We just got back yesterday from two weeks in England – 9 days in Oxford where Kristi was teaching and five days in Wales. We’d not been to Wales and it was simply glorious.
Most of our travel is to Italy and for Adventures In Italy. We go with a different outlook and mindset, since we are hosting others. In Wales, we took on the role of those who travel with us – people looking to experience a new place and its people and ways. Two incidents struck us on this trip about slow travel.
We stayed in Conwy, Wales, an absolutely captivating medieval fortress town with its nearly 1-mile long medieval wall, still intact along with its impressive fort built in about 1180 by Edward I. We stayed at the Town House B & B where Alan and Elaine were magnificent hosts. One morning at breakfast a new group appeared having arrived the day before and who we had not met. What struck us was that when asked where they had been the day before, they couldn’t
answer. Theirs was a typical journey of taking in as much as possible to the point of amnesia. Our first time to reflect on slow travel – or not!
The second incident, lest you think we are immune, involved our visit to Bodnant Garden. (All the pictures here are from the garden.) These are a beautiful combination of wild and sculpted,
cultivated garden set in the country with an impressive house and views to Snowdonia Park. We had taken the bus to get there and enjoyed a very pleasant several hours and lunch. But, truth be told, we had it in our minds that we also wanted to visit the town of Lladudno that day, a Victorian resort town in the opposite direction from the way we had come to Bodnant. We wanted to cram a little more in. As a result, we hurried through the gardens in a way that precluded truly savoring, experiencing and enjoying. They truly were spectacular. And we only gave ourselves the smallest taste.
I suppose the loss was compounded by the fact that Lladudno was, for us, a serious disappointment. We instinctively did not stay there, though it is the more popular destination in the area. We’re glad we didn’t for we found little to recommend it with its hordes of people, chain stores, and tacky tourist attractions – yes I judge!
Perhaps if we had fallen in love with Lladudno we would feel differently. But we know we missed something special by trying to cram too much in. Travel is a delicate balance. Time and again Kristi and I learn that the best travel is that in which you don’t rush and you savor every moment rather than looking forward to the next.
Kristi and Bill Steiner began leading “learning vacations” to Orvieto, Italy in 2003. Through Adventures in Italy they provide a cultural immersion experience. Many trips include the pursuit of some kind of creative work that complements and reinforces exploration of Italy’s culture. Relationships built over the years enable Kristi and Bill to provide experiences that a typical visitor to Orvieto never gets.
Learn more about Kristi and Bill’s trips. Stay abreast of Adventures in Italy developments, and follow Bill’s musings about travel and Italy on his blog Make Haste Slowly. View Bill’s photos of Italy, Orvieto, and other memorable places at steinerstudiophotos.com, and follow him on Instagram.
Slow Travel Tours is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France and other European countries.