High School on a Ship
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By Dr. Kevin E. Kessler | Jun 11, 2018 | Field Studies, Shore Leave, Students

After an incredible experience in the Italian Capital, our journey took a slight turn. To move away from the hussle and bussle of mass tourism to the much smaller city of Palermo. Palermo was a very different part of Italy, renowned for its magnificent architecture and its difficult battle with the Italian mafia. The poverty was clear to see, and the typical Italian culture of mid day napping, was also apparent.

We entered the city’s port in the late afternoon after a long winded deep clean and dolphin spotting. The view was spectacular. A mixture of small cottages up in the hills that towered over the urban area below. To our delight it was announced that the first two days would be ours, in the way of shore leave. We grabbed our bags and ran for the exit of the port, our veins pumping with trepidation for this new experience. 

It took us merely twenty minuets to walk into the centre of town, through the exquisite ally ways. To be met with the fanatical cathedral of Palermo. After an incredibly authentic Italian meal of truffle risotto. We head back to the port for the night full of excitement for the days that laid ahead. 

The next day was filled with excitement on hearing that an Andy Warhol exhibition was being held in the centre of the city, with many of his most famous prints. After a few hours of peering into the eyes of the Marylin Monroe we headed for the hills for a good vantage point to admire the city from.

The following morning we all made our packed lunches and headed off to the days field study. To our excitement we were heading for Catacombs of Palermo. After researching the topic on the buses before we arrived we found out the incredible story beside the place. It turned out that after heavy shelling of the city by the allied forces during the the Second World War the Catacombs had collapsed. Almost all of the coffins were destroyed when a shell hit the building above. So when the catacomb was rebuilt they had nowhere to put all of the bodies, instead of making new coffins they hung them up against the walls. When we got there we where greeted be the cite of half decayed corpses from the 18th century, still clothed and all. 

Following this out of the ordinary experience it was once again time for the great food and a visit to an Internet cafe, finally to head back to the ship. 

The next day was departure, the last day of Italy. We were all excited to get back at sea though after such a long time in the last port. Well the next three weeks would definitely fill our appetite for sailing for a very long time.