During the course of the December holidays, fourteen Rhenish girls as well as two staff members had the privilege of traveling to Italy for a ski tour through Travel and Sport. We reported to Cape Town International for check-in the morning of the 11th at Qatar Airways, there was a buzz of excitement while girls checked in and parents waved their last goodbyes. An exhausting ten hours later, the girls were mindlessly wondering around Doha Airport waiting for the layover to end. Most girls found comfort on the floor and slept the hours away. Soon we were able to board our connecting flight to Venice, but the traveling wasn’t finished yet. After a six hour flight we took another five hour bus ride to Hotel Catturani in Madonna Di Campiglio.
All the traveling was definitely worth it. The snow was thick and the mountain ranges were breathtaking, but it was a cold never experienced before.
We had two ski lessons a day with our instructors, Francesco and Luka, from the Italian Ski Academy. We took it slow the first day, practicing on a slope near the hotel and learning terms such as “pizza” and “parallel”. That evening we went bum boarding and took a tumble when we thought going down in one long train was a good idea.
Luckily there were no injuries. By day two, skiing became easier and we were already able to weave through poles and turn. Some girls found it easier than others and we were split up into groups to tackle the blue slopes, a beginner trail. The following morning we decided to skip the first lesson to give our feet and shins a break and head into the nearby town where the girls had their first taste of a shopping spree. Going back to the slopes after lunch, our next ski session was a daunting one as it was finally time to tackle the big slopes.
Fortunately, our instructor started us off on the forest trail to allow us to adapt to skiing a distance. Before we knew it, we were heading down the blue slope. Although it is said to be for beginners, it was slightly intimidating. We were not as prepared for the steepness and nonstop falling, but nonetheless it was still great fun.
When the sun set the girls set out to trek the mountain on a snow walk with a guide where we hiked across the beautiful nature reserve through deep snow. Following a hearty breakfast on Saturday we grew confident in our moves and did more skiing than falling, therefore our instructor decided to take us to the top of the Grouse Mountain to attempt a red slope , an intermediate trail. Our once immaculate confidence soon began to cripple as our legs ached as we slowly, but surely contoured the slope. This is why the last day of skiing was relaxed on the blue slopes once again. We took a snowcat to a small Italian restaurant where we experienced traditional food e.g. polenta, Italian cheeses and goulash. Our time at the ski resort went by as fast as it came, nevertheless it was a time filled with fond memories none of us will forget anytime soon.
It was sad to leave the slopes behind for a long four hour drive and a half an hour boat ride to Venice but the girls were more than excited to get shopping in Venice. On arrival to the lovely island we were lead to Palazzo Contarini Della Porta di Ferro hotel where we were to stay for the next two days. Monday morning was spent on a short tour about the rich history and culture of the city of Venice. But it was what was planned after lunch that all the girls were raving about ; shopping. We split up in groups and literally shopped ‘til we dropped.
Many of us had a mini panic attack trying to navigate through the small streets and alleyways to get back to the hotel . Rhenish Girls are known to love their food, but Italian portions defeated us all as we were served three course meals everywhere we went.
This trip was a once in a lifetime experience in a beautiful country with new found friendships and memories. A special thank you to Ms Sarga and Ms Henry for planning this tour alongside Travel and Sport and to the parents that allowed their daughters to experience this trip.