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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Chocolatey Air – Backpack Greece, the Islands & Italy

We received a “sweet” welcome in Perugia at our first stop, the Perugina Chocolate Factory. You may be familiar with Baci, Perugina’s famous chocolate-hazelnut treat. After unlimited chocolate samples, we certainly know it well. Walking through the factory, we inhaled the chocolatey air and watched the machines produce and wrap various sweets. Full of chocolate and knowledge, we returned to the hotel for a delicious pasta dinner and set out to Perugia’s city center for the night. As we walked through Perugia, we all snapped a few photos of the unbelievable sunset over the Italian hillsides. In the city center, we enjoyed the Umbria Jazz Festival’s music, and Ally, Emily, and Gillian danced to the energetic jazz at the main stage.

The next day we had some fun at an Italian water park, where we all donned European swim caps. Lauren and Paige made heroic attempts from the diving board, resulting in a few humorous bellyflops. Joe and Jason decided they could make the biggest splashes with their cannonballs. Meanwhile, Seth, Hannah, Sara, and Hunter started up a competitive volleyball game while Mitchel acted as the official referee. That night, we returned to Perugia’s city center for dinner and more jazz music from the festival.

We spent our last day in Perugia learning how to cook (and eat) a traditional Italian meal. The cooking class was hosted at a beautiful farm with an incredible view of Perugia. Lauren and Carly bravely volunteered to go first, separating the egg whites and yolks for our tiramisu dessert. Julia, Kelly, Zach, and Emily acted as the assembly team, putting together the layers of cookies and meringue. We threw the tiramisu in the refrigerator, and Sam, Ally, and Mitchell made our pasta dough, kneading together eggs, flour, and a touch of olive oil. Savannah, Hannah, Abbe, and Robin thinned out the dough and put it through a manual pasta maker to cut it into tagliatelle. We enjoyed our delicious pasta alongside tomato and eggplant bruschettas, and for dessert we all devoured the tiramisu which had a candle for Claudia to blow out for her birthday. After lunch, we got to enjoy the pool. Mackenzie, Nikki, and Jess hung out by the water and acted as our group DJs, playing relaxing music from their phones. Joe and Jason once again showed off their cannonball skills. Hannah, Sara, and Sam took a break from a rousing card game to pick fresh figs off a tree and enjoy the almost-ripe fruit.
The next morning, we departed Perugia on an overnight ferry. We enjoyed the ferry’s pool, arcade, and observation deck, but we especially enjoyed our game of “mafia” which Lauren narrated in great detail. Before heading to our cabins, we watched the sunset over the Ionian Sea, said “Ciao!” to our time in Italy, and looked ahead to disembarking in Greece the following morning. We can’t wait for our Greek adventures to begin!

The Westcoast Blogger

If you’re ready for an adventure like this, check out our 16-day student trip to Italy and discover all wonders of this summer destination.