Class 12 have returned from their final class trip as part of their Lorien journey, a two-week odyssey through wonderful Vietnam. From start to finish it was an adventure jam-packed with activities, sightseeing and cultural immersion, with something to please everyone.
Beginning in the cultural capital of Hanoi, we learned about Vietnam’s history, from the time of the French through to the war and the advent of Communism, as well as about the many different ethnic groups that make up Vietnam’s population. We visited the fascinating Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, a number of museums, and were treated to a beautiful water-puppet theatre show, which impressed us all with the skill by which the puppets were manipulated. A unique experience for some of us was trying the local speciality of egg coffee, which was surprisingly delicious!
We then visited beautiful Sapa valley, where we got a chance to observe and meet people of a number of different Hill Tribe groups, and where we stayed in a beautiful homestay. Glenn was schooled by our hosts in the art of making spring rolls, a highlight for him! After a night on a boat in the world heritage site of Halong Bay, where we kayaked and swam, we flew to Central Vietnam, where we spent three days immersed in the colour, noise and history of the ancient town of Hoi An. This was a highlight of the trip for many of us, as it is difficult not to be impressed by Hoi An’s beautiful architecture, colourful shops and friendly locals. On our last night there we joined in the local tradition of sending paper lanterns into the river to mark the full moon, and with them sent our thoughts and prayers to all our friends and families at home, affected by the bushfires.
We were all sad when the time came to leave Hoi An, but excited to meet the last leg of our journey in South Vietnam. Saigon was as different from Hanoi as can be, impressive in its chaotic noisiness. We were all happy to head out of the city for a night in another homestay, this time in the beautiful Mekong Delta, where we travelled by local Sampan boat and were fascinated by all the local artisans plying their trade on river and shore. On our last day we visited the Cu Chi tunnels, remnants of the war that so recently decimated Vietnam. It was a sobering, fascinating experience, and one that we all enjoyed and learned a lot from.
Vietnam was a wonderful experience for us all, and one I am sure we will all remember for years to come. For now though, Class 12 have landed back in Australia, ready to face the final stages of their school life with energy and enthusiasm!
We wish them all the best. It’s been an absolute pleasure travelling with them and sharing this final, special experience.
Glenn and Elli