By Len Friesen, tour leader
So this is the first blog entry for TourMagination’s “Bella Terra” Italy trip for 2019. That’s perhaps odd as the trip hasn’t started yet(!). In fact, we only head for the airport later this afternoon. Yet in other ways the trip started a long time ago.
Just as the tour participants, and Mary and I as leaders, have been thinking about this trip for months and longer. I suppose it started with the planning itself, the first time we sketched out location, and route, and sights with TourMagination’s most excellent staff. But it continued to build over the months as we anticipated the trip in our minds, and as we discussed and imagined how each day would unfold. But that same process of building anticipation also happens with all participants as they move from their original inquiry about the trip to the deposit to their own last minute details, and every step along the way builds anticipation.
In our case, for this particular trip, it’s hard to believe that the splendour of Italy awaits us: Assisi, Florence, Venice, the Cinque Terre, and before all of them Rome. A close South African friend and former colleague wrote me a few days ago, on hearing of this trip. He said that Rome might be his favourite city in the world for all that it offers and says about who we all are, though he confessed a similar passion for all the sights we’ll be seeing.
Mary and I had the same sense yesterday in Thornbury, a lovely community where we’re both involved in a community lecture series this spring. That series will now kindly take a bit of a break as we head for Italy. But everyone who spoke to us yesterday about this upcoming trip swooned as they recalled their own encounters with the sights we’ll be seeing over the next two weeks.
So there is good reason why Mary and I are excited to return to Italy and to meet our group as we assemble in the world city that is Rome. Of course, practical steps still await. In the coming hours suitcases will be packed (hopefully!) and last minute details attended to. But we are on that edge, the tipping point, where Anticipation gives way to Reality for TourMagination’s “Bella Terra” 2019.