"Only Crazy people attended..." Valeggio sul Mincio by mapakettle
Valeggio sul Mincio Travel Guide: 573 reviews and 1,753 photos
This was a function that I waffled on about attending. I hate to have my picture taken, and I knew that cameras would be in abundance. On one hand I wanted to meet all these crazies I've been chatting with on the forums, but exposing myself to this strange VT world was a mental challenge. I've had it up to here with adoring fans lying in wait outside my home, hoping and praying for a glimpse of me, washing my car, mowing the lawn, basically anything to give them a leg up. But, endure I did, for two very long sleepless nights.
As soon as Ma Kettle, Baby Kettle and myself entered the room, cameras were raised, flashes went off, cries of "over here", "Smile", and "Krista, nice to see you", and "Ursula, you came, so wonderful", "Brad, show me your belly button", were screamed, practically in unison. We had barely progressed two feet into the room before this tremendous clapping stopped us in our tracks. I stopped, prepared to give my little speech to my fans, and realized that 'G' had just entered the hall from the other end, with his lovely parents. I lowered my hands as if to control the crowds, and a few other VTers threw their coats over my arms, and slipped me a couple of euros, with a "Thanks bud, take care of 'em now".
OK, so maybe none of the pitched fever within the room was directed towards me, but it stands to reason, it could have been.
Some weird guy wandered about all night, snapping picture after picture, in fact I caught his image in this photograph. This was taken just seconds before he told me to move out of the way. It appears I ruined his shot.
Eventually we got settled in, the moments of awkwardness had pretty much disappeared by the time we sat down to eat.
In all seriousness, this is a wonderful bunch of coco-'nuts' on VT. We were made to feel so welcomed, and everyone was so friendly. Everywhere we looked, smiles were in abundance, laughter was heard from every table, and flashes continued to go off.
I had been told that a VT meet was fun, but people lie, so to experience first hand such warmth and feeling of community, well, it was beyond my expectations.
Francesco (Effiti) as shown here, is a man I very much wanted to meet, as he has been so helpful to members on the Italy Travel Forum, always quick to offer sites for bus schedules, or distances from city to city, always giving of information to travelers in need. Fortunately we were given that opportunity.
After the meal was done, some guy wandered over with a sheet of newspaper in hand, and I thought he was about to wrap up my leftovers for his dog. Turns out that this was 'our' Claus, the famous cyclist from Denmark. The newspaper he was holding showed his latest escapades written up by a local newspaper (not Virtual Enquirer either).
He had story after story to tell, and as you can see from the photo, he is very passionette about his travels.
Ma Kettle was most intrigued by his adventures through various countries, but alas, time is always a required commodity in situations like this.
I found it most difficult to remember names of the people I met the first night. Everything is a blur. I know I looked past people at times, but this was due to my one wonky eye, or my concentration on another face who might have given a quick wave in my direction, and, in panic, I tried desperately to recall their names. Honestly, I didn't mean to ignore anyone.
I know many of the attendees felt somewhat the same way I did, but I quickly found that VTers are a forgiving lot. Everyone here has gone through the same feelings of nervousness, although some of us feel it more than others. We were all hoping to be well received, and were worried that we might be ignored. I found no case of this happening to me the entire weekend.
Ma Kettle was particularly concerned, after all, she was completely ignorant of who was who, but she relaxed as the first night progressed. Spouses are as big a part of VT as the members are., and she quickly found this out.
Baby Kettle, (my son Stephen), he came initially to give support to Ma and Pa. However, by the end of the weekend, he was pumped, loved every moment, thoroughly enjoyed his first encounter with the VT world. He made many good friends, and is looking forward to meeting more as life continues. He doesn't own a computer of his own, so contact may be limited for awhile, but please, don't give up hope.
The following is a list of all the members who attended the 1st Annual European VT Meet. alusru ANNAD +... more travel advice
Steve was thrilled to meet Kinga, thought she was the coolest thing since Grape Koolaid. more travel advice
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