Tour group: 24 students from Year 12 and 13, 4 parents and 3 teachers
A very lucky and excited group of students and adults travelled with Emirate Air, via Dubai to Italy to begin our European tour. We arrived to our first destination, VENICE exhausted but very excited. Venice was breathtakingly beautiful with its hundreds of canals and bridges including the famous Rialto Bridge. Here, we travelled in Vaporettos (boat buses) down the Grand Canal and to the island of Burano with the brightly coloured buildings. We visited the luxurious Doge’s palace and the dark and dingy jails. We loved the buzz of the huge St Mark’s Square and our visit to the glassworks and while some of us enjoyed gondola rides, others chose to go for a night at the opera. Add to this the endless shopping (masks, Murano glass and colourful leather handbags) all in all we had the time of our life.
From Venice we travelled in our own coach through Bologna to FLORENCE where we visited the famous Uffizi art gallery and saw the famous Birth of Venus painting as well as a number of Leonardo Da Vinci pieces. Later, we ventured around the Duomo and nearby streets, completed some essential shopping, and went on a walking tour with Mrs. Fernandez where we learned the history of the sculptures in the Piazza della Signoria, as well as the Ponte Vecchio.
The first night we arrived in ROME we visited the Spanish Steps (getting lost only a few times along the way). The following day consisted of a very crowded train trip to the Vatican City, where we admired the world famous Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica. Some other highlights from Rome were the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, the Roman Forum, and, of course, the Colosseum. Over the few days we were in the Capital city, we got plenty of free time to shop, explore and eat lots of pizza and gelato (ice cream).
On our bus ride to the south of Italy, we had a stopover in Pompeii where we had a guided tour of the city and saw the remains of buildings, pottery, food and even some preserved body casts. Seeing the city of Pompeii was definitely a highlight of the trip. For the next few days we stayed in the beautiful little town of Sorrento and from here we toured the Amalfi Coast with its gorgeous little towns; here, we enjoyed panoramic views from the bus and also coastal views from our boat trip. Our final destination in Italy was the Naples museum where we saw several artworks we studied in Years 12 and 13 Classics.
After ten days in Italy, we took a plane from Rome to Athens. From there, we travelled by bus to the classical cities of Delphi (where ancient people went to find out about their future) and Olympia (where the Olympic Games were held). We loved our time in Delphi, including swimming and dancing till the early hours of the morning. The following morning we boarded a day cruise to travel around the picturesque islands of Hydra, Poros, and Aegina, then prepared to depart for Santorini the next day.
Santorini was a more relaxed time, and other than a short guided tour of the ancient city of Akrotiri, our days consisted mostly of swimming, shopping, walking around the town, eating souvlaki, and getting the holiday of our lives. One of the highlights was the donkey ride up and down the skala (300 plus steps), very close to the edge with a beautiful view. One of the days we took a bus to Oía, a beautiful village with whitewashed houses built into the cliff side, where we spent the afternoon and had dinner and of course, did more shopping.
After four days in Santorini, we flew back to Athens where we visited the Parthenon on the Acropolis and the ancient market place (agora). Our last two days were spent shopping, enjoying the beautiful city of Athens and eating some amazing food. We even did some Greek dancing and broke some plates as the Greeks do!
All in all, the trip was an incredible experience, both educationally, and in terms of life lessons. All of the students were supportive and got along really well even though most didn’t know each other well before the trip, and the four parents who went were all wonderful. Most of all, Mrs. Fernandez, as well as Ms. Muir and Mr. McBrearty, were truly amazing in making sure every little moment of the trip went smoothly, and without them it would not have been possible.