Blaze a Trail!
Some times that spontaneous thing that you do can be your best adventure or memory from a trip. Often times you won’t get the same chance again. Don’t overthink it, just do it! What’s the worst thing that can happen anyway, right?
Before travelling to Italy, I read a very interesting book by Axel Munthe called The Story of San Michele. San Michele was Dr. Munthe’s villa in Anacapri. It is located on the top of a steep mountain on the Isle of Capri, off the coast of Naples in Italy. When Mark & I visited there we went as part of a group tour. After completing a little acclamentation with our guide, we had a few hours of free time before meeting up with the group to jet boat back to main land.
I couldn’t resist this opportunity so we took a chance, jumped on a bus and shot up the mountain to visit this amazing place. The bus ride to the peak of the island was lovely and the villa was not hard to find. We ambled through the house and gardens and I was able to touch the Sphynx that watches out through the mist over the entire island.
But here is where things got crazy. Not understanding Italian all that well, I bought us bus tickets that were only one way and there was no bus station to buy a return ticket in Anacapri. When I realized this, Panic set in…I was sure we were going to miss our boat back. Some other tourists from Austria saw us freaking out and offered to sell us extra tickets they had for face value. Saved!
We had a great visit to the Villa and made it back to the shore in plenty of time to buy a t-shirt and eat a gelato. This was one of my favorite parts of our trip to Italy!
In Bellagio, an island on Lake Como, we had a few hours to explore on an excursion we took. Most of the people headed up the steep path in search of shops or a coffee. On the way up, I noted a small wine tasting “cave” that was tucked to one side and grabbed Mark by the sleeve.
Once inside we found the most awesome collection of Italian wines available for us to taste. The place was empty so we had the Gentleman that was working all to ourselves. We ordered a few tastings and were provided some complimentary charcuterie (which is often the case in Italy). He gave us a tour of the place and expounded us with his vast knowledge of Italian wines. Since I had worked for a winery in the states for several years, this was a great find on our trip. I took home a lovely bottle of red wine from here.
When we took a trip to Texas 2 years ago, we were working off a loose itinerary. On our long return car trip to Michigan, I managed to land us for a surprise overnight in Memphis. This was somewhere that Mark and I had never visited before and I knew that it had a lot to offer. As we approached the city, I scored a reasonable priced hotel room in a central location using Priceline from my phone in the car.
This hotel was walking distance to Beal Street, which was hopping since it was a Friday night. It reminded me of New Orleans. We had Memphis BBQ and strolled down the street listening to a variety of bands. It was a fun way to fill a lay over night and a really cool place to visit. Maybe next time we will have time to visit Graceland.
Last summer we had a free Saturday with absolutely no plan. The sun was shining so we just hopped into the car and headed West.
In Coloma, we stopped for a little winetasting and grabbed some fresh produce at one of the many fruitstands in that area. Wine and fruit are big industries along this part of the Lake Michigan shore. After that we took a sharp turn North because Mark decided we should give Saugatuck Brewery a try. This was a great pitstop that provided a local craft beer and some great hummus for a snack. I had a blueberry lemon shandy that was amazing on a warm sunny day.
Veering to the NorthWest from there we found ourselves in Grand Rapids so we stopped at one of our favorite places, Perrin Brewing. After sampling another local craft beer, we headed due East. Mark had won a gift card to a new Restaurant in Lansing called Meat. We used the GPS to find our way there and had a fantastic meal of Smoked meats and sides. A mere 30 minutes South from there brought us back home. When looking at this on the map, it was just a big loop, but it ended up being a really fun adventure.
Sometimes No Plan is the Best Plan. Try it sometime. Let go of control. Take the “Road less Travelled” or the “scenic route” if you have the time. Make it up along the way, put on your favorite music and pack some bottled water and car snacks, then just go.