Tour Report: Best of South Italy, May 23 – June 4, 2022
I'm going to follow the same format I used for my Loire to the South of France tour earlier. The first section will be a general overview, while later installments will get more specific, probably going day by day. Those of you who have read that report will see quite a bit of overlap in this first section.
I must tell you that we have been trying to take this tour for years, since 2015, I think. And every single year, something would come up that kept us from taking it. This time, I was bound and determined that we would do this tour, no matter what!
Our guide was Caterina Moore. She has been a guide with RSE for many years; South Italy is her favorite tour to guide. Our bus driver was Massimo, whose first RSE tour was earlier this season, also with Caterina. His brother has driven for RSE for years. It is a good tour, and we enjoyed it. This was our 16th RSE tour.; we had completed our 15th, Loire to the South of France, 10 days earlier. We split the 10 days between tours between Venice and Rome, where this tour began.
The tour members: Our group consisted of 22 people, mostly couples. There were 9 couples, a mother/daughter pair, 1 single woman, and 1 single man. The age range was from the about 40 to mid to late 70s. Most people were probably in their early 60s.
There was, as usual, a wide range of occupations, including a dancer and a woman who runs a professional rodeo. (That was a first for us.) About 1/3 of the people were retired. Two couples and the mother/daughter pair were RSE newbies; others had as many as 8 or 9 previous tours.
Packing: Stan and I each took an Appenzell backpack (23L) and one personal item. My personal item was a smallish cross-body bag I got as a premium for renewing our Sierra Club membership. Stan carries an older laptop bag, without the laptop. His Appenzell and laptop case each weighed in at 10 pounds. My Appenzell was 11 pounds, and my shoulder bag was 6.
Here's what I took. This includes what I wore on the plane:
• 3 pairs of slacks, including one very light, loosely cut linen blend, and 2 heavier cotton blend pants, one black, one light beige.
• 6 tops, 4 long sleeved, one of which I only wore once, and two short sleeved. One top was very heavy, the others were more lightweight. Mixed colors, but all went with my neutral pants.
• one heavy cardigan
• one very light jacket
• one windbreaker
• 2 bras
• 3 pairs of underpants
• 4 pairs of socks, 2 white, 2 black
• 2 pairs of shoes
• 1 set of “comfy clothes,” including a tee shirt and a pair of light jersey pants. These were my sleep clothes, as well as my lounging-around-the-room clothes.
• 1 hat – a straw fedora I bought in Paris the week before the tour began,
• 1 long but lightweight cashmere scarf
Also in my bags were toiletries for both of us, our 3-1-1 bag, my supplements, useful odds and ends such as tweezers, safety pins, and a tiny sewing kit, my journal, and all the paperwork we would need. I also carried a number of OTC medications, mostly pain killers (aspirin, acetaminophen) but also some antihistamines and tummy settlers (pepto equivalent.) OTC painkillers are very expensive in Italy, and can only be bought in pharmacies.
I also brought my tablet and, for the first time, a cell phone. I missed my bluetooth keyboard for my tablet, but several of the keys (like a, m, n, r, and s) had quit working, and it evidently cannot be repaired. I found this out too late to replace it.
I also packed the Veloce Guide bag, 2” shorter and 1” narrower that the one they sell now. This was my usual cross-body day bag. And finally, a very small cross-body bag, about 6” x 6.5” and very thin, made of heavy tapestry fabric, with an amazing number of zippered pockets. It's big enough to hold a small wallet, a credit card, and a few tissues. I can just barely squeeze my phone into it, but prefer not to.