By Pieter Houten
The last week of the tour started at the Sincfala Museum in Knokke-Heist Belgium. Knokke-Heist is a beach resort at the Belgian coast and they had set up a great exhibition on the Roman period in the region and welcomed us for two days. As autumn had begun in the northwest in the week we arrived, the beach resort was not super busy. Still we drew in several people coming specifically to see our two-day pop-up. At the slow moments, the museum offered distractions to keep us on our feet. Obviously, there was the coffee, which according to Alex the Driver academics drink way too much of. In addition, the museum had a photo booth allowing us to take some photos dressed up as Romans. Finally, to break the silence there was a one-minute music fragment on repeat. I repeat: there was a one-minute music fragment on repeat in the museum. We heard that masterpiece at least 660 times.
After leaving Knokke-Heist we went to Sint Lodewijkscollege in Bruges. At this school, we launched the military race. This is a workshop created for small groups of pupils, normally up to 20. Pupils get an explanation on how Latin was used by the Roman army. After this they have to sign up for the Roman army by creating groups of 8 and writing their names in Old Roman Cursive on a tablet. When the list of names is written in correct ORC they get a military message. Again in ORC that has to be transcribed to get the next message and so they race to become the first group obtaining the full message. At the College they wanted us to do the race with two massive groups: both of 120 pupils. After this experience, I can tell you that hordes of pupils wanting to get the next message at the same time can be slightly overpowering. At one point, a dozen pupils with correct answers almost crushed me in their attempt to be the first! Luckily, Francesca, Alex and the staff of Sint Lodewijkscollege were there to help. In the end, the exercise was a great success; all students had their go at learning in a fun way about the Roman army, Latin and ORC.
After engaging with 240 fantastic students the three Team Belgium crew members had no time to rest before heading straight over to the Netherlands with the sound track from the Sincfala Museum still ringing in our ears!