The Geography Departments at the High/Grammar School organised a 5 day visit to Sicily. 40 students from Years 10 and 11 and 7 staff (including a Rayburn Tours Representative) went on the trip.
We left school at midnight and flew from Manchester Airport for a 6.35 am flight to Cantania on the southern coast of Sicily. From here it was about a one hour journey to the hotel which was very close to the beach. After sorting out the rooms we had a late lunch and then made our way to Giardini-Naxos, a nearby coastal resort similar in size to Bridlington. The High School students and staff carried out some tourism related fieldwork, whilst we walked along the beach and found out about the problems of coastal erosion and how the coastline has been protected from erosion. We then returned to the hotel for dinner and an early night.
We set off early for Mount Etna, the biggest active volcano in Europe. On the journey up the volcano we stopped off and explored the lava fields of a recent eruption. Once at the ski resort we took the ski chairlift (there is a small ski resort on Etna) to the top station. The plan was to then take 4 wheel drive vehicles to the summit and see the main crater. However, the weather conditions were too severe. Instead we walked to some abandoned ski lifts that were damaged in a recent volcanic eruption. It was bitterly cold so we did not stay out for long. A hot drink in the ski café helped to warm us up. After lunch and time spent buying some weird and wonderful souvenirs made from lava, we drove to Catania and went ten pin bowling. After dinner in the hotel we completed some follow up work about the day’s experiences.
We set off for the volcanic island of Vulcano, but had to change our plans as the sea conditions prevented the hydrofoil from running. Instead we went to the Alcantara Gorge, a spectacular river valley altered by volcanic lava flows from Etna. We then went to Taormina, one of the islands main tourist resorts (rather up-market and expensive judging by the designer shops that the High school staff visited in the ‘free time’. Mr Garner and I merely window-shopped). Before this however, we went for lunch and made our own pizzas. Some of us had to demonstrate our pizza making skills to the whole group. Throwing the pizza base and catching it is not as easy as it looks! After a lovely lunch we visited the ancient Roman Amphitheatre. From here we had spectacular views of the coastline and Etna. In the evening we did some follow up work and a quiz.
We crossed our fingers that the hydrofoil to Vulcano was running. Luckily it was a glorious day and we took the 45 minute journey from the mainland. When we arrived on the island we were met by our guide for the day who took us on an informative guided walk to the top of the crater. We had our lunch at the edge of the crater and enjoyed the fantastic views of the other Aeolian Islands. After descending we visited the volcanic mud pools which did smell rather strongly of rotten eggs! On our return to the hotel we stopped off at a retail park to stock up on presents and supplies for the homeward journey.
Sunday Return journey
As always the students were a credit to the school(s). This was another successful geography trip. A very special thanks must go to Mrs Breen at BHS, who was, as always, a wonderful organiser and party leader, and of course the other staff who went on this trip.