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Report 902: The Virgin Voyage

By Shannon from USA, Fall 1998

Trip Description: In the Fall of 1998, two Italy-virgins venture into heaven and come back changed.

Destinations: Countries - Italy; Regions/Cities - Campania, Florence, Rome, Venice

Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Sightseeing; Wine Trip; Independent Travel; 2 People

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Page 1 of 7: Getting There

There is nothing like that first trip to Italy. The virginís trip is imprinted in the mind more than all the trips to follow, combined. Itís a beautiful feeling, that discovery, and no matter how many times you go back, even to new towns, you never get that ďitís my first timeĒ feeling again.

Well, at least I donít, or havenít. In that frame of mind, here is the report of my very first trip, when my bosses Donna and Elliott took me on an all-expense paid trip to celebrate my 10-year anniversary at the company I for which I work.

I was responsible for all the planning, and I was encouraged to bring a friend. So I started planning, and my friend Lisa signed up for the ride. Lisa was my best friend and a lot of fun, so I knew she was the one to accompany me on the journey.

Planning in 1998 was sure a lot different than it is now. There werenít so many internet travel sites and message boards. Booking was done by phone and fax. We read BOOKS! For that first journey, like many first time European travelers, I used the Rick Steves Italy Guide, and also the "Open Road" Italy Guide, which is really a fabulous book that I have used many times since. Itís hard to believe now, but at the time I was totally clueless about where to go. We'd be doing the big three (Rome, Florence and Venice) for a few days each, but had one-nighters in Sorrento and Montalcino, and three days in Verona.

Looking back at this now I am shaking my head, but in reality it worked and in reality, it was great. I could never do this now, but ignorance is bliss.

Lisa and I flew over on Lufthansa, and had one night alone in Rome before Donna and Elliott came to join us. We loved that first transatlantic flight Ė the thrill of free, decent wine just about put us over the edge. I donít think I slept a wink, and before we knew it we were in Rome.

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