Here at Mandala Fellowship, we are all very excited about our Europe trip. Nobody is actually ready yet, so we are all looking forward to Tuesday with some trepidation. Mrs. Bortins has been working night and day to make sure we are all set for the trip. We leave on August 27th, actually going straight from math class to the airport. After a nine hour flight, we will arrive in Rome with enough time to get a taste of the city. After a few hours, we will take a bus to Villa Morghen, right outside of Florence, where we will make our home for the next two weeks.
We will spend the first week together—mostly—getting to know the city and each other. We will be taking a lesson in Italian every morning before heading out. When we arrive late on Wednesday, we will meet the staff at the villas, including our guide and teacher, Pietro. On Thursday, we will take our first walking tour of Florence. Our guide will show us all of the most famous sights of the city, wrapping it up with gelato and a lookout over the town. On Friday, we will visit museums, walk through gardens, and take a boat ride on the Arno. Finally, we will visit an olive oil farm on Saturday morning, walk to a beautiful old town nearby, and climb to a monastery which overlooks the valley.
We do not have anything scheduled with our guide for the next week. Instead, we have the days to ourselves to do whatever we want. Besides drinking in all the culture, sights, and gelato in Florence, we each have our pick of excursions to make as small groups, including a trip to Pisa and the seashore, dinner and an opera, a cliffside hike in the towns of Cinque Terre, and a visit to Venice. A few fellows are even going to sail the Mediterranean with Mrs. Bortins. Whenever we have free time, we can work on a certain scavenger hunt of activities, including measuring the height of the Duomo il Firenze with simple tools and finding the tallest freely accessible building in the city.
It is going to be an amazing trip, and I cannot wait to get going.