After a couple cups of coffee, we moved all of our luggage out of the "pre-tour" apartment into our new home for the next week. I only made one trip down those gazillion steps, and volunteered to pick up the makings for lunch while everyone went back for the second load. The COOP is fun, while luggage and stairs are not! Brilliant!
Nancy, Kim and I are sharing an apartment, and the rest of our tour buddies, Kevin, Jill and Megan are next door. Shannon is down the street. We had a lunch of cold cuts, cheeses and fruit, and welcomed our new friends. It was clear we would not only get along, but have a blast together! Old friends, who just hadn't met yet!
The apartment has two bedrooms, two baths, a garden and a fabulous terrace. We also had wifi! Picture the terrace table with 4 laptops and 2 i-Pads blogging! We were around the corner from Strada Nova, and just a couple blocks from the San Marcula vaparetto stop. I had already found a favorite caffe on the corner. Perfect!
Our first afternoon treat was a rare visit inside the Arsenale, not usually open to the public. We visited the museum of old and beautiful ships and gondolas on a glorious sunny afternoon!
Outside the museum, you could really see how huge the shipyards and navy areas are.
Wandering off for a smoke allowed me to entertain myself by taking photos of the Italian navy guys!
My FAVORITE moment of the afternoon in the Arsenal was watching this group of young children with some "pirates" re-enacting taking them as "prisoners". As their mothers hovered nearby, the little boys were lined up with their swords and shields, watching with awe as the pirates gave them orders. There was a real cannon in front of them. The head pirate asked if anyone was afraid of loud noises. The littlest guy on the far left of the group, raised his hand, and in a tiny voice he said, "Io". Then he covered his ears with his hands, preparing for the worst. The pirated sent him back to his mom in relief with his hands still covering his ears. We moved on, but a few minutes later, we heard the thunderous boom of the cannon.
It was definitely time for a spritz on the terrace!
We were revived, and ready for dinner at Da Alberto!
Nancy and I shared a shrimp and asparagus risotto, and a filetto with rosemary and tomatoes.
Full and happy, the group walked home. As I require less sleep than most people, Shannon and I headed for a caffe for a last glass of wine and a coffee for me. It was a wonderful first day of our Grape Hops week!