Rome trip: positive experience for students


One night the boys prepared their own pasta while at a culinary school in Florence.

Katie Karlen, staff writer

While most students spent spring break soaking up the sun, five boys ventured across the ocean and gallivanted through quaint European towns, chaotic Italian cities, and ancient Rome. Under the supervision of Mr. Rob Epler, seniors Anders Hendrickson, Michael Conry, Nico Basil, and Tanner Speltz, as well as junior Stephen Bauer, discovered Italy in 10 days.

Exploring Italy and Italian history to the fullest, the boys saw an overwhelming array of sites. “In Venice we ventured through tightly-packed alleys [and] toured the extravagant Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Cathedral. In Florence, we saw the enormous Duomo, the extravagant Ponte Vecchio Bridge and [we saw] Michelangelo’s David as well as other masterpieces in the Uffizi Gallery,” said Conry.

The group also stopped in the quaint little town of Orvieto, oversaw the vineyards of Italy, and visited the ruins of Pompeii and the cliff-island of Capri in Sorrento. When in Rome, they toured the Vatican, St. Peter’s, the Coliseum, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps.

However, the boys did more than walk around Italy. “We went cliff jumping in Capri in jellyfish-infested water,” said Speltz. “We would look in the shops, strike up conversations with the locals in the little Italian that we knew, and [found] interesting landmarks and places to eat tasty sandwiches or some delicious gelato,” said Basil.

And preparing Italian food may not have been something the group could do before, but they suited up to the challenge. “In Florence, one of our evening meals involved us preparing our own food at a culinary school, under the supervision of their chef instructors. We made our own pasta by hand, prepared the sauces & meat dish, [and] even baked our own dessert,” Mr. Epler said.

Thoroughly impressed by the traditional tourist sites and content with every experience of the trip, the boys agree, however, that the Rome-Juventus rival soccer match was a memorable experience. “No fans in [the] USA are even close to the intensity and loudness of the Italian soccer fans. The atmosphere was electric,” said Conry. “There were giant smoke bombs, chants, flares and cannons being set off by both fan sections. Police were in riot gear everywhere,” said Speltz, “it made the experience truly magical.”

Now back, the boys are more than content with their memories of the Italian excursion. “It was simply amazing,” said Basil, “I have never been out of the country before so it was awesome being able to see how people in another country live. I could not have asked for a better trip.”

Mr. Epler, on his third trip to Italy, had nothing but good reviews. “The trip went quite well; everything went smoothly. We had great weather, with only one rainy day. Our full-time tour director, Osciri Chageg, was fantastic, and all the city guides were very good as well,” said Mr. Epler.