It’s been only six days since I got back from China, but I’m off and running again! Like much of the Travel & Tourism Industry, the work of a Tour Manager is highly seasonal. Apart from an occasional flurry around Christmas, the Winter months from November to April are usually pretty quiet – there may be one Tour or there may even be none if you’re unlucky. This means that you have to work while you can so you can squirrel away enough for the Winter.
So, I’m off to Italy. We have a large group, and a lot of ground to cover, but Italian trains are generally fast and reliable, except when they’re not. This does mean however, that I get another chance to ride on the ‘Flying Tomato’.
I have a group comprised of Britains, Australians, New Zealanders, Americans & Canadians – Five nations united by a common language and a love of Italy, even though, at this stage, for some first timers, the love of Italy is theoretical. We have Local Guides doing guided tours in Venice, Florence, Pisa, Rome, Sorrento & Pompeii but in amongst this busy schedule there is a small amount of free time. This is important, because part of the pleasure of Italy is simply sitting quietly in a bar, with an espresso (preferably caffè corretto alla grappa) and soaking up the atmosphere.
With those meals that are included on the Tour, we generally ask our hotels and restaurants to dial back the garlic a bit. Many of our clients either don’t like it at all, or like just the merest hint of it. Fair enough, but after a few days in Italy, part of my brain starts screaming for garlic (I do love the stinking rose) and I will have to find some time to sneak off somewhere for my guilty pleasure… Spaghetti aglio olio e peperoncino. This can only be accompanied by a glass of Barolo and followed by an espresso – To do otherwise is illegal (or should be!). This is what it looked like last time I did this.
I’ll need to keep a close eye on the weather for Pompeii. If the sun is out, the place becomes a cauldron very quickly. There aren’t many trees around for shade, and the sun reflects off the hard ground. It’s probably best if I don’t return my group home a not so delicate shade of pink.
UPDATE: I’m learning Italian from an audiobook course on my iPhone as I go – should be fun!
I’ll be blogging occasionally, but will probably mostly post directly to my Facebook and Twitter accounts, so… follow me round Italy