Enjoying Another Delicious Foodie Day in Rome!

Last spring (2014) I took a fabulous tour of ancient Rome and the coliseum with Walks of Italy. When my plans were going to bring me back to Rome in fall, I contacted them about taking another tour as their guest and they generously obliged…

Let's Go to Italy Together!When in Rome…

Eat and Drink Like the Romans!!!Rome Walks Food 2014

If you read and enjoyed my post about my delightful culinary amble through the Testaccio neighborhood with EatingItaly, then you’ll enjoy following me today to another famous foodie destination…

The “Parione” with Walks of Italy

Yes, I took two food walking tours in Rome! And I loved every bite! Both the Testaccio and the Campo de’Fiori and Historic Center (known as “Parione”) are touted as the places to eat like a Roman and I decided to find out for myself… Continue reading

Posted in Food Tourism, Inspired Travel, La Dolce Vita!, Rewarding Sightseeing, Rome, Solo Travel, Travel TipZ | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Rome: A Delicous Walk Through the Testaccio

Spacer-LaDolceVitaExploring Testaccio: My Eating Italy Food Tour in Rome

When I returned to Rome this fall (2014), I was the recipient of generous opportunities to experience some of her neighborhoods and sites in greater depth. My first experience was with Eating Italy Food Tours.

If you’ve read any of my blog pages and posts and looked at the photos, you know that I love to eat! So, the opportunity to eat (and imbibe) in the Testaccio neighborhood of Rome was, to say the least, a no-brainer!

My fellow foodies and I met our guide, Kate, and reviewing the seven (7) Tasting Locations, it was apparent we were in for a savory day!

Our 7 Tasting Locations!

Our 7 Tasting Locations!

Kate has been doing this tour for 3 years and although she is not a native, she is certainly a foodie after living in Rome for 14 years and now married to an Italian chef. Sharing a wealth of information, great stories and anecdotes, her love for Rome and her work were infectious.

Rome Eating Italy 2014

Our meeting point, a good start!

And may I say each stop turned out to be a food revelation so unbuckle your belt, hide the scales and let’s begin! Oh, I do want to issue a warning – these photos will absolutely make you ravenous, envious and ready to book your flight to the Eternal City!

Before we set out, a word about the Testaccio. Testaccio is in the heart of Rome and is considered to be “true Roman” and traditional working class. The businesses are family owned and operated, usually 3rd, 4th or even 5th generation. This area has always been about food and we’re talking from the 2nd century AD! Rome had 1-1/2 million inhabitants and being near the Tiber port where 90% of the city’s food arrived, it was a very busy place!Spacer-LaDolceVita

Stop #1: Barberini for Cornetti & Tiramisù

Rome Eating Italy 2014
The Italians begin their day with a cappuccino and a sweet (dolci). We began ours with 2! Everything here is made on site – OMG!

Buttery, flaky, light, and delish, the cornetta was a tease. Then came the tiramisù, which means “pick me up” and, served in a chocolate cup, WOW! How do you translate “mmmmmmmm”? Well, you just had to be there!

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Barberini is located on Via Mamorata, 41Spacer-LaDolceVita

Stop #2: Volpetti for Prosciutto di San Daniele, Salame al Barolo, Pecorino al Tartufo, Parmigiano Reggiano

Kate sharing about the family tradition of Volpetti

Kate sharing about the family tradition of Volpetti

Volpetti is owned and operated by two brothers, Emilio and Claudio. It’s considered the “Prada” of food shops. With over 150 cheeses and 30 salami, prosciuttos from all over Europe and balsamics ranging from 5-100 years old…well, we came to the right place!

Time for a sampler of some salumi (cured) meats and formaggi (cheeses). Just looking in the window was enough to make us salivate! Sweet and delicate prosciutto di San Daniele which virtually melts in your mouth, salami cured with Barolo wine, the pecorino (sheep milk) with subtle truffle overtones and the parmigiano reggiano (cow milk) from Emilia-Romagna were divine.

We are educated about our tasty bites and then given the opportunity to walk through Volpetti, enjoy a taste of balsamic and meet the congenial owners as well as Gino and Alessandro.

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Volpetti is located at Via Marmorata, 47

Spacer-LaDolceVitaStop #3: Volpetti Più – Tavola Calda for Pizza Margherita

Volpetti Piu's Tavola Calda

Volpetti Piu’s Tavola Calda

An extension of Volpetti, at Volpetti Più Tavola Calda you choose from an eye popping array of hot dishes, salads and, of course, pizza by the slice which is weighed (luckily they don’t weigh us!) and then sit and dine.

With the incredible and enticing selection, I’m not sure how anyone can decide! I want to taste everything…but alas, we were only there for pizza margherita and Otavio was more than happy to serve us!

In case you didn’t know it, pizza was invented in Naples and only came to Rome after World War II–but not from Rome, from New York City! The pizza here is very thin and served al taglio (by the slice). There are 5400 pizza shops in Rome – I think we had the best! We certainly had the pizziaolo (pizza maker) with the best personality!

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Volpetti Più is located on Via Alessandro Volta 8Spacer-LaDolceVitaSidetrip to a Cemetery

Rome's Cemetery for Non-Catholics

Rome’s Cemetery for Non-Catholics

This may sound like an unlikely stop for a food tour but, in fact, it was quite fascinating. This cemetery, L’Antico Cimitero per Stranieri Non Cattolici, for non-Catholics is actually where you will find many luminaries who died and requested burial in Rome.

One of the more famous “residents” is John Keats. Among many touching sites is the Angel of Grief dedicated by a grieving spouse to his wife. Quiet, serene, peaceful.

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Spacer-LaDolceVitaStop #4: Testaccio Market for Insalata Caprese, Bruschetta al Pomodoro and Cannoli

Let's Visit the Testaccio Market

Let’s Visit the Testaccio Market

Over 100 years old, the Testaccio Market has undergone a transformation and reopened two years ago. It took some time for locals to adapt and adopt but now it’s definitely a favorite. What was once a neighborhood to avoid is now the hub of a bustling local social scene.

As we are guided through the Market, it’s hard not to be distracted by the beautiful selections and displays. We want to touch, smell and taste everything!

First a little insalata caprese made with fresh fresh fresh tomatoes and mozzarella – oh my! And we don’t want to waste any of those tomatoes so we pick up some fresh toasted bread and have a little bruschetta al pommodoro with Lina and Enzo. They have been married for 41 years and he has been a butcher since he was 11!  Simple, fresh, delicious!

Our last stop here is a bit of Sicily where Costanza and Roberto make fresh cannoli (my favorite!) from their grandmother’s recipe! Heaven!

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Testaccio Market is located at Via B. Franklin

Spacer-LaDolceVitaSidetrip to the Slaugherhouse

The slaughterhouse of Testaccio employed 2000

The slaughterhouse of Testaccio employed 2000

Another unlikely stop for a food tour but, again, interesting and certainly a huge part of Testaccio’s story. The slaughterhouse, which operated from 1890-1975, was 16 football fields large with 2,000 workers! That is BIG! At the time, it was on the outskirts of Rome but as residential Rome grew, it was closed and now the pavilions are used for museums and cultural events.

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Spacer-LaDolceVitaStop #5: Flavio al Velavevodetto for a traditional Roman pasta lunch; Cacio e Pepe, Amatriciana & Carbonara

Time for Roman pasta & some vino!

Time for Roman pasta & some vino!

Pasta pasta pasta…and vino, of course! Cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper) is  spaghetti prepared with Pecorino Romano, and lots of freshly ground pepper while our Amatriciana and Carbonara were rigatoni slathered in delicious traditional sauces.

Our lively group enjoys the tasty traditional lunch and wine in a congenial setting. Oh, we have two more food stops???

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Flavio al Velavevodetto is located at Vial del Monte, 97

Spacer-LaDolceVitaStop #6: 00100 Pizza for Supplì alla Genovese

Rome Eating Italy 2014How on earth is there room for one more taste? Somehow we managed! 00100 offers sublime street food– Pizza and Trappizzino. Our taste is of his own version of arancini or supplì - an arborio rice ball made with beef stock and delicately coated and deep fried. Steaming hot, it literally falls apart with freshness and flavor…

Street food with a twist!

Street food with a twist!

00100 Pizza is located  at Via Giovanni Branca, 88

Spacer-LaDolceVitaStop #7: Giolitti for Gelato

Giolitti - 100 years of deliciousness!

Giolitti – 100 years of deliciousness!

The perfect finale to a perfect experience! We are educated about gelato - the real thing vs. the impostors- and then treated to two flavors of our choice!

Giolitti has been making gelato for 100 years so tradition and pride are certainly included ingredients every day! Fabio serves us with gusto and enthusiasm – oh, what to choose?? I decide on menta (mint) and nocciola (hazelnut)…with panne (whipped cream)! Oh, why not? I’m not counting calories today, are you?

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Giolitti is located on Via A. Vespucci, 35Spacer-LaDolceVitaGrazie to My Hosts!

Roman Food Lover!

Roman Food Lover!

I was so thrilled to meet Maria Pasquale, Rome Marketing and Social Media Director for EatingItalyFoodTours.com. Maria was my gracious contact and responsible for hosting me on this divine tour.

Grazie Maria, Kate and all of the hosting businesses!

I’m am truly a Rome Food Lover now!!Spacer-LaDolceVitaFor more information on this and other tours offered by EatingEurope and EatingItaly, please click here!

 

Posted in Ciao Bella!, Food Tourism, Italy with Victoria!, La Dolce Vita!, Rewarding Sightseeing, Rome, Solo Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Returning to the Heel of Italy’s Boot…Puglia!

Let's Go to Italy Together!We Fell Head Over HeelZ for Puglia Together!!

Only a few short weeks ago, more fellow travelers and myself fell in love with Puglia, the charming heel of Italy’s boot!

Puglia Fall 2014 - Grp Ostuni

Joining me this fall were Cheryl, Ginny, Carol & Miriam.

For me, it was my second visit and I was more than excited to return! I’m already looking forward to returning in Spring and Fall 2015 with YOU!Let's Go to Italy Together! Continue reading

Posted in Gallipoli, Grotto Zinzulusa, Is a Tour for You?, Italy with Victoria!, Lecce, Made in Puglia!, Ostuni, Otranto, Puglia, Puglia 2014, Puglia 2015, Rewarding Sightseeing, Solo Travel, The Savvy Traveler, Travel Planning, Travel TipZ, Trulli of Itria Valley | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Road Leads Back to Rome…

Spacer-LaDolceVita

I was in Rome in spring and feel very fortunate (and very excited) to be returning again this fall.

If you read my previous post, you know that I’ll be in Puglia again…then I hope you will follow along as I revisit the Eternal City, Roma!

In spring I did a lot of walking and exploring, but, along with my incredible 5 Star Day with Baglioni Hotels , the highlights were my guided tours with Walks of Italy and Through Eternity!

My road leads back to Rome!

My road leads back to Rome!

I’m a firm believer in investing in quality tours. I did a lot of research to find the tours that offered what I wanted to see/do and were available on the dates I would be there. It had been a LONG time since I had been to Rome and I had never invested in tours…this time it was different and I’m so glad I did invest (and implore you to do the same!).

With Through Eternity, Caterina took us on a 4+ hour fascinating tour of the Sistine Chapel (with early entry–do it!), the Vatican Museum and St. Peters. So enriching and interesting…phenomenal!

Appreciating timeless beauty...

Appreciating timeless beauty…

On another day, I joined Walks of Italy for a tour of Ancient Rome including the Forum and the Colosseum with special access to the hypogeum and 3rd tier. This tour, with Jon, was equally fascinating and informative.

Touring the colossal Colosseum!

Touring the colossal Colosseum!

You can read guide books and study all about it (and I do!) but the real icing on the cake is to then take a tour and be walked through these sites with knowledgeable experts…fabulous!Spacer-LaDolceVitaSO, with that in mind, I am very VERY excited to be taking four (4) amazing tours in October!

As the guest, I will be enjoying, taking zillions of photos and sharing all about them during and after. Here’s what I will be doing!Victoria ebook wine & gelato

Walks of Italy
Rome Food Tour: Pizza-Making, Markets & Tastings   
The Trastevere neighborhood is famous for its food and uniqueness. We’ll enjoy 3-1/2 hrs of exploring, tasting & savoring the best it has to offer! Then pizza-making!

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Eating Rome
Taste of Testaccio Food Tour
Si, another fantastic walking/eating tour in another fabulous neighborhood, Testaccio. 4 hours featuring nine authentic food stops with 12 delicious tastings! Buonissimo!

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Now to give my spandex a break….

ItalyXP
Tour of the Christian Churches and Basilicas of Rome
Have you ever walked into a church or basilica and wondered about the history and art? I have! And in this 3 hour walking tour we will visit and learn about: St. John in Lateran, the Baptistry of St. John, San Clemente Church and the underground, St. Peter’s in Chain (with Michelangelo’s famous statue), and, St. Mary Major.

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Through Eternity
Capitoline Museums: The Wonders of Greco-Roman Art Capitoline Museum is home to many of the treasures of ancient Rome and I have wanted to visit it for ages. This 2 hour tour is a wish fulfilled!

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I want to thank all of these amazing and generous tour companies in advance. I look forward to returning to and seeing more of Rome with you!

What more could a gal ask for, besides gelato and new shoes???

Spacer-LaDolceVita

Posted in Inspired Travel, Italian Talks Articles, La Dolce Vita!, Rewarding Sightseeing, Rome, Solo Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Here I Go Again…!!! Italy Calls…

Let's Go to Italy Together!Cercare, gustare, amare la dolce vita…con passione!

Seeking, savoring, loving the sweet life…with passion!

Victoria -Vespa

The irresistible siren’s song of la dolce vita calls! And I answer! Why would I resist returning to Italy?? It’s my heart’s home after all…

First, back to the heel– Puglia –with another fun group! We’ll be “kicking up our heelZ” in the heel of Italy! I took my first group in spring and it was my first time there–it was absolutely favoloso!! (And if you don’t understand Italian, that means fabulous!!)

10 Fantastic days with Yle, Michele and Mamma Giulia at Masseria Provenzani !

Warm & welcoming...

Warm & welcoming…

I can’t wait to return to the exquisite “farmhouse” where we will enjoy cooking and eating organic and simply divine local regional cuisine together; wine and olive oil tasting with Valentino and Donato; touring  medieval cities and seaside towns of the Salento area; visiting local artisans...

Maybe you’ve never heard of Puglia or the Salento area? I can guarantee that you will!

Food & Wine, NY Times, Huffington Post, Lonely Planet and Conde Nast–to name a few–have all touted Puglia as the next place to go! And the only way to go is to come with us! Si???

I’m so excited to be returning to this unique and very special region of Italy. I can’t wait to see the friends I made in spring and to revisit Lecce, Otranto, Gallipolli, Ostuni and Alberobello, to name a few of the friendly, interesting, and historically fascinating places we will enjoy together.

I Wish You Were Coming, Too, Don’t YOU??

Here’s a sneak preview! Maybe next spring or fall, YOU will be here with me? I hope you will say “Si”!

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For now, please follow us on Facebook , Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest? I’ll be sharing a lot more when I get back…

Let's Go to Italy Together!

Posted in Gallipoli, Grotto Zinzulusa, Italy with Victoria!, La Dolce Vita!, Lecce, Made in Puglia!, Ostuni, Otranto, Puglia, Puglia 2015, Rewarding Sightseeing, Trulli of Itria Valley | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tis the Season…to Travel!

 When is the best time to travel? Well, like anything else, it’s a matter of opinion. Certainly, there are many factors to consider. Spring and fall, which are often referred to as the “shoulder” or “off” seasons, are typically considered the best option and we’re advised to avoid “high season”. However, that may or may not be true or possible for you…

Let’s talk about why and, depending on your circumstances, what the upsides and downsides of shoulder and high seasons are…then decide for yourself!

When IS the Best Time to Travel?

travel tidbitzSend Me a Postcard! Please Share, Just Comment Below!

When Do YOU Prefer to Travel? Why? 

Posted in Rewarding Sightseeing, The Best Time to Travel, Travel Planning, Travel TipZ | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Let’s Go to Italy – TOGETHER!

 Let's Go to Italy Together!Kick Up Your HeelZ in Puglia!

Lose Your Heart in Umbria!

La Dolce Vita is Waiting for YOU!

Don’t tell me why you can’t, tell me why you are ready to say, “Si!!” to Coming to Italy with ME!

Let's Go to Italy Together!Stay in ONE fabulous family-owned and run accommodation, enjoy delicious regional cuisine and wines, visit local medieval cities and hill towns with expert local tour leaders. Meet artisans and experience the authentic, local life…all in a small group and at a comfortable pace. (And did I mention affordable!!)

 Whether you’re a foodie, a wine lover, an art or history buff or Italophile…or just love to travel, this unique, boutique experience is perfect for YOU!

Come with friends or make new ones, ideal for solos, siblings, and couples…

Let's Go to Italy Together!

LetsGo2ItalyP-Card

2014

Spaces STILL Available for September 19th departure – contact Victoria today!

2015

Click for Itinerary & Registration Details AND

“Early Bird” Specials!

PUGLIA Spring 2015 – Register Now & $ave!

UMBRIA Fall 2015

(Puglia Fall 2015 Itinerary & Registration Details Available 9/1/14)

Let's Go to Italy Together!Read about & see the fabulous time we had in Puglia this spring!

Posted in Is a Tour for You?, Italy with Victoria!, Puglia, Puglia 2014, Puglia 2015, Solo Travel, Travel TipZ, Umbria, Umbria 2015 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New! Oh, Give Me a Farm Where the Buffalo…

Visiting A Buffalo Farm in Italy

Do you love cheese? Do you love mozzarella cheese? Ricotta cheese? And have you had the exquisite pleasure of eating fresh buffalo mozzarella and ricotta cheese? I’m talking 12 hours from milking to plate!

No? Well, after you read about my visit to a buffalo farm in Campania, Italy, where mozzarella di latte di bufala is the specialty, you’ll be ready to pack your bags!

Let’s visit together, shall we?

Spotlight on: A Buffalo Farm in Campania

Buffalo Farm - buffalo

 

Posted in Amalfi Coast, Eco-Tourism, Food Tourism, Gelato, Inspired Travel, Rewarding Sightseeing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Just Had a Fabulous Vacation…So, Why Am I So BLUE??

You’re just back from a fabulous vacation! You had a great time…all the planning and expense was worth it – it was fun, rewarding, memorable, and everything you hoped it would be…Then why the heck are you so blue??? Maybe even downright depressed??

Has this every happened to you? Sure, there’s the laundry, the bills, the mail, the empty frig, jet lag, and the “oh god I have to go back  to work on Monday” stuff, but it’s something else and despite the fact that you’re glad to sleep in your own bed and your pets are thrilled to see you, there can definitely still be a real letdown…a real case of the blues!

If you had a great time, then how is that possible? I used to think it was just me…until I discovered that it’s a real phenomenon and you certainly are not alone……  It’s called the post-vacation blues! No, really, I’m not making it up! It’s even got a clinical name…

We know the cause, so what are the symptoms and what’s the cure??? Find out how to beat those blues:

Post-Vacay Blues!

Read about it, then please share what works for you! (Mine is to plan the next trip!)

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SideTripZ: Let’s Take a Walk, Shall We?

Today’s SideTripZ is a personal observation. An observation about a fairly simple subject…taking a walk. Or is it that simple? Taking a walk can be incredibly pleasurable and rewarding or it can simply be a way to get from here to there...which is it for you?

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“I am alarmed when it happens that I have walked a mile into the woods bodily, without getting there in spirit.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walking

Growing up in California, I’m used to a “car culture” i.e., pretty much getting in your car to get anywhere. However, as a child growing up in a (then) small town,  even though we had a car, my mother didn’t drive so we often walked together. Sometimes my dad would pick us up from the market or downtown but we often walked there and to my aunt’s house which was fairly close.

Sometimes we all went somewhere together and when she and my aunt walked arm in arm laughing and sharing, it was an intimacy I didn’t understand or really appreciate until I went to Italy many years later…and certainly an intimacy that isn’t possible in an automobile…but I digress…a little…

Over the years, I’ve noticed the trend and tendency to multitask while doing just about everything has also invaded the wonderful world of walking, just walking for the sake of walking. Even walking needs to be slotted into our busy lives and has to have a “purpose” , a “goal”. And now, it’s all-too-common to see walkers (as well as bikers and drivers!) wearing earphones and listening to something or other…

Personally, I’ve never been a fan of earphones since I don’t like sticking things in my ears.  I like to hear the wind, the waves, the birds, and even my own thoughts… not to mention that I don’t think it’s particularly safe or smart to block out any/all external noise. But it’s also a bit disconcerting because, it’s been shown that the brain simply cannot pay attention to or do two things at once effectively. So, something is going to be compromised or lost… hmmm…

Stop and smell the roses!

Stop and smell the roses!

Are we losing the capacity to just be present and enjoy all of the beauty and sensations around us as we are experiencing it? And, what has this got to do with traveling anyway?

Well, as far as I’m concerned, everything! One of the greatest benefits of walking is that you can stop, pause, look up, look around, and take in your surroundings …at your leisure

By allowing ourselves the luxury of lingering, perhaps even taking a seat and merely observing, enjoying, and appreciating this very moment… we are literally taking the time to stop and smell the roses:

“The walking of which I speak has nothing in it akin to taking exercise, as it is called, as the sick take medicine at stated hours …but it is itself the enterprise and adventure of the day.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walking

One of the many reasons that I love traveling is the fact that I do  a lot of walking.  When I travel I tap back into what it means to take a walk, to stroll, saunter, even wander…Not just walking to get from Point A to Point B, but allowing the time and space to enjoy the journey getting there, even when I get lost, to just take it all in…to chance upon and discover gems and details that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Sit, enjoy a caffe and your surroundings...

Sit, enjoy a caffe and your surroundings…

However, along with not paying attention while walking I have noticed, with increasing (and alarming) frequency, travelers of all ages and nationalities walking through the streets or sitting in outdoor cafés just about everywhere absolutely fixated on their smartphones, iPads, etc. and barely paying attention to anything else! What’s interesting is when you see people traveling together and everyone is on their smartphone and no one is engaging with each other much less with their surroundings!

My question to them is: Why did you come to (fill in the name of a city) when you’re spending half  (or more!) of your time texting and telling everyone what you’re doing instead of just doing it???

Oh, don’t get me wrong – I’m all over social media, etc., too. As a blogger, writer, etc. I’m just as afflicted but I do save it until I get back to my room and, hopefully, have a WiFi connection and a little time to catch up…

But when I’m out and about, it’s all about being connected to where I am, as Thoreau says, physically and spiritually, when the walk itself is the adventure…how delightful is that?

Sit, relax, just be...

Sit, relax, just be…

Recently while sitting in a lovely cafe in Florence’s Piazza della Signoria enjoying an aperitivo , I sat and watched the traditional Italian evening stroll, the passeggiatta.  It was absolutely charming and I became a bit wistful remembering my mother and aunt walking arm-in-arm…

As I watched young and old, couples, friends and families leisurely walking together at the end of the day for the sole pleasure of being together, and sharing the day, greeting friends, or perhaps just strolling in that sweet space of silent intimacy, I reminisced, smiled and joined them, if only in spirit.

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travel tidbitzSend Me a Postcard! Just Comment Below!

Do you enjoy walking when you travel? What do you enjoy most about it?

Posted in Inspired Travel, La Dolce Vita!, Rewarding Sightseeing, SideTripZ, Travel TipZ | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments