Students in Sardinia practice English as Tour Guides

IMG_1348The other day, as I was exploring Alghero, I was approached by young students. They were wearing white T-Shirts with their school logo on them. They were carrying a clip board. They were a bit shy, whispering back and forth to each other, but there was one in the group saying in Italian, “Come on, we have to do our assignment. She looks like a foreigner.”

As they approached me, they said in their newly learned English, “Do you know about the Santa Barbara church? Can we show you? Are you English?”

I smiled knowing that how I responded would determine the next 40 minutes of my time. Yes, I said, “I speak English. Are you going to give me a tour of this beautiful church?”

Once I said that the excitement started. The group immediately shuffled me over to the front of the church. I could see on their clipboard that they had memorized different scripts, like tour guides would do. Also, they were determining what order they would speak.

A young girl started telling me about the front of the church. A boy was “reminding her” of everything the teacher had told them to do (make eye contact, point to the objects you are discussing, etc.).

IMG_1317As we entered the church, I was truly amazed. I would NEVER have found this by myself. Incredible the bright colors of the murals all over the walls and ceiling in such a small space.

One of the students was talking about each mural, but was not showing me where they were. Keep in mind, they had memorized everything, so their goal was to make sure they finished their script without mistakes. A boy behind the girl, told her to point to what she was talking about. Soon my head was going from side to side, to the ceiling, everywhere to catch up with how fast they were talking (smiling).

The boy took over, he had a strong voice and was wearing cute round glasses. He looked like a mini professor, which was amusing. I followed him to the alter area and he started to speak about this.

IMG_1318The church was crowded with many groups of students talking to tourists. Before the children let me go, they had been instructed to have me write in a book, my name, where I was from and any comments.

They were very sweet, hanging over my shoulder to see WHERE I was from and WHAT I would write. I joked with them, “Should I tell your teacher you were excellent or terrible?”

It took them a minute to decide what “terrible” meant and then, as true animated Italians, they said in unison, “No, non terrible, excellent!”  I gave them a thumbs up!

As I left, I said, “Don’t you recommend a restaurant?”

They looked at me confused. That was not part of the teacher’s assignment!

SARDINIA: Neptune’s Grotto

IMG_1331We’ve all read or seen a pirate movie, YES?  In the pirate stories they usually hide their loot in a hidden cave. When I heard there was a beautiful cave in Alghero called, “Neptune’s Grotto,” I was curious to see for myself “how it feels to be in a cave” and “what it really looks like.”

Local fisherman discovered the cave in the 18th century. They named the grotto after the Roman God, “Neptune.” There are two ways to get to the grotto. Option 1: Park at the top of the cliff and walk down 654 steps and THEN walk back up 654 steps. Choose Option 1, if you want a good work out. Option 2: (which I felt was the better option) Take a boat ride to the entry of the cave.

The top photo is where the boat let us off in front of the grotto. Getting off the boat was definitely an “adventure!” Imagine, the front of the boat comes in to the grotto, and has a plank that they extend out to the grotto’s entry way. The waves were very rough, so when we started to walk the plank, which was jerking back and forth, we definitely felt like there were pirates behind us and if we didn’t hold on to the plank’s railing and move fast, we would fall into the sea and be eaten by the sharks!  ALL of us tourists were a bit shaken by the disembarkment.

IMG_1328The second photo is what we saw once we got off the boat. This is the entry way into the grotto. To the left are stairs that you start to climb, which bring you inside the grotto. Very beautiful you can see.

My camera was not cooperating “inside” the cave, so I found this next photo thanks to When you are inside it looks like this photo, but it is ALL WHITE, not orange. You need to use a flash to take photo and this is how it turns out.

IMG_1337The tourist books say, “This is a place you want to see once in your lifetime.” There are many wonders to see throughout this world. For me, I have always wanted to see “inside a cave,” so I am happy to have checked this off my “bucket list.”

It was wonderful being on the boat for 2 hours round trip. The sea had the most beautiful blue color. Smelling the salty sea air with the wind blowing in our faces was just fabulous.

On to the next adventure!