We arrived home safely Monday night at 11:00 after a complete 24 hours of travel! The trip wrapped up wonderfully, a huge success on all fronts. Our students returned home exhausted, but changed (for the better, hopefully).
Venice was well loved by all, the wide-eyes all around upon first glance were indicative of the sheer impression the city made upon the students. We all spent the day wandering along canals and over bridges, stopping just long enough to purchase a quick gift here and there.
Our last day in the city of Bologna was Saturday. We went to school with the Italian students in the morning for 2 hours of lessons. Our students have been extremely surprised by the teaching style of the Italian teachers - straight lecture for the most part, coupled with frantic note-taking. The unanimous reaction was that they like our school better ;). After lessons we headed to San Luca. San Luca is a church that was built up on a hill outside of Bologna city. Bologna is know for it's porticoed walk ways, and San Luca is famous as it lies at the end of the world's longest portico. With 666 arches, this portico allows the congregation to walk the Madonna from her home safe inside the church, all the way down the hillside, and into the center of town, without being exposed to the elements. Today, this has become a well frequented portico by runners and walkers alike. There's no doubt it's a solid walk!
We all had the afternoon with our host families to rest up for the goodbye dinner at il Campus - a local restaurant that makes Bolognese specials. The going away dinner was really neat. All the American students were there with their host siblings and their host parents. This made a total of about 60 people. The food was delicious and served as our last traditional Italian meal. By 10:00 pm we sent the students home to finish their packing. We were after all leaving Sunday morning at 6:30 am!
After a tearful goodbye, we headed to Rome. Our day in Rome was complete with a blessing from the Pope, entrance into the Colosseum, lunch in Piazza Navona, and wishes cast in the Trevi Fountain. At 8:00 pm we were picked up from the train station and taken to Castle Scandeluzza. An old Castle that has been converted into a hotel of sorts, but with the very rustic feel of an old Castle. We were given 6 rooms and felt right at home. I truly felt like a Queen - my own room with a 4 post canopy bed, an attached bathroom, and fireplace. It was definitely a respite after an exhausting day in Rome. Our stay was short however, as we had a 9:50 am flight to catch on Monday morning.
And thus, our journey began. 24 hours later, the students were eating Mexican food and looking back on the trip as though it had never happened!