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Bradon Maiden Voyage to Sorrento

Mrs Hawley Reports: This half term the Business Studies department took a group of students to Sorrento, a significantly more pleasant location to experience production and related issues than BMW Oxford where we have taken students in the past.

On 28 May, Mrs. Hawley, Miss Mazelin and Mr. Mitchell set off from Bradon Forest with 25 students from years 9 and 10, our minds set on ice-cream, pasta and Limoncello production as well as a number of other enriching activities.

Arriving very late Saturday night, our trip began in earnest on Sunday morning with a crossing to the island of Capri on a jet catamaran. We then transferred to a laser boat and sped around the island with the wind and the spray and a bit of geography from our guide to boot. From here, we were taken to the beautiful, little town of Ana Capri and took a chair lift to the top of Mount Solaro, observing the most beautiful views over the Bay of Naples. All credit goes to the students who were a little tense about heights but stood up to the challenge!

After a brief visit to Capri town, we sped back to Sorrento to make ice-cream, not before a grueling walk from the marina: there is no easy way to get back to town other than by walking up a very steep and what seemed endless, incline. Of course we could have taken the lift but we all need a bit of character-building now and again!

Our host at Bougainvillea Gelateria met us with those statutory hats inside which all strands of hair must be safely tucked. Time to dispense with the cool and get stuck in.

Our experience was fun-filled: we made and tasted lemon sorbet, Nutella ice-cream and we learned about fixed assets, economies of scale, methods of production and quality as well. We were completely spoiled.

With little time to spare, we walked at a fast pace (a feature of the trip, so the students thought) to a Limoncello outlet, established in 1905, in the heart of Sorrento. To our surprise, we were not only shown how Limoncello is made, we were also given samples of a range of sweets and confectionery made from lemons. Delicious. Of course there had to be a business element and we quickly deduced, this was a bit of a marketing ploy to persuade us to buy some products. After a small but adequate sample of Limoncello, I was happy to buy a few bonbons to take home. Almost full to the brim, we made our way to Zi Antonio’s for pizza and ended day 1 tired and a little over-indulged but happy.

Day two started in a more relaxed fashion with a visit to Fondo Galatea, an organic farm in the locale producing lemons, olives, olive oil, meats and mozzarella. A guided tour culminated in a demonstration of how mozzarella is made and a delicious lunch comprising farm produced food. The business focus here was on the produce sold and the reasons for this family-run business deciding to serve only a local market, in other words not go global. How refreshing!

From here we proceeded to Positano and Amalfi, two beautiful coastal towns that justify all those lovely references, not least from Bill Bryson. A strong head for heights and a grip on the seatbelt helped though as the coach manoeuvred around those hair pin bends that made your hair stand on end.

On the last day of the trip we rose early with a more strenuous day ahead. Our first adventure took us up Mount Vesuvius. A steep climb with the temperature getting hotter but with a few bottles of water and a couple of stops along the way, we made it to the top and what a sight; an amazing geographical phenomenon and the Bay of Naples all in one go. I think the term is, priceless! Back on the bus at 12.00 and on our way to Pompeii for an injection of history. This time our destination was Pompeii. It’s incredible that this site saw its first settlers in the 8th century BC. It met with its fate of course in 79AD when Vesuvius unexpectedly erupted after being considered dormant and was covered in vineyards, farmhouses and luxurious villas. It’s a wonderful, peaceful site that resonates with all things Italian including beautiful, preserved frescoes in some of the villas. Definitely a place to make a return visit.

And finally, to return to our business focus we paid a visit to Gragnano pasta Factory. Now, if you didn’t already know, Gragnano has the same classification (PGI) for its pasta that Champagne has for its champagne. In other words, if it’s not from Gragnano, it’s not really pasta! This was a fascinating tour that afforded us the opportunity to see pasta being made in a factory environment. All that machinery and pasta and a shop at the end to buy some. Aha back to the old marketing. Somebody who writes the text books needs to add this old chestnut to the theory notes.

So to sum up, whilst Sorrento was amazing, the trip was wonderful for two reasons: the students (their impeccable behaviour, their full engagement and their lovely company) and the support of two caring members of staff, Miss Mazelin and Mr Mitchell. Thank you!

Mrs Hawley is the Subject Leader for Business Studies