Last Tuesday morning, at 3am, 17 students from all years and 5 teachers departed from Muine Bheag Vocational School on an exciting, fun and historically enriching school tour to Rome.
The group smoothly passed through airport security and were in the air before they even knew it. They arrived into Rome just after midday on Tuesday and were greeted by 17 degree heat and clear blue skies. First on the agenda was to buy sun cream and a pair of sunglasses (from the cheap markets of course)!!
After dropping off bags to the Villa Irlande (hotel accommodation), and tucking into some delicious pizza and pasta, the group set forth on the first leg of their tour. First up was a trip to the smallest country in the world- Vatican City. St. Peter’s square was just as amazing as everyone expected it to be. As it was evening, it was a nice quiet time to visit and get some spectacular photos. Just as dusk was settling, lights appeared all around Vatican City, and the Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica lit up for all of Rome to see. It was a very special moment to have experienced. The group then spent some time roaming around the windy streets of Rome and strolling along the river Tiber. Students and staff were all craving an early night after the very early start and were delighted to see their beds that evening.
Wednesday morning began with returning to Vatican City, in the hopes of an audience with Pope Francis. Unfortunately, the Pope did not make an appearance, but that did not dishearten the group as they decided to tour the spectacular St. Peter’s Basilica and climb to the top of the Dome. After climbing over 300 steps (after getting a head start on a lift too), the group were breathless when they finally emerged above the ancient city of Rome. The steps were absolutely worth it when the group set eyes on the view before them. They could see around them for miles, which were of course, perfect for all their photos. The dazzling sun only added to the stunning views of this extraordinary experience.
After descending from the Dome, it was definitely time for a refuelling of more delicious pizza and pasta!! This had to be followed with gelato! But, as everyone knows, the best gelato in the world can be found beside the Trevi Fountain, so this is exactly where the group decided to head to next. This also made for another fantastic photo shoot!
The group then discovered the chilling museum of the ‘House of Bones’ in which you can see rooms that are made up entirely by human skeletons. If this was not to your fancy, then strolling through the windy cobbled stone streets to find the Pantheon, definitely gave the true taste of the amazing city of Rome.
Thursday morning began with a short stroll to the ancient Roman Colosseum. The group had the opportunity to explore the ancient amphitheatre and learn about customs and sporting traditions from over 2000 years ago. The group then strolled through the ancient Roman Forum, which is one of the oldest places on Earth. This was a truly chilling experience.
After some more lunch of, you guessed it, pizza and pasta, the students and teachers then decided that it was time for some shopping, or more to the point, some bargaining. The group spent some time strolling through the outdoor Roman markets and haggling with local merchants to get their hands on their favourite designer handbags and runners.
The final thing on the to do list was a trip to the Spanish Steps. All the group were delighted to see yet more steps! After getting to the top of the Steps and seeing Rome lit up at night, the group were very happy with their decision.
The last supper consisted of a lovely restaurant just a stone’s throw from the Spanish Steps, to which the students were treated to their meals. It is hard to decide which meal was the most delicious, as each bowl of pasta or slice of pizza all had the same authentic and fresh taste!
Friday’s journey home came way too fast for anyone’s liking, and the group were soon safely landing down into Dublin’s rainy terminal 2 airport. Students and teachers all agreed that they had had the most amazing holiday, and the only regret they had was that they couldn’t bring the sun home with them.