Sicily and Sorrento GCSE Geography Visit
The Year 9 and 10 Geographers sent this report:
We had a very early (2am!) start to make our way to Gatwick airport. Once landed at Naples we met our guide Amelia who looked after us during our stay in Italy. Our first stop was Herculaneum; an ancient Roman town destroyed by Mount Vesuvius’ lava flows in 79AD, we were surprised by how well preserved the buildings were and liked the idea of a Roman ‘MacDonald’s;’ the takeaway cafes.
Afterwards we went for lunch in Sorrento where we discovered the lovely big square pizza slices for 3 euros
One of our best experiences was our gelato making and tasting in an ice cream class. While we were there, we learnt how to make ice cream and sorbet using the best ingredients you can find. We found out that fruit flavours have a sugar and water base, and other flavours have a milk and sugar base. After being dressed with our ‘sexy hats’ Teresa (the ice cream goddess) led us to heaven. After the quick briefing, we made lemon sorbet, assisted by Libby (the lemon grater) and Polly (squeezing the juice). We learnt never to buy a fruit sorbet with milk - the fruit is not fresh so they add extra flavours and mask it with milk. After that both were tried and tested by the experts, us (!) and we got a free double scoop ice cream! This was an amazing experience with the staff running the workshop being really nice and friendly and full of information.
The first hotel was Bleu village and it was just like summer camp in a movie. It was very cute and cosy. They had great leisure activities like the water slides and swimming pool adding to the exciting evening.
We were excited to go to Vesuvius, we got out the coach and began to climb, It's a bit of effort to climb but the view from the top is fantastic, with several tourist shops and places to get drinks. Our guide was very interesting and we learned a lot about the formation and the past eruptions.
After a quick supermarket stop to buy lunch and snacks, we visited Pompeii. We learnt a lot about how the archaeologists casted the skeletons they found from the ash and how the town used to run. However, we also learnt about how the civilians died and where everything used to be in the past.
After dinner of pizza and ice cream in a restaurant, we boarded the ferry to Sicily. When we arrived the boat was lovely with really comfy beds and rooms! We all walked up to the top deck to watch the boat depart when it got dark - it was so pretty! Before we knew it, we woke up in beautiful Sicily which was lovely and sunny! It was, for many of us, our first time on a ferry! We all really enjoyed it and were amazed at the fact you would not even know you were in the sea as you couldn’t even feel the waves.
When we woke up in the morning, we looked out of our window and saw Mount Etna! It was amazing to see some smoke coming out of it as well as the sheer size of it! We picked up a new coach from the ferry and travelled to Syracusa Archaeological Site for a tour. It was very hot and we found the caves (the ear of Dionysius) a good place to shelter from the heat.
The Alacantara Gorge formed thousands of years ago and is made of volcanic rock. When we arrived, we instantly saw the stunning scenery and were introduced to the background of the gorge by an immersive five minute 4d film. The friendly guide then walked us around the magnificent path where the sun was gleaming. We were given a talk about lemons as we followed a prehistoric trail where a statue of dwarf hippopotamus made us jump by a growling noise and started moving which scared us all a lot! We then took a lift down to the gorge where we could go by the clear blue water and take some photos. The place was breath-taking and it was amazing to visit!
The Kings hotel in Sicily was by far the best with the huge rooms, the 2 singles and a double bed barely filled the room with a fridge and wardrobe giving a homelike feel; it also included a balcony with a great view over the complex, complimented with exotic flowers and palm trees. We stayed here for two nights.
This was another exciting day as we headed out to Mount Etna. At the car park, we were given tickets and rode up in a cable car followed by little 4×4 buses until we got up to the top. It was cold and windy at 4 degrees so we were glad of our hoodies. We could see the smoke coming from the active crater and we were able to walk round the old ones. We had a guide who told us all about it and let us feel the lava to see how warm it was.
On our last afternoon, we visited the town of Taormina. This was our chance to purchase our souvenirs and explore the Italian shops. It was very picturesque and traditional and we even managed to have a mini photoshoot in the pretty side streets! Some of us visited the amphitheatre which was incredible .On our way back to the hotel we stopped at the beach at Giardini Naxos and bought ice creams. It was a lovely way to finish our trip.
Thank you to Amelia from Rayburn tours for making sure we all enjoyed ourselves and translating when we did not understand and to Miss Dixon, Miss Pope, Mrs Le Sbirel and Mrs Smart for organising it all and taking us.