All 40 of us, motivated on Monday morning were eager to get to school. This was because we were leaving school at 9am to drive down to Edinburgh, for our flight to Italy. Hours passed us by wandering around Edinburgh airport, waiting to be able to board our plane. Our departure from Edinburgh Airport at 15:45 for Ciampino Airport finally came upon us. The flight was good apart from a rather bumpy landing and after we got off the plane we had to get a bus to our hotel, which took about an hour. We got dropped off a few blocks away as the bus was unable to drive down the narrow winding roads. Walking down the streets we passed a few restaurants and the streets didn’t look like they were going to lead us to hotel like we were hoping for. The hotel sign hung of the side of the hotel, lit up in bright colours. We got to the door…WOW! Marble white floors, a massive glass chandelier dangling from the middle of the hallway, the wide white staircase – going up three stories, the room keys shaped like bells… Everyone got their keys dumped their bags, refreshed themselves and headed out for dinner at a local restaurant. The food was so tasty. Everyone excited for what’s to come.
Even those who had not slept were eager to explore Rome. We had an early start. On the ground floor breakfast was served, there were chocolate rolls, fruit, cereals, yoghurt, orange and fruit juices and so much more. Once everyone was organised we headed out. It was getting hotter as we walked the streets of Rome. Up first was the Colosseum, it was visible from many streets away. It was massive! It was mind blowing, the defined carvings throughout all the walls, so detailed. It was amazing to think it was hand built, especially back then when there were no machines compared to the ones around today. After that we went to the Roman Forum, it was so beautiful and peaceful. It was like a secret garden. The last place we went with our tour guide – who was very helpful and kind – was Palatine Hill. That was also very attractive to the eye. After the attractions we went for lunch, yum yum in our tums. For the rest of the day we had another walking tour, with the best tour guide of all Mr Foster. What an informative trip we took seeing the Trevi Fountain, Panthean and so much more.
The next day we got to have a bit more of a lie in, but we were still pretty eager to explore. We were going to the Vatican city and the Sistine Chapel… breath taking! Everything was so detailed and alive. The colours of the paintings were blinding. During our visit to the Vatican we weren’t allowed to show any skin, apart from our faces and hands obviously. Ironically every room we went into there was a painting or sculpture of a naked person… we didn’t know where to look. We were only allowed to take pictures at certain times and of certain things. When we went to the Sistine Chapel we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside. Of course that didn’t stop some of us, brazen. We also went to Saint Peter’s Basilica. It was so beautiful. It took roughly 120 years to construct, which was mind boggling as all the mosaics there were stunning. Our amazingly helpful but enjoyable tour guide then took us to a place where we could have lunch… squisito!
The following day was Naples. Pompeii. Wow. Heart touching. Breathe taking. We set off early for Pompeii that morning, everyone half tired but excited. As soon as you walked into the grounds of Pompeii the first thing you see is the famous body casts. Seeing those just makes you want to cry and wish you could have done something, but of course we couldn’t have. The buildings were remarkable! Some of the (extremely detailed and eye bulging) paintings were intact, extraordinarily. We had another, helpful, tour guide for Pompeii the very Italian Mario. He took us around and told us about all the remaining buildings and told us what everything was, including the red light district which the boys were eager to see. By the end of the day in Pompeii our perspectives on things had changed. Everyone was a bit more respectful and appreciative. The night was rounded off with our new hotel and dinner… yum!
Day 5 was our longest day, but still great. We spent most of our day on the bus, but it was well worth it as we were driving down the narrow and windy roads of the Amalfi coast. Thankfully our bus driver was very skilled. The coast described in one word would have to be…WOW. However that still doesn’t come close to how beautiful it was. We drove through a town called Positano. This is where of course the one and only Erica Fowler bought her HUGE lemon that was bigger than her head, nothing was left unbought by Erica. Mr Foster and Miss Massey were also enjoying this day in particular with their very detailed calendars. We had a lot of free time on the Amalfi Coast but also completed some fieldwork by interviewing locals. Of course we had an amazing lunch and like 5 ice creams each, so we were all set for the remainder of the day. Cathedral of Sant’Andrea was next… beautiful. We had also gone on a boat trip along the coast. That was one of the highlights of the day. We continued our bus trip and went to the Pertosa Caves. Of course Sophie Forbes decided she wanted a close up of the stalactites. Poor Sophie. We went back to our hotel on a less scenic route but we didn’t mind as we were all asleep.
We travelled in the bus again in the morning to a place called Temple of Serapi, Pozzuoli. It was near a little food market, where Erica wanted to go to get more big lemons, we successfully managed to hold her back. The Temple itself was a ruin. However it was still really eye capturing. From the temple we went to Solfatara. Phew! It stank. Regardless of that it was really fascinating. The craters were spurting steam out, at 1600c. By the time we left, we were all stinking of eggs. We spent the rest of the day at Ercolano (Herculaneum). Herculaneum was a smaller version of Pompeii. For this we didn’t have a tour guide, we got to wander and discover the place ourselves in groups. It was amazing to see how the majority of all the buildings were still standing and how they still had all their paintings. After Herculaneum we went back to the bus and drove back to the hotel.
We had to get up early on our last day, tidy our rooms and hand in our room keys. We got on the bus and drove to the airport. We went through security and then went to duty free. Finally we departed for Edinburgh. Most of us slept on the flight home. We arrived back at school for about 7 at night. We were home.
Very many thanks to Miss Massey, Mr Foster, Mrs MacRae, Mr Buchanan, Miss Whitelaw and everyone who made our Rome and Naples 2016 trip a memorable experience.
by Jade Perry, 3T1