Memorial Day weekend has always meant two things for me... lots of friends and camping...
When planning this trip there were several things that I knew it would interfere with back home that I would unfortunately have to miss out on... Seth's graduation (and initiation as a true Bellarmine Knight I suppose)... my kindergarten friend Amy's 21st birthday... the Kentucky High School State Track meet (the first one I have missed in ten years)... and of course, a fun-filled Memorial Day weekend.
Memorial weekend has always meant two things for me... friends and camping. While I was disappointed to be missing out on this year's festivities, I had to smile to myself when we arrived at our Venice hostel, only to see that it was indeed a "camping" hostel. Now, Dani and I were not actually in a tent, but we shared a TINY two bed shack (put straw around it and it would have looked just like a little African hut!) in a camping area just outside of Venice surrounded by tons of other campers...some in tents, some in campers, some in cabins. The camp area was also quite nice, having a pool, a bar, pub, restaurant and supermarket.
We actually arrived at the hostel with two other girls whom we had met on our train from Florence. We just so happened to be seated next to them and began talking about our travels and then realized we would all be staying at the same place in Venice. Allison was 19 and would begin a summer program in Rome the following week but came early to do a little traveling. Stephanie was 20 and had been in London several months studying and was using a long weekend to do some traveling. Friends right off the bat was a great thing!
Dani and I were pretty hungry when we did arrive at the hostel...having been surviving on food scraps most of the day, except for splitting half a sandwich given to us by the older couple also sitting with us on the train (who shared lots of travel advice based on their experiences.) The sandwich--simply tomato and cheese--had hit the spot and inspired us though. We hit up the supermarket and Stephanie went in on the purchasing with us so that we could fix sandwiches for dinner.
Now, unlike a true camper I had no pocket knife on me. (I was so disappointed... I have always kept it in my wallet, but it must have fallen out in my purse at home...) but the lack of a knife did not stop us and we McGyvered our way through the situation...Stephanie's Kinko's card had never been put to better use--it was a perfectly good cutting utensil! And the sandwiches were amazing
So, after having already made two friends to spend the weekend with, we still had two to come--but these two were expected: Steph and Kate! (For those who do not know, Steph is Michelle--Nic's fiance--younger sister and Kate is her good friend who has just finished a semester in Florence and the two of them have been doing a very similar traveling adventure to mine and Dani's. It was quite exciting when we realized that we would all be traveling at the same time, so Dani and I matched part of our travel schedule to coincide with their's.)
I have to say, it was so nice to suddenly have a group of friends. Experiencing Venice together was great and then to spend our evenings packing into one of our little huts and chatting for hours was almost as good. Dani and I love each other to death, but having a few new faces around was great and swapping travel stories and hopes was enjoyable as well.
So it may not have been in the Valley like normal and perhaps there was no fire or hot dogs (no frog gigging or mudding or pond swimming), but once again Memorial weekend did include camping and friends and I was glad of that.
Ah, yes...and what would Memorial Day be without the rain while camping?? I suppose I should say lucky for us, every day would begin beautifully--sunshine and blue skies. But every day we were there around 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. the clouds would roll in, the wind would pick up, the temperature would drop and the rain would fall.
I guess I should have started by saying Memorial Day weekend has always meant THREE things...and I indeed found all three this year as well: camping, friends and rain.