11.05.2014 - 12.05.2014 18 °C
And, once again, just like that welcome to Italy. our tour manager, Bec had a few surprises for us before we got to our hotel. The first was a bit of a side trip to the stunning town of Sirmione, located on Lake Garda. You can tell that this is a popular resort town with the number of hotels available. Our first treat was a walk around and lunch in the town center. The treat was that we were not stopping at a usually service centre for our afternoon meal. This gave the group the first chance to try the varieties of pizzas.
Our next surprise was an unscheduled trip to Verona, the home of Romeo and Juliet. The local tradition is to write your love letter or story on a piece of paper and attach it to the wall close to the statue of Juliet. It is said that women of the town collect the letters and, in some case, respond to the person. Wthat that in mind Bec handed out paper for everyone to write their "letter to Juliet"! The city has it's' own version of a coliseum where outdoor theatrical performances occur throughout the summer. Imagine seeing Romeo and Juliet performed in this city of love! Bec treated us all to a gelato before making our way to see Juliet's balcony and the famous statue.
Our only stop in this amazing country is Venice but because of the high costs of accommodation on the islands we are staying at a charming hotel on the mainland in the town of Mirano. Staying for two nights here is a treat as it gives everyone a chance to take a breath. We happen to be in Europe on a very special night, the finale of Eurovision. Imagine a cross between American Idol and The Voice, then add one country representative from about 40 plus European countries and add to that a bit of a crazy twist to the competition. Eurovision gave the world ABBA who won singing Waterloo and went on to worldwide fame. Bec is a HUGE fan so she arranged for a viewing of Eurovision tonight. In true Eurovision style we all dressed in the craziest outfits we could for the big event. the winner was a guy from Austria. Curious to see what we are talking about? Google Conchita Wurst, Eurovision 2014 winner.
The group spent every available minute in Venice, 12 hours of non-stop fun. Most of the group enjoyed their first taste of the city by taking a 30 minute gondola ride. From there we stopped at the Murano glass factory for a short demonstration and then we were off for a walking tour of some of the city. from there we had about 5 hours to explore and shop and eat and drink. The best shopping deals were for Italian leather, Murano glass and carnival masks.
For our Italian feast tonight we donned out newly purchased Venitian masks and headed for a delightful traditional meal. After trying the Antipasto with meats and grilled veggies, risotto and then four kinds of pasta we were all starting to see "our food baby" developing. The whole evening was outstanding and very memorable.
The end of our stay was complete with an incredible thunder and light night storm in the distance. st. Mark's Square even flooded a bit for us just to give us a feel for what happens to this city on an island (or islands).