Coasting along the charming canals, a stunning performance at St Mark’s Basilica and enough ice cream to last a lifetime – that’s just a glimpse of what Yateley Manor School in Hampshire got up to on their concert tour to Venice. The group spent five days in the beautiful city exploring its many sights and showing off their musical talents at some prestigious venues, all the while soaking up the Italian sun. Rayburn Tours courier, Barbara Morawska, reveals all.
Day 1 – Friday 27 March
I arrive at Gatwick airport and meet up with the group – everyone grabbing a quick snack before we board to curb any pre-flight hunger pangs. The excitement is beginning to set in… Once our flight touches down, Venice greets us with bright sunshine and it’s not long before we’re on the coach heading towards Lido di Jesolo.
Located near the northern end of the Venetian lagoon, Lido di Jesolo is all about the beach. With golden sands that stretch over 15km, it’s the longest beach in Italy! Staying in this peaceful region is the perfect contrast to the bustling city of Venice which we’ll be exploring later in the week.
After checking into our hotel, the Hotel Bepi, everyone has the chance to settle into their rooms and take in the beautiful surroundings. With so much travelling those pesky hunger pangs have returned, but luckily it’s time for dinner. We are all certainly ready for it – good job there’s such a lot to tuck in to! Bellies stuffed, everyone returns to their rooms for some well-deserved sleep, something that takes a little longer due to the excitement for tomorrow’s activities!
Day 2 – Saturday 28 March
Ciao! It’s our first morning in Venice and everyone’s still buzzing from yesterday. We start the day with a hearty breakfast, and I then leave the group to rehearse for their performance while I collect our lunch at the nearby bakery. After regrouping, our coach takes us to Punta Sabbioni. All aboard the vaporetto! Also known as a water-bus, it’s great for getting around Venice and nearby islands. Think of it as the London Underground, but on water! We tuck into our sandwiches for lunch as we coast along the canal and admire the spectacular view.
Once we’re off the vaporetto, I take the group through the gardens for some photos – all attracting a lot of attention in their uniforms – and to Doge’s Palace where we crossed the famous Bridge of Sighs. The long walk is one of the best ways to ensure that you don’t miss a thing.
We then make our way to the Campanile, the magnificent bell tower of St Mark’s Bascilica. Once everyone has climbed to the top, we have the shock of our lives when the bell suddenly rings! It caught one group member out so much that he fell to his knees – something the group won’t forget! After a well-earned pizza break, it’s time for everyone to sing their hearts out in their performance at St Mark’s Basilica.
Well, they certainly put on a show – the group were showered with applause and Monsignor Camillotto praised everyone’s fantastic singing. Performing in the main altar was a truly special moment for the group, and everyone felt privileged to be a part of the service. With excitement still in the air, we all left feeling very elated and couldn’t stop chattering about the day’s events. The group were almost skipping back to the vaporetto!
Looking forward to what tomorrow will bring…