Tuesday, 15 August 2017 10:27

Reflections of a Trip to Italy

This past July, I was blessed to be able to travel to the beautiful country of Italy with 61 other travelers. After preparing for and planning our travels for almost three years, when the time to leave came, it was hard to believe it was actually happening! But it did happen, and it was a fabulous experience. Our ten day tour took us all over the country: Verona, Venice, Florence, Pisa, Assisi, Rome, Vatican City, Pompeii, Sorrento, and Capri. Our experiences included: visiting the (alleged) balcony of Juliet; being serenaded by Gondoliers; watching Venetian glass blowers craft their art; exploring the birthplace of the Renaissance; learning how to really distinguish between real and fake leather; enjoying some of the world’s most famous art pieces; “holding up” the Leaning Tower of Pisa (or pushing it down); learning about St. Francis of Assisi and exploring the quaint town that bears his name; observing (and participating in) a homemade pasta demonstration; visiting the Roman Forum and Colosseum; filling our water bottles from the myriad of fountains in Rome that are fed by natural springs; throwing our coins into Trevi Fountain; shuffling through the Vatican City Museums to take in the ceiling of the famous Sistine Chapel; stepping back in history to explore the ruins of Pompeii; eating our body weight in pasta and gelato; getting to know our tour directors Marta and Floriana, being awestruck by the talent of our bus drivers; wading into the Mediterranean Sea; and cruising around the Island of Capri. These, and so many other, experiences made our trip well worth the wait.

If you were to ask all 62 of us our favorite part of the trip, every one of us would have a different answer. For me the best part was watching my students experience Italy. I loved listening to the stories about their day; I loved hearing them ask questions about the cities we visited; I loved watching them try new (and sometimes adventurous) flavors of gelato; I loved watching their palpable excitement as the Roman Colosseum first came into view through our bus window (okay...that was Mr. Guenther...but it was still one of my favorite moments). I loved getting to build relationships with the other travelers on our trip--student and parent alike. I love that leading these tours gives me the opportunity to travel and learn more about the world, but more than that, I love the opportunity to travel and learn and grow with my students. I thank God for blessing me with such wonderful opportunities to travel and for giving me such wonderful people with whom to travel. I thank him for allowing us to return from Italy safe and sound and very, very well fed.

Guest Author: Jeanette Weilnau
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