Friday, 7 June 2013

Memoirs of a Solo Traveler - My Love Affair with Italy

I am honored that Ioanna has asked me to write a guest post for Flavours Holidays, which is a wonderful travel website with special appeal for the solo traveler. I am passionate about Italy, ever since my first visit six years ago. I fell in love with the people, the places, the architecture, the food, and the culture. I knew that I wanted to return, and I have been to Italy four times now, and I am planning on a fifth visit this coming fall.

When I went to Italy for the third time, I went alone and I traveled solo throughout the country for three months, to fifty different towns and villages from the northern mountains to Sicilia. I enjoyed spending months making an itinerary of places to visit, although many travelers do not have the time or the desire  to make their own itineraries, yet like the idea of solo traveling. Customized tours, such as those offered by Flavours Holidays are the perfect answer for those travelers. You are with a small group and yet have free time to do as you like, and experience il dolce far niente, or  as the Italians say,  the joy of doing nothing. I place a high priority on that tradition.  

I liked having the time alone when I wanted it, and when I wanted something more structured, I joined a small group. An example of this is a winery excursion I participated in when I stayed in Siena. I knew prior to arriving in Italy that I would like to tour a winery, so I asked the hotel desk manager if he knew of any excursions to the Chianti area, and he happily arranged one for me. The next morning a small van arrived and I joined six or seven others for a very personalized tour of two family-run wineries. I met travelers from New Zealand, Boston, and Brazil. The day was fantastic.

One of the advantages in traveling solo but combined with a class, like cooking or art, is that you really do not feel alone, and you are meeting others who share your interests. I met a woman who had come to Italy alone to take a week-long mosaics class in Venice. She had connections with others and yet still had her freedom.

Staying in nice hotels is probably one of the more costly aspects to solo travel, since the charge for a single room is usually not much less, and sometimes event the same, as the charge for a double room. The added advantage of travel with Flavours of Italy is that there never is a solo supplement charge, and this can add up to great savings. The security to know where you will stay each night is very reassuring when you are traveling so far from home. I also connected frequently with family and friends back home through Wi-Fi, using Skype and Face Time. That little bit of communication helped, especially on days when I only spoke and heard Italian.

I love Italy and can't wait to go back .

Memoirs of a Solo Traveler- My Love Affair with Italy is available on Amazon UK at both Kindle and paperback editions


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