Latin Students Visit Ancient World
Boys between years 9 and 11 studying Latin were offered the opportunity to visit Rome and the Bay of Naples at the end of the summer term. Having to take the coach at four o’clock on the morning of 17th July zombified most students. Nevertheless, the two-and-a-half hour journey to Terminal 5 Heathrow ran fairly smoothly – most simply did not possess the energy required to keep their eyes open. However, by the time the coach pulled up to the huge terminal, most were awake and prepared to antagonise airport security.
The British airways flight to Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport arrived in a city which was experiencing a heat wave. The average high in July for Rome is 30.3°C. At 17:00 the temperature sign read 40.1°C.
When touring Rome that afternoon, many found themselves wanting to indulge in Italian Ice Cream from a shop near to the Trevi Fountain. Due to extensive restoration work, the fountain may not have been flowing, but the Ice Cream never stopped, covering hands with a glutinous mess.
The trip visited, in addition, the Spanish Steps and the Pantheon on the first day. The group also visited the Colosseum and the ancient port of Ostia Antica. The latter of which contains an explorable labyrinth of buildings, with a near free rein to go wherever desired. This was, if anything, the best feature of Ostia and made up somewhat for that train ride.
Ostia lies outside Rome, on the coast, and was its traditional port. The trip travelled by metro and then train. The group travelled on a Sunday, meaning that the trains were full of Romans escaping to the beach. The carriages were, both tight and sticky, suited more to Sub-Saharan Africa than to to the outskirts of one of the most famous cities in the world. One described it as “the closest to hell on earth”.
Having consumed authentic Italian cuisine (read: burgers and Somerset ice cream) at the Hard Rock Cafe, the group left the next morning for the Bay of Naples. Stopping to visit Pompeii, the group visited Caecilius’ house. No trip to the Bay of Naples would be complete without a visit to mons iratus. Mount Vesuvius was yet another highlight of the trip. It is, after all, not often that students are able to climb a live volcano on a mere school trip. Why the Italians decided to develop Naples, a city potentially in the direct path of an eruption or pyroclastic flow, is beyond belief. Indeed, there is an evacuation plan in place which would be enforced in the event of suspect volcanic activity (read: huge eruption).
It was on top of Mount Vesuvius that half of the group disappeared…cameras in hand, to re-enact a scene from “The Lord of the Rings”. The Bournemouthian was informed by Tom “Smeagol” Nicholls (N-2), that “The precious is lost”. Eyewitnesses were said to be speechless.
Towards the end of the trip, a selection of boys decided that it would be a good idea to swim in the sea. They were all seen crying later that evening, having been reprimanded by Elgar Housemaster Mr Cook for their juvenile delinquency.
At Naples Airport as the cohort began their journey back to Britain, it was particularly noted that Mr D. Jones was disagreeable, especially in the distribution of EasyJet boarding cards, shouting somewhat vociferously at those who did not hear his bellowing of their names.
Arrival at London Luton Airport meant a final goodbye to departing Bournemouth School student Sam Easton (then 11S), who decided to attend Twynham School for Sixth Form. The Bournemouthian wishes him the best of luck in his future studies.
The trip is recommended to future Latin students in the lower years by many who attended this initial trip. It has been described as “thoroughly enjoyable” and as “an adventure”, with some being so brave as to describe it as “basically a holiday”.