5 cities, 5 incredible experiences as my dad and I traveled through the Apulia Region of Southern Italy. In addition to the food (which alone is reason enough to make the trip) the walking, history, architecture and people make this an adventure to consider for future travel planning.
An 8 hour flight from New York JFK into Rome Leonardo da Vinci airport. A 4 hour train ride southeast into Bari. Another 2 hour train ride further south into Lecce. And a 45 minute cab ride over to Otranto on the Adriatic Sea.
A bit of a trek, but well worth it to explore and eat my way through the Apulia Region of Italy.
In my entry level course ‘how to holiday like a pro’ I cite visiting the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (Savoie) region of France. And while I work to capture the experience in prose, sometimes the pictures are all you need.
If you want to bike, hike, run and boat all day and then eat cheese and drink wine all night, you should probably visit Annecy.
Spoiled for choice is the best way to describe Annecy in the Savoy region of France. A year-round travel destination with unlimited activities ranging from swimming and hiking to cross country and downhill skiing (and everything in-between.)
I went at the start of summer and spent 5 days taking in as many outdoor activities as possible.
Claude Monet’s Garden is located about 1.5 hours outside of Paris. If you are spending some time in Paris or the north of France, this striking garden is something to put on your travel itinerary. I had spent an afternoon in Giverny visiting the grounds and taking pictures as quickly as my camera would allow. It is a gorgeous space and if you are looking to bring back some concepts for your own garden (or purchase some seeds to plant) Monet has you covered.
Lookup the definition of serenity and San Diego is likely to appear. You might also take a page from Frank Costanza’s playbook and repeat “serenity now” as you board your west coast bound flight to escape a New York winter.
Winter in Iceland, experiencing the darkness and chasing the Northern Lights felt like an adventure worth having. So, why not pack that adventure into a 48 hour excursion to the middle of the Atlantic in November? No reason not to, really. So a 4 hour and 45 minute red-eye flight later (basically the time it takes to fly across the US) I touched down in Keflavik International Airport.
And as I stepped out of the airport into 50 mph gusts of wind and driving rain, in that moment, I was happy.
Three hours, 30 euros and a direct train ride from Lisbon to Porto makes me a happy traveler. Sipping Port wine along the Rio Duoro as I watch the sunset over the Atlantic and the lights of this tiered city come up means I will be going to Porto again (and again.)
Do you like Harry Potter and Jesus? If so, put Coimbra on your travel itinerary.
Very much a college town, the city has the University of Coimbra (with early ties to the Jesuits.) Founded in 1290, it’s a UNESCO world heritage site and has the Joanina Library with a collection of books dating back to the 1500s.
When you visit the campus, you’ll notice many of the students wearing their uniforms; including capes. It really does feel like you’re in a Harry Potter movie.
Lisbon is made up of distinct neighborhoods. I stayed in Alfama which is the oldest and located by a number of historic places such as the Sao Jorge Castle. The area is hilly and requires a special mention.
Imagine a place where you walk up a hill to get to your destination. You would think the reverse direction on the way back down would be easy, right? Wrong. Lisbon is seemingly uphill both ways. Not sure how this is possible but get ready for some strong calf muscles when you leave.