Exploring Italy with Isaac

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Exploring Italy with Isaac

Pisa, Italy

Pisa, Italy

Pisa, Italy

Pisa, Italy

Isaac Baria, Staff Reporter

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What do you think of when you hear “Mediterranean Cruise”? Do you think of a large cruise ship sailing along the coast of Italy? Or a view of the beautiful ocean? Or do you think of a mesmerizing sunset stretching along the shores of Greece? Well, if you were thinking anything along those lines, then I am happy to say you’re right. From September 26th to October 18th, I took the most amazing trip along Europe’s most beautiful coasts and cities. This was a trip my family had been planning for over a year, and it was worth the wait.

The flight to Rome was very cramped; the plane was hot and the food was…questionable, but it was all overshadowed by the fact that we were going to Rome. I had never been to Europe before, so this was a big trip for me.  After getting to our hotel, we went to go sightseeing in Rome, visiting the Piazza Navona, the Fountain of The Four Rivers, the Trevi Fountain and the Column of Marcus Aurelius. One of the most well-known of these four would most likely be the Trevi Fountain, a tribute to the Roman god  Neptune. The following day was just as amazing as we visited the Vatican, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Roman Forum, Palentine Hill and the Roman Colosseum. All of these locations were absolutely beautiful and are such a rich peace of Rome’s history. Pack Fact: The Vatican is still used today and is the biggest Catholic Church ever built.

The next day, it was finally time to board our massive cruise ship, the Norwegian Pearl. The ship could hold over 2,300 people, each with their own room. The ship also had seven restaurants (two of which were free), two pools, four hot tubs, a basketball court and an entire theater room for miscellaneous shows. Needless to say, it was hard not to just stay on the ship. The window in our room showed a bittersweet view considering it was blocked by a huge lifeboat, but at least we could see a little bit of the water through the lifeboat’s window. The following day was a sea day, so we had plenty of time to explore the ship. Soon enough, it was time for our next location: Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Dubrovnik is a big city with a huge landmark, a castle, right in the middle of it. This area holds the fictional city of King’s Landing from the popular show “Game of Thrones”. Here, they filmed most of the scenes in King’s Landing and the from Blackwater Bay. The coast of Dubrovnik was amazing, and the water was crystal clear. It was a perfect place to stop at to kick off the cruise adventure.

Our next stop was Corfu, Greece, a beautiful island surrounded by a bright blue ocean and ancient landmarks. We went sightseeing in a little town in the middle of Corfu, but our adventure was cut short after a huge rainstorm hit the island. We ran back to our tour guide and hopped back on the bus to see the rest of Corfu. All in all, the island is beautiful even when it’s being showered in rain. The next day, however, we went to another location in Greece: Santorini. I was left in awe. There were so many shades of blue and white scattered across the buildings; it’s truly a sight to see. The town was filled with narrow pathways, and it was a little hot, but all the houses and shops were made of stone, which had a cooling effect throughout the whole city. After exploring, we took a bus to a restaurant where we had authentic Greek food, and it was so delicious I wish I could have it again. We then participated in a Greek celebration dating all the way back to the ancient Greeks. This was called “Opa,” and it had us take plates and smash them on the floor while we danced on them. The party was super fun, and it was a nice conclusion to our stay in Santorini.

Our next port you’ve most likely heard of, Athens, Greece. Athens reminded me a little bit of Rome in the sense that there was just ancient monuments in the middle of the city. We visited The Parthenon and Poseidon’s Temple. The Parthenon was a huge building dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena. It was an Acropolis that was built back in 447 B.C. Poseidon’s Temple was also an Acropolis, but it was by the sea on top of the hill of Sounion. The view over the ocean was very nice but unfortunately, the god of the sea didn’t like us at his temple because shortly after we got there it rained.

It was time for our next sea day, so we got to relax on the ship just getting ready for our next stop, Sicily, which is a part of Italy, but it’s some ways off into the coast. We finally made it to Sicily, and we were greeted with the delicious smell of pastries. In Sicily, we visited the Ancient Theatre of Taormina and the active volcano of Mt. Etna. The Ancient Theatre of Taormina was a theater that had ten-thousand seats and had a perfect view over Sicily. The theater had collapsed over the hundreds of years ago; it was built and now it is a beautiful landmark with a remarkable view of one of Sicily’s biggest most active volcanoes. We took a bus up the side of Mt. Etna, and it was one of the windiest roads I’ve been on. On the way down I got sick, so the experience wasn’t all that good. Once we reached the top, it was super cold but the sight was amazing. There were 3 gigantic craters from when the volcano had erupted March 11th, 1669. One of the craters I went into and picked up my souvenir, a charred lava rock from ancient times. Fun fact: natives around Mt. Etna said all lava rocks came from a long-extinct giant salamander called The Charogg.

The next stop was the island of Delos, which was a Greek island famed for its archaeological site. The island held a very ancient village dating back to 1400 B.C. This village had been found in 1904 and is still an active archaeological site. After returning from that portion of the island, I had the best food I ever had, a Gyro. A Gyro is primarily meat, lettuce and Greek’s famous tzatziki sauce all in a pocket made of pita bread.

Our final stop was Naples, Italy and it was breathtaking. We stopped at about six different oceanside villages and each one was beautiful. After eating lunch, we took a stroll down the Amalfi coast while we ate some delicious gelato that tasted a little too much like Nutella.

Overall, this experience was amazing, and I’m so grateful to have been able to share it with my family. Europe is amazing and it’s so beautiful, I’m so happy I got to see it and explore it.

I would absolutely recommend any students to go on a trip like this. You learn so much more about ancient history and how people used to live all those years ago(way more than how much the schools teach you).