I decided to stay back today while the rest of the Lululemon ladies went for a chilly hike on the most active volcano in the world. I spent most of yesterday wondering what the heck I was thinking taking on this exercise vacation with strangers. We spent the morning walking around the quaint town of Taormina in small groups. It is always a little awkward when you are with a large group you don’t know and you are set free to wander. It is kind of like partnering up in gym class when you are young, but thankfully, much less traumatic. I mingled about with some of my travel mates in the drizzly but not horrible rain. The Greek Theater was beautiful (don’t ask me anything about it since I read no guidebooks before I got here), the town was cute, and I was quite proud of myself for not buying anything except gelato (everything in Italy tastes better that at home).
At lunch I got bored of the conversation. This seems to happen to me a lot. It is not like I have some extremely interesting topic to discuss on the tip of my tongue. When I am with people who have similar interests and observations that I do, conversation can be quite engaging. I have realized that not a lot of people talk about observations. They love to tell stories about themselves. It often feels like everyone is just trying to get in their story and not interested in anyone else’s. Small talk is big of course. Lots of “what do you do?” “where do you live?” comes with the territory on a trip like this. Yesterday someone gave me such a pained expression when she felt obliged to ask me what I do after I asked her, I tried to cut it as short as possible. We have had at least three conversations about when everyone’s flights depart on Saturday. Lots of talk about marathons, triathlons, trainers, swim coaches, boot camp classes. These things are not part of my world. I am the clearly only one who keeps forgetting the “shape” of Escape to Shape when I book the trip. What I do know is that this crew is constantly talking. I have no idea how they come up with so much to say and I do know is that it gets more interesting with my new favorite digestif, Limoncello (its like drinking lemon sorbet.)
Yesterday afternoon, we had a very nice power walk on the vast grounds of L’Olmo (our villa). Lemon trees, ocean views, and a few scary looking beetles. Sadly, this nice walk was followed by a “boot camp” arm workout. This hard core Canadian firefighter fitness lady is all business. She is very sweet but clearly insane. She can really cause pain. If anyone tells you that you are going to do 90-60-30’s, run! When we got through the hard part and we were finally to the stretch, Erica brought in the owners’ new puppies and the workout was over. I am one of the very few people in the world who does not love puppies. The ladies went crazy. I ducked out while they ogled and took my super tired arms to my room for a rest.
Today, I decided I did not want to ride in a bus for an hour and stress about how I would pee on a freezing cold volcano (that did not look like it had a lot of trees.) I joined the ladies for breakfast and spent two hours bundled up by the gorgeous pool. I got eaten alive by mosquitoes (even through my clothes) and it got a bit chilly but I had to stay out there after I made one of the very nice staff stop his breakfast clean up to put out all of the chair cushions and umbrellas for me. I just sat there for most of the time doing nothing; something I am only capable of on vacation. At home I can barely make myself do one thing at a time much less sit and do nothing. It was fabulous. For lunch my amazing hosts prepared some mozzarella and tomatoes just for me AND I got to have my salami sandwich I was supposed to have on the hike (I LOVE all processed meats). I even got a delicious almond granita. I felt very pampered and almost rewarded for my laziness! Erica and Francesco have no judgment.
The chatty ladies are on their way back and after my very enjoyable and relaxing day I am looking forward to hearing about their adventures and ready to re-engage with my social exercise vacation.