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Monthly Archives: September 2017

Walking in Italy

What can be said about Italy? Home of the Roman Empire; the Renaissance; great science; art; literature; and today, a byword for high fashion. Italian cuisine in all its glory rivals the best in the world, and the friendliness and hospitality of the Italian people is legendary.

Someone once said that to see Italy is to see life, and it’s hard to disagree. In the north it has the great lakes of Como, Garda and Maggiore, and the mountains and Alpine culture. In the centre it has beautiful hills and fertile valleys. To the South it has more mountains, stunning scenery and a marvellous Mediterranean culture.

Wherever you are in Italy, you won’t be far from stunning historical and beautiful cities such as Florence, Pisa, Rome, Venice, Milan, Turin, Bologna and so on. You can even visit self-determining states such as San Marino and The Vatican City – truly countries within a country. All this surrounded by the blue sea and beaches – Italy really does have something for everyone.

Holidays involving walking in Italy

Italy is, of course, a dynamic modern country within the European Union. It isn’t a museum and, as with any modern industrialised country, its major sites and centres can become busy at peak times in the tourist season. Getting around can be quite a daunting prospect if you don’t know the country and can’t speak the language.

Public transport can be confusing, and driving in the centres of many Italian cities is not typically advisable for those of a nervous disposition! In all this, it would be too easy to miss many of the sights and fail to experience the ‘real Italy’. That’s why there is now a wide range of professionally escorted holidays geared around walking in Italy.

The entire emphasis of this type of holiday is on flexibility and making sure that you have expert help in getting around and seeing things. Of course, there is also emphasis on using your own feet as ‘motive power’. It can often be the only way to get to those off-the-beaten track sites and to become a real explorer of this great country.

You can tailor a package to suit your specific requirements and timetable. So, perhaps you would like a two-centre holiday with one week in the north and another based near Rome. Each day you could take a series of recommended and escorted walks from your base and really get to see things that the casual passing tourist just doesn’t.

Why go walking in Italy?

Few people would argue that the only way to explore major city centres is on foot and public transport. Having these tours guided by experts can add to your enjoyment and remove the stresses of trying to get everything ‘sorted out’ yourself.

Yet Italy is not just a country of great urban tourist centres. Small town and rural Italy offers fantastic treasures of history, art, scenery and culture. Getting to see and experience these locations may just never be on the schedules of many conventional package holidays. Some sights such as mountaintop villages or deserted unspoilt beaches may be completely inaccessible by coach or even car and the only way you’ll get there is to walk. Of course, there are the less immediate benefits of a walking holiday. It’ll be helping to keep you fit as you walk off all that delicious pasta!

Walking holidays – only for the super-fit?

Put simply – no! You don’t need to be an Olympic athlete or even very fit to go on a walking in Italy holiday. The holiday also does not have to be exclusively walking every day. You can combine several days in a conventional hotel base with just a few set walks that can be as demanding or as gentle as you wish. You won’t find yourself on forced marches to meet someone else’s schedule!

 

Things To Really See in Greece

Greece has been a popular holiday destination for a long time and it’s not hard to see why. It is a country of great hospitality, magnificent beaches, stunningly blue seas, fantastic cuisines and its culture and history are second to none. Few people that have visited Greece have departed anything other than enraptured. Whether you’re in coastal areas of the mainland, island-hopping, or exploring ancient towns and villages in the mountains, Greek holidays have something for everyone.

Walking in Greece – A Different Experience

Of course there is ‘seeing Greece’ and then REALLY seeing Greece! If you’re based in a single resort, you may find after a while that you’re feeling the need of a change of scenery. It also has to be said that the larger resorts in just about any country may sometimes be a little ‘international’ and you may feel that you’re not quite seeing the real Greece and its people.

It’s also possible that perhaps you’d feel a little intimidated by the prospect of trying to make your own way around strange city centres. Hiring a car may increase your freedom but even that does not always provide the perfect answer.

If you’ve ever been frustrated by: trying fight your way around the busy traffic in a strange town and navigating as you go; straining to catch a glimpse of a beautiful village or castle several miles away as you drive around constantly trying to find an access road; or getting to your destination only to find it impossible to park, then you’ll know how limiting cars can be! The answer to all of these issues might be a walking holiday. Basing all or part of your holiday around walking in Greece offers a huge number of advantages.

You will be able to get off the traditional tourist tracks and see the real country. You can explore mountain villages, historic sites, coastal paths and beaches that are unspoilt because they’re completely inaccessible by car. You’ll be able to see rural life, experience the countryside and have the opportunity to interact with local people in real situations, as opposed to a completely tourist environment. All this and you’ll be getting, or keeping fit in the process!

A Walking Holiday to Suit all

If you’re apprehensively thinking at this point that walking in Greece involves strapping on a massive pair of boots, then heading off up steep mountain trails for 2 weeks of non-stop heroic slogging, well, you can relax!

Greek walking holidays offer a vast range of opportunities to suit all ages, fitness and interest levels. For example, you can go on an escorted city-centre tour that ensures you’ll see the sights in the company of an expert guide. You’ll miss nothing and also won’t have to worry about interpreting the public transport systems!

Whether you’re based in a city or the countryside, each day you could be taken to a new spot and do some planned walks to see the local sights. These walks can be as strenuous or as undemanding as is appropriate to your age and fitness levels. Your expert guides can make sure you get the best out of every second of the day.

Similarly, your accommodation can be simple or luxurious as your tastes and finances dictate. You can be based in one accommodation centre, or split the holiday over several in different areas of the country. Alternatively, you can split your holiday to have one week in a fixed coastal location to do some traditional sunbathing, then spend the next week walking.

If you’re walking in Greece then ‘freedom’ is the key concept. The holiday can be entirely built around your interests and needs. As such, it can cater for people of all ages and walking skills. So, if you’d like that holiday with a difference that gives you a taste of the real country, why not find out more about holidays walking in Greece?

 

California Wonders

California is so rich with sights and great places to visit that one has to plan not one but many trips there to truly take in all it has to offer. Why a visit to Los Angeles alone can fill a week and you would still leave behind so much to do and see. Here in the home of our great movie industry, the idea of hanging out near the major studios to catch a glimpse of a movie star is pretty hard to resist. And you can pass your time waiting by going to Grauman’s Chinese Theater to put your own feet in the famous imprints on the walk of fame. There you can see if your shoe size lines up with such greats as Marilyn Monroe, Marlin Brando, Dustin Hoffman or even Lassie.

While in LA don’t forget that this is the area of the country where you can check in at the original Disneyland. Yes while the Florida and other locations that have been built since then are wonderful, don’t miss the chance to sing “It’s a Small World After All” with the anamatronic figures that will delight you and your children in those historic rides in Disneyland.

Anywhere you go up and down the California coast, one thing will continue to draw your eye is the amazing California coast. The sight of those waves making huge breakers on the rocks and beaches has been the object of art for many painters over the years. If you live in a land-locked state or even if you have enjoyed the coast lines in the gulf states and the eastern seaboard, the California surf will be yet another viewpoint of the majesty of God’s creation in the oceans that grace our fair country.

It might take another whole trip to enjoy the exotic locations all around the city of San Francisco. But give it that time because this is a town you want to take in on foot or by traveling on their famous and historic street cars. For a small city, San Francisco will charm you so thoroughly that you would swear you were in one of the quant and charming villages of Europe, Spain or Greece. The sight of those breath taking hills that the residents have to drive each day will probably bring back some great movie you saw that was filmed there. And it’s easy to get goose bumps standing on the corner of Haight and Ashbury and reflect on the birth of the Hippy Movement in the early sixties right on that spot.

There is just so much to do up and down this big and diverse state that you will want to have a car at your disposal just to tour the paradise like conditions that residents enjoy there every day. A tour of the wine country in northern California is another experience that has become famous for charming visitors of all ages. You can even retrace the voyage of the characters in the movie Sideways which won an Academy Award and further added to the lore and fame of this wonderful part of California.

California may not steal your heart away from your home town and state. But one this is for sure. Your trip to California will leave you with dozens of exciting memories and it will leave you with something even more lasting. You will come home with a determination that you have to get back to California and continue to enjoy the many treats this great American state has to offer.