Italy still draws me. It has so many layers of art, architecture, history and different landscapes. The people are exciting. My daughter married a first generation Italian and it was on a trip with them and his family in Ravenna that I first experienced Italy.
Tell us about one of your favorite places to stay on an Untour. Do you have a favorite host? Apartment? Village?
JoAnne Rowe, our host in Umbria is a jewel. Her knowledge of Umbria is so rich. She is a wonderful "doorway" to the time spent in Umbria. Our first meeting as a group was at a lovely castle up the mountainside, reached by driving our stick shift car up and around narrow lanes and one lane mountain switchbacks. When we arrived, JoAnne announced we had passed our driving test for Italy!! It was truly an accomplishment and empowered us to get out and drive all over Umbria. We loved Assisi, Trevi, and even when our GPS told us we were on the road called "Unknown Road"--we continued along the fields and irrigation ditches to our destinations!! Umbria beckons us to return very soon.
Do you have any special interests or hobbies that you follow when you travel?
Enjoy local foods and markets, museums and just go as long as your feet will allow you! Lingering at a cafe on the piazza, enjoying a glass of wine and people watching is so rich. You will be surprised at the excellent performers who pass your way. And embrace the Italian Siesta time, it will revitalize you for the evening.
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In a supermarket in Spoleto, as I was searching for chicken broth and mumbling in English. Suddenly I heard a kind English speaking shopper say, "Perhaps I can help you". Then she asked if we "were British or Austrialian". We replied that I was "Floridian, USA and my friend was Canadian, B.C." We began comparing notes of to how she came to live in Spoleto for the last 10 years and where she came from. She said she was from Florida too. I told her I was from the Tampa Bay area, she said so was she. I told her I was from north Tampa and she said she was from Sarasota who met an Italian boy on the beach while they were on vacation. One thing led to another and she is now married to him and they have an 8 year old daughter. Small world again revealed...no matter where you travel, you may run into someone from your own hometown or at least from near your home town.
Which Untours have you already done?
Umbria and Rome, one week each
2008 will be in Florence for 2 weeks
What advice would you give others considering an Untour?
Go with expectations of new adventures and discoveries. Venture where you might not consider and marvel at the wonders you will find. Smile and laugh, even in the challenges you may happen upon. Think outside your "box" On a practical note: I carry my own wash cloths, clothes pin hooks, a few wire hangers, sharp knife , garlic press and wine bottle opener.
What is your favorite Untour? (so far)
Rome is not called the Eternal City for nothing. It is eternally alive.