I’ll never forget the last few minutes before boarding the plane. All fourteen of us Blair kids were standing around the gate bracing ourselves for a trip we had been anticipating for months; the day had finally arrived. I was so nervous: I had never been to Europe before, and I had always been an angsty flier. My nerves, however, were easily calmed by the laughter and excitement from the people around me. On this trip, I got to know some amazing students and teachers.
Our first stop was Rome, and it makes for a very hectic beginning to our time in Italy. We hit all the greatest attractions: the Colosseum, Vatican City, the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps. The liveliness and beauty of this city were well worth the nine-hour plane ride, especially after we had our first taste of real Italian gelato. Mine was in the Piazza Navona and it had an incredible Nutella flavor.
Experiencing the Piazza was one of my favorite memories from the trip: it was our first chance to split up and explore parts of Rome in smaller groups. We witnessed the talents of street performers, watched artists set up and paint, stopped in boutiques and gelato shops, and found a great restaurant for dinner. I now have a strong appreciation for mozzarella and prosciutto!
After Rome, we made our way to Florence and then Venice. I fell in love with both cities, but there was something about Venice that really resonated with me. It had a slower pace and a much more relaxed ambiance which allowed me to stop and truly appreciate its beauty. Laughing and singing “That’s Amore” during a nighttime gondola ride is another memory I’ll never forget.
Our last stop was in Lake Maggiore, Switzerland, via an early morning bus ride, for a chance to hike the Swiss Alps. I was not a big fan of the large, ominous-looking Italian bugs or the steep hiking trails on our way up the mountain, but I would do it again in a heartbeat because the view at the top was absolutely breathtaking. It was the perfect way to spend our last day together. On our way down the mountain, most of us held hands. Now that I think about it, that probably wasn’t the smartest idea, but it was the most fun way to do it. I can’t wait to be back home at Blair with my trip-mates in the fall. I know the memories we made together this summer are ones I’ll cherish forever.