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Do As The Romans Do
August 27, 2019
Many students may spend their summer vacations sleeping in, going to the local beaches, and having sleepovers with friends. But a lucky group of twenty-three FCHS Advanced Placement students got the opportunity to travel to the birthplace of Ancient Rome: Italy.
Four thousand dollars and two airplanes later, the students and chaperones were in Italy for a week. “Traveling with [teachers Matt] Morrison and [Jimmy] Koczan was actually fantastic. I’ve had both of them and they’re two of my favorite teachers. They were both pretty experienced and knew their way around Italy and the airports,” said senior Clio Schurtz. The students stayed in small hotels, with three to four students per room. The group toured many cities by charter bus, including Florence, Rome, Sorrento and the Isle of Capri. While in Capri, they got lemons from the surprising amount of lemon trees on the island. “[My favorite place we visited] was definitely Pompeii; it was so beautiful in a tragic way, and it was very scenic,” said junior Kylie Bryant. Other popular attractions they visited included the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican and the Roman Colosseum.
Bryant admitted to being surprised by a few things in Italy. “People drive so aggressively over there. We’re kind of shut in [in America], but they’re always out and walking everywhere, and they don’t like people petting their dogs. That could have been because we’re American tourists, though,” she said. Sophomores Rachel Warden and Sarah Phillips added that Rome is very Americanized, and that their culture is more similar to ours than the other Italian cities they visited. The friendly locals seemed to enjoy when the students would attempt to speak Italian, but were also understanding and spoke English in most locations. “We would attempt to speak Italian when ordering our food, and the waiters were always very polite,” Phillips added.
The students also tried new foods while in the country, including many different types of fresh and unique pasta and pizza, as well as gelato, which was a refreshing ice cream to have after being outside all day. “I probably ate pizza or pasta for lunch every single day, but it was great,” said Schurtz. Some students ordered lemon fettuccine while in Capri, which is not commonly seen in Virginia. “Most of the foods were very light and savory. [Italians] did not dabble into extremely sweet things. Whipped cream, for instance, did not have the extra sweetener like Americans make it,” said Phillips.
While vacations are often a time to relax and hang out, a trip like this tends to have complications. In this case, it was an airport issue on the way to Italy. “[Connor Bridge] left his passport in his checked luggage, which got put on the plane, but he needed [the passport] to get on the plane to Rome,” Warden said. Thankfully, this did not detain their departure time from the Atlanta airport, as security helped solve the issue as quickly as possible. Aside from this slight delay, the trip was smooth sailing. Nobody had anything stolen or lost, the weather was perfect, and the group got to visit every place on their itinerary.
As for expectations going into the trip, the students thought that the teachers would be hanging out with them a lot and that the students would have a strict curfew. To their surprise, however, the students were actually allowed quite a bit of free time, as well as to be outside after dark.“Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect when going on this trip, but I’m sure that if I did [have expectations,] they would have been met,” Phillips said. “It was as pretty as I imagined, and I learned a lot about the culture,” Warden added.