The late songwriter Shel Silverstein penned it and Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show recorded it in 1972: The Cover of ‘Rolling Stone’. Like DH&TMS, I, too, made the cover. Not the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, but the soon-to-be-released Insight Vacations‘ WHAT’S NEW IN 2016 European brochure and its companion catalogue.
Out of the thousands of professional photos taken during numerous Insight itineraries over the past year, the brain trust at Insight HQ chose the one where I’m doing a Kate Winslet-like Titanic pose on a 100-year-old sailing barge gliding along Portugal’s Lake Alqueva during Insight’s Iberian Adventure. The moment was creatively captured, by the way, by fashion-commercial photographer Simon Boucher-Harris.
According to John Boulding, Insight’s Global CEO, “The photo captures the essence of touring with Insight and is the perfect frame to spotlight our brand’s new and exciting journeys around Europe for 2016.”
The four-page brochure and the 200+ page, glossy catalogue were unveiled on Monday at Insight’s 2015 Global Sales Conference held at the elegant Bauer Palladio Hotel & Spa on Giudecca Island in Venice. And, they’ll be available soon — hardcopy and digital — to those who are curious to learn more about “the art of touring in style.” For details, logon to Insight by clicking HERE.
Because I’m just a short train ride away from La Serenissima, I’m a surprise guest at the conference and chat with the 70 or so attendees about my experiences as an embedded journalist on numerous Insight itineraries. All the while, my Titanic pose is up on the Jumbotron just behind me.
While Insight staff continue with their conference inside, I take advantage of my brief stay in Venice and step out the front door and take a long, leisurely stroll along the Fondamenta della Giudecca, the promenade that runs alongside Giudecca Canal.
Reaching a bàcaro (bar), I take a chair outside and order a few cicchetti (small appetizers) and an ombra (glass of wine). Okay, two.
A beautiful, relaxing sunny afternoon, I’m in no hurry to move a muscle as I enjoy the splendid views across the canal until one of those gigantic cruise ships breaks my reverie and suddenly appears in my line-of-sight, casting an equally giant shadow over the seascape, like Godzilla in Tokyo, and dwarfing La Serenissima as it passes by ever so slowly.
I do, however, like the sound coming through loud and clear on the upper deck: Nessun Dorma from Turandot sung by Pavarotti. All is forgiven, briefly.
On my return, I pause long enough to marvel at Il Redentore (The Redeemer), the 16th century votive church designed by High Renaissance master builder Andrea Palladio.
Entering the equally old and restored 16th century Le Zitelle, a former convent for unwed mothers transformed into the luxurious Palladio Hotel & Spa — one of Bauer’s four landmark properties around the City of Canals and a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, and where I’ll hang my hat for the night — I keep the lens cap off to capture the classic Venetian interiors and the well-manicured, spacious, retreat-like gardens.
As daylight begins to give way to nighttime, I rejoin Insight’s sales team for a private boat ride out to the island of Burano, the pastel-colored fishing village, for a four-course, seafood dinner at nautically-themed Al Raspo de Ua.
After three hours around la tavola, our skipper weighs anchor and we shove off and head back across the now ink-black Lagoon toward my restful night under crisp, five-star sheets.
The morning after, I say my goodbyes to my new-found friends, hop a vaporetto (water bus) and head down the Giudecca Canal for Stazione Santa Lucia and the short train ride back home.
In case you’re wondering, at no time on the crowded water bus did I strike the Titanic pose. I just stared at a copy of the Insight photo and chuckled to myself.
©The Palladian Traveler