Frequently Asked Questions:
PLEASE NOTE: These are answers to general questions you may have. The answers do not apply to every retreat so if you have a specific question, please feel free to email me directly.
What airport should I fly into? There are 2 Int'l. airports: Milan Linate or Milan Malpensa. Milan Malpensa is where the shuttle bus picks up so I recommend that airport if you can.
What time should I arrive? You need to arrive NO LATER than 3:00 pm in Bellagio on the Retreat Start Day in order to check in and get situated before the 1st nights activities. Please try to arrive earlier if possible so you have time to check in and settle into your apartment. Normal check in at the apartments is 3pm. I HIGHLY suggest that it is BEST if you plan to get to Italy a day or two EARLIER so you can get used to the time change and be ready to go on Saturday. Most ladies have scheduled their flight into Milan to arrive a day AHEAD of the retreat and then made plans to visit the sights around Milan. REMEMBER that when booking your flight to Milan it is an overnight flight so you have to schedule the day you leave at LEAST a day earlier than the start of the retreat!
TIP: There is a Sheraton hotel AT THE MALPENSA AIRPORT. This is the EASIEST and most convenient hotel if you need to stay a night or more in Milan before the retreat or afterward because it is actually connected to the airport! It is also the airport that the shuttle bus will be picking people up.
How will I get to Bellagio? You have a FEW options:
Option One: I will have a private shuttle service that will coordinate up to 20 people to meet outside the Sheraton Hotel at the Malpensa (MXP) airport. This is ONLY on the day of the START DAY of each Creative Retreat, around 1:00pm. THIS IS INCLUDED IN YOUR REGISTRATION FEE SO I HIGHLY RECOMMEND COORDINATING YOUR AIR TRAVEL TO CORRESPOND WITH THIS PRIVATE SHUTTLE SERVICE.
Option Two: Take a public taxi outside of baggage claim at either airport. You will tell them to take you to the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio on Lake Como and they will know where that is. It will be about a 1- 1/2 hour ride through Milan and then the lakeside and cost will depend on the driver. I highly suggest NOT getting into the taxi until AFTER you have agreed on a price! Pricing should be roughly 150-180 Euros and you can definitely negotiate with them. (sharing this with a couple other ladies will be a cheaper option as well)
Option 3: You can reserve a private car ahead of time. Just email me ahead of time and I can schedule the pick-up with a private driver and let you know how much that would be. I think it is roughly 160- 180Euros for a car and would be for you and/or your group (up to 4 people) at whatever time is convenient for you.
PLEASE NOTE: The drive to Bellagio is a gorgeous drive along the shores of Lake Como but is hilly and curvy so if you are prone to motion sickness I advise you to take Dramamine at least 30 minutes before you leave the airport.
Who will I be rooming with? Each apartment will accommodate 3 ladies with individual beds. If you would like to share with 4 friends, there are a few Large apartments available. (Please request this accommodation as soon as possible because these will fill up fast!) Please let me know who you want to room with and every effort will be made to make that possible. There will be plenty of Retreat time together though and lots of free time to explore the many wonders of this region of Italy with your friends. Because this is a small and intimate event, we will be spending time getting to know each person and I know we will all become like family by the end of the journey together! If for any reason you need to have a private accommodation, there will be a few private rooms available so please email me for further information and pricing.
What can I expect from my time in Italy? I can sum this up in one phrase:
"When in Rome, do as the Romans do..."
Italy is such an “iconic” place and we all hold special feelings or ideas of what Italy will be like for us. For me it is “Heaven on Earth” as I’ve said many times before. But with that said, I also live in the real world and want to make sure you all know that nowhere on earth IS perfect. Lake Como is very picturesque, has many beautiful villages, pathways and scenic roads to enjoy and breathtaking vistas of one of the most gorgeous lakes in the World! But with that comes some hills, cobblestone streets, uneven paths, small cars going too fast and weather that is unpredictable. I don’t want to put a damper on things, but I want to make everyone aware of what comes with this idyllic place. We are in a different country and we need to adapt to the way things are over in Italy. We can not go to Italy and expect it to be the United States. The internet is slower, they don't have cheeseburgers, they speak a different language and they don't have the same lifestyle we are used to.
If for health reasons you would have a difficult time walking up a somewhat steep pathway to the apartments several times a day, I would highly suggest you stay in the hotel next door, The Hotel Florence. I have reserved a few rooms there each year and it is down by the waterfront and next door to the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni. This is on the lakefront, it’s on a flat street with lots of shopping and restaurants and will give you the best solution for the least amount of physical activity. The Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni also has accommodations in their hotel that has elevators, but it is a much more costly suggestion than the hotel right next door. Please feel free to email me with any questions before you register so we can make sure you have the best accommodations to suit your needs. We want to make this an event that is “Heaven on Earth” for everyone!
What is the weather like on Lake Como, Italy Weather on Lake Como is beautiful just about all year round. The Summer is beautiful with temperatures in the high 70's F and 80's during the days to the low 60’s in the evenings. The Spring and Fall are in the High 60's and 70's during the day with lows in the high 50's at night. You will want to bring layers of clothes and comfortable walking shoes. The weather can vary from day to day, with rain possible at any time of year. Bring along an umbrella and some good walking shoes and pack as light as possible. There is a self serve laundry in town and I will acquaint everyone with the necessary stores in town on one of the first days walking tours.
What should I bring to this retreat? This list will be added when the Teachers provide the list of items for each class. I have asked the Teachers to provide as many items as possible so the students will only need to bring basic tools and supplies such as scissors, adhesives, etc. Please check back for this list as we get closer to the event.
Why is this Retreat non-refundable after a certain point? These events that are planned each year are wonderful and I want everyone to enjoy it to the fullest! There is well over a years worth of time, money and planning that I put into making this event successful. There is a deposit at the time of sign up that I will not be able to refund you. We understand things come up though and something may happen to prevent you from attending, so there will be a grace period where you can transfer your registration to another person or you will be refunded the amount you have paid, minus the deposit. Unfortunately, the event venue, hotels, excursions, classes and special surprises that are planned well in advance do have specific deadlines and/or policies and therefore, after a certain point that is why things are not refundable.
Why do I need to sign a contract? I take these events very seriously and I want you to as well. There are certain guidelines that I want all of us to be on the same page about. The contract goes over all the details of the trip and is binding on both of our parts. If you have any questions about the contract please feel free to email me.
Why do I need Trip Insurance? It is highly recommended for each student to purchase trip insurance for the Retreats. We never know when unforeseen things happen and because these events are held in a different country, it is a safety precaution that must not be overlooked. Please feel free to email if you would like information about Trip Insurance and where to purchase it, but here are a few online sources for Trip Insurance:
Insure My Trip
And here is an article that gives advice on getting Travel Insurance: Travel Insurance 2013
Lastly, here are some helpful links to get more familiar with this beautiful region of Italy:
Please feel free to email me at any time at: firstname.lastname@example.org
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13