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He didn't get where he is today by stealing somebody else's catchphrase.

Inspired...

It's a good summary of how I feel.

I didn't know what to expect from my Italian trip and I didn't know an awful lot about the proceedings, but in the end it didn't really matter. It was all good and I've got a smile on my face. I've also got some good memories.

I stayed at a place called Lido di Spina, a small town about an hour and a half from Venice. The twelve of us lived in little villas on a fairly respectable campsite that put Butlins to shame (*clicky*), not that this is hard.

The weather was marvellous (~35c most days) and the company equally so. When the high-point of the heat had passed by, we'd train for a couple hours. After that, we'd watch a couple of demonstrations. Whilst that sounds like lunacy, the Gi works very well and wearing a thick cotton bright white garment is actually a good thing - I had no issues with the heat at all, apart from being a pasty white Brit who burns at the drop of a hat.

Although that was good too. At the airport, I bought some factor 50+ kids sunscreen and didn't burn one bit. Sure, I have some colour now, but I didn't frazzle at all, not even on the big shiny white space atop of my head. Marvellous.

In the evening after training, we'd eat wonderful Italian food (mainly seafood) and drink. The Italian guys we trained with were friendly and extremely hospitable, evidenced by the midnight beach party we were invited to. All drinks were free and great fun was had. I swam in the sea at 1am - it was warmer than most UK swimming pools. Bliss. And there's nothing that beats sitting on a veranda at stupid o'clock, talking shite whilst supping a beer. To spout clichés, it's what good times are made of.

Each day, prior to training, I got the chance to explore and do some photography. I've not had chance to look at the results yet, but my visits to Comaccio and Venice were extremely enjoyable. I don't really care what the results are, I was just having fun. I saw a black belt grading and watched the freestyle Ju-Jitsu tournament. The national champions were entrants. This, combined with the skill of Pierro (*clicky*), our instructor have left me feeling inspired - inspired to train more and enter the tournament next year.

So now, I'm back. It was great to ignore the phone and have 9 days where I don't even have to think about work. I'll be returning next year.
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