Starting the Symposium and Crazy Canadians

Our first week at the Symposium was like a classy seafood buffet, offering samples from the best in the field on conflict prevention and social entrepreneurship. I honestly felt like my brain hadn’t been that tantalized by such an display of information and stories, with such possibilities  and inspiration in years…or maybe ever (the benefits of still being a young and relatively inexperienced pup I guess).

Needles to say our brains were so full of information and new and challenging ideas that by the end of the first week we needed a break. Cue Canadian Claire and her friend Matt. Canadians have quite the rep of being all round friendly folk. In this case they were not only friendly but also super (and yes I mean super) trusting!

Claire invited a few of us to accompany her to visit her friend Matt at his family’s house in Viareggio (a small italian beach town north-ish of Bologna)…of course we said Yes! We jumped on the opportunity before Claire (and Matt) had on opportunity to re-think inviting almost strangers (we had known each other for less than a week, and Matt had never met us) for a weekend away…see Candadians = super friendly!

We arrived late on Friday evening, cracked some delicious wine from Matt’s family’s winery and set about make first impressions. I think and I can speak for myself and perhaps Bonnie (I love you Bonnie) and say that our fatigue may have led to us being a little tipsy in no time. In my experience, Canadians don’t seem to mind this, and in some ways quite welcome it infact (a little shout-out to Ryan and Kristen Tofte!).

The next day we hit Cinque Terra. My words really can’t do the Cinque Terra justice. It was amazing though, despite the wretched trek between (some) of the towns in the heat! So here are the pictures to describe our adventure (Courtesy of (schm)Alonzo):

As you can see it was an absolutely beautiful place…well worth the trek! We didn’t stumble upon the nudist beach my travel guide spoke of, but at least we got to check out the local talent (re: spunk in the pink singlet and budgie smugglers!)

The next day we chilled at the beach at Viareggio. We were all very grateful of Matt’s hospitality…and I think he was grateful that Claire hadn’t brought any crazies or psychos along. The trip ended almost without a single hiccup…Alonzo and I accidentally left our train tickets behind when switching trains on the ride home…

clap clap for the handicap is all i can say 😉

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