Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Baveno -- Sept. 3, Day 1

Made it to the hotel in Italy ... finally.

Collecting all of our guests at the Milan airport was challenging, but nothing Scott and I couldnt handle. We are all wearing nametags on lariats, so whenever we see a new face, we introduce ourselves. Not only were guests flying in from Atlanta we had others from Chicago, New York, Orlando, Tampa, and probably sure other places.

A shuttle scooped us up and took the group to the Lido Palace Hotel on Lake Maggiore ... the hotel is exquisite and the views spectacular ... albeit a bit misty because it is drizzling outside. The Borromean Islands, which we will be visiting in the next couple days, look close enough to hit with a 5-wood. The town square if half a mile away, so if we want to look around, we will have to be serious about it.

Did I mention the shuttle? I hear it was nice. I wasnt on it. I took a cab from airport to the hotel. And, you know, I think I got the better deal. Fascinating conversation with the cab driver ... we talked all about Italy (which, according to the cabbie, who spoke excellent if halting English, is in the midst of an economic downturn we Americans can only wonder about), America (he knows more about the upcoming election than most Americans), family, the Mafia, his pregnant wife, and his desire to visit the U.S. (and see "Mark Twain Country"). And only about three times did I think I was going to die on the road. It WAS a cab ride after all.

One of the great benefits of hosting travel program trip is that some programming involves meeting local residents for discussions about local issues. I already feel ahead of the game).

Our opening dinner is in about half an hour. If I am still awake, I will be back after it.