, Mr Murray and Mr Walker for all of the help given in organising the trip and being so great whilst we were away.
Tuesday, 10th April
A sad day, early rising (4.00am!) and homeward bound, although the stop off at the San Fran outlet centre before going to the airport was eagerly awaited and well utilised by all (staff included). ‘Please let it fit in my suitcase!’
The journey back was just ‘eat, sleep, rave, repeat’ until back on solid ground and the fun of the English motorways!
To summarise, this was an absolutely amazing trip of two opposites, both equally enjoyed to the full, even with the two days of rain in Mammoth. Students were impeccably behaved and a credit to the school and we hope they all have great memories to come back to time and time again.
Monday, 9th April
Glorious again. Final day skiing and longer sessions 9.00-12.00 noon and 1.00-3.00pm; packing as much time as possible on the slopes.
View from the top of the gondola at 11,053 feet.
After an exhilarating final ski day and a hearty meal, we all converged on the meeting room for the end of trip celebration with students entertaining us all with dazzling dances, magnificent magic and rapturous raps! Talent abounds.
Sunday, 8th April
‘Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what beautiful day!’
After the last couple of days, wonderful to draw back the curtains and see the sun glistening on the snow and all bodes well for the rest of our visit.
A fantastic days skiing was had by all, across all the different ability ranges. Students are pushing themselves and the ski instructors have commented on how well they are all doing.
Movie night saw us all bussing down to the town to see the latest Spielberg film Ready Player One at the local cinema, virtually took the place over. Students thoroughly enjoyed it to the extent we had cheering at a specific ‘romantic’ point and clapping at the end. Impeccably behaved.
Long day, so straight to bed on our return.
Saturday, 7th April
Horrible again but everyone was up and ready to face the slopes, a bit more limited so morning only and the afternoon drying out, planning their own entertainment and swimming/jacuzzi time. A well-deserved break.
Saturday night is Quiz Night
Quiz Night with the master of quizzes Mr Murray and a bonus quiz the San Fran Knowledge with Mr Osborne.
This was a closely contested event, with the leader board changing with each category. However, in the end the overall winners were team Tapatio (named after the sauce bottle on their table) and to say they were happy, was an understatement.
Friday, 6th April
Well what can we say, for somewhere that hasn’t had rain in the ski season for the last 40 years, we certainly brought the Manchester weather with us. Rain and wind however were not going to deter the Altrincham lot. Off they went, layers, snoods, goggles and gloves to face the elements and they did it. At the end of the day, 74 sopping wet students trudged back to their rooms to squeeze out their gear; clothes hanging from every chair, hook and rail available.
They were all amazing; ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’.
After a bit of relaxation and dinner, time for the Mamma Mia singalong and the students did not disappoint, singing their hearts out throughout. Which side won, Ms Hickman’s or Mr Walker’s was up for debate, so we settled on a draw.
We wake up to..
Thursday, 5th April
Breakfast at 8am and students were booted and suited ready for the first ski lesson at 10am. Weather perfect (famous last words).
A great first day skiing, students truly exhilarated. Two hours in the morning, lunch break and one and half hours in the afternoon to allow for early dinner and evening entertainment.
Lots of fresh air, rosy cheeks and smiles.
Two stage bus ride to the Mammoth Rock ‘n’ Bowl and a few hours of ‘non-competitive’ bowling!!
A great night had by all, but definitely shattered. Lights out 10pm.
Wednesday, 4th April
Left our San Fran base ready for the 6½ coach ride to Mammoth! All aboard.
Students all in good humour with Mr Walker providing an alternative comedy session (cheese jokes being the favourite) and travel guide aficionado, few facts to be believed we must add.
First stop-off for lunch in the quaint village of Placerville, the Heyday Café and an amazing vegetable soup on offer, fuel for the next stage. Back on board with an ever-changing landscape, forests with cascading rocky rivers to open barren land surrounded by snow-topped mountains; amazing just soaking it all up or sleeping.
Tuesday, 3rd April
Bike ride and coach tour (split into 2 groups)
Starting off at the Pier collecting bikes, helmets and instructions we headed out; no finer sight than a group of students and staff heading out in snake fashion on another fabulous day. Amazing route taking in the Marine district, the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre heading towards the Golden Gate Bridge. A few steep parts en route, which necessitated a bit of bike pushing but hitting the bridge and cycling is so worth it for the amazing views, simply breathtaking.
Then the fun bit commenced, going downhill winding our way to the picturesque sea village of Sausalito. Break time for snacks and ice cream and browsing in the shops; could easily have stayed there longer.
We picked up the ferry with bikes in tow back to the Pier; great fun trying to find your bike amongst the mass! Students were a great credit.
Each group took the tour with a variety of stop offs including Twin Peaks, Seven Sisters in Alamo Square (just think of Mrs Doubtfire), Baker Beach for a paddle and kite acquired flying, Golden Gate Park with the Japanese Tea Garden and a hike up the zigzag Lombard Street with super quirky houses.
Panoramic view from Twin Peaks
The top of Lombard Street and paddling at Baker Beach
Japanese Tea Garden, Golden Gate Park
We all congregated back at the Hard Rock Café for a phone free dinner and chat. Seventy four exhausted students the collapsed into bed before an early start the next morning.
Monday, 2nd April
Up bright and breezy, and after our energy building breakfast eggs over easy, muffins and pleased to say very popular melon and pineapple combo we split into two groups; one taking a walking tour and the other Alcatraz. Weather clear skies and sunny all the way.
With Mr Murray at the helm of group 1 we strode out taking in sights and sounds of the trams clanking past, heading for Chinatown. A vibrant part of the city, so much to take in. Two particular highlights were visiting the Fortune Cookie factory; a tiny entrance down a side street with an aged Chinese lady producing the cookies. Even had the opportunity to make a note to put inside for someone special. Some pupils in group 2 took up the opportunity of an impromptu session playing mandarins in the street and if you like a bit of graffiti there was also some fabulous artwork to be seen.
A bit of the ’Streets of San Francisco’ steep street walking was another challenge but the students were not to be beaten and impressed with their continued energy levels. The literal climb took us to Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill, a memorial to Lillie Coit and the San Francisco firemen; all 210 feet. Some students even managed to climb it; very impressed.
Alcatraz the ‘Rock’, what can we say, fascinating. Took the ferry over with students all straight up on the top deck for the best views and sea spray. The Ranger gave us super talk on the history of the island from its initial military fortification and prison in the 1860s to a federal prison from 1934 to 1963 when it was finally closed as no longer cost effective. Students took the opportunity to ask insightful questions of the Ranger. We then headed up to the prison itself collecting our headset tour guides. So much information and students lapped it up taking in each stop point and every photo opportunity. There was even the opportunity to have a book signed by a former prison William G Baker prisoner #1259, imprisoned for fraud and ended up at Alcatraz for escaping from other facilities. Souvenirs purchased, we caught the ferry back for our meet up at the Westfield Shopping Centre; too much excitement for students when they discovered there was a Sephora shop across the road; lots of shopping and dinner.