Day 7

Today it is our last sightseeing day! We are all sad because the project  is coming to an end! However, we will keep in touch and hope to organise a reunion in the next academic year. 

We woke up this morning with a spectacular view of the valley where the clouds were so low that they looked like a floating carpet! 

We had breakfast early because we had to leave to Sienna by 8:30! 

Sienna is one of the most spectacular places we have visited, especially the piazza del campo where the regional games take place in the summer. We walked along the city walls, saw  important historic sights and had a delicious lunch at a local tratoria followed by chocolate ice cream . 

After lunch,  we visited the medieval town of SAN Gimignano and saw the high towers and and the narrow  cobbled streets . The weather could not have been better and some of us have  the colour  of the local Pomodoro! 

Students continued to excel  in their performances guiding the vi’s and the whole group are receiving  very complimentary comments! 

It was also really nice to meet the students and chaperones from the United World College school in Maastricht and shared this experience with them.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Amar and the  Travel Eyes agency for having organised this experience which is an enormous and yet rewarding task! 

We would also like to thank Ms Stewart , Mr Damms and Mr Hull for their wonderful chaperoning ! 

Unfortunately, tomorrow  we will leave around midday and have lunch in a local village on our way back to Pisa Airport . 

We hope you liked this blog as much as we did writing it! 

Please send us your comments and suggestions  to cpawel@islondon.org  which will help us to improve further  this service learning project ! 

 

Day 6

Today we went to Pisa which took us 21 1/2 hours by coach traveling through the beautiful narrow countryside lanes and watching the wild flowers as we passed. We visited the baptistry where we could hear the echo produced through the propagation of the sound in the walls . It was a magnificent experience and it was like listening to a small choir but in reality the sound was coming out from just one voice .

Some of the most brave and energetic students went up the Tower of Pisa accompanied by the brave and energetic Mr Dams while most of us enjoyed our free time at the piazza. The guide told us all about Galileo’s pendulum and his experiments with gravity, dropping objects from the top of the leaning tower .  

We had a typical Italian food for lunch accompanied by a delicious ice cream ! 

We also went to a medieval town called Lucca where we could enjoy some free time and learnt more important historic facts . 

 

Day 5

We woke a bit later today to relax from the previous day. The breakfast is always a feast with a selection of pastries, cereals eggs, etc. 

After breakfast some of our students and vi’s went for a long walk in the Tuscan countryside  whilst the remaining group enjoyed a dip in a very cold pool. It was amazing to see the vi’s jumping confidently in the pool just guided by their courage and our directions. We also had a second session of horse riding in the afternoon. 

Before dinner we had a sharing session where students discuss their experiences and make suggestions for the remaining days . This is a very important part of the service learning programme where students reflect on and review their daily activities and realize how much they have been doing; this experience has proved meaningful to them and to the whole group. 

After dinner we started rehearsing for the talent show which will take place on a Friday evening, our last night at the Refugio Prategiano. Ivan played the piano and Maya sang a beautiful song for our entrainment. The groups are getting closer and in spite of our different ages, backgrounds, expectations and abilities we are all coping extremely well and enjoying being together ! It is going to be hard to say goodbye to each other in few days time but I am sure we will be in touch with the Traveleyes agency and the vi’s as well. We are already discussing some future plans with Amar the amazing owner of the agency and an inspirational person to us all!  

 

Day 4

Today we woke up very early because we were going to Florence . The road was very windy which made some us a bit queasy. It was really nice to travel through the mountain villages and see the beautiful green countryside . 

Once we reached Florence, we met our Italian tour guide who explained a lot about the history of the city and the important facts about Florentine families, buildings and statues. Florence is an amazing town and the streets are mainly made out of dark cobbled stones which makes the path a bit uneven but it undoubtedly adds to the charm of the city. We ate pizza at a local restaurant and enjoyed the lively ambiance of the piazzas and markets . It rained for most of the day but we kept walking and enjoying ourselves . The groups is getting more integrated and the students and the visually impaired group are feeling more at ease with each other. We meet  for a daily debriefing  to reflect on our activities and plan for the next  day . It has been one of the most enjoyable and yet emotional experiences of our lives.