Tag: travelin women

Tivoli, as promised

Horribly late again, I know that. In my defense I’ve to tell you that so far my 2020 has been pretty turbulent, both in a good and in a bad way. Let’s go back on topic anyway.

The first thing I did in Tivoli was run! One of the main reasons for me being there was Villa d’Este and I knew the garden would close pretty soon, plus on New Year’s Day basically everything is closed. It was more or less a now or never situation. Despite it being pretty cold I arrived at my B&B literally drenched in sweat because not only did I run, I run on a steep climb which turned out to be the wrong one. So after that I had to run some more, this time on a flight of steps. Since apparently I can run faster than I thought, I arrived before the owner, who I couldn’t call on the phone due to total lack of signal, so I had to ask a nearby bar where a kind guy pointed me to the owner’s mum’s house. I forgot to be shy, rang the bell and finally had my room in the prettiest, cozyest B&B ever!

When I arrived at Villa d’Este I realized my phone was almost dead, so I had to limit the pictures, which I hate on one hand, on the other hand I’ve to admit it wasn’t bad at all to simply enjoy the place without a camera always in my hand. Ah, the charm of traveling old style! After all I still managed to take a few nice pics so I’m satisfied. The interior of that beautiful, ancient house has some amazing ceilings, but is pretty much empty, infact for me the best part is the garden. It’s huge, with many many fountains, one more outstanding than the other, baroque sculptures, and panoramic views. I’m sure that by night, with the lights on, it must look like a dream. They allow visits by night only during the summer, anyway, what a pity. Not that I’m complaining, I had the luck to be there in a wonderful, sunny winter afternoon, and let me tell you, the sunset was so beautiful I almost cried. About that, there’s a roof terrace where you can enjoy a 360° view. Try to be there in time for the sunset, you won’t regret it!.

There are other two villas and an ancient temple to see in Tivoli, but they’re closed during winter holidays, so I could only see them from the outside. Anyway the town’s historical center is small and pretty and one can simply stroll around the narrow lanes and just enjoy being there. For some reasons it looks like the locals are very fond of pizza. I mean, sure, that’s Italy for you, but I was still impressed by the number of pizza places I came across. I tried a few and I was pretty satisfied with my purchases.

After that I spent the most important midnight of the year in the main square. There was music, people, a small ice rink and a friendly, lively atmosphere. I didn’t stay very long because I had a small trekking planned for the next day, besides it was really cold, at least by my standards. The trekking proved to be a little disappointing, though, probably because I was simply tired from the night before, but the sun shone bright and I stopped to bask in it for a while on a big, square, white rock. It was worth it, in the end.

An advice for myself now. Small towns like tivoli tend to keep all of their attractions closed on the main holidays, so it’d be wiser to go on normal week ends.

Why nobody talks about Molise?

Why have I never done it? What’s Molise, anyway?

Well, let’s start from the beginning. As I’ve already told you before, probably more than once, I’m definitely an autumn enthusiast. This means I really enjoy red leaves, fireplaces, crisp air and all the package. I really wish to experience autumn in Canada, for an instance, but this is another story. Since I had a couple of free days, two weeks ago, I decided to leave for a small trip with a few dear friends of mine. The problem was, where to go without spending a small fortune and without having to stay in a car for the whole duration of the trip? As it turns out there’s a region in the south of Italy which for some reason isn’t really on the main tourists roads, despite being pretty close to some beautiful and well known villages, and also on the road to a few of the most popular ski resorts in the south. This region also has some amazing landscapes, is not crowded at all so you can really enjoy its relaxed, peaceful atmosphere and if this were not enough, with a little luck you can run into the truffle festival!

Well, this is Molise for you! For me there’s just a virtual, self-inflicted clip behind the hear because of course I knew Molise existed, but it never occurred to me to go there, despite it being really close to where I live.

We had to choose the easy paths for our walks because it was a rainy weekend but it was wonderful just the same. I got to collect a small booty of pine cones and acorns with which I am having fun making some Christmas decorations. We also visited a sanctuary for injured or sick animals, where they are currently treating wonderful birds of prey and some turtles. Or maybe the turtles are just there as permanent guests, I’m not sure.

Unfortunately, deer and does were nowhere to be seen, but it is completely understandable. You never know what some smelly humans can do.
As far as I know in the region there is also a large peat bog where you can meet wild horses, among countless other species of animal and birds in particular. It must be a beautiful place, and definitely something I will want to see sooner rather then later. I’ve already seen something of the sort in France and it was really far beyond amazing. Sadly for this I will have to wait for spring.


In the meantime, my advice is, if you are in the south of Italy don’t snub Molise!

There is something about fall

And that something is color. The beauty of summer sunset can be simply moving, and the sparkling white of the snow is incredibly pretty. Let alone the joy that only spring flowers can bring. Yet, the warm color of the autumnal nature is the best thing in the world, for me. It makes me dream of long nights spent reading in front of the fireplace, or collecting mushrooms with granpa.

I live in a flat in the middle of the big city so I don’t own a fireplace, and I doubt I’d survive mushrooms collected by myself, but I’m a walker. I run from the city whenever possible and my natural habitat of choice is the forest. There’s nothing better than an easy, relaxing trekking among tall trees, when the sun is in the sky and the air is crisp but not cold yet. Fall is perfect for this, so I organized a trip a couple of weeks ago. I was with some friends and a kid, so we choose a level path called La Camosciara. It’s part of the Abruzzo, Campania and Molise National Park, in the south of Italy. It’s really suitable for everyone, this means that you don’t really have the feeling of being completely surrounded by nature because for the most part you walk on the asphalt, but I still strongly recommend it.

A small river runs close by the main road, the water is liquid crystal and all around there are all kind of threes and plants. The river bank is the perfect place to have a small pic-nic and rest for a while, if you feel hungry. You sit on a soft blanket of leaves, and the smell of wet soil is incredibly good, feels like something pure and clean. It’s somehow revitalizing. There are tiny fish swimming in the water, it’s fun to try and feed them with crumbles, even if they seem to like insects better. Back on the path the trees make just the right amount of shade so that you can even choose if walking under the sun or not. In October the foliage is a glorious red and orange and gold, and all the shades in between. A truly stunning view. There’re actually mushrooms, a lot of mushrooms, some of them so small and perfectly shaped they looked like they came from a fairy tale. There are supposed to be chamois, in the area, and boars, wolves and all sorts of wild life as well, including the Marsicano bear, the symbol of the park and its mascotte. We weren’t so lucky to meet any animal, tho, I guess they prefer not to interact with humans too much, and I can’t even blame them. Birds are less problematic in this respect, so small hawks were easy to spot, and this is always a huge emotion for me.

The last part of the walking path is a short and undemanding climb that crosses the woods (no asphalt here, yay!) and leads to a couple of waterfalls. The first one is thin and you can’t really reach the water. The second one is bigger, the water runs on huge, white rocks that looks like giant eggs. There is a short dry stone wall easy to climb, if one feels like it, but the wet rocks are really slippery, and they form a very steep climb.

I’m quite sure there are other paths close by, leading up to the mountains that surround the area, but this time I didn’t get to explore them. I guess I’m not adventurous enough to go around with the wrong shoes and without a map. On the other hand there’s a tiny restaurant/bar, not far from the waterfalls, with a huge stove inside that takes almost half of the room. The warmth is a nice feeling after walking in the woods all day, the muscles seem to relax all at once. The owner of the place is a lovely lady who also sells postcards, a true rarity these days. She has some souvenirs, too. Some of them are kitch enough to be funny, and thus worth the money! It’s the right place if one wants to enjoy some hot, sweet tea, always a good way to end a fall afternoon.

So what’s the point of all of this, besides the obvious will to share a lovely experience? Well, the point is to share also a bit of love for the most underrated season. Come on, people, autumn is pretty and deserves better!

Once upon a time in Blokhus

I woke up on a sunny morning of one of my free days with a nasty pain in my back and an annoying foot injury that I had gotten myself a couple of days before, but I had planned for a long time to dedicate that day to Blokhus, a small town on the west coast of Jutland and I didn’t want to give up the trip. It was also one of my unlucky days, one of those where I couldn’t find any kind soul that could give me a ride, so I took the bus. Not that it’s a problem, the connections up there are pretty good.

I literally dragged myself all day, with the frustration of being able to move at half the speed I usually move, which in any case is not that much, but in the end, as always, it was much better to go than to not go.

First things first, Blokhus has a fabulous beach, but unfortunately for a southern girl the Danish sea is too cold, so no bath for me and not even a bit of tan, mainly because the morning was cloudy, but also because I had three layers of clothes on me an the idea of being half naked in the wind didn’t seem very appealing. The city center is not that impressive, I have to say. Just bar, restaurants, tons of souvenir shops and If you know where to look a couple of very nice craft shops. The fun part is right out of the town, some 3 or 4 kilometers, I guess.

The small Museum for Papirkunst is indeed tiny but it’s one of the loveliest places I’ve ever been. It’s like entering into a fairytale, a world made by hand carved paper artwork and lights arranged so as to create wonderful plays of shadows. The atmosphere is that of a relaxing dream, a really nice place to simply be and to let your imagination fly. It’s funny that just a few minutes away you can enter a totally different world, the Skulpturparken, an oper-air museum all dedicated to sand, wood and concrete sculptures. It gives a bit of a beach party vibration despite not being on the beach. The difference is that you are surrounded by eccentric, original and fun sculptures instead of half drunken people dancing like mad. It feel like a fairytale too, but more metal so to speak. Maybe it’s also just a little bit kitch, but that’s definitely part of the fun. And if you stop to truly ponder on what you’re looking at, you’ll see that each sculpture requires a great amount of skills to be realized, so respect for the artists, really. If you happen to be a nerd like me you’ll also find plenty of references to books and movies. I’m still asking myself if that was made on purpose or if I was just seeing what I wanted to see.

Anyway the point is, if in Jutland, go to Blokhus!

Vacuum bags are a girl’s best friends

Now, this may not be glamorous or romantic but honestly, this was for me a little revolution. I love traveling light, I learned the hard way many many years ago in Greece, but this is a story for another time. Anyway, sometimes if you have to travel long, or move around a lot so that laundry isn’t an easy option, or you are somewhere where the climate isn’t stable, to pack just two t-shirts and one extra pair of shoes simply isn’t possible. This is when those plastic bags come in handy. You put your stuff inside (store it all wisely so you can open just one bag at time, this is extra useful if your ho(s)tel room is tiny), pump out the extra air, and that’s basically it. You have now saved a whole lot of space and your luggage will also weight less, which can be important if you travel by plane, but also if you have to carry it around for a while.

I’m not here to advertise any brand or product in particular, you can buy bags of any form and dimension, but since you need to carry the pump with yourself for when you have to pack on your way back, it’d be better to choose a small, light one. Also, the bags are not eternal, so in my humble opinion it’s not wise to buy extra-expensive ones. Not that they are very expensive to begin with.

Looking for a flaw? Here we go. Depending on how long the bags remain closed, your clothes can come out quite wrinkled. The first time I used this trick was when I went to Japan, but since it was winter and I mostly packed sweaters the problem was almost non existent. This summer I’ll bring light clothes, cotton shirts and a bit of pile, so we’ll see what happens.

Jutland, here we come

This is a time of change for me, both in a positive and in a negative sense. Mostly, fate decided for me so I, in turn, decided that if my life wasn’t going to be the same anymore anyway, I’d spice things up a little bit. Long story short, in July/August I’ll go work in Denmark and I couldn’t be more satisfied with myself for taking this decision. It’s just a few weeks, but I needed to leave home for a while and I needed it badly. Sometimes routine gets suffocating, so does family, as much as I love all the people in my life. Sometimes I need new things and new experiences, I hope this will give me fresh energies to face an autumn/winter that may be a little challenging.

By the way, I plan to fully document the expedition, I may even buy myself the infamous selfie stick!

The last time I went to Denmark I was in my early twenties and I only got to see Copenhagen and Helsingør. Now I’m super eager to see the coast, there are some wonderful beaches, and not only that. I think Copenhagen itself deserves one more visit, and so does Aarhus, albeit I mostly long for natural environments.

Rigth after I’ll also go to Germany to see a dear friend of mine in Berlin, then Muenchen and possibly Nuremberg too, if I still got the time. I’ll only travel by train so it’ll be an ecological trip, which only adds to the general excitement. I’ve got to be honest, though, I’m sort of claustrophobic and that’s what makes me avoid planes if possible, but now that Greta is on my side too, I won’t even have to deal with people looking skeptically at me.

Looks like it’ll be a very exciting summer, I can’t wait to leave!

Is solo traveling the recipe for happiness?

The last time I was in Milan, a few days ago, I went with some friends. A small group of four people that I feel great with. We are soulmates, or something like that, literally on the same wavelength. We had fun, we laughed, we basically lived in symbiosis for four days. It was great and I wondered more than once how fun it would be to go somewhere together, for a longer period. Then I realized that with three of those people I have already traveled on several occasions and it has not always been easy. Indeed, sometimes it was really difficult and this is one of the reasons why in this phase of my life I tend to want to travel alone. Except when I do it I really feel guilty toward others, the friends I left home. Maybe they wanted to come too? Maybe they’d have enjoyed this place or that even more than me? Also I feel like I am missing something, or rather someone, with whom to share my emotions, or simply a table in a restaurant. What I really wonder now is if I am in a transition phase, one in which my tolerance for people, even those I love dearly, is getting lower for some reasons. Or if we all simply changed a little bit so that we are not 100% compatible anymore. Or, again, if it is really so difficult to find good traveling companions but somehow I never noticed before.

A few months ago I also tried to make a little trip with complete strangers and it was tragicomic. I have to admit I have good memories of that trip, especially since in the end the tragic parts were tragic to the point of being funny. After all life should always be lived with a smile, right? Anyway, as silly as it may seem, I’m almost scared to leave town with someone else, but loneliness is not an option that makes me perfectly happy either.

If and when I find a way to solve this dilemma I’ll share my wisdom, that’s a promise!