In final preparation for the tour to Italy, I've been reading a lot about the country. Lately, I've been concentrating on books by the American Donna Leon, who has lived in Venice for the past twenty years. Her books are mysteries and the central character is a Venetian policeman, Commissario Guido Brunetti. I've really enjoyed the plot twists. It's been fun to read about the streets, bridges and canals, and to think that I'll be seeing them soon.
In addition, I've been doing a lot of highway driving and recently listened to a book on tape, The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt. The book focuses on the burning of the opera house, La Fenice in 1997, but also has many references to famous people who made Venice their home.
I'm really excited about the tour and am looking forward to greeting friends from previous tours at our first hotel in Venice. This tour will be a mixture of history, beautiful scenery and special visits to craftspeople--glassblowers, a weaver, a lacemaker, lunch with Nora Kravis and her cashmere goats--just too much to list everything. I'm especially looking forward to our Tuscan cooking lesson/dinner in a chestnut grove. I'll attempt to send reports enroute.
I've confirmed our hotel reservations for the Scottish tour next year. Still waiting to hear from the airline for their fares and schedule. I'll send the information I have to Garth (my talented website guy) and he will post it on my website: http://www.joycejamestours.com/. Please send me an email if you wish to be included on the mailing list, email@example.com.