Monday, September 5, 2011

Solo in Italy - My Laid-Back Travel

I spent a week in Italy just to rest away from my usual surroundings and it became one of my best trips. I might not have visited the highest number of tourist attractions or highly reviewed restaurants on tripadvisor, but quantity means nothing to me in this trip. It was not about the most, but the BEST experience - even if it meant just one excellent meal, one heart-warming conversation, one breathtaking view.

The picture here was taken in Orvieto, Umbria. It was an impromptu day trip suggested by a local, after I mentioned that I wanted to visit a quiet town like Sienna, but near to Rome. It was a sweet journey, walking off the beaten path without bothering to follow the map or any guidebook and finding a quiet spot - with no one in sight - to enjoy this rare sight. All other tourists flocked to Duomo, underground caves, tower, ceramic shops. I covered most of those but also had some undisturbed beautiful views of the city and surrounding areas. It was priceless.

Every traveler's source of fulfillment in a trip varies. For a first visit to a city, I do often try to visit the key highlights, to experience as much of the best as possible. But for a second visit, I find it more enjoyable to take it easy and try to understand more of a local's way of life and view of the city. More of a cultural exploration. This trip allowed me to sit back and observe people, slowly enjoy a fantastic homestyle meal without having to chow down my food and rush to a museum or something, leisurely stroll around unfamiliar areas and get lost for a while (before GPS came to my rescue), have meaningful (and flirtatious.....) conversations with a local, take part in a 5-hour cooking class (I don't give a damn how many tourist spots I could have otherwise visited in 5 hours.)..... I walked a lot, rested a lot, talked a lot, smiled a lot. Just what I wanted.

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