Earlier this month, Rayburn Education team member, Tracey Nichols, was fortunate enough to be able to take a break from the office and jet off to the lovely destination of Sicily in Italy, working as a courier for the International School of Geneva’s geography trip.
Visions of the Italian sunshine and waves crashing against rocks on the beaches evoke feelings of relaxation. However, for Tracey, this five day trip was full of non-stop activity, couriering for a group of 14-18 year olds. After travelling solo from the UK, Tracey met with the school at Catania airport. From there, the group travelled to Milazzo to take the hydrofoil over to the first of the Aeolian islands to be visited, Lipari, and Tracey assisted with the co-ordination of the itinerary arrangements.
The school spent a day on three of the Aeolian islands situated off the east coast of Sicily. The first was Lipari, where the group enjoyed the break taking scenery, creating field sketches of the surrounding landscape. Next, the group visited the volcanic island of Stromboli, where they trekked for six hours to reach the peak of the volcano. After a challenging hike, the group felt a real sense of achievement as they stared into the crater and observed the amazing views surrounding them from so high up.
The following day, Tracey accompanied the group up another volcano on the island of Vulcano; this was a shorter trek than yesterday’s, taking just two hours to reach the summit and the group were yet again struck by the beauty of the surrounding landscape. Both volcanos are active and visitors can see the lava in them. Find out more here.
Following their visits to the three islands, the group returned to Sicily. In the morning, they travelled to the remarkable Alcantara river gorge, a 223 foot-deep lava canyon carved out of rock by a fast-flowing stream. Both Tracey and the group were blown away by this natural spectacle.
In the afternoon, the group took a cable car ride on Mount Etna, where they went on a truck trek and a crater walk. The pupils thoroughly enjoyed the truck trek, and had a great time on the crater walk where they paused for lunch enjoying the warmth as they sat on the volcano and the breathtaking views, all the while enhancing their geographical knowledge of volcanoes.
Whilst geography is the main reason for visiting Sicily, let’s not forget the food! During the trip, Tracey and the group were introduced to delicious, typical-style Sicilian dishes; mostly aubergine based foods with lots of goat’s cheese! The group enjoyed plenty of pasta throughout the trip, and then enjoyed a classic Italian pizza on the last night; ‘when in Italy…’.
Whilst Iceland tends to be the popular choice for school groups embarking on a geography trip, Sicily is not to be overlooked. Offering the various volcanic structures and rock formations that can be found across the landscapes of Iceland, Sicily has one more thing going for it – fantastic climate!
Benefiting from a carefully planned itinerary, the group were able to enjoy themselves and treat the trip as a holiday, whilst developing their geographical learning first-hand.
Find out more about a geography trip to Sicily here!