Day 4 (Monday) was our day of rest.
Long lie – breakfast at 8.30 and then away for our day in Valkenburg. We started at the Kabelbahn and Rodelbahn. The weather was warm but cloudy and we had plenty time for extra Rodelbahning.
Bravery award goes to Kasey, who after being threatened with detention for the month of August unless she “had one go”, happily admitted to having developed a Rodelbahn addiction as she went on for the 4th time!
And now for some information from our Educational Sponsors:
A short walk to the Gemeentegrot for a guided tour of the cave complex. The caves are actually quarries and have been manually worked since Roman times to extract Marl for construction. Marl is a form of Limestone, a sedimentary rock made up of layers of sediment settling on the sea bed millions of years ago this makes it is rich in shell and fossil. It is very soft and can be cut using a saw or chisel but once allowed to dry it becomes very hard – this makes it an ideal construction material and many of the buildings in Valkenburg are constructed from this local rock. The Gemeentegrot has also been used as shelter in times of war for centuries and 3000 citizens lived here for 10 days while the Americans liberated Valkenburg in September 1944. Prior to this the occupying Nazi forces had used forced labour to build a munitions factory in the caves but the factory never went into production before the liberating forces arrived. In1979 a nuclear shelter was built in the caves with beds, toilets and water for the first 15000 residents of Valkenburg who made it to the doors. The caves have the most fantastic charcoal drawings and sculptures created by amateur and professional artists which are remarkably well preserved given the constant temperature and humidity (12°C, 97%). The caves are very dark – so dark that it is not possible to see your hand in front of your face, when the lights go out. Of course no light means – no photosynthesis – so no plants – so no animals. Near the entrance to the cave we saw some sleeping bats and they often hibernate in the caves but not very deep. In the deepest area (approx 72m below surface) we did see the natural water sources which is drinkable despite the high Calcium mineral content. OK Job done – Curriculum for Excellence in action – and all in half an hour!!
We then took the short bus journey to Mosaqua unfortunately the outdoor pools were not open but everyone who took their swimming stuff had a fantastic afternoon – particularly in the River Flume.
Tonight we have a Rodelbahn video shot by Rhiannon clearly influenced by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez
After dinner we return to the Rodelbahn site but this time for a couple of games of LaserTag. Some free time in Valkenburg and then home to bed.
The rest day over!
Thanks for all of your replies – keep them coming. We hope you enjoy the Animoto video of today’s photos – remember these all come from student cameras – our boys are not so good at remembering to take photos, but you will notice that they are getting better at striking their poses!