After a memory rich but cash poor expensive time in Switzerland, it was time for us to cross over to Italy for the rest of our trip, starting with a few relaxing days in Lake Maggiore, Lake Como’s understated and slightly less glamourous sister lake. A train, bus, and scenic ferry ride later we arrived at our island destination of Isola Superiore off the western bank of the lake near Stresa. The slow ferry ride from Luino to Stresa was perfect for savouring a cappuccino and taking in the terra cotta roofed houses along the shoreline as the boat glided over the calm morning waters barely making a ripple. What is it about looking out at a big open expanse of blue water that is so calming? Must be the Aquarius water child in me and my San Diego roots but I always feel recharged and at ease whenever I am near water.
Dan and I have been slowly discovering over our lengthier trips what the right balance of sightseeing and relaxing is for us so that we don’t end up feeling burnt out by day four out of 10+ and returning home needing a vacation after the vacation. Our whirlwind trip to Portugal last month left me sick and run down and I almost spent just as many days recovering as we had been away. Though we had an incredible time, we had packed too much in and robbed ourselves of that refreshed post-vacation high. Has that happened to anyone else?
I find it especially difficult to slow down the pace when traveling to big cities as there tends to be so many things to see and do versus the more languid nature of a slower paced destination such as a beach or countryside locale where a cruise around the lake or an afternoon wine tasting may be the only events of the day. In the past I would have considered myself a ‘power tourist’ willing to put in the long days in order to see everything on my list in whatever destination we happened to be in, but I am beginning to concede that I will not be able to see everything in this world in my lifetime and am beginning to embrace the concept of ‘slow travel’.
It will be a tough habit to break but spending the majority of the next few days ferry hopping to wander the little waterfront towns of Stresa and Baveno, gorging on tender steak and tiramisu at Albergo Ristorante Verbano, breathing in the smell of fragrant jasmine blooming all over the island, and relaxing at the hotel’s outdoor terrace with a good book and a glass of prosecco was positively delightful.
So what’s your travel style? Up at sunrise with a fully packed itinerary? “The plan is no plan”? Or have you found that perfect balance? Do you find that it changes with your destination? I’d love to hear from you so drop a line or two!