Kingsley's first art trip to Venice took place during the autumn half-term and was a huge success. A report follows by one of the accompanying teachers, Mrs Morgan, who is Head of Year 7 and teaches English.
After a year of planning and anticipation, thirty-one bleary eyed girls and three very bleary-eyed teachers departed for Venice on Monday 19th October. The trip, organised by Head of Art Miss Smethurst, promised to be a feast of culture and imagination and we were all very excited to see what this famous city had in store. Our journey proved to be very easy (no thanks, however, to Easy Jet!) and we arrived in Venice on a sunny afternoon. We instantly forgot our tiredness as we headed off onto the water for our first taste of Venetian life. St Mark’s Square is at the bustling heart of Venice and this was our first stop. We took in the sights before some much needed rest and relaxation exploring the side streets and cosmopolitan cafes. Our very own private boat whisked us back to dinner at the hotel and an early night marked the end of a very very long but enjoyable day.
We awoke refreshed the next morning and met our guide Shaun, who looked uncannily like David Brent from The Office although we were all too polite to point this out! We headed back to the centre of Venice for a more formal guided tour of the main attractions. Shaun told us all about the canals and bridges and by now Mrs Morris was on photo opportunity number 327! When our girls were not distracted by dodgy sunglasses salesmen they listened intently and learnt about the history and culture of this beautiful city. We queued, as only the British can, for St Mark’s Basilica and fought off parties of Italian and German tourists desperate to push in; this was made more interesting by the need to avoid the ever-increasing puddles (or small lakes) outside the basilica! We were all awed by the beauty of the basilica and began to take in its magnificence, some choosing to capture it on camera…until a very cross and belligerent guide frog-marched us out of there en masse for taking photos and apparently disrespecting the church. Shaun was very red-faced and apologetic as he had told us we could take pictures. Luckily we all saw the funny side and had had enough time to appreciate the splendour of the basilica before our eventful exit. We moved on to the Rialto area of Venice, which is a picturesque meeting of sparkling canals, gorgeous bridges and lots of shops, where we bartered for presents and souvenirs. The Rialto Bridge overlooking the Grand Canal is an amazing sight and presented photo opportunity 489 for an indefatigable Mrs Morris!
We continued our walking tour and made our way to the Giardini where we were immersed in masses of intriguing and exciting modern art. The exhibits liberated our minds and challenged our assumptions with some truly amazing and thought-provoking displays. Girls made copious notes and revelled in the different surroundings. We made our way back to the hotel after a very full day feeling happy, hungry and pleasantly tired.
Day 3 constituted a change of pace as we were visiting the islands of Murano and Burano. Murano is famous for glass blowing and we were treated to a display by the master and his young apprentice, who managed to drop his almost finished creation, much to the amusement of our girls: we weren’t laughing quite so much when the rejected piece exploded in front of our eyes two minutes later! We were given an exclusive tour of the premises, finishing of course in the shop. We explored the rest of the very pretty island stopping only for light refreshments - Venetian hot chocolate is a real treat. Burano is famous for its lace-making and very colourful fishermen’s cottages. We moved off the beaten track and explored the back streets, which provided many more photo opportunities and an insight into day-to-day life on this fascinating island.
The last day approached all too quickly and we once more made our way into the centre of Venice to experience more art and culture. We visited the Arsenale, another amazing collection of modern art and expression. This is a fantastic place bursting at the seams with creativity and off the wall collections. Some of the art is frankly bemusing and whilst we struggled to understand some of it we were equally entranced by some of the more spectacular pieces.
Sadly, our action-packed trip was coming to an end and we boarded our boat for the last time and the journey to the airport. The boat trips were great fun and an excellent opportunity to see uninterrupted the beauty and sights of Venice. Once again the joy of Easy Jet’s non-allocated seating system was ours to savour and in what seemed like the blink of an eye we were on our way back to Kingsley. We all had a fabulous time in Venice and are immensely grateful for the experiences we shared there. The girls behaved impeccably and were a credit to themselves and to the school.
Mrs D Morgan (pictured with Mrs Morris, Head of Year 11 and maths teacher)