30/07/2010

Well the road trip leaves in less than 12 hours and I still seem to be surrounded by kit !

The blog and photos are now up and running on the website, we have no idea what to expect in terms of IT facilities on site, but I am pretty confident that at the very least we will be able to keep up with the blog updates, so you can follow our adventures.

At this time we still have some details to be confirmed over the activities we will be doing, I think they must have a lot on their plate in Austria at the moment, getting ready for 6,000 Scouts to arrive, but I am sure we'll sort it all out when we arrive.

Nic, myself and Benjamin leave in the morning with the group trailer in tow, we will have two stops on the way down and hope to arrive pretty much the same time as the flight party. Neil and Lorraine are making the journey by road as well, but I imagine their average speed will be a wee bit higher than ours ! (mind you they are carrying 118's kit, so perhaps their car may be just as heavy as the trailer is !) (must be the weight of all his camp jeans)

31/07/2010

The road-trippers have arrived safe and sound in Frankfurt, we shall now make the most of a good nights sleep to recover from the very early start and rather damp drive (well until we left england anyway !). Up early(ish) tomorrow for a day's drive to Linz for the next stopover.

Useful FOTD (fact of the day) : Macdonald's in Germany do free drink refills

Wierd FOTD : Etap Hotels have LED lit shower heads, v.cool.

01/08/2010

Check out the top Nic wore for our trip through Germany here, she couldn't see the problem (seriously - no idea !), but then again she's not really a football fan !

All safely in Linz in Austria, a couple of hours away from the site, will decide in the morning whether to go on or just stay in the hotel for the next 10 days.

Useful FOTD : Motorway services in Germany charge for toilets, but keep the voucher for money off when you buy stuff there !

Wierd FOTD : Our Novotel hotel bathroom has a rubber duck in it. We are not sure why he is here. Maybe it is a new way of generating customer loyalty. He says his name is Nigel.

02/08/2010

Just a quick update to say everyone has arrived all ok, site just about set up, all a bit cosy as not much space but at least we will soon make friends ! Very hot here and everyone a little tired as you would expect, early to bed tonight. All in good spirits, no arguments yet ! More news tomorrow.

03/08/2010

A bit of a lay in today, got up at 6, well some of the leaders did anyway, to hit the showers. Being in 'Europe' they are a bit more 'relaxed' about showers and they are communal, so we have to stand guard outside whilst the kids go in to shower in their swimming gear, all good fun ! Spent the morning settling in properly, building gates and decorating our site, and the kids explored the camp site, and got to start spending their money. I have been pleased to see lots of chat going on between our scouts and other nationalities, and scarf and badge swapping is going on already.(I have warned the scouts they need to buy new 11th ones by September, but scarf swapping is good fun for them so is to be encouraged). Opening ceremony was huge, big main stage, lots of singing and shouting ! Booking some big days out tomorrow for the rest of the week, and into laxenburg tomorrow to explore, and if weather good, swimming in the open air pool. All the kids are doing very well, all in good health and good spirits, and eating well ! Sorry for late updates, but don't have much time to spare during the day !

04/08/2010

It struck me this morning just how much our presence has meant to the Austrians, this event is huge, 6000 on site, most are of course Austrian as it is their centenary, but we are here flying the flag for England and getting loads of attention from everyone, so the kids are making lots of friends from all over the world. Lots of badge and scarf swapping going on this morning !

04/08/2010

Really hot again today, very sunny. Reece, Mitch, tom p, tom f, Matt, Emily and rhi have been building a communal camp-fire with our Austrian partner troop. Went to laxenburg village, the kids stocked up on essential supplies (drinks, sweets, crisps...). We are now at the outdoor swimming pool, its an open air lido on the edge of the park, lovely setting, and a nice clean pool (up until 10 mins ago!). It is loud night tonight, live bands and disco's, so the make-up will be out soon, and once the boys are done the girls might do their faces too. The young ones are doing very well, callum fielding, callum dunbar, nathanael gordon Johnson have only been with the troop a very short time but they are confident and really getting stuck in. I think every scout now has a new scarf from another country ! Some of the scouts have asked to buy pen-knives, it is common on these events, and of course a scouting 'thing', so I have said 'yes' on the understanding I will bring them home by road, to be given to parents (for future use on scout camps perhaps). We have nick-named Oscar 'Google' as he has read the camp manual inside out and seems to have all the answers (although search results seem to take a little while to come through). So, all still good, I will try to name-check everyone as the week goes on, but they are all fit and well.

05/08/2010

After the very loud 'loud night' an early start this morning, some of the older ones, tom f, Mitch, reece h, Christian, tom p are off site for 2 days, biking, rafting and then camping survival style, so good luck to them ! The rest of us are off to Vienna zoo today, and then into the city to see the sights. Eilis Bowie and Ben ronnie were interviewed by the event press team, keep an eye on the event website in case it goes on there. Looks like another hot day ahead ! Everyone fit, well and happy (mainly because its breakfast time...)

05/08/2010

It was indeed a very hot day today, so we have just got back exhausted from a trip to Vienna zoo. We took the bus from laxenburg into Vienna, then a very nice Austrian lady guided us across the town on the subway, we gave her a badge to say thanks ! The zoo was very good, set in the grounds of a grand Austrian palace, we let the kids have the run of the place for a few hours, and they all had a great time. Subway and bus back to camp and showers all round to freshen up ! We will have a rest day tomorrow, clean the tents, check kit, and no doubt there will be more badge swapping. Everyone fit and well, Lewis said today, "I love it here", so he may not want to come home at all !

06/08/2010

It started with a rumble, ended with a bang, last night Austria gave us a midnight surprise ! A thunderstorm rolled in just after 0100, right over our heads, it was a great light show and was very, very loud. A couple of us got up to check on the scouts, and they were all fine, the tents stood up pretty well, just the odd puddle, and most slept through it. Our intrepid survival patrol were bailed out during the night and brought back to the site, I got up at 6 and found them all asleep in our dining shelter ! They had quite an adventure, they biked 25 miles to a lake and then built rafts and sailed them, all of which proved difficult as very little English was spoken by those they were with ! It's morning now, and still raining and looks set in for a while, but we are on site today anyway having a rest, before another day trip tomorrow.

06/08/2010

We have discovered a side benefit to being here, turns out the water here is very soft, so paige, stephanie, Naomi, Jessica, eilis, jodie, rhianna and Emily are enjoying having soft flowing hair ! (shame it won't last of course !).

07/08/2010

We had a good day relaxing on site yesterday, it was wet in the morning so we took the chance to get the tents tidied up, once done we let the scouts do their own thing for the day, some played games, some did some more badge swapping and some postcards were written too. All of which was very relaxing, until 9 pm when our sub-camp leader advised us there was a severe weather warning of high winds, and all groups camped under trees were being advised to move into large marquees in the main square. We were taken to view the marquee, but it was a huge steel frame warehouse structure, it was shaking and rattling in the wind, and was clearly unsuitable, the scouts would have found it very unsettling. By this time it was 11 pm (it took ages to get info from the event team), and we made the decision to lift and move the three large patrol tents to a safe area, so we had to get the kids out of bed, pull all the pegs, drag the tents 10 metres to a clear area, then pitch them again ! All of this we did in the dark, with torches, in high winds, in a rush, and we managed to shift all three tents and get the scouts back in to bed in just 20 minutes. We squeezed them all into those tents, the leaders then decided it would be best to stay up to monitor the weather, to make sure they stayed safe. By 0300 things were settling down, it was windy but the tents were secure, so we all went to bed and enjoyed 3 hours sleep before getting up for breakfast ! We are now on a 2 hour coach drive to a toboggan run activity, the weather is still rough, but the scouts are still annoyingly upbeat, even if the leaders are a tad tired ! Everyone is fit and well, some tiredness of course as we are at the mid-way point, but they all continue to cope very well, the leaders are very proud of them.

07/08/2010

The toboggan run was excellent, set in a mountain side, with a 300m climb and then a fast run down, we had two goes, with a break for lunch in between. Coach trip back to site and we then moved the patrol tents back again, as the very nice Spanish group we moved in with needed the rest of their site back ! This evening is another disco night, so most of the scouts are currently leaping around the main arena. We are planning to go off site tomorrow but need to confirm some details in the morning, so we will worry about it once we have all caught up on some sleep.

08/08/2010

Today was 'Visitors Day', which is a chance for scouters, family and friends to visit an international jamboree. However, it was not really a day for us, so we took the opportunity to get out to explore Austria some more. We took a bus ride to Seegrotte, which is the largest underground sea in Europe, situated in a flooded mine, which was also used in WWII as a plane factory. It was an interesting day out, and the bus trip was a chance to see some of the countryside. Once back on site we took the chance to clean the tents out and dry some kit, as the sun has returned. Tomorrow the scouts take part in an obstacle course competition, which will involve lots of mud, so that should be fun, then on Tuesday we go to Vienna to explore the city. All the scouts are fit and well, any signs of homesickness have been few and far between and they are all very lively this evening !

08/08/2010

1. If you take a 7 ft tall man into a cave there is every chance he will hit his head on the ceiling (twice !) 2. Scouts seem to think Austrian pringles taste better than English ones. 3. Reece Harris is convinced rough toilet paper is more 'efficient'. 4. Thanks to a trial run by tom p, we now know a bus is a convenient place to clean your armpits with baby wipes. 5. Even in emergency evacuation mode, security will still wander up and say 'it is curfew, please be quiet!' 6. The Austrians are convinced you can feed 40 people with 2 frankfurters and 16 potatoes. 7. Send our troop into a food shop and they will all buy sweets and crisps...except Naomi, who will buy mini-cheeses !

09/08/2010

It's raining.

10/08/2010

A great day yesterday, the weather cleared up by the afternoon, and the scouts took part in an on site activity called 'Parkur'. It was essentially a huge obstacle course, with lots of challenges, a zip wire, and a finish which consisted of a huge slide into a tank full of muddy cold water, followed by some mud sliding ! The majority of the scouts took part and they got plastered in mud, it took a cold, then hot, shower to get it all off ! We took plenty of pictures and video of the mud ! To make sure they were clean we then went swimming, then returned for supper. After eating we joined our Austrian partner troop for a campfire, during which they invited us to tell them some things we had done. Kieran and Stephanie stood up in turn and talked about our week with confidence, both giving an excellent report. The Austrians then invested a new member into their troop, releasing a Chinese lantern to mark the occasion. We were invited to sing a song, so Eilis led us in singing 'Fireflies' which earnt us a round of applause from the Austrians. We are now on the bus into Vienna, to explore and go shopping.

12/08/2010

Sorry for the long delay in blog updates, we have been very busy and we had an issue with power supplies for our IT !

Our trip to Vienna went very well, we took the bus into the city bus station, and then took the subway to the heart of Vienna, District 1, where the first thing we did was to take a ride on the 'Ring Tram', an old fashioned tram which runs on a circuit around the heart of Vienna.

It took 30 minutes and everyone was issued with a set of personal headphones for an audio guide system, which all the scouts listened to ! (closest thing to an MP3 player I guess).

The weather was very, very hot, after the tram ride we walked 20 minutes to the 'Imperial Palace' area, the grand palace buildings were staggering in size and scope, all of us were stunned by being in such fantastic surroundings, so much so that we had a picnic on the lawn in front of some of them !

After lunch we went shopping, the shops were set in very ornate streets, and many of the shops were VERY exclusive, so we stayed out of the poshest ones !

Many of the scouts however completed their souvenir shopping, and bought gifts for family & friends (none for the scout leader apparently, but hey-ho).

After a long, hot day we returned to the site, and had a late supper before crashing into bed exhausted !

12/08/2010

Wednesday was a day for sorting kit out and tents out ready for taking down on thursday, and a chance to do some last minute on site shopping.

During the afternoon we took most of the scouts for a walk to Laxenburg Castle, as it was on the far side of the castle grounds from where we were camped (can't imagine why they put us so far away !).

The castle was beautiful in a fairy tale sense, and the scouts were able to get some good photos from across the lake.

We returned to site and had supper before heading off to the closing ceremony.

Closing ceremonies are a very difficult thing to get right, but the Austrians nailed it, there were the usual speeches and solemn moments (which are important but a little dull when mainly spoken in German), but it ended with a live band who were simply awesome, the scouts were a little quiet during the ceremony, but when the band came on they went nuts !

It was a real party atmosphere, and all being well I got some good video of it for you to enjoy.

It was a time of mixed emotions as always, but it ended on a high (and loud) note, helped along by the glowsticks I supplied to brighten things up !

12/08/2010

What is the single most important thing to a Scout Leader when striking camp ?

The SUN ! - and thankfully today Austria did not let us down, it has been baking hot all day, which has meant we were able to get all the tents down clean and dry, which is a huge bonus.

The scouts were very good today, all of them got stuck in to the hard work and we had the whole site packed away and were ready to go by 1400, right on target.

The camp-site by then had already started to return to a park setting, the change happened very quickly, it was in many ways sad, but at the same time our thoughts were starting to turn to home.

There were many goodbyes today, the scouts saying goodbye to our austrian partner troop and visa versa, and our sub-camp leader Micha came and shook the hand of each of our scouts to say good-bye, a nice touch.

Then Nic, Neil, Lorraine, myself and Benjamin said goodbye to the troop as well !

The scouts have now left the site and are at the airport, all of them are in very good health and in pretty good spirits considering they are very tired, and I know they are now all keen to come home.

We have just reached our first overnight stop on the road trip, and we are exhausted too, we'll get a good night's sleep before heading off on the long part of the journey tomorrow, one further overnight stop, and then the last leg on Saturday.

The scouts have done all of their families proud this week, representing Eastbourne, East Sussex and the UK at a large international jamboree, their behaviour has been excellent (no of course not ALL of the time, but they are kids after all !).

I am sure they will all be very pleased to see you at the airport, and will have many tales to tell, just don't expect to get much sense out of them until they have had some sleep !

12/08/2010

Some info for you;

1. Some scouts have purchased penknives, they are being brought home by road

2. Event badges have been obtained and we have them for safekeeping

3. The above items, and overnight kit, can be collected at 7.00 pm, Monday evening at the HQ

4. Slightly unusual one this, please do not panic if you happen to find a condom in their rucksack ! One sub-camp of the event was in the 16-20 age range, and being forward thinking liberal people the Austrians were keen to promote safe-sex on camp, so they were being handed out free, our scouts (being curious like all kids are) grabbed some as well. I am happy to report the only use to which they got put was for water balloons, amid much hilarity on their part, and once we realised they had acquired them we retrieved as many as we could, but there might still be the odd one lurking around and I don't want anyone leaping to conclusions !

5. The scouts have souvenir lunch-boxes with them which are theirs to keep, they should also have drinks bottles, but some went astray we think during the week, so not everyone may have one.

6. Good luck with the clothes washing !

 

 

 

 

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