On Saturday March 12, 43 travelers departed their homes to journey to a small island off of Italy’s coast: Sicily. Flight connections, layovers and the usual hubbub of travel couldn’t dim the smiling faces of these Group Coordinators and their guests as they made their way to take part in our March 2016 Convention Tour.
Upon arrival in Sicily, travelers were greeted by seven Go Ahead staff members, two talented Tour Directors, two skilled bus drivers and friends (new and old). Here, Communications & Events Manager CJ shares a few of our team’s favorite moments from this special tour.
The island of Sicily provided a dynamic setting for a Convention Tour with bold ocean views, mountainous panoramas and even an active volcano sprinkled with snow. At every turn, the group was met with another photo-worthy view.
Working together during the convention meeting
Every Convention Tour provides a unique opportunity for Group Coordinators from all across North America with different experiences to come together during the convention meeting. Company updates from the Go Ahead team are coupled with workshops where groups get to brainstorm and share their best ideas for traveling with a group.
Sampling gelato and granita
Aside from being the names of our buses during the trip, gelato and granita also made regular appearances throughout the tour. Gelato of all flavors was enjoyed from cups, cones and even on brioche. Granita, a specialty of Sicily, is somewhere between sorbet and a snow cone, which provided the perfect sweet refreshment for basking in the Italian sunshine. Travelers aiming for authenticity tried it the traditional way: served with brioche for breakfast.
Getting to know each other
The connections that Group Coordinators form during the trip are always a highlight of a Convention Tour. Our Sicily Convention saw experiences and travel advice being shared over pasta dishes and bottles of Nero d’Avola, one of Sicily’s most popular red wine varietals.
Lunch with a Sicilian Contessa
Azienda Casabianca, the home of Countess Giovanna Modica Notarbartolo, provided the venue for an unforgettable lunch at the midpoint of the trip. A tour of the property from the Contessa herself and course after course of homemade Italian dishes complemented the rustic setting of the meal. Families of local staff joined our group to make the moment a genuine Sicilian get-together.
Learning from our Tour Directors
As with any Go Ahead tour, the talented Tour Directors who accompanied the group added unique perspectives and their own flavor to each day’s adventure. We were lucky to be joined by Biagio and Stefania, both Sicilian natives, who guided us through their favorite place in the world. Mamma Mia!—did they teach us all a thing or two about Sicily and what the Italian island has to offer!
Castello degli Schiavi
A special experience for this Convention Tour, the group was invited into Castello degli Schiavi—the famous villa from the Godfather films. Guided by the Baron himself, we had a firsthand glimpse at where some of the most famous scenes played out.
The farewell dinner
While always a bittersweet moment, the farewell dinner brought the whole group together for one more Sicilian meal. Complete with local folk musicians, a conga line, speeches and even a few tears, the group reflected on how the nine days had gone by so quickly yet were filled with learning, adventures and friends.
Have you ever been on a Convention Tour? Which one was your favorite and why?