Posted by Bill Steiner – Adventures in Italy
One of the many things Kristi and I pause to give thanks for during this season is the friends and relationships we have built in Orvieto. In this, I am reminded of Greg Mortenson and his book “Three Cups of Tea.” Perhaps I am partial to the book and Greg since I spent four of my formative years in Afghanistan. But I love the message and title of the book – in part, because it speaks to our experiences in Orvieto.
Afghans are notoriously hospitable, inviting strangers into their homes and giving them their last bit of food even if it means going without themselves. But, it takes time to earn an Afghani’s trust. Mortenson relates how, when he had been invited back for the third cup of tea to the village leader’s house in the first community where he began his work of building schools in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan, he knew he had earned that trust, been accepted, was part of the family. It is only when you have been offered that third cup of tea that you know you are family.
One of the great joys for Kristi and me, and one of the exceptional dimensions we are able to offer on our trips, is that, in Orvieto, we have figuratively been invited back for that third cup of tea by many different people. As a result we are shown a level of hospitality, openness, and connection to Italian life that very few travelers see.
We are entering our eighth year of leading trips to Orvieto. I think it took a few years for Orvietani to believe we would continue to come back. Now they know we will, and they look for us each spring and fall. We are family and doors are opened for us as family that are rarely opened for others visiting this city. I think this is one of the ingredients all of us who contribute to this blog are able to offer, one of the qualities we provide our travelers that they won’t receive in most of their travels.
It is nice for Kristi and me to be able to provide this deeper dimension. It is also incredible to be able to count the friendships of dozens of people in Orvieto amongst the list of things for which we are grateful this season.
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Kristi and Bill Steiner began leading “learning vacations” to Orvieto, Italy in 2003. Through Adventures in Italy they provide a cultural immersion experience. Many trips include the pursuit of some kind of creative work that complements and reinforces exploration of Italy’s culture. Relationships built over the years enable Kristi and Bill to provide experiences that a typical visitor to Orvieto never gets. Trips are held in May and September/October every year. Their Discover Orvieto and Girlfriend Getaway trips are available to groups any time of the year. Learn more about Kristi and Bill’s trips.
Stay abreast of Adventures in Italy developments, and follow Bill’s musings about travel and Italy on his blog Make Haste Slowly.