Below is an account written by Emily Cox of Hall Cross Academy about their recent trip to Naples and Sorrento in December 2015.
On the first day we visited Mount Vesuvius, this was an exhilarating experience for all. After learning about volcanoes for the past 7 years of our school life, it was strange to finally see, first hand, the crater of a volcano. It was a spectacular sight and one that we will never forget. Whilst visiting the volcano we were given a detailed talk about all the previous eruptions and through this talk we were able to see how the volcano had changed over time through looking at the physical evidence actually on the volcano.
Visiting Pompeii was also a highlight of the trip as it is a world renowned site of historical interest. The visit to Pompeii allowed us to see the effects a volcanic eruption can have over a city. “Personally, the best thing from the trip wasn’t learning new information about the volcanoes or the case studies we need, it was that we got to witness them for ourselves that we actually got to reach the top and see what they were like. Therefore we can find it easier to talk about as we have seen it for ourselves. I believe we will find it easier to answers exam questions as we can use our knowledge from what we have experienced.” (¬Kathryn Shepheard-student).
Following our visit to the volcano we were given the exclusive tour of the Museum of the Observatory. After meeting Doctor Di Vito, the director of the Observatory, we were enlightened about the scientific aspect of monitoring volcanoes. The group thoroughly enjoyed speaking with Dr Di Vito as his vast array of knowledge was a helpful insight. “Getting first¬hand experience and being visually able to see the techniques and equipment used to monitor Vesuvius, with a tour by the observatory Director, was a great way to gain knowledge about the volcano and volcanoes in general ¬ it’ll be difficult to forget.” ¬ (Daniel Blanshard-student).
We stayed in the Hotel Klein Wien, which had beautiful panoramic views from every room. Due to the Hotel overlooking the Gulf of Naples, it meant in the evenings we could sit on our balconies and relax looking out to the sea. The food we had whilst staying at the Hotel was a real representation of Italian cuisine. It was a thoroughly enjoyable stay and all the staff in the Hotel were welcoming, friendly and made the stay much more relaxing. “This trip was not just educational but made extremely fun by the staff and tour guides. Gaining this vital knowledge of volcanic hazards has dramatically changed the quality of my answers, with quotable information from leading doctors in this field. A real must for anyone with an interest in volcanicity”. ¬ (George Woodhouse-student).
We also visited the Solfatara and Campi Flegrei, both of these were incredible volcanic sites. Whilst at the Solfatara we attempted to boil an egg using the 150 degree steam. Although we were unsuccessful cooking the egg, it really showed how the area was active even though it looked calm and tranquil. “Visiting Mount Vesuvius has always been at the top of my bucket list and being able to see not only one but two volcanoes in one trip is a very exciting experience. Field work is always important for a budding Earth Scientist and so this opportunity has been very valuable as I also collected many notes and images throughout that I can easily use in an exam question and to further build my knowledge.” ¬ (Caitlin Bucknell-student).
Finally on the last evening we visited the nearby city of Sorrento, which was decorated with a vast array of Christmas decorations, including a singing Christmas tree, which in the evening looked spectacular. The small shops and cobbled streets created a really Christmassy atmosphere. Seeing orange trees in the street and experiencing Italian culture was inevitable whilst walking around Sorrento. Overall the trip was a huge success and thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended.
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