We made it home safely after a very long travel day that included wind sprints through JFK, suspicious lasagna dishes, juggled (and dropped) slices of pie, and one final Ciao. Was Italy a great place to visit? Yes. Are we aching to go back? Not really.
We have a different taste palette regarding travel, and with our palette comes a slight bias towards the road less traveled. Italy is a travel heavyweight. Most people that visit Europe will, at one point or another, include Italy on their itinerary. What this creates is a destination that is so accommodating to tourists that it borders on culturally inauthentic, especially if you stay within the tourist comfort zone. Rome and Venice feel suspiciously like theme parks, while Florence seems to shine on its own terms. I could imagine that a Florence and Tuscany trip in the early Fall could provide a near religious experience. I would suggest at least a week and a half, just as the summer tourist season is coming to a close, in Florence and the surrounding Tuscan area. My suggestion would be 4 nights in Florence, a few in a Tuscan farmhouse, and than maybe a few in Siena, San Gimignano, or Lucca. If I ever return to Italy, that would be how.
Egypt both wowed and disappointed. Dahab is on my shortlist for coolest places that I have ever been, while Cairo only impressed upon me a desire not to return too soon. To be fair, Cairo is an acceptable travel destination, but only for a short duration. I feel that Luxor and Dahab are probably the best places to visit in Egypt, and I am almost positive that if I saw the entire country; I would still feel the same way. Dahab is especially intriguing because it is a great base of operations to explore both Jordan and Israel. A great 2 week trip could include southern Egypt (Nile, Luxor), Dahab (Mt. Sinai, day trips to Petra in Jordan and Jerusalem), and then a couple nights in Cairo on the way home to see the Pyramids.
As we get our travel agency off of the ground in the coming months, I am going to use this web page as a vehicle to discuss travel tips and ideas, while slowly separating our content into two categories, narrative and informational. Whenever I sit down to write the blog after a long day in whatever destination, I am almost overcome with ideas. I do not know if I should be writing about: what we did, how we did it, or how you should do it. This creates a maelstrom in my head, and most of the copy that is input to the computer is choppy, rushed, and sadly half baked. I am fine with our narratives carrying these traits, but as we evolve, I would like to think that we are making ourselves and our readers better with digestible information.
We both appreciate all of you that followed the website for this trip. While the numbers did not approach those of our summer trip to Asia, I felt that the source material was also possibly not as interesting. It is probably no mistake that our readership spiked while in Dahab, a fairly unknown location outside of the circle of the well traveled. I think people like to read about things that are new to them. Seriously, what can I say about Rome? Most people already have a well polished expectation of a place like that, and it is almost redundant to read (or write) about such a place.
This is why I am extremely excited to announce our next trip. The itinerary is in its final stages, though we are still wrestling with exacting the order. There will be four of us this time, and we have all purchased our big tickets passing over the Pacific already. I will give more details later, but will say that it includes Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar-Burma, Sulawesi, Bali, Flores, Malaysia, Bangkok, and more Cambodia. We leave June 1.