My trip to Sicily was a dream; I absolutely loved it. We enjoyed 20 degree sunshine, stunning views, and diverse landscapes, with something different to do every day. It’s a beautiful island full of amazing things to do and see, and my only qualm in the otherwise crystal-clear waters of the trip was the fact that the school trip was so busy that we were constantly tired and rushing around. However as assistants and not teachers, Val and I had the best of both worlds. We enjoyed drinking wine at the adult table, and having our own room in every hotel we stayed in, but we didn’t have to be responsible for the students in any way or do any of the organising! Luckily, because we were with 160 seventeen-year old students in three coaches, so things got a bit chaotic at times!
- Zingaro Nature Reserve, on the north coast of Sicily. I can’t get over how beautiful it was, the natural landscape was absolutely breath-taking- an unspoiled paradise! We hiked together (imagine 180 people waking along an occasionally single-track path, it was quite a sight!) to the beach and back. (See featured image)
- The Valle dei Templi in Agrigento was a collection of the most well-preserved Greek temples I have ever seen, standing proudly together on the hilltops. We had a tour-guide with us as we explored the valley, and she was very informative and interesting, as well as giving everyone plenty of time for photos!
- Siracusa was the picture-perfect seaside tourist town I had been longing for after the packed hustle of Palermo. Cobbled pedestrian streets, charming cafés, and great gelato, all framed by the glittering blue ocean. We went on a boat-trip out into the bay and back again, which was a very relaxing way to spend an afternoon.
- Another unforgettable hike was in the Mount Etna nature reserve. Etna is an active volcano, and smokes continuously. In fact, on the day we went it had erupted only the night before, and we could see the trail of larva which it had produced producing its own smoke-trail as it wound its way slowly down the mountain.
- SO MANY long days! We were in the coach every day at 8am, usually with our suitcases packed to move on. We would do one activity in the morning, one in the afternoon, and then drive to our next hotel, sometimes arriving as late as 9pm.
- As is traditional on school-trips, we took the coaches from school all the way to our destination, which meant a very long journey indeed. We drove all day to Genoa, then took a 21hr ferry to Sicily, and did the same on the way back.
- The guided tours of Palermo were really not great- the tour-guide had a strong accent even the French students found hard to follow (which made me feel somewhat better about my French comprehension skills!), and we listened through cracking earphones to a speech about a lot of religious history.
- Picnic lunches, traditional school-trip style- one ham roll, one cheese roll, one piece of fruit. Sadness. I didn’t even manage to eat any Italian pizza!
The trip made me realise how lucky I was to be placed in my school, and how genuinely nice and friendly the students and teachers both were. I will miss my students: grinning at me and yelling ‘HELLO’, how they didn’t want to go back to their real English lessons after having fun with me (in my last week we listened to Ed Sheran), and the way we danced together at the awkwardly-sober school-trip disco (but that’s another story!)
I will also miss all of the friends I made in Charlieu and Roanne. The teachers in my lycée and collège both had going-away meals with me in my final week, and my adorable neighbours gave me two bottles of alcohol to take back to England with me! My assistant family will be missed the most: Hellie, Val, both Maddies, Sara and Rachel. They all made my time as a rural assistant not just fine but FUN, and I can’t thank them enough. See you soon gals!
It has taken me so long to write this blog because I’ve been busy with yet another adventure, this time a slightly more serious one. I have moved to Paris, and am doing a 6-week internship working for a French PR company. It is hard work speaking and working in French every day, but I can already feel my language skills improving! The next update will be about la vie parisienne for sure…