On the 17th February, the Christ College Chapel Choir left Brecon on their biennial Choir Tour, this time to Rome.
It started with a bus journey from school to Heathrow Airport at 6:00am. It may have taken three hours, but the excitement was now increasing. Once we arrived at the airport, we swiftly passed through baggage and passport control and were now able to have some free time, shopping and eating, before boarding the British Airways flight to Fiumicino Airport.
The flight didn’t take long, just enough time to watch some TV, read a book or chat with friends. It was smooth, with little turbulence. Once landed, we got our belongings together, picked up our bags, and met with our guide, before heading on a coach to the PortaMaggiore Hotel, which is across the road from the magnificent PortaMaggiore. We unpacked and socialised before heading down to our first meal in the hotel. The food was nice, but very filling. After this, some played cards, some chatted, while others got some early shut-eye, ready for the exciting day ahead of them.
We came down for breakfast at 7:30am before walking to the metro and taking the underground train to the beautiful Spanish Steps. The steps were surrounded by ice cream shops, designer clothes shops and amazing architecture. Pictures were taken and exploring was over, now we headed for the Colosseum.
On arrival, we were given an hour to get some lunch. We dined on pizza, pasta, salads and much more Italian Cuisine, and made it back to the Colosseum, ready for our tour. We were each given a tour guide, worn around our necks, to explain different sections of the huge arena. With some quickly over with their tours, they sunbathed under the Italian sun while others finished up with their tours.
After the tour, we made our way back to the hotel to get changed ready for the first mass, in the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore. The venue was beautiful and gave us a taste of Roman decoration, with gold ceilings, marble pillars and more. We sang well and got through with an applause to end. We then headed back to the hotel for our evening meal, which was as tasty as the previous evening. We all needed a good night’s sleep, as the next day was going to be eventful.
We woke up for breakfast at 8:00am, then headed to the Foro Romano, a rectangular forum surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings. The gardens were beautiful and fascinating, and it was great to learn about the ruins history. From there, we headed to the Pantheon and looked around. We then took the public bus to the Vatican City, ready for our big performance. Some explored, while others sunbathed, before entering St. Peter’s Basilica. We put our cassocks and surplices on and the mass started. We sang very well, singing anthems we were very familiar with. Again, we were given an applause. It was an amazing experience, singing in St. Peter’s. To celebrate our performance, we went out for a meal, courtesy of the Friends of CCB, which was delicious. After this, we were all very full and headed back to the hotel for a well-deserved night’s sleep.
The next day, it was breakfast at 8:00 again. From the hotel, we took the underground train to the Vatican City again, for a tour of the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. The decoration was stunning and it was fascinating learning the history of the art and architecture of the buildings and works. Then it was a trip up St. Peter’s dome for most, for stunning views over the Vatican. Back down the hundreds of steps we went, to meet up with everyone. Then it was the lunch hour, where we had another chance to purchase some souvenirs and eat lunch, some eating to celebrate Phoebe’s birthday. Then it was to the Trevi fountain for some more exploration. After that, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the third performance, a concert in the Basilica di Sant’Andrea Della Valle. We had our final evening meal in the hotel and left for the concert. Again, the venue was beautiful and we sang well, creating an amazing atmosphere. As well as two brilliant solos from Ben and Cai. On our way back to the hotel, we were all ecstatic, giving a performance of Calon Lan on the public bus. Once back at the hotel, it was time for pizza and pyjamas, making the last night in Rome one to remember.
Packing was done and at 9:30am we met for a meeting, giving prizes for style, leadership and #Where’sPeris. It was then to the Catacombs, for a tour of the tombs, where we learned lots about the history of the bodies and the buildings. After that, we had some time to have our last meal and do some final shopping, buying ice cream and crepes. Then onto the coach, and straight to the airport.
Again, the flight went smoothly with little turbulence, and people were able to watch films and chat. Then, back in London, we picked up our bags, said goodbye to some and headed back to school after a very productive choir tour. We thank the Friends for providing the meal, Mr Cooper for organising the trip and making us a better choir, Mr Power for providing the organ music and Mrs Taylor, for spending her last choir tour with us.
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