Sicily 2023Posted on: April 26th 2023
Amery Hill School Year 10 students returned to Sicily this year for an action packed five days of tectonics, rivers, food and culture.
Setting off in darkness, 48 students and five staff flew direct to Catania Airport passing over one of the main attractions of the trip – Mount Etna, the most active volcano in Europe. It was clear from the steam clouds being generated by “Mamma Etna” (as Sicilians call her) that she was ready to greet us!
The next day, after a coach ride up the mountain, cable car and four-wheel drive vehicle we were close to the summit of Mount Etna with a special guide to inform us. Conditions were perfect as we listened to information about past eruptions and took pictures off the huge caldera.
Friday was a highlight for many students. The morning was a thrilling River Trekking activity session. Students got suited and booted in wetsuits, buoyancy aids, helmets and waterproof boots and entered the chilly waters of the Alcantara River, created from snowmelt on Mount Etna itself. Scrambling over rocks, students were presented with an increasingly challenging series of waterfalls to jump off in this two-hour activity. The final water fall was estimated at seven metres high! The afternoon was more sedate with an opportunity for some retail therapy and the chance to visit an Italian pizza restaurant. The twist here was that all the students were shown how to make their own pizza, from kneading the dough through to choosing toppings, all under the watchful eye of the restaurant staff.
After a late night, the final full day involved a short ferry ride to the island of Vulcano, after which all volcanoes are named. There were a few green faces, after the slightly choppy crossing, as the challenge of climbing to the volcano summit was contemplated. No cable cars here! Fortunately, due to the volcano currently being seismically too active and consequently too dangerous, a smaller summit was scaled instead with a local guide. This was challenge enough for some students and still provided some spectacular views.
On our final day, we revisited the beautiful town of Taormina. Students had a last chance to enjoy some Italian food and buy souvenirs before we headed to the airport for the flight home and the chilly reception from the UK, not from the parents waiting to greet the students, but from the weather, after we had been spoiled by 20 0 C temperatures! We are hoping to return again in 2024 with next year’s Year 10 students.