Thursday, May 19, 2011

Our Chan Brothers European Tour of Italy, Switzerland and France (Day 1 & 2)-Part 1

It took more than 20 hours before my wife and I finally reached Italy for the start of our 12 days tour of Italy, Switzerland and France! 12 hours of the 20 hours was spent on the flight from Singapore to Turkey, then hours were spent on transit before the 3.5 hours of flight from Turkey to Italy.

When we reached Turkey for our transit to Italy, it was around 6 a.m, Turkey Time. What was interesting to me was that the plane we took, landed on some hundreds of metres away from the airport, and shortly after we descended down the most interesting method too: via the stairs being put down, we took a large bus and were whisked off to the Turkey airport. We spent the next 2.5 hours in Turkey airport, basically waiting, there was nothing interesting to behold at the airport as the language there was Turkey and what caught the eyes of my Dear and I were the interesting Turkey’s evil eyes, a must-buy souvenir for tourists in Turkey.

The transit flight, another Turkish airline was much better than that from Singapore to Turkey. The latter flight has staff who were unresponsive to my needs and they also failed to stop a western couple from talking deep into the night enroute, disturbing the sleep of many including my wife and I despite the passengers nearby asking them to shut up. Foods served by both planes were cheese, milk, drinks, some vegetable here and there, and essential Turkey fare.

The whole tour group, 24 of us converged finally as one formal Chan Brothers tour group at Italy’s airport under our tour manager. The 24 of us would be touring the 3 European countries as one, ate and travelled together under the guidance of the tour manager.

What struck me most upon stepping out of the Italian airport to wait for our bus was the same feeling when we landed on Italy: it was very hot! The UV rays just made my transition lens pure black! But at the same time, it was cold, my wife and I stammered even though we had thick suits on. The group of us crossed the road, trawled our luggage into the bus compartment and there we were, ready to set off!

My wife and I sat at the rear-most of our tour bus, as the seats in front have been “chopped” by the other tourists for fear of carsick sitting at the rear. Yes, we would be travelling thousands of kilometres during the 12 days of tour across Italy, Switzerland and France.

Before I left, I went to the rear of the bus and took a photo of the most unusual looking Italian airport control tower.

Soon, we arrived at a Chinese restaurant to fill our stomachs after a long hard travel journey. Chan Brothers travel is sensitive and detailed enough to let our tour group eat something Chinese (the whole group was Chinese) after our many consecutive Western meals on the planes. The restaurant was operated by mainland China Chinese and I must you that their meals were hardly nice, they were very very salty!
After our lunch, it was already close to 2pm, we proceeded to visit the 1st tour place on our itinery of tour to Italy; the colosseum of Rome! For this 12-days travel tour to Italy, Switzerland and France, we would be spending the bulk of our overseas holidays in Italy: 4 days in total, covering Rome, Vatican City, Florence, Venice and Milan. And here we were, on our bus to Rome Colosseum!