"My beautiful, my own My only Venice - this is breath! Thy breeze Thine Adrian sea-breeze, how it fans my face! Thy very winds feel native to my veins, And cool them into calmness!" – Lord Byron, ‘The Two Foscari’
Byron expressed what many of us feel about Venice, it is so easy to fall in love with this unique city. I was lucky that Venice is only a two-and-a-half hour flight from Istanbul, so I was able to fly in on the morning of our first day at the Ultimate Photographer's Expedition, Venice, Italy 2011.
We stayed in the Hotel Abbazia, close to the Santa Lucia railway station. The hotel is housed in a restored ancient Abbey, that of the Discalced (barefoot) Carmelite Brothers, and many of the original features still remain. My room was up four flights of stairs (there is no lift), so I had plenty of exercise! There are rooms on the ground floor, but they must have decided that I looked fit enough to cope with all those stairs!
We gathered together at 2 pm, for our first meeting with Lori Allen, Director of the Travel Division at American Writers & Artists Inc (AWAI); professional photographer, Rich Wagner, and our Venice guide Kathy Scopin of Fantastica Italia. Introductions over, Rich checked our camera knowledge, before we all headed to a local cicchetteria for anti-pasta, a glass of wine, and an impromptu Italian lesson.
Attendees getting to know one another.
Lori is in the middle in a turquoise dress.
The other side of the table, with Rich in the centre, and
Kathy in blue next to him.
After dinner in another restaurant, new-found friends, Dave and Susan, stopped off with me for a delicious glass of Baileys Dream Shake (ie Baileys, ice-cream and cream) before heading back to prepare for our first day of photography with Rich Wagner.
Oh, incredibly yummy!