Debra Levinson was spot on when she said:
“One of the great joys of traveling through Italy is discovering firsthand that it is, indeed, a dream destination.”
Italy is the dream destination for the majority of us. Ever since I could remember, Italy had been on the top of my bucket list and even though I’ve been so very fortunate enough to have visited this beautiful country three times now, I still want to go back for more. I just cannot get enough!
If you have been following my blog, then you may have read in some of my posts that I am a teacher. As part of my school’s culture, we take our students on annual residential trips all over the world. I have been fortunate enough the past two years to have visited Italy and I honestly don’t know who enjoys it more – the teachers or the students!
Last year we explored Lake Garda and Venice for an entire week. It was so different from when I went to Rome a couple of years ago, but then even more different from our most recent trip to Sicily! I think this is one of the reasons why I am so in love with Italy: the land is so diverse, yet so quintessentially Italian – there is nowhere else like it on earth.
One of the places we went to visit was the small town of Malcesine. When I first learnt that we were going up to Mount Baldo, I was not happy to say the least. Then I learnt that we were to make our way up the mountain via cable car and I was totally apprehensive about going on this trip altogether. I have an extreme fear of heights. People laugh at me because I’m very peculiar when it comes to heights altogether. I don’t walk on anything that is see-through (especially wooden piers and stairs) and I will always stay on the wall-side if I really have to take this inevitable route. Now that you have that in mind, here’s a story for you!
I didn’t really sleep the night before our departure to Malcesine, knowing that I may not survive the day. Upon our arrival I had to be the adult (ok, we were three adults, but you still want to save face in front of 25 of your students!). We were greeted by one of the operators and he joyfully informed us that not only are we ascending the Mount Baldo in a cable car, the cable car also rotates as you go up… And to make matters worse, the cable car cannot go all the way to the top in one go, oh no, we have to disembark mid-way and climb onto another cable car to finish the journey!
This was way too much for my, now tired and equally terrified, mind to take in. As I start to show signs of distress I realised that there were some of the students that are also now feeling that it is ok to show that they are also truly terrified. So we huddled together, gave ourselves a pep-talk and let the other, more confident people go ahead of us. We took our time (we were about 4) and together we braved the one thing that gives us nightmares. As we started to ascend, and I start to hyperventilate inwardly, we came across a Danish lady that felt exactly the same way we did. So we let her join our huddle. Together the five of us held hands as our eyes were completely shut. As we changed cable cars we realised that the second one wasn’t going to be that easy since it is turning. So we closed our eyes once more as we wrapped ourselves around the middle pole – spinning 360 degrees in the air.
As we came to the top, we expected to be rewarded for our ordeal with stunning aerial views of Lake Garda. But all of that panic was for no reason – a cloud bank completely enveloped the top of the mountain and we couldn’t see a thing! What a waste of good energy!
Once we were back on the safety of Mother Earth and 1760m lower to the ground we went to explore the beautiful little town of Malcesine for the remainder of the morning. I needed an espresso after that!