This morning I woke up to the sound of bells. I looked out my window and there was a small hamlet, complete with church. Being a week day, I took the sound as a summons to breakfast.
Where I stay when travelling adds – or take away – so much to a trip. I love being able to walk out the door into a place of local colour. The view from window or balcony is yet another dimension. Just being able to open the window to hear and smell, and so often taste, this new world unfolding around me – or better still, being able to walk onto however a small balcony to drink it all in. Continue Reading →
A heavy wooden door separated the convent from the outside world. As it closed behind me, I stood surrounded by silence. Flying anywhere from Australia takes a long time, and after a night and a day and a night I was exhausted. In true Roman style the taxi driver had careened down tiny streets where footpaths were more a suggestion than reality, before double-parking on the wrong side of the road.
The convent Le Soure di Lourdes was just a short walk from the top of the Spanish Steps. Once inside, the world became peaceful. Large wooden doors shut out the chaos of the street, and I stood in the quiet of a marble foyer.
Lugging my bags over the cobbles of Venice I vowed never to travel again with an ocean
of luggage in tow. The essence of elegance is, after all, simplicity. To travel lightly and so leave a small footprint benefits not only the environment but also the soul.
The problem was amplified by the fact I was in charge of my mother’s bags as well as my own. And it was raining – the only rainy day of the whole trip. There is always a time when travelling when you have to manage your bags yourself – not just over cobblestones, but lifting onto trains or buses, boats, or struggling to the second floor of a hotel with no elevator. The boot of a hired car is rarely spacious, and I don’t like tripping over bags in a hotel room.
So now I have some basic rules:
i) if I can’t lift my bags myself, I’m taking too much.
ii) if I can’t lift my bag over my head (to put on a rack in a train, for example) I am taking too much. Taking a bag down from a height can be just as difficult as lifting one.
iii) if I have to put down my carry bag and rest after 10 minutes of walking, I am carrying too much. Airports and railways involve a lot of walking.