Meeting the group on our Italian Escapade Tour!

Trip Start Mar 15, 2012
Trip End Mar 31, 2012

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Where I stayed

Flag of Italy  , Lazio,
Sunday, March 18, 2012

Day 4 - evening

After a quick change of clothes, Michel and I were back in the hotel's main lobby waiting for the rest of the people to gather around for our 6:00pm meeting. You guessed right!  We were the first ones there; it was only 5:15pm!  As they say, 'habits die hard' or should I say 'the early birds get the best seats’!  Whichever one you want!   Ha, ha, ha!

As we sat comfortably on the leather sofas watching people come and go, we introduced ourselves to those arriving!   Our guide was already on site, a pleasant chubby Italian Mama Mia type of person going by the name of Ernesta! 

Our newly acquainted guide wore a black loose top and vest with matching trousers and shoes.  Her shoulder length reddish blond hair appeared shiny with lots of volume probably due to having recently been curled.  I envied her hair!

Ernesta’s deep red lipstick accentuated her white skin tone making us stare at it and not at her double chin layer.  She wore a pair of funky style red glasses which made her look quite in style and probably a little bit younger.  Plus it matched her lipstick’s color.  What more can I say, our guide had taste! 

Continuing on staring at her, she appeared quite comfortable in her size plus frame making me wonder if all that Italian food must have played a role in it.  However, it did achieve in convincing me that all of that Italian pasta was more than good, it was excellent and high in calories too!   She spoke perfectly well in English having studied and lived in England for a while.  This was our guide for the next several weeks and I could sense that we were in for a wonderful time!

At exactly 6:00pm, everyone had arrived and we all proceeded in following our guide Ernesta outside where we sat on patio chairs at the hotel’s terrace.  I regretted not having brought with me a jacket to wear because even though it was pleasantly warm at the beginning, once the sun disappeared behind the clouds, in came the cooler temperature.  After all, we were still in March!

As Ernesta stood up with the group gathered around her, she introduced herself.  She was 49 years old and had been married for 25 years to an Italian photographer who didn’t speak a word in English.  They didn’t have any children but according to her, two dogs were enough!   

Continuing on, she described what was to be expected on our tour and all the marvelous sites and places that we were going to visit.  Also that on the bus, we were going to be doing the clockwise rotational change of seats skipping one row at a time.  This was fine with me! 

Ernesta’s cheerfulness, funniness and pleasantness soon hypnotized us as we listened attentively to every single word that came out of her mouth.  As she put it, she was adopting us for the next few weeks and bragged about knowing where all the ‘loos’ were in Italy!  In other words, the toilets!

One funny thing that she mentioned was that in the future in order to get our attention and this regardless as to where we’ll be, she would yell out the famous "Coucou, coucou, coucou" words!   This was quite reassuring because we now knew that we’ll never get lost and that with her high pitch voice tone, she’ll surely achieve in getting our attention!   Ha, ha, ha!

One by one, we all introduced ourselves while saying whether this was our first tour with the Tour Company or not!   I proudly stood up and said that this was our fourth.  Michel and I were the only ones with that many!  I wondered what kind of a "good clients" gift we’ll be getting this time because last year on our tour around Turkey, we received a few pins with the tour company logo name on them whereas I'd wished for a free trip!  Ha, ha, ha!

In total, we were 34 people from all parts of the world such as a couple from Australia with their two teenage children, one from England and another one from Singapore.  The rest of us came from the USA and Canada.   I was quite pleased to know that we were a small group!   In age, we ranged from around fifteen to seventy-five, the majority being in their fifties and sixties.

It was 7:00pm when we all went back inside the hotel where a nice warm buffet dinner was waiting for us to devour.  I was glad that the meeting was done and over with because I was really starting to freeze out there.  

By sitting around round tables which could accommodate eight people, we toasted to our upcoming journey with two other couples who sat with us.  As the red and white wine kept being poured into our glasses, I can tell you that we ended the evening on good terms!   And no, we weren’t drunk!

We were starting our tour on a very good foot!   Unfortunately, I only have a few pictures to show!   I didn’t have my camera with me at the meeting because I didn’t want to scare the people on our tour with how many of them I usually take on a trip!  Like 10,000 to 15,000.  Ha, ha, ha!


Monique   :-)
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