Day 7: Wednesday July 28th, 2004 Read Short Version View Photos

Short Version Instructions: Only read every other paragraph.

Bekki and Alan were supposed to arrive today, but we didn't know what time and we were hoping they'd be here for the tour, but not counting on it. Another quick breakfast of cantaloupe and yogurt, and we piled into the bus yet again and headed for Torino (Turin). We had the crappy tour guide again, which we weren't particularly pleased about.

Thumbs Down: Annoying tour guides We got into the city and were dropped off in a main square. Our tour guide immediately bored us to death so we spent the first 15 minutes completely ignoring her and the dull things we were looking at around the square. We then went into a church that had a back room containing a copy of the Shroud of Turin, then into the palace, which wasn't very palatial from the outside. The inside was pretty cool, except boring tour guide made it intolerable.

Thumbs Down: Being sick A rambling tour guide plus sneezing and stuffy nose don't add up to a great time. Someone had gotten at least a third of the group sick the previous night, and many people were sniffling and sneezing throughout the day. I was hit pretty hard and have the raw nose to prove it.

Thumbs Down: Annoying tour guides As we went through the palace and our tour guide gave us ridiculous amounts of back history on stuff that wasn't even relevant, and most others were getting noticeably annoyed as well. At one point, an individual said "How do you spell tour guide? B-O-R-I-N-G." Hilarity ensued. (It's funny, because it's true.) We somehow made it through the palace and loitered outside for awhile. Our group was having a summit on what we should do for the rest of the day while our tour guide was chatting on her cell phone. She had been pretty adamant about us going to one site that was 45 minutes out of the city that we had already paid for, but none of us were interested and we preferred just to go back to the hotel instead of suffer through more of her. The aforementioned individual, not participating in the summit, commented: "They are deciding if the 24 of them can take one tour guide. And drown her." Pure comedy gold.

Some consensus was apparently obtained and we made our way to yet another church where we got to see, completely covered, in a room behind glass, behind a rope, the case where the real Shroud of Turin is held. We then waited outside until everyone trickled out, and quickly decided that our crew was leaving on our own regardless of what everyone else was doing. We got our meeting point and time, along with extremely vague directions to a museum, and were off.

Thumbs Down: Trying to find good food
in a business district
We wandered around for about 20 minutes, finding only little café's and extremely overpriced restaurants in the trendy shopping areas. We eventually stumbled across the Egyptian Museum, which we planned on visiting on our own after lunch, and found a great little restaurant around the corner shortly thereafter. Jessie ordered the tomino cheese we had at our huge meal on the wine tasting day as an appetizer, we split a gorgonzola penne, Tori had ravioli, Tyler had gnocchi, and we ordered a margherita pizza and a four cheese pizza. Everything was very good, and we took our time, not hampered by a one hour lunch limit. Others from our tour ended up at the same restaurant as well.

Thumbs Up: Egyptian Museum We then headed for the Egyptian Museum, where we caught Liz who had already been through it with her family, and verified it was worth it and had her show us where to buy tickets (what's with all the confusing Italian signs?). We ended up paying a whopping 6 euro for all 4 of us, since Tyler and Tori are under 18 they were free, and Jessie and I are 25 or under so we were half price. Not a bad deal at all. The exhibits where very cool, aside from not being able to read most things. They had 4 or 5 well preserved mummies, a lot of very well preserved papyrus still showing the brilliantly colored writings. We cruised though the whole thing in about 40 minutes, which is certainly the express tour, but was still fun.

We then skeedaddled out of there and found the McDonalds back in the main square for sodas and Jessie got a sundae. Amusingly, our counterperson had a crack fit and had to go in the back (okay she was just sneezing and had puffy eyes, I can sympathize). We then proceeded to windowshop and people watch around the square until Efrem came with the bus (which mysteriously already had about 40% of our tour on it) and picked us up.

Thumbs Down: Annoying tour guides Once on the bus, it was finalized that we would take a quick bus tour of Turin and then head back to the hotel, putting us there at like 4:30, which was unheard of so far on this trip. I was obviously excited since Bekki was probably there by then, and I missed my wife. Two minutes into the bus tour, our guide said we were going to stop and walk to the spire, which is a symbol of the city, for pictures. Most of us piled out of the bus, and we walked a few blocks to the spire, our guide using The Force to stop traffic at one point. The spire itself was quite impressive, very tall and grand looking, however many of us wanted to go up into the elevator inside, which wouldn't have taken long, but the guide would have none of it. So we all dragged ourselves back to the bus and listened to her stumble over herself about some other palaces or something, and finally headed back to our hotel.

Thumbs Up: Bekki and Alan arriving safely I came back to my room to find Bekki and Alan watching Italian TV, and was content. I made Bekki read the trip diary up to that point, and she looked at all the pictures as well. After taking the time to lay around and do nothing for a few hours, we dressed up for the first of four nights of the actual reunion banqueting, which was held at our hotel restaurant, albeit the private upstairs room.

We secured the end of the table as usual, and began to eat course after course that was brought out. Goodie bags were passed out, and we each received cool handmade small pots (potlets?) that were all painted uniquely in addition to our nametags, literature and such. Most of the food was good, and we of course got involved in yet another uncontrollable laughing fit ("I'm the bass"), during which Norm began an extremely ill-timed speech, and no matter how hard we tried we couldn't get ourselves under control (which of course made it all the funnier). We eventually made it out of there in one piece and called it a night.