Sunday, December 31, 2000

Roma, Italia

While I prefer the quiet country scenes of Italy, I must admit that Rome is equally enchanting, especially when one enters the Vatican. There are simply too many wonderful pieces of art to take them all in. Of course, the Sistine Chapel is the crown jewel! Never have I seen such exquisite beauty. It boggles the mind to think of the years Michelangelo spent working on the beautiful scenes. Right before we went in, our guide did a wonderful job explaining some of the scenes to us, but once we entered the chapel, we were awe-struck. I could have looked for days. One interesting fact our guide told us was that a Japanese firm paid to have the entire ceiling cleaned in exchange for the copyright to the images until 2015. Thus, no photos were allowed. Next on our itinerary was a visit with the priest from St. Ann's church. Saint Ann was the mother of Mary, thus Jesus' grandmother. This talk was very informative and helped explained some of the sights we had seen. Next, a trip to Peter's burial in the Basilicia. Twenty thousand people visit this sight each day, so it was definitely crowded. While there, I spent some time reflecting on the trips Paul took to Rome and how long and tiresome that travel must have been. Mars Hill seems so far away. A visit with a former Swiss Guard and a viewing of the changing of the guards finalized our day. Tomorrow is our last day in Rome, and we get to experience it with a scavenger hunt through the city. As always...AMAZING!
Karen Wells
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So Much To See - So Little Time

Yesterday was an easy day because we were trying to take it easy since we had hiked Mount Etna the day before. We took the bus to the marmalade factory, which was absolutely beautiful and was more like a lovely resort than a marmalade factory. After eating lunch at the marmalade factory, we rode in the bus for hours until we reached the city for dinner. Then we boarded the ferry to go to mainland Italy. This morning we had an early start as we got to Italy. We then went to a water park, which turned out to be a surprise for us. We had fun swimming and dancing in the sun. When we were done swimming we were actually starving. So we went and had a huge lunch. It was so delicious! Then we went and visited the ancient city of Pompeii. It was very interesting to see the still existing ruins that were once covered along with the people who were also very unfortunate to be there on that awful day. I'm looking forward to seeing Rome, but being there means that the trip is almost over which is very sad because this has been the greatest experience. I'm not looking forward to it ending.

Bethany Roberson

I conquered Mt. Etna! ( Day 9 & 10)

Today we got the chance to go to the local pottery shops and try our hand out at painting pottery. Later that day we took our bike ride around Mt Etna. On day 10 we got up bright and early to start our hiking on Mt Etna. We hiked for 4 hours, and reached 2900 meters. Being at the top of that volcano was the most amazing thing that I have ever experienced. We got so high up we were in the snow, where we had a snow ball fight! How many people can say they had a snowball fight on an active volcano in Italy?! Being up that high, where you can see everything, opens up a new perspective on your life, the world and your heart. I experienced this and became very emotional, but I was very glad to be standing at the top of that volcano and feel this. It was an amazing sight and feeling!
Sarah York

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The Fun Never Ends

Yesterday I went white water rafting. Even better, I went white water rafting in Italy. It was both a fun and amazing experience. We had the intensity of the rapids and the beauty of the nature around us. We wore wet suits because the water of the Lao river was very cold, but we still all jumped in when we were told we could. I also was very happy that the raft I was in did not flip, even though we came very close at times. After rafting, we left for a ride in the bus to go to lunch. The ride we believed would take an hour ended up being two hours. We had quite a bit of riding in the bus traveling across the country side, but it was very fun because we made the time pass by all singing songs very loudly. We made it into Catania and we passed what I have been dreading and most concerned about since I've been on the trip: Mount Etna. Today we begin our trek up her as she rolls her black smoke indicating her recent activity.
- Bethany Roberson

First Day in Italy

Yesterday we went to Alberobello and went on a tour. Our main focus was Trulli houses. These are houses shaped like a cone with rocks stacked on top to make up the roof. My favorite part of the morning was lunch. We each had a huge pizza to ourselves and it was so delicious! Then we headed out to a farm to see how cheese is made. We got to help remove the cheese from what was milk and form it into the cheese shape it is. We had pasta for dinner and Bethany got pooped on by a newborn goat. we ended the day with some gelato. In case you couldn't tell, it was a great day.

Niki Pulliam

Adventure Details

Duration 15 days
Destinations Athens
Focus Biology
Earth Science