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Ancient Italy's culture grand, tasty

During the first part of June, 38 students and parents packed their bags and left on a 16-day guided tour through Italy. Though undoubtedly the experience would be one to remember, an unspoken fear rippled through the minds of each hopeful individual: what would it be like with Greg Stobbe, campus English teacher, leading the way.

?I was excited to spend some non-curricular time with the Canadian,? Kelsey Boogusch, ?06, said, ?but seeing how he is a teacher, I also had some concerns.?

The air of uncertainty of what was to come filled the plane the first day of the trip. A question was lingering in the air: ?Would Stobbe lead as a teacher, or would he guide as a friend??

As the days pressed on, the overshadowing apprehension seemed to lift; Stobbe was as lighthearted as ever before and his first outburst of ?Dancing Queen? on the bus seemed to set this in stone.

?I was glad to be with Stobbe,? Katrina Stevenson, ?06, said. ?He?s an organized individual and, due to his past trip experiences, he was comfortable in the chaos. His attitude helped me to have the best time I could have had.?

But the responsibilities that Stobbe carried as ?trip director? were no light load. Frustrations began to surface as poor choices were made on behalf of the kids, and a few heated arguments occurred.

While in route to Pompeii, the group?s patience was stretched as they waited at a family restaurant for an hour and a half past their reserved time before being seated. Irritation seemed rampant but was soon extinguished when the tastiest meal of the entire trip was served?four kinds of pizza, seaweed buttered balls and salad.

Being in some of the most remarkably beautiful and fascinating cities in today?s world didn?t allow for grudges. Tension never lasted long on this trip; child and parent alike were able to make the most of everyday spent on the tour.

From the gondola ride in Venice, the sweet sound of a priest singing in the Baptistry in Pisa, the art of the Uffizi in Florence, to the Colessum and catecombs in Rome, the group experienced a taste of 2,000 years of history and culture.

Stobbe?s 13th educational trip will be cherished for many years to come by those who shared in the experience and appreciate the uniqueness of such an adventure. With stops in Venice, Florence, Rome and the jet-set island of Capri, the grand tour of Italy was just that?grand.

Stobbe?s next tour is scheduled for London, England, in June 2006. He is finalizing the 9-day itinerary and it should be available after Labor Day. For more information, contact Stobbe at [email protected].

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