So last weekend we attended a CAMP with the tour group I have been going on. I had my apprehensions about this 3-day trip given the experiences I'd had on previous poorly planned excursions! I was hoping that if given 3 whole days to fit things in maybe the time issue wouldn't be a problem! What MIGHT be the problem was the accomodation... We were told not to expect much so really I expecting to be lucky to even have a bed! We were kindly being provided with accommodation in the local gym. Yes gym...
After spending the morning at the university of Trento being given a speech on how Italian universities worked and why Trento was the best of them (which none of us could understand why it was very relevant) we finally left to visit the amazing Lake Garda. Some of you may know this lake from such the James Bond movie OR because it is the biggest and most famous lake in Italy. We were given some free time to track down food and have a look around. Our other option was a historical tour. No guesses which we picked! Unfortunately our free time coincided with everyone's 3 hours off in the afternoon, which cancelled out the shopping around option! Luckily we are just as good at eating as we are at shopping. I swear that since I've been here my stomach has expanded and I've been able to fit in SO much more of the amazing food Italy has to offer. So when I ordered a large pizza and it came out MASSIVE Danielle challenged me to eat it all! Piece of cake! (or pizza...) Haha and I smashed it all back. Yes, it looked like the possibility of me coming back as a whale is entirely possible...
After soaking in our amazing surroundings at Lake Garda we make our way to Rovereto. Here we able to walk to through streets that Antonella led us through. It was the most random tour! She really just loved hearing the sounds of her own voice about the most random stuff! We went in this pretty amazing church with amazing interior (much like the 50 billion others) and then weaved through the streets in what seemed like no order whatsoever! I swear we walked down the same street about 50 times. At one point she made a huge detour to show us this cool shop which has literally any kind of cooking utensil you could EVER think of- mum you would have LOVED this- and things that I didn't even know existed! Anotnella told us it was amazing and that we HAD to have a look but we weren't allowed inside... we just had to look from the outside for two minutes and then would back in the same direction we came... ODD!
Now was the moment of truth as we made our way to our designated accommodation for the next 3 days. When we reached the building we went inside to find about 40 camping beds! At least we were off the floor! Nothing a good old Martino trip to Hamelin Bay hasn't prepared me for haha so the four of us chose beds next to one another in a prime location before going to investigate the bathroom situation... It was not good. Seeing as we were in a sports centre the facilities consisted of gym room showers. 3 shower heads in a communal space. NO DOORS! We were not forewarned about this aspect of the trip! Luckily we came prepared with bathers, but it made for an interesting trip... On top of this, the toilet paper was yet again INADEQUATE!!! There is something about Europe and depriving tourists of toilet paper that I really cant get my head around. NOT happy.
Using the limited facilities we had, the girls and I starting our prepping routine for the night ahead. The schedule had planned for dinner and then a 'disco' of some sort with the returning bus at 2 AM!!! Guess they had accommodated for a big one! We debated over suitable outfits for a random village festival and then made our way to dinner. From what we could tell from the menu it looked like we were having DEER! We just couldn't figure out if that was true or not! Altogether we had a really nice dinner, which included some not so disgusting polenta. It didn't come in a bucket and so I was more accepting of the concept haha. I also cottoned on to the idea that maybe I could request Bianco Vino instead of Vino Rosso! Thank GOD that was allowed and I could FINALLY enjoy a good wine with my meal- even if the accepted thing is a red wine. I really haven't embraced that part yet... Instead opting for Spritz or Hugo!
After getting a couple of girls group shots and being told we look terrible by my old creepy mate we all had to catch the shuttle to the festival. Unfortunately we missed the first and so would be waiting a while for the second. So we thought why not grab another drink! Antonella completely disapproved saying we wouldn't have time- coming from the time queen! In fact we had time for two more before the shuttle even came back for us! Ridiculous. We spent the night drinking 1 euro white wines and 2.50 beers and dancing to daggy Italian music before getting on the shuttle back to our 5 star accommodation. Successful night of fun :)
Our second day we got up to head down the street to breakfast. When we got there there were baskets of bread on the table, as there has been with every other meal. The only difference is that this was ALL we were getting!!! Breakfast is the BEST and by FAR most important meal of the day and we were getting staple food! Could this get any worse? THEN they served us tea or hot chocolate in bowls... We were severely misled about breakfast due to the fact we had a plate AND a bowl. We thought maybe some cereal would be offered and instead were being served drinks in them! Wouldn't have minded a bit of cereal in the morning...
Part of our weekend included programs with the local Trentini group of Brentonico so after breakfast we headed to the local park for a bonding game. They explained this extremely complicated game in Italian, English and Spain, which mostly just confused even those explaining it! Basically the game was like capture the flag. When you got caught on the other side of the defenders you then had to challenge them to a war where each person stands on one leg and the other tries pulling them over! Right up my ally :) but it was also a mixture with battleships! The people attacking were going with guesses about where the other teams ships were and if you made it you can check your guess and report back. Pretty complex but SUPER fun and suited my competitive side perfectly. First I defended taking on any of the people running and challenging them to a contest. Normally you would try matching up with someone similar in build but sometimes you just had to tag people close to making it over! At one point I got one of the biggest guys on the tour. He is from Brazil and is extra tall. But I knew his weakness. Even though I was at least half as small as him he smokes every second of the day! My lungs would definitely outweigh his strength in stamina. So with the rest of my team cheering me on a waited him out hopping like mad to try and win against all odds! And I DID IT!!! Wooooo, victory lap!!! Haha We didn't even end up finding out who won in the end; it was just a really fun game that everyone could get involved in :)
Unfortunately the fun just could not last. It went to the complete OPPOSITE as we were led into a room as a group to sit around in a circle and share our feelings... Yay. Antonella told us we had 50 minutes to talk about our experiences in this tour and feelings and emotions towards it. Basically it was just an hour where we praise f***ing Antonella for giving us this opportunity and she get blab on and on and on about stuff that isn't even relevant. At least it WOULD have been an hour if she didn't take her sweet ass time talking s*** and taking up everyone's time!!! It was ridiculous! I'm all for talking about what a great program is it if it wasn't for the fact it was basically just a gloating sessions that lasted TWO HOURS!!! No thank you. And the worst part was that it cut into our afternoon of free time. DO NOT mess with my free time!!!
FINALLY we made it out of the death hole and were able to head out to for the afternoon plans. We were offered free time or a game of soccer versing the locals in our 'bedroom' the sports centre. I chose the sporting option and ended up being the only girl there. Not even sure if girls were allowed to play but I didn't care and they were all nice enough to me! It was a really nice chance to bond with some of the guys on the tour and also the local people from Brentonico.
That night we went in again to the festival to eat dinner, have some drinks and a dance. I ordered the fish and chips and ended up getting what looked more like BAIT with the skin and bones included. Not my style but enjoyed the chips as always! Saturday had a much quieter vibe than our previous night with a life band playing traditional songs and even belly dancers there! I had brought along my pack of cards just incase and a couple of us started playing a drinking game. This generated interest from a couple of guys in the group who had previously avoided us and in the end we all started playing this game altogether! The aim of the game was for each person to get from the top to the bottom of the pyramid without drawing a face card. If you drew a Jack, one drink, a Queen, two, and a King, four. If you drew a face card you had to start at the beginning again until you made it all the way through! Every single person got so involved in the game as it got really intense when people had wracked up over ten drinks! Fortunately I'm pretty sure the wine had no alcoholic properties whatsoever but it was just an extremely fun game to play. This was the first time that we had all gotten along as a group and weren't left out because we couldn't speak Italian! We just used bits of English and bits of Italian and were able to explain the game very simply to ALL have a really fun time. It was so much fun and definitely made it a lot easier for the rest of the time.
Now of course then Antonella comes across and accuses us all of being trashed and getting out of control! Which we WEREN'T! Jimmy even told Danielle that she should 'slow down' because we had to get up early in the morning... He didn't tell anyone else! Just Danielle. It was strange... So after a few rounds a see a couple of the guys from Brentonico that we played the game with and soccer in the afternoon. Filippo had injured his foot playing soccer and was at the festival on crutches! We stood talking for a while and watching the older people doing routine line dances to the band. It was sooo cool. So me and Filippo on crutches joined in on one of them and perfected the moves in no time! The older people were so nice, trying to explain it to us, especially the bits we kept getting wrong and were encouraging us the whole way. Then Filippo introduced me to his gorgeous Dad! He had typical George Clooney older man good looks and he took my hand and led me straight onto the dance floor before I could explain to him that I was extremely terrible at dancing. This did not stop him as he was actually like a world champion ballroom dancer I swear! I expertly led me around the dance floor just like all the other couples and after stepping on his feet a couple times and constantly looking down he told me to relax and I was actually dancing like a pro! It was amazing. The things you can learn to do in Italy :) I was in love... and then I met his wife hahah No I'm only joking. Filippos parents were so lovely and kind so secretly I am in love with their son. Despite him being 4 years my junior haha
Next thing we know Antonella comes flying over to us saying that we have to leave right away on the bus! It was only 11.30 and we were scheduled to leave at 2! Clearly we were all SOO pissed it had to end (not!). We could not understand why the plans had changed and she gave as absolutely no reason except that her arms must have been on fire with the way she was waving them about! So there were only 4 spots on the bus and at least 15 of us left so we said we would just wait with the others who had to get some somehow... Which she (of course) hadn't even considered! After a few more drinks, more dances and more card games we were picked up my Antonella's Boyfriend and Allessandro in a van. Luckily I went in the four-wheel drive with Conner and Marco and not in the van where according to the girls Allessandro drove like a madman all over the winding mountain streets and they were lucky to make it back alive! Another VERY successful night full of fun and definitely new amazing friendships made :)
Next day we did indeed have to wake up early to get prepared for the parade we were to take part in! Yes, a parade. The whole weekend was a festival to celebrate Trentini and people who originated from there from all over the world (just like everyone on the exchange). So we each got given a flag with out city on it to walk the streets with! It was sooo cool like we famous and everyone had come to see us! When really we were just in Italy and happened to have relatives from here haha So we walked the streets, waving, smiling (especially when the cameras were on us) and took in the amazing town who all came to see us on the streets and from windows.
As the rest of the group went in to mass Breanna and I chose to walk through the streets and markets that were set us. The atmosphere was amazing with people everywhere walking around and I even ran into my new family George Clooney and Filippo! When we were strolling through the streets we were approached by a man to see if we would like to do a quick interview! We explained that we didn't speak Italian but offered to say a few words. He asked us about where we were from and what it was like being in Brentonico all the while trying to sound legitimate! At the end he asked us to say anything in Italian. Brianna and I looked at one another and had a silent eye fight about who would say something. I couldn't think of anything at all appropriate at the time with only things like ciao and come stai? coming to mind! Then I remembered the first phrase Anna had ever taught me, and one I use ALL the time. Ci vediamo doppo- See you later! Perfect.
Brianna and I were so stoked with our decision to walk the streets and get interviewed than going into mass and didn't give it another thought. That night when we returned home I hear Elena from the living room telling me to come because I was on TV!!! COSA????!!! I had completely forgotten about it and hadn't even given it another thought. We had made it on the local news. We were famous!!!
Definitely another successful weekend in Trentini. And I actually managed to get home this time! Always a win. For anyone interested in my 15 seconds of fame... 4 minutes in :)