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Meeting in Slavonski Brod, Croatia

March 19, 2017 – it was the day when we started our journey. We took  part in Erasmus+ project, where 3 teachers (Ingrīda Hedemarka, Gita Avote, and Dace Langenfelde) and 5 students (Zanda Esmeralda Markova, Rēzija Ķīkule, Signe Adiene, Agnis Adienis and Kristaps Āboliņš) said ‘’goodbye’’ to their homes – Valka, Latvia and went to Croatia for one week.

For 5 of us it was the first time in a plane. We went to Riga and flew to Vienna and then we flew to Croatia, Zagreba. From Zagreba we drove ~2 and a half hours to the city we needed to go – Slavonski Brod. Late in the evening, we were in Slavonski Brod and there we met our host families, but all the 3 teachers stayed in the hotel.

On Monday at 9:00 all students and teachers from Latvia, Romania, Turkey, Spain and Croatia met in front of the school. We were welcomed with Croatian traditional songs and dances. After a while, we were divided in some groups and then we went on a tour around the school. We saw the big school garden, where students grow plants, keep animals like horses and sheep that students use for learning how to take care of them, we also saw the new building, where they have high technology devices for micropropagation and we went into some classrooms, where we saw how the Croatians study.

After the tour of the school, we had lunch and then we also were divided into groups, and each group needed to go to some place in the city. For example, my group needed to go to the city church. There we had to ask local people 6 questions about that church and find out the answers.

At 20:00 all project participants went to ‘Radnički dom’ where we could watch a practice how a dance group performs their traditional dances. At first, it was funny and for all the Latvians it was strange, because we are used to much faster dancing and unlike them when we dance folk dances, we don’t sing. At the end of the practice, we could try it by ourselves.

On Tuesday we all went on a trip to Brodski Varoš where we heard the most famous love story in all Croatia about two storks – Malena and Klepetan. And we also saw Malena. She had an injured wing so she couldn’t fly anywhere. She has had this problem for 15 years and all this time Malena lives in one man’s barn and for 15 years he takes care of her. Every year Klepetan flies from the warm countries to Brodski Varoš to see his life consort. And they are together for 25 years…

Our next stop was the Atlantic Group company. It’s a company which produces 30 – 50 different chocolate protein bars. They sell them only in some countries, for example, in Latvia there aren’t those chocolate protein bars. The biggest market is in Germany. Germany is also the idea initiator. We had a chance to try and taste some of the chocolate protein bars. In this company they showed us all the process how they make protein bars. In one days shift they produce ~11,000 chocolate protein bars. This was one of the most interesting companies where we were in all the Croatia’s visit.

After the Atlantic Group company’s visit we went to Stara Kapela the Eco – ethno village. We found out some interesting facts about the Croatian house history and life when there was no Internet and technology. For me, it was one of the nicest places where we were, because there it was sunny and warm and everyone was just talking, sun bathing and enjoying the time, because there was no signal in that village for the mobile phones, so no one was using them. We also had a delicious lunch there and after the lunch, we climbed up a mountain from which we could see the beautiful view around us.

On Wednesday at 9:00 we all were in the school. Again we were divided into groups and every group had a chance to do something that the students of the school do every year. My group was planting lettuce and we also made bath salt. Other groups were making jewelry from wood, taking care of animals, planting plants and doing many other interesting things.

After those workshops each group was making a presentation about what they had done and later we showed it to other groups and also to the teachers.

At 13:00 we went to Geoplan d.o.o. company. It is a measuring company and some of the students from school also learn how to do it.

But after spending there one long hour, students went bowling. First, it looked fun, but when I tried it, I didn’t like it, because it’s really different from the one we have. The balls are smaller and there’s no place to put fingers. And the skittles were hanging on ropes and they used to roll up and the worker had to go and fix it. The system wasn’t good.

On Thursday at first we went to a TDA company. It’s a company which prints images on every kind of material and on any size object, starting from pens and finishing even with cars.

Next we visited ‘’Duro Dakovič Special Vehicles’’ company. They produce various military equipment and freight wagons.

After visiting those two companies, we all went back to school and then we needed to present our business plan. I think that all the Latvians did well.

In the evening we had a cosy farewell party.

On Friday we needed to wake up early, because our bus was leaving at 7a.m. All the Latvians were going back to Zagreb airport, but all the other project participants were going on a Zagreb city tour.

The way home was longer. After 24 hours we were home. At first we needed to wait a really long time in the airport until our flight, and also we flew first to Frankfurt, Germany where we needed to wait ~4 hours till our next flight home, to Latvia.

All the week was fun and we all got a lot of experience in this trip. We enjoyed the warm weather, because every day it was like +25. And we made new friends from other countries. It was a really nice journey that, I think, we won’t forget.

Signe Adiene, Valka Janis Cimze Gymnasium