1) I will start with the smallest of things, since I think the highlight of the trip was realizing that places are only places, and it's the minute joys one draws from life that brings out the light in us. Where we are has very little to do with our happiness; I loved going for a walk in a park on the last night with Juliette and making a daisy crown.
2) Between being a theatre geek and loving history, the explanation of the stage of the Colosseum was brilliant, our tour guide Ziggy was hilarious too.
3) We had a lot of great restaurant experiences, but this one was a favourite: the entrées came so fast we didn't have time to finish our serving before they were dolloping the next gourmandise on our plates! Plus, the live entertainment asked me to dance :)
4) A day of mask hunting and getting lost through the streets of Venice was probably what I will keep most vivid memories of.
5) We did two very different photo shoots: one at night in torrential downpour in Florence (best part of the evening was running in a cobbled side street and landing flat on my caboose in a puddle!) and a very silly set in Juliette and Sophias hotel room back in Nice. Both of those are going to supply me with smiles for many years to come.
6) Pompei was mind blowing. I had never realized it was a full city! Yet another hilarious tour guide showed us the theatres (I was very impressed!), the take away restaurants, beautiful Egyptian influences and lead us on a lovely little stroll through the main brothel, the last bringing an afternoon of snickers. The most moving part for me, was standing in the main square where the temple to their god stood, and knowing that people would have watched Vesuvius erupt behind said temple, what fury, what terror... The museum with the famous plaster cast of people and animals was just off to the right.
7) Dinner and more live entertainment! Only this time, we were in the palace where Napoleons sister lived, in a Medici style palace in Venice. They don't look like much from the outside except massive, but inside is all marble, silks, gold plating and velvet: a real marvel. The entertainment was interactive and period, so we all had a lot of fun!
8) Flip side, a very grave hour was spent at the Commonwealth cemetery. One elderly couple chose this tour specifically to go find the gravestone of his 17 year old brother, and since he had a hard time walking, I walked him to it: he had studied his plot map so much that he walked almost straight for it. When I was taking the picture of them there, he told me that it was the first picture, because before he had only imagined it, and that this was his first visit ever. There's not really much I can say about that day, but it makes my heart writhe when I think about all the unrest there still is today.
9) Karaoke! Nothing like starting off with Celine Dion! There was almost no english repertoire, but the men ended up finishing off the night with I Did It My Way, which I thought was rather splendid :) It recalled earlier on the trip; leading an out of tune Don't Stop Believing to the bus, accompanied solely by my very bad air guitar.
10) To be honest one of the trip highlights was Marco. During the quarter day long bus rides between major destinations, I did on occasion have the desire to bonk him on the head with mis microphone to cease the trivia, I admit. But I am going to carry a great memory of his mafia rants, the way he spiked his lessons with the word 'love' if he thought people were dozing since it made us all laugh, and Irish accent. However, I found it rather exceptional that after trying to find me prom dress shops along the way on shopping days, to no avail, that he not only remembered, but cared enough to add me on Facebook at the end of the trip: and to make sure I sent him a picture of the dress at prom.
We are keeping in touch with a few friends, and though I've discovered that I'm not really a bus tour person, this is definitely going in the golden memory box :)