Well, the economic situation seems to be on a small teeter-totter, but I’m still getting those requests for more info about Italy Women trips, especially the one in September, so I’m gearing up for Italian Relief!

So here is the detailed information for the next trip:

September 10-27, 2009 – Water, Words, and the Wonders of Italy:
Lake Como, Venice, LeMarche, Lago d’Orta

Just a bit more than two weeks in northeast Italy, with a dedicated focus on reflective writing as we go. Remember that this “writing” is flow, not pressure, so for those of you who have not done writing with me in the past, please know there is no pre-writing criteria for this. Guided journal-writing, if you will. Travel-writing or memory scraps if you’d like to do that. And you can always opt out of the writing if you so desire, but it’s a great way to remember what you’ve seen, eaten, and how your heart sings in the Italian countryside, lakes and mountains!

This is a Planes, Trains and Automobiles trip (and vaporetto rides in Venice!). We will fly from Denver to Milan, arriving September 11, and take a train to the Lake Como area. We will spend our first three nights at Lake Como, in the lovely and peaceful town of Varenna. Then three nights in magical Venezia where we will see the Church of San Marco, the Doges Palace, the Bridge of Sighs, walk along endless waterways, find our way from one end of Venice to the other on the water-transport system, the vaporetto. Seafood and fresh local fare will kiss your palate every day.

Then a train ride to the region of LeMarche, between Tuscany and the Adriatic seacoast. We will rent our cars in Ancona and drive a short distance to our villa, nestled in the countryside, surrounded by the Sibillini Mountains, close to the Adriatic ocean. A week of exploring the area and dedicated time for mini-writing workshops about the land, the food, the history, the buildings, our inner heartbeat, whatever strikes your pen’s fancy.

At the end of our villa week, we will return our cars in Ancona, board the EuroRail train again and travel the rails to Lago d’Orta, where I end all my Italy Women trips. For three days and nights, we will relax, walk slowly from cafe to cafe, sit by the water with our favorite version of espresso or cappucino, and visit the amazing Sacre Monte. A ten-minute boat ride to Isola d’Orta allows us to walk a meditation path around the island, visit a beautiful tiny church, and wander past the private homes and monastic buildings that have been on this island for hundreds of years. At the end of our stay in San Giulio d’Orta, we will fly from Milan back to Denver, arriving home the night of September 27.

Cost of the trip will include 16 nights’ lodging (double occupancy), airfare from Denver, multi-day EurRail pass, cars, gas and tolls, vaporetto pass, 16 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 6 dinners including wine (perhaps 9 if our Orta hotel still includes them), a walking tour in Venice, travel journals, Streetwise map of Venice, this trip cost will be $5500. Maximum number of travelers (including your guide): Ten, most likely nine.

The dollar is not too terrible against the Euro at the moment ($1.33-1.42), and the airfares vary wildly. The Euro is also fluxuating, but is much better now than it was last spring. If it stays below $1.50, we’ll be great. If it goes below $1.30 while we’re there, we’ll add more meals, an extra tour, whatever seems appropriate . . . if you want single occupancy, let me know and I’ll figure out the supplement. If the Euro zooms up past $1.50 to our dollar (not likely this year), there will be a slight upward adjustment. Haven’t had to do that yet. NOTE: I am looking at some newly listed villas in LeMarche a few of which might offer most of the group a single occupancy opportunity. I need to get responses back from owners before I’ll know exactly what inventory is available on our dates.

To hold your space, please send a $500 deposit made out to Lifeprints. This deposit will ONLY be refundable if we don’t go on the trip for some unexpected reason, or if we can fill your place in the event that you must cancel. By May 15, I will need $2000 of the cost so I can get plane tickets when I find good ones. I will urge you to get travel insurance, because it’s cheap protection for your trip cancellation for illness of you or a family member, terrorist attack, trip delays, lost luggage, stolen documents, etc. etc. I can arrange the travel insurance at a good price with a reputable company.

If you have questions, please call or e-mail me. If you’re ready to commit, please send your deposit to the address below! You can go to my website and click on “Testimonials” to see some comments from past trip participants. The sooner we get our group, the sooner I can grab good airfares when they’re available.

I do hope to see some of you on this new adventure. And yes, I know some of you are already planning to register for the May 2010 Italy Women group, my Tuscany/Cinque Terre/Lake Orta itinerary. YEA!

Ciao . . .