Goodbye Amalfi Coast, Ciao Firenze!
We got right into the culture of Florence starting with a Leather Works demonstration. Thiago, a Brazilian Leather Master, taught our trip members the leather curing process and how to tell real from faux.
Dinner was super exciting, because we went to a cooking school where we would learn to prepare and enjoy a homemade four-course meal from scratch. Chef Desy was the head chef at the cooking school and definitely cultured the students in the art of cooking. Not just ingredients, but also proper etiquette. Chef orchestrated the trip members by having them all prepare different portions of the meal. Some made fresh pasta and tomato sauce, while others worked on appetizers and desserts. Ethan W. did a masterful job of creating the spinach ricotta for the crêpes, as Chef Desy instructed him on how to spread the topping with love.
David and Goliath
We visited the statue of David today and spoke to our guide about the story of David and Goliath. We also learnt more about Michelangelo’s astounding artistic career.
After visiting the Duomo, the trip members were set free into the leather market with their new-found knowledge in shopping for quality leather. Some of the girls went for fish pedicures during their free time; they even got freaked out by the large fish, so they had to move to smaller tanks with smaller fish.
The group had more free time to explore the streets of Firenze today. Some of the boys followed suit and went for fish pedicures today; it was hilarious to see a video of them screaming during the experience!
In the evening, a group of girls found the most amazing create-your-own Magnum Bar shop. Custom toppings and chocolate were chosen as they decorated their own bars!
Three countries in a day
We left Florence for Pisa, to check out the leaning tower. After lunch in Pisa, we drove to Monaco. On the bus ride we played “Guess Who,” where each trip member and leader wrote down three things about themselves, while the rest of the group had to guess who those characteristics belonged to. It was fun to see everyone guess pretty accurately, as they’ve gotten to know each other quite well over our month-long expedition. The always animated Sydney S. hosted the game on the microphone, while Ben, Abby, and Sydney R. demonstrated they knew their friends best by scoring the most points. The winners were awarded “Swag Gear,” which we had picked up from Life Club when we were in Rimini.
Our trip director, Key, organized a hilarious prank as we entered Monaco. She told the trip members that they had to flash their passports on the bus windows as we entered the last tunnel before crossing the border for scanning. Most of them cooperated as they pressed their photo and barcode firmly against the windows. To further sell the joke, there happened to be a police van stopped on the shoulder only two minutes up the road. The bus had to stop because there were cones which made our path too narrow to cross. The police officers approached the bus (to move the cones), and everyone got nervous because Key asked the group who didn’t flash their passports to come to the front of the bus to confront the officers. It was really hilarious to see everyone’s reaction.
Monte Carlo was really cool. Even though we were only there for one night, some members of our group said it was their favorite place. We found a little portside arcade where we all played games for about half an hour. We climbed to a nice lookout point where the prince resides, and then walked along the F1 race track to the extravagant casino.
A Nice Day
We had another beach day, and it was fun to whip around in tubes pulled by speed boats. The driver definitely took us around for a thrill ride! We enjoyed our last day walking the boulevard, drinking refreshing smoothies, tanning, and swimming in the crystal blue water.
After dinner, we walked down to the beach for our closing ceremonies. We sat in a circle where, one-by-one, we retold our favorite memories and what each of us took away from the trip. As each person spoke, they lit a candle under the night sky and, as the parole passed to the next member, they would light the ensuing candle until we each had a little flame flowing in the Nice breeze. We then handed out personalized cards to all trip members, each card marked with someone’s name, and we devised a system whereby everyone signed each card. They were kept closed until the flight home, at which point the members could read all the nice messages from their friends as they reminisced about the trip.
Bon Voyage, Buon Viaggio!
It was definitely a slice; or many slices if you consider the amount of pizza we ate! It was special to see how everyone developed such strong relationships with one another during our four-week tour! Full of exploration, friendships, and memories; it was definitely the summer of a lifetime!
The Westcoast Blogger
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