Glass Souvenirs – On Tour Backpack France, Switzerland, & Italy

Bonjourno from Italy!

We have arrived in the final country that we will be visiting on our incredible backpacking trip and there couldn’t have been a better place to start than the beautiful La Spezzia. We were also very excited to be able to welcome our new trip members into our trip family as they joined us there. We were all able to enjoy a fantastic day of hiking and relaxing at the beach in Cinque Terre.

We visited Corniglia before hiking the magnificent trail that goes from Vernazza to Monterosso. These three villages, which make up part of Cinque Terre all felt so dainty and adorable! Along the hike were many views of the gorgeous Mediterranean Sea, which Avery was excited to catch a glimpse of for the first time ever. Rachel took some awesome photos and Kayla described the scenery as “walking through a postcard”.

At the end of the hike, we got to enjoy a dip in the ocean. Maria and Julia M. were the first ones in. Marta, Hayley and Jason were not far behind!
We then enjoyed our first taste of real Italian food which definitely lives up to it’s reputation! Sophie brought us to her favorite seafood restaurant in Monterosso that was located on a cliff overlooking the sea. Our new favorite gelato place, Gusto, became our nightly hang out! Where Cori discovered dark chocolate flavored sorbet that quickly became a new trip hit!

Hayley, Ariel and Matt were really into the photo scavenger hunt we did before our final dinner in La Spezzia. Everyone came back with crazy photos including pizza selfies, photos of local chihuahuas and human pyramids!

As sad as we were to leave Cinque Terre, we were equally excited to get to Venice! On our first night there, we cheered on Germany as we watched them win the World Cup from Venice’s largest American pub! Johnny and Matteo have loved being able to keep up with the soccer matches in different
European cities.

We learnt a lot about the history of the Venetian Jews on our guided synagogue tour, which Sophie really enjoyed. We were then all amazed by a glass blowing demonstration that we watched and many of us even got some authentic Murano glass souvenirs! Misha, Matteo and Julia M. discovered secret passageways as they explored Doge’s palace. Taylor and Julia W. had an exceptional time on the gondola ride we took, on which we got a true feel of Venice from its many canals!

As we pack our bags, sad to say farewell to this beautiful city, we eagerly await all that Florence has in store for us!

Ciao for now,

The Westcoast Blogger

A Refreshing Jump – Florence – Pre-College Enrichment

Buongiorno! We’ve just wrapped up our first full weekend of the program, and after awesome back-to-back day trips, we’re happy to be back in home sweet home Florence!

On Friday morning, we had the opportunity to see two of Florence’s cultural gems: Michelangelo’s masterpiece sculpture, The David, and one of the world’s most prized art museums, The Uffizi. Our enthusiastic tour guide, Marcello, helped us jump the long lines and provided us with great anecdotes about the artists and their works. Collete and Jamie also played several hilarious rounds of Caption Contest while taking in the interestingly-posed sculptures at the museum. At night, we finished the 4th of July by celebrating and dancing at a nearby disco!

On Saturday, we set off for the historic city of Siena, only about an hour drive from Florence. While there, Cameron and Sabrina grabbed some pizza and basked in the sunlight in Piazza del Campo, the town’s huge square that twice annually hosts The Palio, a horse race between jockeys from 10 of the city’s 17 contradas, or wards. Sarah T., Emma, Elysa, and Chloe were among a group that climbed to the top of Siena’s Bell Tower and enjoyed spectacular views of the city and the Italian countryside beyond. We returned to Florence in the late evening, but that didn’t stop Zoe G., Amanda B., and a few others from heading to the gelaterias by the Duomo for some crepes and waffles for dessert!
Florence - Pre-College Enrichment in Art Class
When we woke up early Sunday morning, we took off again, this time to the beautiful area of Cinque Terre, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Ally, Ruth, and many other trip members opted to spend the day on a 2-hour long hike, and especially enjoyed some fresh squeezed lemonade (right from the lemon trees alongside the trail) midway through the journey. Meanwhile, Hope and Lorena joined other trip members who took a ferry ride to the quaint, colorful beach town of Vernazza, and had the chance to take
some refreshing jumps from a dock into the sea. Brad, Samantha F., Isabel and Jules were among the final group, who chose to spend the day relaxing on the beach, alternating between cool dips into the water and taking in
some rays on the shore.

Today, we’re back to sketching, cooking, Italian speaking, and enjoying our classes. Expect another update later this week! Arrivederce!

The Westcoast Blogger

Hola from Barcelona- Pre-College Enrichment: Barcelona

Hola from Barcelona! Can you believe it has been a week since you dropped off your teenagers and sent them on the summer of their lives? We have all been quite busy; I hardly know where to start our tale! First off, let me take a moment to introduce myself since I will be your […]