Up, up and away

Monday, June 18, 2018
Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy
Today was our first big challenge.  We went up 1790 meters on the gondola at Monte Lussari.  There were 2 hikes to pick from, and being our first official day, we opted for the less difficult one.  We started off in a nice little village area and then proceeded to head down, and down, and down.  We stopped at this building which was apparently the location for a refreshment enroute.  Surprise!  Closed up tighter than a drum.  Nowhere to go now but...back up.  So up we went, only this time by a narrow path through the woods.  We got back to our start point, and then went up again.  The views, however, were spectacular.  
And low and behold, I am now conversing with my new besties, the French couple.  Seems they speak Dutch as well, so that totally foreign language that I recognized as ‘not French’ was actually Dutch.  But now that we’re on the same page, language-wise, we can have a rudimentary exchange about basic things.  We’ll never get into any philosophical debates, but we have exchanged pleasantries.  And not once have I had to tell them to put their seat backs and tray tables in the upright position.  Early days, though!
Now let me tell you...this socializing is exhausting work.  All this chit chat, trying to converse in another language, trying to help someone whose English isn’t the best by guessing what word they’re looking for, or outright reading their minds, is hard work.  Maybe it comes second nature for you social butterflies (cousin Ferne), but for those of us that lean to the introverted side...phew, tiring!  Both Kier and I are looking forward to Wednesday when the rest of the crew head to Venice for the day.  Since we’ve been there, we don’t feel the need to incur another long bus ride to get there.  So, we’re opting to enjoy the facilities at the hotel instead.  Maybe enjoy a meal on our own...in silence...a lot to be said for a few hours of total silence.  
If there’s one thing that’s been cemented in our minds thus far, it’s that neither Kier nor I feel that a bus trip would be a good fit for us.  Regardless of where it’s going.  We both think the super structured format of such a trip would be too much for us to handle.  We’re having our moments this week as it is, and there’s no getting up every day and boarding a bus to the next town or city.  The straw that broke the camel’s back for us was today at the top of Monte Lussari when our large group finished their hike.  There were tables reserved at a local cafe for food and drinks.  We were one of the earlier tables to put in our order and get our food, but one of the last to get out because of how long it took the one poor girl working as the server to get everything delivered and then get around and collect all the bills.  That was the only meal that we’ll have like that this week, but on a bus tour, they’re all like that.  ‘Pack travel’ just isn’t for us.
But tomorrow is another hiking day.  This one in the mountains around the hotel.  There are 3 levels to chose from.  We’ll opt for the middle one.  Then, we all meet up after our hike to enjoy an outdoor picnic.  Life is good!
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