Saturday, June 25, 2011

I Remember ... Meet the (Trafalgar) Family

After checking in at the Mediterraneo Hotel we unpacked and freshened up before the 4:45 p.m. scheduled Trafalgar meeting. We met in the lower level of the hotel for wine and appetizers. The room quickly filled up with strangers who would soon become "friends and family" over the course of fourteen days. The dynamics of this group of forty-seven is not what I had anticipated ... I figured it would be comprised of mostly seniors ... haha!
Actually, we were one of the "older" ones of the group. The youngest in our group was ten and there were so many teens-early twenties traveling with their families. Many were celebrating high school graduations. The group consisted of people from U.S. coast-to-coast, Australia, and Canada. They were from all walks of life ... doctor, nurse, dentist, school employees, police, business/finance, funeral director, etc. We all joined together to share "The Best of Italy 2010."
The first time I met our wonderful tour director, Telly, and introduced myself as Karen, she changed my name to Karina for the entire trip : ) Our ten-year-old traveler, Jack, became "Mr. Vice-President." As Telly described our itinerary for the next two weeks we quickly picked up on many "Telly-isms" and sayings. Here are a few ... "okey-dokey," "There are no problems, only situations." Restrooms were nicknamed "the smiley room" and she let us know we would be stopping often for a "smile." We immediately knew we were in good hands and that this would be a wonderful experience. As we concluded our travels at the Farewell dinner, she told us that some of her tour groups are "magical" and said that this group was one of them. She was right ... from the very beginning we felt at home with this group!
Our first Optional Excursion of this trip was a five-course meal at Canova's at the Piazza del Popolo that evening. After the previous night's dining disaster we were anxious to try a reputable Italian restaurant.

A shuttle picked our group up and we were treated to outside dining in a private area. The food was fabulous, we enjoyed live music and it was fun getting acquainted with everyone. We finished our evening with a visit to the Trevi Fountain.
Notice the new tourist ID/headset. Even at a distance we can hear Telly talking in crowded areas through our headsets. It will be challenging to keep our group together in busy tourist attractions over the next few weeks. Here's to a great beginning ...

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