A 'classic' trip to Italy
Our Classics Department ran a highly successful trip to Italy and below are two accounts by students on the trip, along with an impressive collection of photographs from Mr Sweatman, Trip Leader...
A Year 11 student's perspective
It’s a well-documented fact that the dream of every airline passenger is to see a group of schoolchildren boarding their flight. All eager, bright eyed – and ready to sing.
At 3am on a Thursday morning, forty-four members of the WKGS community set off for Rome, armed with matching hoodies and sun cream. First and foremost an educational trip for Latin students to learn more about Roman history and culture, it was as yet unknown to us that the following week would leave the party with a better grasp of the Australian accent, new South African acquaintances, and the understanding that almost every meal in Italy is preceded with pasta.
Day One. Rome. After landing and facing a temporary wait at the Hotel Capitol, it was time to face the Metro. The fear of the Merseyrail during rush hour is seemingly unparalleled, until, that is, one is presented with the Rome Metro. They are, in theory, very similar phenomena, but a middle-aged woman crooning karaoke into a microphone with a wheel-along amp may be the defining distinction between the two. Perhaps the Northern Line is missing a trick. Perhaps not.
Caterwauling aside, the impressiveness of Rome’s monuments was not to be underestimated. The first day’s visits included iconic antiquities such as the Pantheon (a former Roman temple), the Spanish Steps (a stairway linking the House of Bourbon to the Spanish embassy), and the Trevi Fountain (fairly self-explanatory, located in the Trevi district).
Day Two was also spent in Rome. A ten mile all-day hike to visit the Colosseum, Roman Forum and the Vatican meant it was the wrong day to choose to wear platform shoes. Nevertheless, a poor footwear selection did not diminish the awe that is felt upon viewing the artwork that adorns the Sistine Chapel. Good job, Michelangelo.
Travelling from Rome to Sorrento was the main focus of the third day, with a stop to see Monte Cassino Abbey, the site of an iconic battle during World War Two. With an equally stunning interior and exterior, the building oozes history and atmosphere. Peace is an important tenet here, and many monks residing within the Abbey take a vow of silence to preserve it.
A hike up Mount Vesuvius on day four could be perceived as a challenge (even if a bus drives three quarters of the way up). The weather was bracing to say the least, but there’s nothing quite like climbing up onto a crag to seek a view over the wide sea. This task was followed by a tour of Herculaneum, an ancient Roman town destroyed by volcanic pyroclastic flows following the eruption of Vesuvius in AD79.
Pompeii was the attraction of the penultimate day, an archaeological site that offers a frozen snapshot of Roman life during the first century. With 2.5 million visitors a year, highlights include Temple of Jupiter, Caecilius’ house, and a café that serves a fantastic latte macchiato. And yes, Molly, your VideoStar of Pompeii (the city) to ‘Pompeii’ (the song) is very good.
A morning of volleyball on Sorrento harbour rounded off the trip delightfully. All participants left the country slightly exhausted, but nevertheless enlightened, and with a developed affinity for sherbet lemons. All that can be given now is a clear recommendation to visit Italy, and huge gratitude to those who organised the trip. Thank you!
Robyn (Year 11)
Diary of a Year 9 Student
Day 1 - It all began by meeting at school at a ridiculous time of the day! Parents stood yawning, whilst students were talking and gossiping about the fun which lay ahead. The time in Manchester airport flew by and before we knew it, we had landed at Rome Fiumicino airport. We boarded our coach and drove to our accommodation. Before our evening meal in a nearby restaurant, we took a wander through the gorgeous streets of Rome, admiring the beautiful Trevi fountain and the Piazza Navona where we grabbed a proper Italian gelato. We were able to make our way through the crowds and entered the Pantheon. The Pantheon used to be a Roman temple which is one of the best-preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings. We slowly made our way back to the hotel to freshen up before heading out to eat our dinner in an Italian restaurant just around the corner.
Day 2 - The 31st of March is the day which marked the visit to the Vatican City. We travelled by metro to the Cipro station from which we walked briskly to enter the Vatican Museums. The Vatican Museums were a sight you could only dream of. It housed impressive Roman statues and gold-plated, hand-painted ceilings that took your breath away. We then lingered for a while in the Sistine Chapel so we had a chance to take it all in. We then slowly meandered to the St Peter’s Square where we relaxed in the sun, eating our lunch, and admired the breathtaking surroundings.
At about 2pm, we all made our way to the Piazza del Colosseo where we were able to walk around and cherish the impressive Colosseum and the Roman Forum. At these sites, we were able to recognize many things which we had learnt about in stories from our Latin lessons! After studying all of the preserved items, we climbed to the Campidoglio from where we could see the whole of the forum and the city of Rome from above.
Day 3 - The next morning, we drove down to Sorrento and the bay of Naples. The long bus ride was broken up by a visit to the Abbey of Monte Cassino. This monastery was perched on top of a mountain, which meant that it was very peaceful and calm, with birds chirping away. A couple of hours later, we finally arrived in Sorrento, and after dropping our bags off at our second hotel, we walked down to the tranquil beach. There, we ate ice-cream and played volleyball in the sand. Time flew by and it was soon time for us to eat dinner back at the hotel.
Day 4 - At 10:30, we drove down to the famous Mount Vesuvius. Our coach took us the majority of the way up, however we climbed the last section to the summit where we could see the crater and the magnificent views all around. We sat down and ate our lunch whilst admiring the beautiful scenery. Once we had eaten our fill, we made our way back down and headed to the ancient town of Herculaneum.
Herculaneum was a small town where we could see the real structure of Roman houses and clearly imagine the Roman way of living, since every building had been so well preserved following the eruption thousands of years ago. In the evening, we wandered through the adorable market streets of Sorrento before heading back to eat our dinner.
Day 5 - This entire day was dedicated to discovering the world-famous city of Pompeii. This allowed us plenty of time to examine every house, shop and café that is still standing, just as they were in 79AD at the moment of the eruption. We saw the house of a banker, Caecilius, whom we have all studied in our Latin textbooks. His house was as grand and impressive as described in many stories. A mosaic of his dog, Cerberus, was seen in the front entrance of his house. During our time in Pompeii, we saw the casts of pots, animals and even plaster casts of people whose bodies had been engulfed by ash and lava. We saw the theatres, the main square, and the famous baths. We returned to our hotel where we celebrated a special birthday and the fun time we had had. After dinner, we all headed out into the streets of Sorrento and enjoyed the best gelato in Italy!
Day 6 - HOME TIME! The Latin trip to Rome and the bay of Naples was an experience well worth living and all 40 of us would gladly live it all again.
Amelia (Year 9)