From the Almalfi Coast to Vatican City my Italian adventure opened me up to sites that I had only seen in books and magazines. My trip started in Sorrento with 35 other kids from my High School on the Italian exchange where we were able to spend one week touring around Italy and one week in a home stay. Our first glance at this country was through the windows of a bus on the way to Sorrento but my eyes were amazed by what they saw. The Apennine mountain range was out one window with vineyards, lemon orchards, and olive trees out the other. This kind of beauty did not to the tour pamphlets justice.
It seemed that with every turn we made the culture I only could dream of, got stronger and more amazing. On day two we were able to visit the island of Capri where the beauty, culture, and history of Italy all combined. On the boat ride to the island we were able to see the mesmerizing cliffs of the island as well as the colors of the shops of the little town. Upon arriving I was able to get my first taste of Italian cuisine in a family run pizzeria. My taste buds were able to experience the taste of fresh bread, garden grown tomatoes, and home made cheese. I tried to take it all in because I knew I would never taste anything like that when I returned home.
After lunch my new friends and I decided to make the trek up to visit Tiberius’s Palace. During our walk up we got to see villas and Italians go about living their normal lives in a place that I could barely believe existed. The way of life was just completely different there; it was like everyone was a family. When we got to the top of the mountain to the palace, I was able to see my first part of Italian history. We walked through rooms that were over 2000 years old. I kept on thinking real people walked where I walked 2000 years ago and my mind had a hard time understanding that concept. The oldest historical places I ever visited in America were 400 years old so experiencing this kind of history was new for me and I could not get enough pictures.
During the next week I was able to fill my camera with sites from around the country but little did I know the best part was yet to come. When week two came I entered the house of my Italian exchange partner. She was the only one who knew English but it was cute how her little brothers said “Hello.” Trying to break the language barrier was hard but it helped me realize that the entire world is diverse with different people but we are all humans and share much in common. One day I sat at the table and I tried to use my little knowledge of Italian to help her brother with English. As he was trying to learn my language and I was trying to learn his we bonded and that conversation is what I remember as my best memory.
I was truly able to get the Italian experience during my trip. The home stay was priceless and allowed me to be immersed in the Italian culture and create bonds with people halfway across the world and the touring brought me to wondrous places. I got the best of both worlds and will share the memories of my journey with anyone who will listen.
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