Venice, part 1
Imagine, you step off you train with wide eyed anticipation and you see the Grand Canal, your first stop of this Italy adventure, the ancient city of Venice. Your greeted by a lady with a the Italian accent you dreamed of hearing and she leads you to your private water taxi. The young man helps you aboard his vessel and off you go up the Grand Canal. You are awe struck that you are actually in the land of your ancestors, a dream you never though would come true. After a short ride you stop in front of a quaint hotel and as you leave the boat you enter a hotel lobby with old world charm. You are greeted like family, given your key and escorted to your room. You enter your room and open the shutters on the window to hear the sound of a gondolier singing and people clapping along as it passes under a bridge. You are filled with excitement. You go down to lobby to meet your group and your tour captain. A bright bubbly woman who even though you know she’s been there before, is displaying all the excitement that you are feeling. You are also greeted by 7 couples and there is an immediate connection, because you are all waiting to experience this picturesque land together.
You set off for a short tour with your tour captain to give you lay of the land, you have so many thoughts going through your mind you can’t even take in all the info, except were to she points out to get the best Gelato. You stroll through Piazza San Marco as you listen to the sound of the music coming from Caffe Florian. Your tour ends at a little café that looks out onto the Grand Canal and as the sun sets you enjoy and learn what an Aperitivo is, early evening appetizers and a toast with wonderful sparkling prosecco that will become your favorite drink. You slowly walk back through the cobble stone street taking in all the sights and sounds to the hotel, so you can dress for dinner.
Eating is an experience of it own and with Story’s small group tour the food is endless at their welcome dinner as well as their other dinners. Together we walked to a small little restaurant where, the smell was amazing and we sat for at least 2 and half hours, course after course. It began with plates of fresh prosciutto and melon, delicious cheeses, grilled vegetables, stuffed artichoke blossoms, a delicate appetizer stuffed with fresh ricotta and deep fried. The food kept coming with homemade pastas, veggies, steak and fish and it was topped off by frozen fruit sorbets served in the original fruit. The amazing dinner along with the many bottles of wine, the laughter and the stories, we stopped being a small group and became friends. It was a night to remember. Following me on my next blog as the adventure continues and friendships grow a true testament to traveling with a small group