Memories of Ticino

Alessia , Staff Writer (Middle School)

A week in the countryside: fresh air, tranquility and no traffic! What’s not to like?
They left on the morning of October 3 rd , along with five members of staff from
Caviglia- Mr. Curran, Ms. Stubbs, Ms. McLaughlin, Mrs. Dorman and Mr. Tollitt-
joined by Mr. Gonsalves and Mrs. Jones from Colona. By 8:30 they were all
ready and waiting, bags packed and chattering away excitedly about their trip.
Then, at 9AM, they piled on the bus for the hour drive to Ticino, full of
enthusiasm and eagerness for the fun that lay ahead. Few tears were shed,
whilst mums and dads waved proudly from the pavement- ‘ah… I remember it as
if it were only yesterday’.

The Ticino River is the most important bank of the Po River and stretches all the
way from Pavia as far as Lake Maggiore, terminating in Switzerland. Beautiful
countryside adorns its waterways, providing the perfect setting for a retreat.
As the school party pulled into the farm at Cascina Caremma, the Year 7s saw,
for the first time, just how rural their stay was going to be! They were surrounded
by cows, vegetable patches, pigs and even their wonderful little piglets! Having
stretched their legs, the party sat down to a much needed lunch before the
afternoon activities began. There were various games on offer, a favorite being
‘don’t touch the lasers’, a team building challenge, which tested coordination,
balance and patience! After being asked what made the activities so fun, one
Year 7 exclaimed: “Well, I think they helped us get to know each other better;
we’re all in different classes now so it’s nice to make new friends!”

The team building appeared to be a big success, so after that the group went for
a calm, quiet and peaceful walk out in the countryside. As they strolled along the
paths the guides would talk about the vegetation and wildlife. They were told
interesting facts about the trees, like how the age of the tree can be determined
by the amount of rings on its trunk, or how moss only grows on the north side of
the trees. The students also talked about how beautiful the scenery was, and
how different it was from the city. There were many photo opportunities along the
way, although some students took the opportunity to strike a pose for the camera
more seriously than others!

At the end of the first day, the group returned to Caremma for the evening meal
and a first opportunity to call home. What little energy they had left, was spent
reliving the day’s experiences, before the much awaited ‘disco’! According to the
teachers, there were some exceptional dance moves on show… but maybe the
less said about that the better 😉 So, the end of day one; the boys were whisked
off to Morimondo, where they soon fell into a deep sleep.

On the second day (or also the last day) the Year 7s went orienteering in the
woods, near the farm. The activity, albeit tiring and difficult, was said to be also
very entertaining, as it gave all the students a feeling of responsibility and
leadership. “We actually did get lost a few times, but it was really fun because
you always had friends there to help you, and I think that was probably one of the
best parts!” said one exuberant young adventurer. The orienteering went
smoothly and safely, despite an unexpected escape attempt by a group of eager
pigs, ready to do a bit of orienteering of their own. After the orienteering – and
probably a short break – the students were ready to go canoeing. Described as
“Super fun but also incredibly wet!” canoeing lasted an hour and half down by the
river bank, where staff looked on in amusements, glad that they were at least dry
and warm. By the time it was over they were all exhausted from the long day they
had had. After a phenomenal last meal at the farm, the young students all piled
back on to the bus to head back home.

Ticino remains a Middle School favourite, a first taste of freedom for many and a
memory which lasts, sometimes, beyond Year 13. I’m sure, like myself, this
year’s group of Year 7s will have made some long lasting memories.