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Italy and Germany Trip 2024

On Saturday 13 April, 23 Year 10 to Year 12 students and three teachers met early to embark on the College’s first study tour through Italy and Germany. With a mixture of nervous energy and excitement, we met at Adelaide Airport to begin our epic travel day to start our adventure in Italy. After many hours on the plane (binging our favourite tv shows, listening to podcasts, listening to the Crows win and watching movies) with stops in Melbourne and Doha, we finally arrived in Rome. We were then ready to begin what proved to be a fantastic chance to explore two of Europe’s most fascinating countries.

After collecting our bags, it was time to catch our private coach and go to our farm stay in the beautiful Umbrian clifftop town of Orvieto. Here we spent two amazing nights enjoying the warm Italian hospitality of our hosts Ivo and Laura. After a good night’s sleep, we caught the funicular railway to venture to our first full day exploring the town. The first stop was a visit to il Pozzo di San Patrizio (an ancient well) and then a visit to the underground caves. We then had a chance to spend the afternoon exploring the little cobblestoned streets, enjoying coffee, pizza, gelati and pasta as we marvelled at being in Italy. At night back at our home stay we had the chance to participate in an Italian cooking with Nonna, with students learning how to make traditional pasta and cakes. The stay was bellissimo!

Next up we headed back to the enigmatic capital, Rome, for three nights. Rome is an open-air museum of profound historical relics, architectural masterpieces and archaeological sites, which have changed the world. To say this was a jammed packed stay would be an understatement! By this time, we had already well in truly become a famiglia. Our stay in Rome included a guided tour of the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, La Fontana di Trevi and wander around this amazing city. Students had the chance to try out their language skills, as we shopped, ate, and walked (25,0000 steps a day) to explore all that Rome had to offer. No trip to Italy is complete without a visit to Pompeii and Herculaneum. We marvelled at two of the world’s most significant archaeological sites. Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD79 and it devastatingly buried these Roman cities under layers of ash, perfectly preserving them. The day was fascinating journey back in time, where we were entertained by our fabulous tour guide, Gianni.

Back in Rome, there were still many more sites to explore including an interesting ride on the public transport to the Catacombs. No visit to Italy is complete without a visit to the Vatican City where we took in the breath-taking beauty of the architecture of the seat of the Roman Catholic religion including the famous Sistine Chapel. We had an incredible time in Italy, and Mrs Esposito was able to share her love for the country and help create a truly immersive language and cultural experience. We were then ready to catch a morning flight to Berlin, Germany.

The next five days were spent in one of the most interesting and significant cities that has shaped modern history. Our stay in Berlin began with an orientation tour of the city’s War History. This included a visit to the Reichstag, Hitler’s Bunker, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews, and the iconic Brandenberg Gate. At night we enjoyed our first traditional German meal, which consisted of pork knuckles, potato, and sour kraut. We finished the night exploring Alexanderplatz.

The next day was a history lover’s dream (Ms Moros was so happy) with visits to the German Democratic Museum (East Germany’s History), Checkpoint Charlie, and a scenic cruise on the River Spree exploring some of the key sites of this incredible city by boat. At night we discovered Berlin’s past on a guided tour following the watchman through the dark, tracing the ghosts and sagas of old Berlin. The following two days included a guided tour of the East Side Gallery, where we learnt about the sad but, intriguing history of the Berlin Wall, a visit to Berlin’s largest flea market, a visit to Hamburg museum, a visit to the Topography of Terror (the former site of the Gestapo) and a visit to Berlin’s Olympic Stadium. At the Olympic Stadium the site of the 2006 FIFA World Cup and 1936 Olympic Games we were given access to the VIP areas, dressing rooms and the underground warm-up rooms, while learning interesting facts about the history and architecture of the stadium. For each experience, Mr O’Reilly navigated us around the super-efficient underground and was the guru of using Google maps, ensuring we made the most of our time in Berlin. We also had time for some shopping and many souvenirs were purchased. At night we continued to enjoy the amazing culinary culture of Germany and had a chance to enjoy the much-loved visits to ‘5 Guys’ for milkshakes.

Our final day was a sombre day when we made the journey to Sachsenhausen, where on a guided tour we learnt about the first purpose-designed Nazi concentration camp, which was a truly important experience for us all. After we returned to Berlin, we enjoyed our final night with many of us vowing to return.

As we called out ‘small groups’ for the last time, our ‘SMC family’ were all there, weary, but appreciative of the amazing opportunity we had, to share this highly rewarding and enriching study tour of Europe. It was time to ‘VAMOS’ (as Ms Moros liked to say) back to Adelaide.

What an incredible time we had. Forever the ‘AUSGANG’.

Mrs Olivia Esposito, Ms Stacey Moros & Mr Gavin O’Reilly