I won’t be posting in this space for a few weeks but for good reason as I’ll be going to Europe! There will be a lot of talking and selling for work which can be very tiring but I know how lucky I am to be able to go. And for a travel-lover like myself it’s a blessing. It’s so nice to take a break from the routine and from sitting at a desk in front of a computer all day.
One of the best parts about my trip to the Amalfi Coast last spring was Sant’Alfonso Agriturismo. This farm stay in the town of Furore was the perfect place to call home for the week and the main reason why I was so well-fed and plump by the time I returned home to San Francisco.
On the Sunday of my mini-vacay in Munich, I completely forgot that everything in Europe shuts down on this day. I was going to do some shopping but with the shops closed I decided to go visit Nymphenburg Palace and I’m so glad I did.
I love strolling through a beautiful park in Europe. So the English Garden in Munich was my absolute must-do activity while in town for the weekend. What I love about a park stroll is the peace and quiet you find even though you may be smack dab in the middle of a busy city and the fresh air, greenery, and exercise is just plain good for the soul.
This past October I went to Germany for the Frankfurt Book Fair, and lucky for me I flew there a few days early to enjoy a weekend in Munich. I suggest you tack on a vacation day or two to a work trip any chance you get. I had heard many good things about Munich and I thought two days seemed like the perfect amount of time to get to know a little bit about this city. On Saturday morning, my first thing to do was head to Viktualien Market.
I was never enthusiastic about group tours in the past. I think I thought one would be too regimented and I wouldn’t have the freedom to do whatever I wanted to do because I would have to adhere to the guide’s itinerary. And in my early 20s, it was easier to plan travel with my friends but now that we’re older with job, spouse, or family commitments it’s not so easy to coordinate schedules and find time to travel together. So I started taking a few trips solo and while that form of travel has its benefits I wanted to try something new and that’s when I signed up for my first group tour.
There is a difference between what we think we should do and what we actually want to do. When we think “I should” a little bit of guilt and stress comes along with those words but when we think “I want” or do what we want to do, then we can feel more relaxed. That applies to all aspects of life including travel. On my last day on the Amalfi Coast, I thought I should go on the last hike with my G Adventures tour, but instead I decided to relax at the Agriturismo Sant’Alfonso, the tranquil farmhouse where we had been staying all week.
I turned 30 earlier this year and when I looked back on the last decade, I realized just how far I’ve come. I lived in another country, traveled quite a bit (and continue to do so), worked my butt off in grad school, and have built a career for myself that I still care about. It’s only at the end of a decade do you realize how great the years before turned out to be but I had my moments where I stopped and said, “Wow.” Hiking along the Amalfi Coast was one of those moments.
I wish that after every I hike I did, I could come back and relax at a villa as gorgeous as Villa Cimbrone. I could dine al fresco, sunbathe, walk around the gardens barefoot as I look out at the ocean. While that’s not my day-to-day reality, I’m so glad I toured the gardens of Villa Cimbrone in Ravello if only for a couple hours.
When I arrived in the Amalfi Coast, it was pouring rain and hail and also super windy. I had to keep my hood on and my head down but I still thought everything was beautiful. Then a couple days later, on a hike to the hilltop town of Ravello, the sun finally came out redefining the word beautiful to the max.