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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Anu's travel review

I am happy that I have participating in Comeniuse project because I have obtained a lot of knowledge about different water animals and plants in addition to an opportunity to travel abroad and make new friends.
It was 8.30am when we headed for Tallinn Airport to catch a flight to Bergamo. Before that we had re-packed our suitcases several times and checked all over, but at the security control it still turned out we had not checked enough. Marten had to throw away some bottles and tubes with liquids. So our "jumping into the same hole twice" had begun. After going through the security we had  quite a lot of time to sit until we could board the aircraft. At boarding I was told my hand luggage was above allowed measures - 5 cm higher and I had to pay for it, otherwise it would have stayed there. €50 was the fine. My heart was bleeding, but I had to pay. After a while I had forgotten about it, because the mood had to be good and my companions were super, so it all cheered me up quickly. 
Our flight to Bergamo was uneventful. For once my ears were popping, but it was a piece of cake compared to Maarja-Liisi's situation on the plane.
At Bergamo Airport we did the check-in and passed the security. Now it was teacher's turn to leave some items for the security. It upset us for a moment, but regardless we walked on in a good mood and waited for boarding all together. We had some snacks and chatting to make time go faster. 

We flew to Catania by WindJet airlines. The airplane wasn't the nicest. Marten happened to sit next to me and he kept telling that we would crash. Every tree I pointed out on the take-off, he told it was the last one we were ever about to see. At first I found it funny but later it started to panic me. There was an annoying sound in the aircraft which made my ears ache and  before landing the ache was pretty bad, but I don't think Marten and Hans were suffering from it any less. Kelly and Maarja-Liis weren't complaining this time, in their opinion Ryanair flight had been worse. 

In Catania we had to find a local bus to take us to the train station from where we could walk to our accommodation place. At the train station we got a map which helped us find the way where needed. On the way we bought some strawberries. Luckily they didn't taste plastic like the ones I have recently bought in Estonia. In the evening we strolled around the main square and everybody had a treat in the cafe. I had a sandwich which tasted good. The others bought cakes and ice cream. Of course Coca-Cola was also part of my meal. Warm air made our stay especially pleasant. 
In the morning of May 9 we had to wake up early, get ready and take our suitcases to the left-luggage officie at the train station. After that we had to be on the bus for 2 hours which took us to Etna. Views got better and better the nearer we drove. From there we took a cable car or a similar monstrum to get higher and from there we continued on foot. Our hike was fab. First I thought I won't reach too far because I'm not much of a hiker type, but I could. Afterwards my legs were tired, but it was worth the trouble. We could see a lot. Our clothes and footwear were especially nice after walking. Here it's time to mention how teacher Edda's shoes looked like. A photo would describe more than a 1,000 words. :-) 

Soon we were back in Catania and the thought of meeting our host families cheered us up, but at the same time we were nervous about it. At the airport where we had to wait for the Turkish and Spanish students, we could get a quick wash and I threw my sneakers away. We also rehearsed our presentation and had a rest from our exhausting, but nice hike. Waiting time seemed endless, but out of a sudden we were on the bus driving towards the local hosting school and saw our families who had came to meet us. The girl who had chosen to host me, was named Giorgia. When I had reached her home, I couldn't speak much because everything had happened so quickly. The girls's mother and herself couldn't also say much to me. They introduced me the house and then I got ready for bed. 

The next morning was much better than the evening. Her granny came to give me kisses and told who she was which was  sweet of her. Mother brought us coffee to bed and asked for breakfast. I was so surprised because I was still half asleep when all this happened. Also father, younger sister and younger brother were in the family. We had 2 hours to get ready for school and meet the others. At school a bunch of boys approached me and started to tell me they were single and free. I couldn't understand why they told me all of that, but I only replied I didn't wish to find anybody but it took them a while to understand. 

Our presentation turned out well. The most I liked the video shown by the Turkish students. It really impressed me to see how people waste water in massive quantities. After that we had 3 hours' free time which we spent by the seaside. Some went to the park too, but I didn't join them because I liked it there by the sea. Fortunately two students stayed with me. 

In the afternoon we went walking which exhausted me quite a lot but I managed quickly to recover my energy. So we hung around at home and went out later. It turned out not all the students had joined us, of Estonians only Kelly, Hans (he was sleeping) and I. The rest of the group was formed by Italians and some Spanish students. We played different games and ate 3 different dishes: pizza, a sort of bread and another thing which I can't describe as I didn't taste it. 

On 11 May Italians gave us a show. Afterwards we had lunch in a restaurant where I didn't manage to eat up any dish because the portions were so big. We had 2 different dishes followed by a cake. Actually I liked the food and was happy about it, although I felt sick of eating too much. 

Then came the moment we had waited for - we could go swimming. It was so refreshing! At first it was a bit cold, but later it was good. Even very good to swim in the middle of such killing heat. Later we were strolling around and ended our day in a pizzeria. We had 4 different pizzas. I ate just the first one and tasted the second. Of course later I was told the last one was the best, so I have another reason now to go back and try it out myself. :D

On 12 May, on our last day together, we had a good time. We visited interesting places, especially I liked  boating. I'd wish to go boating again there. :D. All in all, we saw a papyrus and we were told 2 legends about the creation of the river. Then we had to do some walking in the town and we could see different buildings. Eventually we walked into a restaurant, to eat, again. The second dish was the tastiest - fries with chicken. I assumed it was chicken, but I wouldn't be too surprised if it wasn't. Italian students found it funny how I ate spaghetti. Actually it wasn't that different from theirs, just they found it weird the way I lifted some spaghetti up on my fork and started to roll them. They did the same, just they pulled a few spaghetti out from the bunch and started turning them against the plate, not in the air. What a difference! At least it was fun and they filmed me in action, which wasn't perhaps that fun after all. :p

Later we did some more walking and went back on the bus which drove us to school where we had to go home and get ready for going out to meet everybody. The evening was very good though turned teary the more the evening proceeded because we had a few hours left till our departure and it made us all sad. 

13 May, the fateful moment and sad morning came which we just had to survive in one way or the other. When we had reached the park, everybody started to shed tears. I was in tears, Giorgia, all the students. In fact it was sad to leave all those who had become friends in such short time. At the same time we had to be happy for the opportunity we had met them in first place. The bus took us away from Augusta (which had become our home) to Catania Airport where we could spend some more time with the Spanish students. 

Soon it was 9am and we could do the check-in and go through the security to start our journey back to home. Now it was Hans-Martty's turn to jump into the "bucket"  because he had forgotten his sunscreen lotion into his hand luggage. At Bergamo Airport we could buy some desired things as much as everybody had money left. All this shopping thing there actually improved my mood to some extent. We had a laugh with each other and we could talk about the trip. 
25 minutes earlier than scheduled we landed on our homeland which wasn't too good news. I mean, it was good that we had safely landed, but it was a sad news because our trip had finished.
To sum up I can say that with such companions as we went to Sicly I could travel through all countries in the world because we had a good time. As much as I'm concerned, we didn't have any arguments that could have ruined somebody's mood. Our trip was a total success and my feedback to it is very positive. :-)

* For the record, I think Maarja-Liis was the happiest to reach Estonia because she likes our traffic so much more than what we saw in Italy. ;-)

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Partner schools

ESTONIA: Kehtna Primary School is situated in the village of 1,200. There are no big towns nearby, although the capital Tallinn is just 60km to the north. We are surrounded by forests, bogs, farmland and therefore paying extra attention to nature studies and the environment is important to us. We are a school of the Green Flag and a Health-Concious school. There are 155 students and 20 teachers in our school. Students are aged 7-17.

ITALY: Liceo Classico "Megara" con sezione scientifica annessa is a secondary school for students aged 14-19. It mainly offers three different courses for classical, scientific and social science studies. The school mainly serves students from Augusta. Our school is located in a very important area for its nature, history, archaeology and tourism. Our suburban town of Augusta is very near to Siracusa, one of the oldest and most important Greek colonies in Sicily. Our students are all members of "Legambiente" which is a national leading environmental organization which offers educational programs in schools. We live by the sea and our area is very rich in waterways, rivers and ponds.

FRANCE: College Claude Bernard is in a suburban city (Grand-Quevilly) with about 30,000 inhabitants. A town with 400,000 people called Rouen is near to us. The area has little industry nowadays following the closure of the chemical factories and the Renault car plant.

TURKEY: Tepeköy Ilkögretim Okulu is a public school serving children aged 7-15, starting from pre-school till the 8th grade. It is a rural school and caters for 226 students and 18 teachers. Our school is in Nevsehir (Cappadocia Region), being situated in agricultural region. Our region does not have sufficient water resources and we need to focus on environmentally-friendly options.

SPAIN: IES Concepcion Arenal is a secondary education centre located in Ferrol, a town with 70,000 inhabitants in the region of Galicia (north-west of Spain). There are 85 teachers and 700 students in compulsory (12-16 years old), post-compulsory (16-18 years) part and in vocational training.