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.
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.
The morning after I met my tour group in Naples was Easter Sunday. And what better way to celebrate the holiday than to go visit Pompeii and see where once an entire city was covered completely in ash by a near by volcano! So I grabbed some chocolate easter eggs that the hotel staff had for us at breakfast and we were on our way.
I have so much to share from my trip to Italy in April. Like last year, I got to go to Bologna for work for the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, one of the biggest book fairs in the world for children’s books. And also like last year, I decided to take advantage of the work trip and add on some vacation days to travel.
As you read this, I’ll be in Italy! I’ll be there for a couple weeks for both work and play and will have lots of stories and photos to share when I come back. While I’m away, read and enjoy some previous posts I wrote about all things Italia.