Hello everyone we are back and alive! After a month of being in Italy, Switzerland, Paris and Singapore we are back into reality.
It was such an experience and everyone was definitely fabulous. We didn’t miss a bus or train or subway thanks to my detail-oriented husband, and we didn’t lose anyone.
So as for the slow travel/minimal suitcases – I have to say that I am hooked. Taking cabin luggage only meant that:
- We did not over pack. I packed:
- Three pairs of pants
- Two pairs of shoes
- Three t-shirts
- A coat
- Two jumpers
- Underwear and light pjs
- Minimal makeup – eyeliner, mascara, bb cream, two lipsticks. We took a risk that in most places we would have access to a hair dryer and otherwise we would tolerate holiday hair.
* Reality test: we are wearing the same clothes in most photos. We didn’t mind. We also took a small portable washing line and hand washed underwear when we could not find a local laundromat.
It also meant that we did not buy a heap of things that we would not really need at home. You know that feeling – I must be this leather jacket/piece of jewellery/touristy ornament because I am never going to be back – is such a holiday spending trap. My husband brought a small foldup light bag that we put extra purchases in, but it was across the seven of us, so really we couldn’t buy much. The photos and memories have been the things that we have come back to the most, since being at home, not the things that we bought.
- We had accommodation in apartments where we could cook our own food for breakfast and sometimes lunch/dinner. We could buy and store snacks and fill up our water bottles.
- We did not try to do everything. We visited a major attraction each day (Roman ruins, Eiffel Tower etc) but also had plenty of down time in cafes or in apartments reading and watching the world go buy. It was such an exercise in people watching.
- Two other slow travel tips – for the foodies, a food tour in each new city is a must. You get to learn about the local places to pick up the best cheese, baguettes, charcuterie and wine. Then for the rest of the stay, those places become your favourite local haunts and you avoid hit-and-miss food experiences.
- Secondly – we had eight busy days in Rome and Florence and headed to Lake Como. Nothing to do there but relax, look at the lake, go for a boat trip, drink cocktails and read books. It was such a great “down time” part of the trip in an absolutely stunning location (see view from our hotel – you get what I am saying).
It would be remiss of me to say that yes, we were fleeced on this trip. Our accommodation was sub-standard, over-priced and next time I would not use a travel agent to make the accommodation bookings. I was nervous taking seven people over and just wanted the certainty of a travel agent booking.
Next time, I will have the confidence to do it myself, and save quite a bit of money. I will still look for apartments in the hearts of the cities we visit, but will do a lot more research on Trip Advisor and make the bookings myself.
We also have a funny Trevi fountain story – we came up from under the subway, saw a small, understated fountain and thought – hey there is a self-stick seller lurking around – this must be it! Kids crammed into a photo and threw coins over their shoulder, made a wish, and we went off on our merry way.
Until we found this:
We just laughed so hard I thought I was going to wet myself. Ohhh the joys of being one of those stupid, uncultured travellers that I’m always complaining about at home….
Now that we are back, my husband and I are in the process of making some exciting lifestyle choices about work, our family and projects that we want to complete here around our home. I’ll write more about that next time. Hope you are all well and taking steps towards your slower paced life.