Waking to another beautiful day …

There’s nothing like waking up to the soft movement of water, a cool gentle breeze and the vision of boats sleeping on the water. What a delight this morning. I took the opportunity to explore a bit more of the trails, in the quiet moments of the early morning. Peace, peace and more peace.

The cycle course today took us through the undulating hills from Sali to Savar. Beautiful vistas of the mesmerizing blue sea, a glimpse of the fish farming industry and the early turn of leaves announcing the beginning of Autumn.

Savar was a delight – the peace and quiet of this small quaint town, very welcoming, allowing us a swim in its very cool waters, leaving us to our whim and fancy.

By contrast, we sailed to Zadar to rest for the night, the oldest continuously inhabited city in Croatia. Filled with wanderers, all making their way to the sea front to share the delight that is their sunset. The story goes that, to facilitate the improvement to the reconstruction done to repair the sea front after its devastation during the Second World War, a competition amongst architects for the most original design was created. This resulted in the construction of sea organs, concealed tubes and a resonating cavity that turns the site into a large musical instrument. The waves interact with the organ to create ramdom harmonic sounds.

That coupled with the sunset, proved to be a peaceful relaxing end to another perfect day.
skedaddle

The Tour Experience – Cinque Terre

When travelling, you are always pressured to ensure that you see as much as possible in the country that you are visiting. Many of us do the infamous google searches and scour the travel websites to ensure that we know exactly what we must see on our precious journeys. Hence the concept of an organised tour is always the top priority on everyone’s list. And that’s all well and good.

But there are tours and there are tours. There are those that herd you into a bus with like-minded tourists whose main objective is to quickly visit, take as many photos as possible, and put a check on their vacation list. Those tours include a guide whose primary objective of the day is to ensure that no one gets left behind. Heads are counted, endless reminders of where and when to meet, brisk walks from one location to another, and heads are counted over and over again.

As the tourist, you hustle and push past your fellow tourists, albeit very politely and with a smile, to try to get to the best spot first so that your photos aren’t filled with loads and loads of people, heads with hats or cameras in the air trying to record what they are passing, because be assured, you’re not really seeing anything. You will probably view these photos in the quiet of your home days after your vacation and be just as wowed as your neighbour who wasn’t even on the vacation with you.

Nonetheless you rush through the day from spot to spot, trying to hear what your tour guide is telling you about the history and importance of the site, only really focusing on the moment he says – “Now remember you have 15 minutes. We meet on the other side of this tunnel in 15 minutes. Be on time or we miss the train.” After that you are only focussed on 15 minutes and not missing the train.

Then there are your own tours. Where you choose a couple of places, do the obligatory google search and travel site browsing, and then say to yourself – “Well that looks nice. We’ll go there, browse the neighbourhood, revel in the sights, taste the local cuisine, sample the regional wines, maybe take a swim, but oh, definitely relax and enjoy the moment.”

Hmmmm…

Cinque Terre is well worth the visit. My recommendation? Do it on your own time. You will find that your experience will be very rewarding, as you will have come away with a great sense of satisfaction and peace knowing that you’ve journeyed through and truly experienced, one of the most beautiful territories in Italy.

 

 

If you had to be alone, where would you go…

I chose Lucca.

Lucca is a small town, a short 22 minute train ride north east of Pisa, and whose beginning dates back to 180BC. It boasts of a rich history taking it from the capital city of Tuscany in the 10th and 11th centuries, to an independent republic for more than 500 years, until it was taken over by Napoleon in 1805. A stroll through the old city primarily takes you through medieval buildings transporting you back to an architectural period associated with kings, wars and quite simply fantastic craftsmanship.

I took the opportunity to relax, explore and delve into my new found hobby, photography. And yes, I quietened my mind, my body and my soul, as I walked through the streets mindful of only what I wanted to see, hear, think – trying my best not to get lost. At the same time unresponsive to the many tourists who were on a similar mission of exploring this beautiful old city filled with side walk cafes, restaurants, shopping of all sorts, and of course, ‘Piazzas’ and more ‘Piazzas’.

I ended the day with a delightful lunch in the Piazza Napoleon, people watching, and then quietly strolled through the Botannical Gardens, where tourists and nationals alike rested peacefully under the shade of the huge trees that lined the city walls.

Take a walk on the other side of life – the part not filled to the brim with chores, work, and responsibilities. But filled to the brim with lots and lots of nothing or lots and lots of whatever you, just you, want to do. The only person you have to talk to is yourself. The only person you need to think about is yourself. The only person you need worry about is yourself. You’d be surprised at the results.

Being alone does not equate to being lonely. Spending time with yourself and for yourself, is probably one of the most precious gifts you can receive.