Italy Visit Blog

Day 8

On this last day, the role of blogger(s) falls to the staff.

We are now on the motorway heading home in England, following a smooth flight from Rome to Heathrow. This morning after vacating the hotel, we visited another town which was destroyed by Vesuvius in 79AD. This town is known as Herculaneum and is much smaller than Pompeii, but better preserved as it was covered very quickly by the boiling volcanic mud rather than ash.

We saw how the coastline had been altered over 2000 years by successive eruptions of Vesuvius, as Herculaneum was a port, and the Bay of Naples is now 1km away. Students were able to observe street signs in the Forum, the oldest pub sign in the world and Herculaneum’s harbour, where over 200 people hid in 79AD and where their skeletons were found during the excavations.

After a snack at Herculaneum, we boarded the bus again to travel up to the airport in Rome. This journey took roughly 3 and a half hours, including a stop at the services en route. The only awkward part of the journey was a slight flight delay after we had boarded, leading to a 30 minute wait on the tarmac at the airport. The flight home was smooth as was baggage reclaim.

As a group of staff we have found the week immensely rewarding due to the attitude of a fantastic group of students, who have been unfailingly polite, reliable, punctual and trustworthy. Throughout the week they have integrated extremely well and we are sure many will stay in touch following this trip. The students have been a credit to both schools and the staff in both hotels commented on their excellent behaviour. As we write this, the coach is almost silent, as many of the students are already asleep (we only set off 15 minutes ago!).

Two years’ time…

Miss Clappison, Mr Colepio, Mr Gill, Mr Henderson, Mrs Lear, Mr Mattock

Day 7

After a half six wakeup call and a quickly demolished croissant for breakfast we departed for the Amalfi drive which was a breath taking view for most of us who stayed awake to see it. On the way we stopped off for a quick group photo:

We temporarily abandoned the coach for almost 2 hours as we roamed Amalfi in search of food and souvenirs or maybe killing time. Some groups decided to put their parkour skills to the test on the rocks near the shoreline. Others had to be careful not to get water on their creps.

Whilst finding food, a few groups stopped at a brunch café. Some treated themselves to egg on toast that was solid and didn’t run. Tasty!

After our time in Amalfi we boarded the coach once more for a long journey to Paestum where there were old ruins as old as ancient Greek times (450BC) which pre-dates the usual Roman structures we have seen all week. The grounds had temples that were built for the gods, Hera and Neptune.

These were in cracking condition considering their age. After a good half an hour at the temples, we went into a museum which contained artifacts from the temples; those who didn’t stay long in the museum treated themselves to ice-cream, snacks or a small game of football near the meeting point. Once we were rallied back up we mounted the coach once more for a long journey back to the hotel where we munched our tea and chilled for the rest of the night.

Cameron Swales, Peter Watts, Alex Ingram, Tegan Green, Lauren Cook

Day 6

After the wake up mafia banged on the door, everyone in the room pretended to be asleep until one unlucky soul trudged to the door and sighed in agony. A continental breakfast left the group in hunger throughout the morning. When we arrived at the only active volcano on European mainland everyone was excited to climb to the summit of Mount Vesuvius, the crater of which was a kilometre in circumference.

Whilst students were leisurely walking at 4000 feet the views caught students’ eyes but the trinket shops caught the last minute shoppers who hadn’t bought presents for their families. After gazing at the huge crater for too long, losing track of time, students realised they had to start their descent meeting their groups. Unfortunately one unlucky student injured her knee on the steep descent.

To brighten the mood after a two hour coach trip we found ourselves in the middle of Sorrento. We went our separate ways to find lunch.

Three lads went down to the harbour, which was a long steep path down. At a 4:45 sharp meeting time we set back off to the hotel. A hot shower was most welcome, before our evening meal, and we were able to spend some free time before the evening meal.

Archie Hubbard, Harry Gunn and Ewan Henderson

Day 5

We woke up early to a harsh knock on our door at 6:30 to get ready for our adventurous day around Pompeii. There was an array of over-sugared croissants set out on the tables to help set us up for the day. The bus journey was nice and short, with quick naps and cheeky flanter. After stunning views and angry drivers, we finally arrived at Pompeii, ready for the long walk ahead. However, before that started, we stopped for a quick bite to eat.

When we arrived at Pompeii we were greeted with some lovely rain showers. We started by going through to where the men exercised in Roman times. While exercising they were naked which we all found pretty weird. After that we went to visit the amphitheatre which was quite hard to experience when no one wanted to go out in the rain except for one boy which after drinking an energy drink thought it would be a good idea to run around it with no coat.

After walking around and seeing A LOT OF bars and excavated houses we arrived at the bodies made of plaster of Paris. At the smaller of the theatres we tucked into to some ham and cheese sandwiches whilst others opted for a bag of crisps. As we passed through the very long streets of Pompeii Miss explained to us how they Romans used to wash their clothes in urine as we approached a laundrette. We were shocked at the plaster of Paris dog who was trying to escape the eruption two thousand years ago, however couldn’t as there was still a chain wrapped around its neck. There was also a man who was covering his eyes in fear of the lava. After this we sat in the larger of the two theatres for a while and admired the view. As we walked through the streets there was an obscene image engraved on the floor showing the way to the brothel.

As we walked through the fine streets of Pompeii, we saw the great Mount Vesuvius perched in the background. The clouds hovered over the peak of the volcano and the beautiful view was our backdrop for the group photo:

A short while after lunch, it was time to start heading back. Some found the entrance easy to find. However others went on quite a journey. A few students took the scenic route because they looked at the map wrongly and trekked the long paths on the outskirts of Pompeii. The nice hike included a dodgy looking building opposite a strange looking fence that led to an overgrown field. A few life threatening, 13cm lizards were spotted in the dancing grass. After a good 10 minute hike up a few semi-steep hills, a church was spotted in the distance. A glimpse of hope crossed the students mind as they saw the main road and they started a live concert with the opening song ‘high way to hell’. They eventually found the opening and they all got home safely after a long, painful bus journey. The night ended to Kim singing to the growing plant that is placed in the hotel’s lobby.

Kim Garside, Maia Harrison, Milli Mercer, Isobel Dibnah and Lauren Pitchforth

Day 4

8:00 am
We had a yummy, final breakfast in Rome before departing on a long, weary coach ride to Sorrento. We didn’t do much on the bus but we did stop at some services on the way; the services was just one big café with the finest pizza. The cashier lady was having what seemed to be a bad day. One of the mountains we passed on the way towards Sorrento had a monastery which was bombed by the allies because we thought there were Nazis there but there wasn’t, and it’s now become a shrine.

On the way into Sorrento we passed Mount Vesuvius, which we are going to climb later in the week. The view of the mountain was very impressive. Just a bit down the road from Mount Vesuvius there was a spectacular view of the Sorrento Bay. Soon after that we arrived at the hotel, where we had to climb up to the 5th floor just to reach the reception. From the dining room balcony of the hotel there is a stunning view of the sea:

After we settled down for a few hours and rested we headed upstairs to the fifth floor for some much anticipated food. We had some pasta and parmesan cheese then some pork with vegetables. Then came round some rather voluptuous and curvy oranges.
After we had our fill, we sang happy birthday to Archie and ate some cake, Mmmmm. About twenty minutes after the cake we did a quiz to win sweets but sadly our group came last.

Tomorrow we will get up early to visit Pompeii for the day.

Connor Percy, Ben Glasby, George Hodgson and Dylan McLachlan

Day 3

After waking up at 6am, a whole 15 minute lie in, most of us were half asleep whilst munching on our ham and cheese sandwiches (not quite a full English…). When arriving on the platform of the railway station we were safely packed in like a tin of sardines onto the metro. We became acquainted with some abrupt Italians, who even with Mr Colepio’s amazing Italian still insisted on not giving up their space.

Excited to see the popes crib (the Vatican) we were packed into a queue awaiting our amazing quality headsets. Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to visit on the holiest Christian days of the year, as a ’brief tour’ soon turned into a three hour long shuffle.

We embarked on a quick walk to the basilica and it was soon time for lunch. Some students opted for a lovely, traditional Italian pizza while some stuck to their roots and went for a Maccy Ds. Hundreds of group photos and many steep stairs later we were soon standing at the top of the Castel Sant Angelo admiring Rome from an eagle’s view.

At this point, we were all a little tired to say the least and to top off a long day, it started to rain just as we approached the Spanish steps. The metro journey home was far more roomy and after gobbling our meals down we returned home to find the mysterious suitcase had finally arrived in perfect condition after its little trip round the world.

Georgia Cuthbert, Molly Hewett, Nancy Knopp, Lara Hartley.

Day 2

The students were rudely woken up at 5:45, even after a ‘mental, all-nighter on Wednesday.(travelling to Italy) In true English style we arrived to breakfast craving a Full English, yet were met with a bowl of melons. It’ll do.

We then walked to the Colosseum and explored a Roman fighting hotspot. After, we walked to the Circus Maximus which looked absolutely breath-takingly awesome. However, the Spanish students (us) ‘decided’ to do some much needed revision. HOLA!

On the way to lunch, we visited the Roman Forum and Victor Emmanuel Monument. We were all desperate for a pizza so rushed off to an authentic Italian pizzeria of our choice. Note to self; don’t follow the teachers next time. We endured a staggeringly long wait for our order. The food just about made it worthwhile.

In the afternoon, a quick stop by the iconic Trevi fountain and a screamy encounter with a real-life time-machine which sent us back to Roman times finished a thrilling day sightseeing Rome. On the way back to the hotel we stopped off again at the Victor Emmanuel Monument for our 2nd group photo of the day...

A buffet at the railway station filled our tummies, ready for tomorrow where we explore the Pope’s crib, aka Vatican City.
6:00 start tomorrow, already looking forward to it…

PS While editing, Mr Colepio has told us to say how delighted he is with his World Cup panini sticker book.

Matty Blake, George Towse, Ben Gillyon


Day 1

The day started off by leaving Skirlaugh at 2am (at which time some students were far too excited and presented their excitement by carry out acts of ‘flanter’) , arriving at Heathrow airport by 6.30am. The group was spilt into two separate groups (split alphabetically), the first leaving at 8.30am and arriving in Italy by 12pm.

We then went to the railway station for lunch, whilst waiting for the other half of the group; by this time we were starving. Meanwhile the other group were boarding their flight in Heathrow to arrive in Italy by 2.30pm. However there were further delays due to the airport mislaying a student’s suitcase and a student leaving her purse on the coach. This added an extra 2 hours onto the journey.

Finally meeting back up in the very compact Hotel Noto the students went for tea/dinner in the railway station where a three course meal was provided, along with some very unnerving chicken. We were then later burdened with the news that the next morning we would have to wake up at 5.45am in order to embark upon our excursions. These events led to sleep deprived and dehydrated students who all went to bed at 10.00 pm, preparing themselves for the next day.

Cerys McRae, Megan Harman-Bevan, Emily Beadle


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