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Kathlene Napolitano

Day 7

By Hospitality in the Caribbean 2024

Our Last Day in Jamaica: An Unexpected Journey Home

Our final day in Jamaica began with the kind of morning that suggests nothing but smooth sailing ahead. After enjoying our last breakfast at the resort, we checked out at 10 am, filled with the bittersweet feeling that accompanies the end of an unforgettable journey. The bus ride back to Montego Bay Airport was a quiet one, as many of us were lost in reflection, reliving the moments that had made our trip so special.

Upon arrival at the airport, we proceeded through the usual steps of departure: checking in, going through security, and then finding ourselves with some time to spare before boarding. We decided to grab lunch at the airport, a final taste of Jamaica before heading back to the familiarity of home. It was during this waiting period that we learned our flight to Fort Lauderdale Airport (FLL) was delayed by twenty minutes—a minor hiccup, or so we thought.

As we finally boarded and took off, leaving the beauty of Jamaica behind, we looked forward to stepping back onto familiar ground. However, our journey took an unexpected turn when, upon nearing Fort Lauderdale, we were informed that FLL airport had been closed due to adverse weather conditions. Instead, our flight was redirected to Tampa, far from our intended destination and my personal endpoint, Miami.

The sudden change left us scrambling, trying to figure out how we would make it back home. After landing in Tampa, we went through the motions of customs clearance and baggage claim, weighed down by the uncertainty of our situation. Fortunately, amidst the chaos, a silver lining appeared for me. My parents, who live in Sarasota, were able to come to my rescue. They picked me up from the Tampa airport and drove me back home to Fort Myers, Florida.

Reflecting on the entire trip, our unexpected detour on the last day served as a reminder of the unpredictability of travel. Despite the meticulous planning and anticipation, the journey can always take an unforeseen path. Yet, it’s these unexpected moments that often lead to the most memorable stories. Our last day in Jamaica, with its mix of emotions and unplanned adventures, was a fitting end to a trip filled with discovery, connection, and the unexpected beauty of embracing the unknown.

Day 5 & 6

By Hospitality in the Caribbean 2024

Days 5 & 6: Local School Visits and Resort Tours

Jamaica, a vibrant island known for its stunning landscapes, rich culture, and warm-hearted people, offered us unforgettable experiences during our visit. The fifth and sixth days of our journey in this paradise were filled with heartwarming interactions, breathtaking natural wonders, and insightful tours that highlighted the contrasts between old and new. Here’s a recount of those memorable days.

Our fifth day in Jamaica started with an incredibly rewarding visit to a local primary school, an experience that stands out as a highlight of our trip. From the moment we arrived, the atmosphere was filled with the infectious laughter and energy of the children, ranging from four to ten years old. We divided into groups, each taking on different age groups, ready to spend our morning “teaching” most interactively and playfully.

I enjoyed spending time with two delightful children, Kaylee and Krishna. Our activities ranged from coloring to tackling division problems, and in a surprising turn of events, the kids decided to quiz us! It was a beautiful exchange of knowledge and laughter, embodying the joy of learning together. The goodbye was as touching as the welcome, with Kaylee and Krishna presenting me with drawings that read “I love you, Kali.” Leaving the school after giving them the supplies we brought was bittersweet, marking an end to a truly heartwarming morning.

The afternoon brought another adventure as we headed to the Luminous Lagoon. Witnessing the glow of the waters under the pitch-black sky was nothing short of magical. The phenomenon, caused by microorganisms in the water that emit light when disturbed, created an ethereal glow around swimmers. Although I opted out of swimming due to my discomfort with not seeing what was beneath me, the spectacle from the boat was amazing enough to create a lasting memory.

On our sixth day, we explored the Sandals Dunn’s River Resort, which contrasts sharply with the Beaches resort we were staying at. Sandals Dunn’s River, only eight months old and exclusively for couples, showcased the evolution of resort offerings in Jamaica. No one under 18 is allowed, ensuring a quiet and romantic atmosphere for its guests. The comparison between the 44-year-old Beaches and the newborn Sandals Dunn’s River was stark, highlighting the differences in atmosphere, structure, and layout. Sandals Dunn’s River’s less confusing setup and modern amenities stood out, making navigation a breeze.

After a tour that left us all impressed, we were treated to a lavish lunch that exceeded all expectations. The resort truly outdid itself, providing us with a glimpse into the luxurious side of Jamaica’s hospitality industry.

Returning to Beaches for the remainder of the day, we relaxed and enjoyed our free time before gathering for a farewell dinner. The dinner was an emotional affair, with many of my classmates delivering heartfelt speeches reflecting the bond we had formed in Jamaica.

The fifth and sixth days of our trip to Jamaica were a beautiful blend of community engagement, natural wonders, and luxury experiences. From the joy of interacting with the children at the local primary school to the awe-inspiring natural beauty of the Luminous Lagoon and the impressive facilities of Sandals Dunn’s River Resort, these days enriched our journey with memories that will last a lifetime. Jamaica, with its warm people, breathtaking landscapes, and rich culture, has left an indelible mark on our hearts, reminding us of the beauty of exploration and the power of connection.

Day 3 &4

By Hospitality in the Caribbean 2024

Day 3 & 4: Thrills, Shifts, and Insights in Jamaica

The third day of our Jamaican adventure was nothing short of exhilarating. The morning greeted us with the promise of adventure, leading us to a breathtaking blue hole. The thrill of cliff-jumping into the cool, 30-foot-deep waters, punctuated by the natural beauty of cascading waterfalls, was an experience of pure adrenaline. Transitioning from the heights, we embraced the serene flow of river tubing, a journey that brought relaxation amidst the gentle rapids, connecting us in moments of calm.

However, the day’s adventures didn’t stop there. While my peers took to the skies while ziplining across the river we had just tubed down, I, alongside Professor Dodge, remained grounded due to my unease with heights. Instead, we captured the momentous flights of our companions, preserving memories from a different perspective.

The day transitioned into the evening with a late lunch, followed by a visit to Sandals Ochi. Despite a delayed arrival cutting our tour short, the experience was salvaged by a splendid dinner at Sky, a surf and turf haven that delighted the senses. The night concluded with a secretive allure at the speakeasy, the Rabbit Hole, adding a touch of mystery to our Jamaican narrative.

Day four ushered in a shift in focus. Rising early, we prepared for a day of immersive learning within our assigned departments. Initially placed in Food and Beverage, I sought a deeper engagement and transitioned to Engineering. This shift unveiled the unseen mechanics behind the resort’s allure, revealing the intricate balance between the aesthetic and the functional. The behind-the-scenes exploration offered a tangible understanding of the effort that goes into maintaining the resort’s seamless charm.

Returning to the Entertainment department in the afternoon, the familiarity bred a deeper appreciation for the joy and connection fostered through simple activities like dancing and bracelet making. These moments, shared with laughter and light-heartedness, encapsulated the essence of our study abroad experience—learning, exploring, and growing amidst Jamaica’s vibrant culture.

As we navigated through adventures, shifts in perspective, and insightful engagements, the journey thus far has been a tapestry of experiences, each thread woven with the vibrant hues of Jamaican warmth and hospitality.

Day 1 & 2

By Hospitality in the Caribbean 2024
Embarking on a Study Abroad Journey: First Two Days in Jamaica

The adventure of a lifetime began with my departure from Miami, Florida, heading to the vibrant heart of Jamaica. My first destination after landing in Montego Bay was the picturesque St. Mary, a journey of two hours leading to the serene Beaches of Ochos Rios. The arrival was a herald of freedom, with the evening open to personal dining choices, immersing us in the local culture through nightly activities that sparkled under the Caribbean stars.

Day two unfolded with an insightful tour of the resort, offering us a unique opportunity to meet the brains behind the operations. The encounter with the department heads at Beaches was enlightening, each sharing the essence of their roles. My curiosity drew me towards the Entertainment department, a choice that unveiled the joy of crafting memorable experiences. The department’s vibrant spirit was infectious, showcasing the lighter side of their day with activities like corn hole, dancing on the main stage, and bracelet making, painting a picture of a day filled with laughter and creativity.

The day’s highlight was the transformation from a casual setting to the elegance of our welcome dinner on the beach. This exquisite event under the stars was not just a meal, but a celebration of new beginnings and the promise of unforgettable experiences ahead. This journey has just begun, and I am eager to see where this beautiful island and its people will lead me next.

Genoa Day 11 & 12

By Hospitality in Genoa

Day 11

This was our full day in Rome. Which again I have been here before and enjoyed it a lot. This time I was able to spend more time where David is and at the colosseum. We did a 2 hour tour of Rome then we were on our own for four hours. We got something to eat at a local restaurant that had hand made glasses and someone making fish pasta in the dining room. The food again was delicious. By now you should know that majority of Italian food is amazing. We then took a bus to the colosseum and took many pictures there. After the major landmark viewing we took a cab back to the hotel to pick up our luggage and take the train back to Genoa.

Day 12

We again got up early for another 2 plus hour long train ride to Milan. when we got there the first thing you see in the Duomo Cathedral. Which is a spectacular sight to see if you haven’t already. Once we viewed that we walked down the center where there’s multiple shopping outlets. But this was not the Main Street that you hear of when you look for high end shopping in Milan. Professor Rice did take us down the affordable street first then he took us towards the high end stuff but not all the way. We then broke off and went our own separate ways. We had about 3 hours in the shopping center to do our own thing before going to Fernet Branca distillery. I did not like the alcohol however it was a nice experience to have. After this we took the train back home to Genoa and got back around 9:30pm.

Genoa Day 9 & 10

By Hospitality in Genoa

Day 9

We again started off the day super early and took a train to Pisa, took some pictures and got back on the train to Lucca. In this city we had our own time to explore the town and enjoy a nice lunch in the piazza. I got bruschetta and porcini mushroom risotto that was to die for. I then climbed a tower that had the most beautiful garden and the top along with the most spectacular views. After that we walked the wall and again even better views of the green mountains and very vibrant nature that surrounded us. I even found a store that sold Murano Glass where I got my moms necklace as a gift. After we met back up at the train station and took the next train to Florence where we got into our hotel and went to dinner. There I tried Chianti for the first time and absolutely enjoyed it. The wine was smooth and didn’t hit as hard as a Cabernet or Merlot would.

Day 10

It was a rainy day in Florence and we did a short tour of the city and had the rest of the day to ourselves to wonder around and see the amazing architecture and sites. I had been to Florence before and it was my favorite city and still is. I did majority of my shopping there and must have spent well over 400. But it was definitely worth it. The sun eventually came out and we were able to enjoy it more. We then met back up and took the next train out to Rome and had nice dinner there. I had bucatini pasta with a red sauce that has bacon in it that was absolutely delectable and fair my second entree I had the veal saltimbocca that was also phenomenal.

Genoa Day 7 & 8

By Hospitality in Genoa

Day 7

We started our day off early and got on a train to Monterosso we then had the choice of choosing what we wanted to do. Take the train to all five towns or hike the two trails that go through Vernazza and Corniglia. I decided to take the train to the five towns mainly because my hip was bothering me that day and I didn’t think hiking would make it better. three other guys stayed back too and we decided to group together to see the beautiful towns. We took the train from Monterosso to Vernazza. There we got to see the town that was based in the Disney movie Luca. That was cool to see in person! We sat on some large rocks and enjoyed the sun and beauty for a bit befogging moving along to the next town which was Corniglia. This town was a lot of hills and so we didn’t stay for long and hopped onto the next train over to Manarola which is where we had a appetizer and drinks enjoying the view on the hill. We then finally skipped over to the last two Riomaggiore which is where the best town was. Although it looks like a fisherman town it was beautiful because from there you were able to see all five towns. This is also where I placed the first duck. In middle school I went to school with the librarians daughter. Just recently I found out she had passed away in a car accident. Her mom (The Librarian) was also my brothers teacher at his high school. she reached out to my mom to ask if I was able to place three ducks in places I was traveling to. Cinque Terre is only the placement of one. The ducks represent her daughter because she had always wanted to travel the world and now there with be a piece of her placed in special spots around the world.

Day 8

We got another free day and were able to relax and enjoy Genoa. I didn’t do much other than roam round and buy some clothes. The next day started our 3 day trip to Pisa, Lucca, Florence, and Rome. So I wanted ti get some rest in before going to 4 cities in 3 days.

Genoa Day 5-6

By Hospitality in Genoa

Day 5

For my group we basically had a free day. We did the cooking lesson on day 2 after our trip to Nervi. We didn’t get the free time there so for Day 5 we decided to go there. We got to spend the day enjoying the sunlight and had lunch near the water. It was a lovely day and was super enjoyable. We didn’t do much else other than that.

Day 6

This was my least favorite part of the week. Mainly because the food was not what I would’ve expected it to be. However the wine tasting was super cool. I enjoyed being able to taste the wine I have sold in the restaurant I’ve been working in for a while. I was also glad to be able to see where it comes from. I am talking about the Barolo wine we tasted. This being said that was actually my least favorite out of the five wines we did taste. My favorite was the dessert wine. Moscato d’Asti. I knew what to expect with the taste of this one being that it’s my favorite wine. I loved being able to see the distillery and the vineyards and the VIEW was incredible. I was bummed out a bit since it wasn’t the nicest day we have had. It was gloomy and rainy all day, not to mention chilly too!

Genoa Day 3-4

By Hospitality in Genoa

Day 3 (officially)

Today we got to go to Portofino, San Fruttosso, and Camogli. We started the day early and took the train to Santa Margherita. We had about 45 minutes to take pictures and enjoy the scenery before the boat came to pick us up. We then took the boat to Portofino where we toured the little town and got free time to look around, shop and eat for about 2 hours. Once we broke off I got a panini from a local sandwich shop that was delicious. It had ham, tomato, mixed lettuce, and mayo on it but it was one of the best sandwiches I have had. I then hiked a bit uphill to a lookout spot perfect for more pictures. It definitely gave a view good enough for a post card. The next stop we made was at San Frutosso. This was where we got to go to the pebble beach nd enjoy the nice refreshing clear as day water. Although the water was freezing it was still an experience I won’t forget. we only had about an hour or so here and so it was the only thing we did before getting own the boat again and going to Camogli where Professor Rice left us. As soon as he lefty we went to grab something to eat then spend the rest of our time on the beach there. It was a gorgeous day and very relaxing and beautiful.

Day 4

On this day we got up super early to go to Lavazza Headquarters, had lunch and drank plenty of coffee, and went to the museum of Lavazza. We also went to the city center and had 3 hours of free time. This was the most interesting day we have had so far and probably one of my favorites. I found that the experience we had with the behind the scenes of the factory was super cool. As a kid I watch “How it’s made” on tv and this was me getting that in real life. I love the fact of how we were able to taste the coffee caviar and the espresso and cappuccino if we wanted. Of course I tried all three. Once we had lunch we finished up at the factory and moved over to the museum which was also very cool. I had never been to a museum of coffee before. We had a tasting of another coffee caviar but this time it was paired with a sweet foam. Which elevated the taste to taste more like a cappuccino. Once we finished up there we had one more place to go and that was the city center where we got to do our own thing. we then met back at the train station and went back home. This day was full but fun.

Genoa “The Beginning”

By Hospitality in Genoa

Day 1 (For me)

Saturday May 6th, was not only stressful because I had no clue to where I was it was also stressful because it was the last day of the Hospitality at Sea program. Luckily I was able to get to the apartment a day early so that eased by stress a bit. However getting to the meeting spot from the translation was a little crazy. We did it though and I am so glad to be here!

Day 2 (Day 1 of the program)

Sunday May 7th, was our first official day in Genoa. I was able to meet my roommates and explore the town before we met at Piazza de Ferrari. This is where we meet most days before we start our day. It’s been our “centre.” We met up with the rest of the group around 5:30pm and started our tour of the general area of Genoa. We walked around just to get a hint of where we were and how to get to the main piazza’s. This allowed to me grasp an idea of how to get to and from my apartment. We then went to have dinner at a local Trattoria. That was very delicious.

Day 3

Monday May 8th, was a very fulfilling but tiring day. We walked a lot! We ate good food! And Finally walked some more. Not to mention we also got to be involved in a cooking class! That was lots of fun! At the end of it we were so exhausted that a few of us got on the wrong bus home but still made it back before the others that did not take that bus. It was an experience that I hope to avoid in the future. We made homemade gnocchi, pest, focaccia bread, and another dish that I don’t exactly remember the name of but it had spinach, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and egg mixed together that was put in multiple layers of dough. It came out flakey and light. similar to a quiche. Oh and finally we made from scratch; Tiramisu!

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