So a friend recently asked me if they should visit the Greek Island of Santorini OR Positano on the Amalfi Coast in Italy. It may have been one of the only recorded times in my life when I was actually speechless. For a moment. The cogs were just ticking. There was a lot to think about. Italy vs Greece. Beach against beach. Fresh sardines for lunch or would you prefer grilled octopus. And don't even get me started on the views?!?!?! Sunset over the caldera or THAT Positano beach? It actually might be impossible to choose.Read More
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Filtering by Tag: Italy
If it's good enough for Lonely Planet, it's good enough for me. That's often been my rule of thumb in judging the merits of kinda dodging looking hostels and dubious modes of transport in the world's more remote reaches. And since Lonely Planet has just released its annual Best in Travel list, I figure I can do one too - albeit with the knowledge that such lists are obviously highly subjective and instrinsically pretty self indulgent.Read More
I love November. I love that here in Queensland, the jacarandas come out in full force and lay down some way over the top and seriously spectacular carpets of purple goodness. I love that the first storms rear their ferocious heads. Then this week, I discovered there's another reason to love November - apparently It's the best time to travel!Read More
I love a good bucket list! They are inspiring and dreamy while at the same time incredibly frustrating because they only seem to grow! Is it just me or do you also seem to add another 10 items to your bucket list for every one you tick off. My bucket list is ever-evolving and ever-growing but honestly, that's the way I like it!
So while Elissa is managing to tick some European highlights off her bucket list this month, I've stumbled upon a great list called The short haul bucket list: 30 places in Europe you must see before you die
It's worth having a look through the photo gallery the Daily Telegraph Travel team has compiled, but I've summarised it here for you with some photos of places I've been lucky enough to visit:
- Var, Provence, France
- Gaudí’s Barcelona, Spain
- Sistine Chapel, Italy
- Acropolis, Greece
- Pamukkale, Turkey
- Semana Santa, Spain
- Aya Sofya, Istanbul, Turkey
- Matterhorn, Switzerland
- Chateau de Chenonceau, Loire Valley, France
- The Atlantic Road, Norway
- Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey
- Northern Lights, Scandinavia or Iceland
- Sainte Chapelle, Paris
- Red Square, Moscow, Russia
- Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy
- Charles Bridge, Czech Republic
- Brandenberg Gate, Germany
- Tuscany, Italy
- Lake Bled, Slovenia
- Colosseum, Italy
- Ephesus, Turkey
- Eiffel Tower, France
- Alhambra, Spain
- Venice, Italy
- The black beaches of Iceland
- Pantheon, Italy
- Mezquita de Cordoba, Spain
- Versailles, France
- The Hermitage, St Petersburg
- Pompeii and Herculaneum, Italy
My list still some fairly significant dints in it but it still needs a bit of work! With these widely published bucket lists, you always notice a few landmarks that leave you a bit stumped...the Sainte Chapelle in Paris...It looks amazing! How did I miss it?!?!?! The Sistine Chapel of course will have to stay locked in my memory - strictly no photos allowed! And then there are always some places that you will swear should have made it onto the list. Cappadocia in Turkey? The Cinque Terre in Italy???? The islands of Croatia???? But of course - lists can't be endless...or can they?!?!
Are any of your favourite places in Europe missing? Or any hot spots you are just dying to visit? While Elissa is gallivanting the European countryside living out her bucket list, come and dream with me!
I know all the buzz has been about Hawaii this week, but there's also a European adventure in our very immediate future - I'm off to Europe next week! And since we're about to go on holidays together, it seems only proper to get to know each other a bit better. So...
I'm Elissa, Aimee's Wanderlust People partner in crime. This is me dressed up by a Nepali friend for the Teej festival in Kathmandu. It was one of the stand out days of the six months my husband Matt and I spent in Nepal - Teej is the one time of year when the women of Nepal get together without their menfolk and really let loose. A whole lot of preening and bangle jangling and dancing and laughing and joking about husbands goes on, and I was welcomed into the beating heart of it all just by virtue of being a woman and being there. It was a blast.
But I was bitten by the travel beast (side note: "travel bug" is an inadequate term in my experience!) long before Nepal.
- My first overseas trip was a 6 week round-the-world dash, and the first stop was Peru. I ate guinea pig, had a stranger look out for me, saw real poverty, haggled in terrible Spanish, got hideous altitude sickness and became completely smitten with mountains, hiking and travel in general.
- My pick for good-dash-of-everything destinations is Sri Lanka. World class beaches, check. Magnificent, friendly people, check. Ancient relics, check. Mountains and hiking opportunities, check. Potential for real cultural exchanges, check. Mind bogglingly delicious food, check check. Go there.
- The place that I first thought I could pack up and move to was Rome (there have been others since, but there's always a special place in your heart for the first!). Anywhere where people will have a good yell at each other over differing opinions on the quality of the pasta and eat gelato in the dead of winter and walk through the remains of a civilisation centuries past on the way to the office is my kind of place.
- The place most inaccurately represented by Hollywood that I've experienced is Casablanca, Morocco. Forget the romantic nostalgia of Humphrey Bogart; it's a pretty drab commercial centre. Tangier, on the other hand, (where lots of Casablanca was actually filmed, by the way) is pretty underrated in my book - it has all the spice and sea swept exoticism you expect from a Moroccan port town. Morocco is also the place I was first initiated into the rites of travelling with children - our eldest daughter Sascha was five months old when we travelled there. I'll never forget a lady with three children of her own and not a word of English sweeping Sascha into her arms on a long train journey and playing with her for the whole trip, just for the love of babies. I've been sold on travelling with kids ever since.
- Speaking of travelling with kids - that probably started with my own childhood. I travelled around Australia in a caravan with my parents for a whole year when I was 11. How cool are they??
- The landmark that most blew my mind is The Great Wall in China. I'd heard all that stuff about it being seen from space, but something about actually standing in the howling wind looking over the desolate mountains from a wall whose first stones were laid in the seven century made me ponder just how small my blip is on the radar of the world at large and the history that has written it. China was also the site of my worst food poisoning experience ever. That's a story for another day, but suffice to say it involved still having to breastfeed an eight-month-old baby (Ethan, our second child), a hideous long-haul express train trip, and a mixed up hotel booking.
- My last trip was to Italy, Croatia and Turkey in May 2014. And you know how Rome is the city of love? Meet Luca, born in January this year ;)
- Our next trip (and Luca's first) is to England, Spain and France - NEXT WEEK!
So enjoy the last days of your Hawaii adventure and get ready for a European change up! We'll keep the photos coming :)
My compulsion to fit as much as possible into every trip (and every hour, actually - my husband is regularly frustrated by my being late because I just had to squeeze one more thing into my day) is legendary. It's a running joke among friends who have joined me on various trips; just the other day one friend, who we'll be visiting in London in August, said she was thrilled the "Webster juggernaut" would be pausing in her honour for a whole week.
What can I say? I'm acutely aware of just how big the world is and how little of it I can ever hope to see.
That said, in recent years, I have taken the foot off the pedal just a little bit - and I've really enjoyed it. Travelling with kids makes it necessary to make it enjoyable, so now I have a minimum three night rule (although I will say that rules are made to be broken - but it's good to have goals). And the side effect, apart from enhanced family harmony, has been a greater appreciation of the nuances of each small corner of the world (and definitely less post-trip exhaustion). And while I wouldn't presume to say that a week enables me to become a San Sebastian cafe regular (sorry Ben), I will concur that it gives a much better glimpse into the lives and experiences of the people who are.
I'm heading to Europe for four weeks next month. I'm aiming to make the most of each day - by savouring it.
WORDS: Ben Groundwater
There's a temptation to view the world like a breakfast buffet. Or at least, the way I view a breakfast buffet.
It's easy to feel that the only way to do this earth justice is to travel to as much of it as possible in the short amount of time you've been allotted, to feed your travelling face with as many sweet and savoury delicacies as you can fit on your plate. A small portion of south-east Asia. A dollop of Europe. A drizzling of the United States.
So you plan journeys that take in 15 countries in a couple of weeks. You go on tours that call through every single European highlight there is. You settle for a day here, a day there, a few hours at this museum, a few hours at that gallery. And before long, like the breakfast buffet, you've overdone things and you need to go lie down for a while to let things settle.
(Or is that just the way I do it?)
That's certainly the way I used to travel. As far as I was concerned, you only get a finite amount of time to see the world in this lifetime, and I wanted to see as much of it as possible.
If that meant having an eight-hour stopover in Abu Dhabi and cramming in four or five attractions, then so be it. If it required two overnight bus journeys in order to spend about six hours in Cappadocia in central Turkey, then that was fine.
You're here for a good time, not a long time, right? It's better to see four hours' worth of Vaduz and know you've been to Liechtenstein than to not go at all. It's worth spending just one day in Mexico City so that you can at least tick the box.
But recently, things have changed. I've decided to take things at a more moderate pace. If we're going to torture this food metaphor just a little bit further, then I've gone from stuffing my face at a buffet to sitting down to a long, leisurely brunch.
It's slow travel. Like slow food, the idea is to take time to enjoy just a few good things rather than hurry through as much as possible.
Here's the idea. I've got a month-long trip to Europe coming up. Back in the day, I would have used this fairly substantial amount of time to go on a touristic blitz. I would have booked a rail pass and tried to see all of the little towns and big cities that I haven't seen before. It would have been a tour de force, a whirlwind of "if it's Monday, I must be in Hamburg" moments.
But not this time. This time, in four weeks I'm going to five cities. I've got six days in San Sebastian. I've got an entire week in Rome.
The objective is not to see as much as possible, but to enjoy as much as possible. I want to become a regular at a local café in San Seb. I want to spend an entire day walking around the Villa Borghese. I want to sit and watch the world go by and not be worried about the flight I have to catch that afternoon, or the train I should be on to the next destination.
For me, now, this is the way travel should be done. The idea isn't to see a lot of places, but to really get to know a few. When you've got a whole week at your disposal you can start to move with the rhythm of local life; you can stumble across hidden gems; you can ditch the guidebook and embrace the notion of wandering with no set plan and no ideas.
Slow travel leaves time for the unexpected. It means you can have a chance meeting and end up in a place you never would have previously discovered. It means you can pick up snippets of local language and find the nuances of the culture.
You can still do the touristy things. But you can also spend entire days doing pretty much nothing. That's something people often reserve for sun-lounges at beach resorts, but it's just as valuable to do it at a café in Rome, or Barcelona. Whole new worlds reveal themselves when you've got nothing to do. New places, new people, new foods.
The hustle of the 15-countries-in-two-weeks itineraries will feel laughable once you've mastered the art of just chilling out. Slow travel is about seeking out the small things, and enjoying them. It's about the fun of foreign normality.
It's not about overnight bus trips. And it's not about four-hour stopovers. It's about a long brunch. And no buffets.
Travelling with children hey....you know the kind that kick the back of your seat on the train, scream the entire way on the plane and interrupt your sunset view with their crying and snotting. Sounds amazing right?
To be completely honest, for me one of the main reasons that the concept of having my own children seemed so inconceivable for so long, was because it didn't really reconcile with my love of travel. All I really had to go on was the back-of-the-seat-kicking, the screaming and the flailing. I can actually remember having conversations with Elissa (who became a parent before me) about what it was like to travel with children and she assured me travelling with kids ADDED to the experience rather than detracted from it. I must admit part of me thought this may have been a bit of an exaggeration or that perhaps she was overcompensating with positivity because really it was the worst thing in the world but since she was already stuck with said children, she had better just pretend it was great because there was no going back now! Really I imagined she must be gouging out her eyeballs on long haul flights and pining for the days of solitude and bliss.
But then, eventually, I joined the world of parenthood myself. Of course travel was on the agenda early on and we took our eight-month-old on a six week trip to Europe - travelling through Italy, France and parts of Spain. And we all absolutely loved it! Of course it was different to travelling just the two of us. But it was brilliant. And I finally understood what Elissa meant when she said having children on the adventure actually added to the experience. We found that travelling with our baby was a magnet for engaging with local people. We had more conversations, more recommendations and discovered more hidden gems than perhaps we ever had before. All because people wanted to talk to Samuel.
And it was remarkable to see the world through Samuel's eyes as he experienced not only foreign lands and cultures for the first time, but also the wonder of first time experiences of absolutely everything - from interaction with locals who stopped to greet him with a "Ciao bello," everywhere we went in Italy, to the breathtaking magic of a new vista, another uninterrupted view, the crystal clear waters of a stream, the vivid green of a tree, the undulating hills dotted with castles, the scent of fresh garlic and herbs cooking in an Italian trattoria or the pungent cheeses to be sample at a French market. How amazing is the world!
Critics might say that you're crazy to take your kids travelling before they are old enough to remember it. But for us, having an extended period of time off exploring together, especially with a young baby, was the perfect way to begin this new season in our lives. This particular journey will always hold a special place in our hearts and memories as it solidified our new life as a "family" and gave us time and space to enjoy each other and establish ourselves in this new phase of life in the best way we know how - by travelling!
I'm certainly no expert in this field though - in fact as a family with just one child, you could say I'm really just a beginner. Rachel Denning on the other hand, is somewhat of an expert. She is permanently travelling with her husband and SIX children (eight years, 13 countries and counting!).
If you are considering taking your family on the road, I would recommend checking out the Live Your Legend blog and especially the tips Rachel provides for permanently travelling with kids.
And in the meantime - be kind to your fellow travellers! Whether you are travelling alone, with your partner or friends or with your brood of children, remember everyone is in a different phase of life and has different priorities and experiences. A smile, a friendly conversation and a dose of respect will always be the right attitude no matter what situation you find yourselves in.
And if you're planning a trip with your bambino...this booties are made for walking... (actually, they're not, but they are definitely up for some international crawling)