Sunday, March 13, 2011

Corvara Group Arrives: People and Luggage All Present

Day One Friday:  The 2011 SM Euro pre trip gang, 24 in number, made it to Frankfurt, the first leg of the trip, without a hitch. Lufthansa did a great job. The next leg was a bit of a challenge. Due to an Italian “work action” the flight to Venice was cancelled. The planned three hour Frankfurt layover extended to a 12 hour visit.

But the intrepid travelers were not deterred. Warned of the possible delay before leaving Seattle, Val and Greg Nelson prowled their laptop exploring “things to do” in Frankfurt. As soon as we landed in Frankfurt Kim Kaiser was on his IPad searching for nearby hotels. Kim was able to identify several options (Sheraton at airport $220; Steigenberger near airport $95). The group gravitated to the Steigenberger where four couples purchased their own room and said adios to the group. The rest pitched in and purchased one room to store hand carry luggage in and then headed out to “do Frankfurt."

In the end both groups seemed pleased with their choices. The “hotel” group was able to log about five hours of welcome sleep in a four star environment followed by a very German dinner at a charming restaurant on the hotel grounds.

The “tour” group spent much of their time in motion;

• Bus, airport to hotel to drop luggage.

• Bus, hotel to airport to catch train.

• Train to Frankfurt, tour and eat.

• Train to airport.

• Bus to hotel to recover luggage and catch a nap in group room.

• Bus to airport.

While in Frankfurt the group engaged in what they referred to as a “meat festival.” Apparently a meat platter was recommended and ordered that contained an incredible variety of meats, most of which could be identified.

A Canal View from the Hotel Room
The rest of the day went as scheduled, just twelve hours later than planned. All luggage arrived, skis were stored and the group boarded three water taxies for the short trip to Venice and a waiting hotel room. Arrival time: about midnight.

Day 2 Saturday: What a glorious day to tour Venice; sunny, light wind and cool weather. Planning for the trip we were prepared for the worst (rain, wind and hill) so were delighted to be greeted with relatively balmy March weather.

It was an open day for the travelers; i.e. everyone was on their own. Some did a tour in the am while others employed a guide in the pm. Mostly people just wandered. Venice is a wonderful place for wandering as long as you have the name of your hotel in your pocket. You can easily get lost but, if you look for the landmarks, like Plaza San Marco or the Rialto Bridge, you can find your way back from whence you came.

A Guided Venice Tour
Report for the day are good and no one is lost as of this date.

Day 3 Sunday: Everyone is together at last. The Venice group wrapped up their touring and boarded a 12:45 water taxi back to the airport. The only mishap reported was Bob McDonald's mogel run down the stairs at the hotel. He caught his foot on a loose carpet and rode the carpet down about four stairs ending up on his back at the bottom. We will see how he feels Monday AM.

At the airport we met the other 8 independent traveler and waited a short time for the Seattle group of 15. All people and luggage arrived on time; a good start!

The bus ride was longer than anticipated due to snow on the primary route. It took almost five hours to make the Corvara run with a single pit stop at a very surprised but welcoming bar/rest room on the way. The McDonald's were kind enough to purchase an ample supply of local wine to share on the bus. Bob and Jim Smersh managed to pour for all wished to imbibe and (to the best of my knowledge) spilled nary a drop.

The snow falls and the group anticipation builds.

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