Sunday, March 30, 2008

Middle Schoolers in Catania

On Tuesday of this past week, my colleague and fellow AVID teacher Jan Sibayan and I took twenty-some 7th and 8th grade AVID students on a walking tour of Catania. This was Jan's plan, and she orchestrated the whole thing. It's quite fun to see things through their eyes instead of adult eyes. Some go to Catania every week for the market, and others had rarely been there (and only with school or on a tour). Everyone did see or do at least one new thing, though, even me!

Best parts for them? Probably eating fresh strawberries in the market, eating lunch at one of the most beautiful McDonald's I've ever seen, stopping again and eating gelato, shopping for souvenirs, and just having fun with each other. They were quite well-behaved and patient through two churches, one Norman castle, two random courtyards, Roman ruins, two bars (cafes), the fish market and produce market, one Baroque palace, several piazzas, two Bellini monuments, two Cardinal Dusmet monuments, tons of St. Agatha stuff, and lots of Baroque architecture. That's a lot of walking around . . . and no one got lost!

A new experience for me and many others was the opportunity to go down into the ruins of the old Roman ampitheater right downtown on Via Etnea. I'd seen it dozens of times from above but this was the first time I was down in it. It's obviously a whole new perspective . . . all the rooms and a few artifacts (pillars, bas reliefs) are up close and personal. See AVID tutor Kathy Vary and I sitting on original columns with some of our students? Our junior chaperone and accompanying senior, Patrick, insisted that there used to be mazes of underground tunnels leading out of there . . . until an entire class of kids were lost forever. Then they closed them off. Fact or urban myth? It's hard to say in Sicily.

We counted elephants. The elephant is the symbol of Catania, although it's not clear why. We saw a lot of them and I took a bunch of photos. The one to the right is the most visible and famous one in the Piazza Duomo. See the pigeon on his back?

Jan and I are looking forward to next year and possibly adding more food stops, a kind of "eat your way through Catania" tour. Hmmm. Ummmm!


At March 30, 2008 6:38 PM, Blogger Susan said...

Sounds like a fun time was had by all. You look like a kid yourself! Must be the Oil of Olay!~Susan

At April 01, 2008 1:37 AM, Blogger Jen said...

Wow! To live in Sicily. You made a comment on my blog...sicilianred. I named it so, because I'm a redheaded woman of sicilian my hair is a sicilian red...not orange, not strawberry, but a deep auburn...must be sicilian, right? Anywho, my parents and I visited the birth places of my grand parents in sicily (palermo side) for the first time last summer. We all loved it. My dad is absolutely enamored by it! You are truly lucky!


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