I feel like I'm so behind in my updates--so much has happened in the last few days, I don't know where to start. I don't have adequate words for Italy--I'm going to wait and talk about the places more when I get home and can post along with the pictures. Each region is so unique and it just keeps getting better.
I'm so happy with Contiki thus far. But the pace is incredible--a fast pace is our thing, and this is really pushing the limits. What I didn't expect to happen is that I'm in love with my tour mates. There are 40 of us, which is a lot, but we really gelled pretty much from the first day.
The day after Sorrento we travelled to Capri. OMG. Again, will talk about more when I have the pics. We jumped into a couple of boats and had a 2.5 hour tour around the island, passing a few pints around and sitting back in the boat with big smiles on our faces. Then we pulled into a cove where there a couple of dozen men in tiny rowboats--the Blue Grotto. We jumped into the floors of the boats, and ducked through an opening in a hole in the rock, into a cavern where the limestone under the water reflects the light creating a luminous turquoise colour. The men sing as we explore the cave. It was just magical.
After dinner that night a half dozen of us decided to go back to our terrace for another bottle of wine (McHotty and I always keep a reserve in our room). We finished our reserve, then Mike's, then Steve's Limoncello, then Julia (who I have a girl-crush on) brought out the absinthe. We did shots of absinthe, and after a few minutes we didn't see any green fairies, so Julia filled out glasses again. Next thing I remember, we're talking to a couple of women on scooters outside the hotel who give us directions to the local bar (we were in a little town outside of Sorrento called Meta). We get there and the place is packed--the local band is playing American rock and roll. We just had a blast (as far as I can recall).
We got home at 3 or 4 I think and had a 5;45 wakeup call for the longest drive of the trip--from Sorrento to Tuscany. I thought I might die. We made it to Tuscany by mid-afternoon where we had a wine tasting and sampled a couple of local specialties (sheeps milk cheese and olive oil). The tasting revived us, and we felt good for the Karaoke bar in Florence that night (but we made it an early one).
Ah, Florence. We went to a leather demonstration at a wonderful leather shop and I thought my head would explode--I wanted to buy everything in the place. That night we had a wonderful group dinner at a villa in Tuscany with a breathtaking view of the landscape. That night we went to a dance club in Florence where celebrated the ten-year anniversary of Sam and Roger (the only other couple with kids--they have four girls!) Sam and I thought it rather ironic we were spending mothers day dancing on a platform in a club, but hey. When in Rome.
Anyway, Im almost out of minutes, and McHotty is pacing outside. We are in Verona today and we only have an hour or so left before we push off for Venice. Yesterday we did Milan (yay, shopping!), and the day before, Cinque Terre. Still have lots more to tell you about the people, and our tour guide who is rocking our world. Will fill you in more soon.