05:30 am: a time so early most teenagers never see it, but not for the 20 students from Quest who were not only up and full of excitement, but getting on a coach ready to make their way to Boulogne in France!  After the initial disappointment that we could not see the sea from inside the Shuttle as we crossed the Channel, we arrived in France and were making our way to Boulogne on the North-western coast.

Our first stop was Nausicaá, Europe’s biggest aquarium, where we dived down to the bottom of the ocean to see the glow-in-the-dark fish that live down in the deep and then rose to above sea level to see the penguins waddling along the ice!  The aquarium had more fish than any of us could have ever imagined and the highlight was definitely getting to stroke the rays in the touch tank, despite some of us being more afraid than others!

A short walk through beautiful Boulogne brought us into the centre of town where students had an opportunity to practise their French in the local shops and restaurants and see what the town had to offer.

The afternoon began with a short drive to Beussent, where we stopped at the Chocolaterie de Beussent, a family-based chocolate factory making chocolates and truffles in a whole range of shapes and sizes, from tiny blocks to 80kg creations of the local church!   We learnt how chocolate is made and followed its journey from bean to shelf, saw how chocolate bunnies are not indestructible, and learnt how to make chocolate of different colours.  We returned home exhausted at 9pm but happy and full of chocolate! C’était une journée fantastique!

E Thomas

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