Six weeks before I was to leave for my long anticipated tour of Israel, Syria used nerve gas on its own people, murdering more than 1000 in the middle of the night. And the US (as I type this) is preparing to send missiles into Syria, who vows to retaliate against Israel when that happens. My tour would bring me within 4 miles of the Golan Heights at the border with Syria. So….I am seeking counsel from friends of friends, trying to make an informed decision about whether I should push on with my plans. Then, one night as I am lying in bed trying to fall asleep, I find I am making plans: I will sleep with my passport and credit cards around my neck, and I will keep a backpack with essentials packed and ready within reach of my bed just in case I need to leave my hotel room in a hurry. And, I need to remember to pack only shoes I can seriously run in, just in case I have to flee from danger…then it occurred to me these are not plans I should be making in preparation for a non-essential leisure trip to anywhere. So, with great disappointment, I cancelled my trip.
I am now in a battle of wills with the hotel where I booked a room for the end of my organized tour. They are refusing to refund my money. I asked nicely, I pointed out my written confirmation never mentions my rate is non-refundable, and I ask for my request to be escalated to management. When they said no again, I said I was disappointed, and would handle this through my bank. I also said I would be posting this in a review on TripAdvisor – my #1 travel resource. A few hours later I received a threatening, nasty email with an implied threat to involve lawyers. So here’s what I am going to do. My completely truthful review has been submitted to TripAdvisor, on which I am a senior reviewer. As soon as it is published, I will invite everyone I know to read my review and click on it as “helpful”. The properties always keep an eye on their TripAdvisor ratings, and I am hoping they will recognize how they may continue to lose business because of my posting, and that it would be easier if they announced in the comment field that they have generously reconsidered my request and refunded my money. That’s the plan. We shall see if it works. Either that, or Mossad will kick in my door in North Carolina and force me to retract it at gun point.
Would I let a little thing like missile strikes and hotel bullies from The Rothschild in Tel Aviv wreck my vacation? No way. I am happy to tell you the new plan is TUSCANY!!
Mornings are free to explore the 80 acre estate or the surrounding medieval towns, and afternoons are spent in class. This is the castle in Poppi, the town where I will be staying.
Dinners are what we cook each afternoon, enjoyed together in the villa. There is one day trip to see olive oil pressed and cheese produced, and there is one free day for run into Florence. I cannot wait. It’s not the massive adventure Israel would have been, but I will learn some new skills and spend time in the heart of Italy where it will be beautiful, quiet, and where there will be a very low likelihood of scud missile strikes.