Living La Dolce Vita

Katie has been living La Dolce Vita in Italy.

This week the entire High School participated in Alternatives.  This is a program designed to get the students out of school and extend their learning to the global classroom.  There are about 20 different excursions for the students to choose such as:

Antiquities in Greece

Yoga in the Cotswolds

Renaissance in Florence

Mapping in Germany

Rock Climbing in Spain

The students select their top 10 choices and then await the luck of the draw in a random lottery.  Katie was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go Hiking in Cinque Terra, literally the ‘Five Lands” on the western coast of Italy.  We said Bon Viaggio on Tuesday morning, and Katie flew with nine other high school students representing all four grades.

Alternatives is advertised as a “unique experience that comes from the planned combination of activities and setting, requiring both individual reflection and group interaction.” Of course, Katie was concerned about her group because it did not contain a close friend (which is the point of the entire experiment).  However, by the time she landed in Genoa, took the train to Levanto, and stood overlooking a beach in Framura, she had already made some connections and was happily ensconced in the spirit of adventure.

Each day Katie hiked along the trail system from one town to another, usually for about 4 hours.  The first day she hiked from Monterossa Al Mare to Vernazza.  The second day she trekked to Corniglia and Manarola.  The terrain is rugged and steep, but she said all the arduous climbs were worth the prize of the bellisima views of the Italian gold coast.

We were warned that March is the rainiest season in this part of Italy.  Concern wasn’t necessary as the gorgeous sunny weather we are experiencing in London was spread to Italy as well.  Temperatures topped 80 degrees, and Katie gleefully swam on the sandy shores and enjoyed gelato during her evening passagiatos in the seaside towns.

It is no surprise that the food was a highlight throughout the adventure.  Katie said she had the greatest pesto pasta ever at Ristorant Moresco in Levanto.  She enjoyed the meal so much that she brought some pesto sauce home for the rest of us to try (it was outstanding).  She spoke of strolling down the lane from the hotel and buying fruit from the local stand, trying to converse through a combination of sign language, broken Spanish/attempted Italian, and copious smiles.  And the  sweets were too tempting to resist!

Most of all, she loved the Italian people and felt embraced by their overflowing warmth and contagious enthusiasm.  I felt the same way over 20 years ago when I lived and studied in Florence.  What a wonderful heritage to share, and it makes me so happy to know that she experienced it first hand and appreciates her ancestry.

With a twinkle in his eye, my grandpa used to say of his retirement, “I do nothing, then I rest”.  In essence, he was paraphrasing the popular Italian sentiment, Il Dolce Far Niente, meaning there is a sweetness to doing nothing.

Though she didn’t exactly “far niente“, my bella Katie truly experienced La Dolce Vita.

Brava!!

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