At the start of the summer holidays, the Geography Department took an excited group of Third, Fourth- and Fifth-Year Geographers on an unforgettable trip to Sicily. Fifth Year student Neo Ji reflects on his experience below. 

Arriving on the first day, after a very early start from Croydon, the trip kicked off with an exhilarating adventure at the Alcantara gorge. This natural gorge is 25m high and bisected by the freezing waters of the Alcantara river and students took part in jumping and body rafting.  

Neo says, “One thing that surprised me on the trip was the gorge trek. We had to jump off four cliffs/waterfalls with each one being taller than the last and the tallest standing at around 5-6m. I personally have a fear of heights, so that was definitely a thrilling and unexpected experience for me to face some of my fears.” 

Geography trip - gorge jumping

Day two was spent at Mount Etna, one of the tallest volcanoes in Europe, and one of the world’s most active. Neo says, “At Mount Etna we visited a crater at the 2,900m range, were able to take in the breath-taking views of the countryside down below. We were also able to take some beautiful volcanic rock home as souvenirs.” 

The students spent the rest of the day relaxing at EtnaLand, which offers a great mix of cooling water rides and more exhilarating rollercoasters too. 

Day three, the students took a boat to Panarea before heading to Stromboli. There they took a guided five-hour hike to an altitude of 400m. Neo says, “One of the most incredible highlights of the trip for me personally was undoubtedly the afternoon climb on Stromboli. Not only were we able to see a live volcano eruption, but there was also a great view of the sea and sunset from the platform we climbed to. The hike itself was also very exciting as it was challenging climbing up and down the steep trails. The support of the guides as well as the casual conversations and jokes with friends made it a lot easier. It was indeed an experience of a lifetime.” 

A trip to Lipari, the largest and busiest of the Aeolian Islands, followed on day four, with a fascinating tour of the castle there. The day ended with a late afternoon swim in a sulphurous volcanic vent before heading back to the hotel. Neo says, “During our stay at King’s Hotel, and after dinner, we would be quizzed on some geographical facts of the day. Certain students were elected as ‘Geographer of the Day’ and were required to provide a geographical fact the following morning, which usually included the size of the islands we had visited and the height of the volcanoes.”   

The final day was spent in the ancient city of Taormina, perched on the side of a mountain, where the group visited a stunning theatre known as the Teatro Greco. 

Teatro Greco on Geography trip

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