Italy – Audra’s Re-Cap and three fave things!

by Audra H. Anders for The Aha! Connection

I’m not normally so forthcoming about my personal life and family trips but I just couldn’t help sharing Italy with everyone.   Here’s why:

  1. I wanted everyone to realize Danielle Garrett of PlanIt Travel Designs actually does plan all of my big vacations and she is amazing.   This time my brother and I decided to let our parents oversee all the decisions and Danielle worked with Mom and Dad to plan the PERFECT trip for us.   She had ideas for my not so active Mom, the BEST restaurant recommendations, the most knowledgeable and fun tour guides, and the most fabulous accommodations in Italy!   We started off in a rooftop hotel in Rome, then three days in the most AMAZING farmhouse in Tuscany, followed by an apartment in Sorrento with 5 balconies overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and finishing up in Rome at another fabulous hotel within walking distance of all our final tours!
  2. I wanted everyone to realize that travel is possible during COVID.   All my travel companions were vaccinated plus Mom and Dad had booster shots three days before we left for Italy.  We washed our hands A LOT!  Danielle helped us understand the COVID rules for traveling to/from Italy.  She helped us obtain affordable travel insurance in case we ended up quarantined in Rome.   Danielle even pre-arranged our COVID tests at a pharmacy in Rome!  Thankfully we all passed.   Every Italian we encountered was THRILLED to see Americans.    They have mask mandates and social distancing just like we do.   Many are still waiting for vaccinations or have just gotten one.   The vaccines are apparently limited there and most everyone I spoke to can’t wait to be fully vaxed.  They seemed jealous my parents already had a third shot.  I realize we were lucky/blessed to travel to Europe and some of the mandates have changed and we feel very fortunate to have slipped in this fantastic vacation.
  3. I’m happiest on a beach.   Any beach.   I never thought I’d be able to afford to go to Italy, but my brother’s Delta passes suddenly made it possible.   If I had known how beautiful Italy is, I’d have been saving my pennies and planning this trip all my life.   Italy is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen and full of great history lessons.  A neighbor asked me this weekend to name my top three favorite things about Italy and I quickly popped off the following three answers:
    1. The tomatoes.   Pomodori.   We ate them with every single meal.   Even breakfast.   My dad  commented “Slocomb tomatoes have NOTHING on Italian tomatoes”  This is heresy coming from an Alabama man but OMGosh.   Italian tomatoes……..
    2. The Amalfi Coast….from Sorrento to Capri to Positano to Ravello and back to Amalfi the views are AMAZING.   Apparently some people compare the beauty to driving California’s scenic Highway 1.   I’ve driven both and they both took my breath away, but Italy wins.   Best view from a restaurant ever…..iL Pirata in Paisano.  Wow…just wow.
    3. Tuscany.   Rolling hills, vineyards, sunflowers, olive trees, dark dark soil, lovely ancient villages, a relaxed farmhouse.  Panoramic views everywhere.  We shipped back a ton of wine and olive oil from Tuscany, and I can hardly wait for it to arrive.

In case you missed the details provided by Danielle for each of our stops I’ll provide all the links below.   Trust me.   Danielle Garrett of PlanIt Travel Designs can make your next vacation AMAZING!

Thanks to SOHO Office, Village Burger, Village Threads and Vino Venue for sponsoring our Where’s Audra posts!   I soooo wanted to go to Michael’s Vinyard but we were too far away and didn’t have a rental car!   I’m just glad I can head over to Vino Venue for a bottle whenever I want!


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