The world is traveling again and during these last two years Covid has kept us mostly tied at home I’ve reflected a lot about my travels. Over 44 years of traveling the globe, I’ve learned a few things, from how to budget to how to be alone. Here are the 10 lessons I learned from traveling the world. Hopefully, when you set out again you’ll learn the same.
Ukraine War hits home in Rome where 200 volunteers help Santa Sofia church send tons of supplies to Ukraine
Before, the Ukraine War, Italy had 234,000 Ukraines, the third most in Europe. Since the war began, it has taken in more 110,000 Ukrainian refugees. Rome’s Santa Sofia Church has organized a supply chain in which up to 200 volunteers have collected supplies and sent them to war victims in Ukraine. I visited with Father Marco Semehen, who has family still in Ukraine, about the operation.
Sardinia is best known for its beautiful beaches and chic Italian summer clientele. But its capital of Cagliari has so much to offer. From a lively central piazza to a clifftop neighborhood overlooking the city to a cuisine unique to Italy, Cagliari is well worth a trip on its own. We went this past weekend to celebrate our seventh anniversary and it turns out the city was having its biggest celebration of the year: the Festa di Sant’Efisio.
I spent Rome’s birthday Thursday at two press conferences unveiling high-tech shows that seemed odd in such an ancient city. The Synesthesia is an 8-foot-high orb that is designed to help us understand our relationship with machines which are creeping ever too close to our daily lives. Rome’s Planetario reopened after an eight-year refit with “Return to the Stars,” an hour-long film and light show in the theater’s 300-square-meter screen on the round roof. The day was one part weird and two parts revealing.
Before I moved to Rome, Greece was my favorite country. Every island has its own history, terrain, vibe. So how does one choose which island to visit? Guest blogger James Ritter helps you decide which of the Greek Islands to choose with capsules of some of my favorites.
Rural Molise: The century-long exodus continues but three quaint villages retain their historic charm
Molise is the least-visited region in Italy. Now imagine going to rural Molise. We spent a day visiting three villages in the tiny mountainous region along the Adriatic Sea. All three have historical importance and one has a direct connection to one of the most famous American actors in movie history.
If you’ve never heard of Molise, don’t worry. Few have. It’s by far the least-touristed of Italy’s 20 regions, getting only 482,000 visitors in pre-Covid 2018. It’s 55 percent mountains and the rest is mostly rural. It’s not set up for tourists. But for the adventurous — and the hungry — it’s a terrific place to discover another side of Italy. The countryside is beautiful and the food and wine are unique and excellent. It was a great birthday present to myself.
Kortrijk doesn’t get the attention of other Belgian cities such as Antwerp and Brugge, let alone Brussels but it’s a small medieval city with a friendly vibe and wealthy environment. A huge square with a 90-foot belfry anchors the town which features Belgium’s first pedestrian street. I spent a few days there on assignment and it just so happened to come on St. Patrick’s Day. In Belgium, that’s dangerous.
Italy was on top of the world just eight months ago when it won the European Championships on its way to a world-record 37-game unbeaten streak. But ties in its last two games of the World Cup Qualifying group stage forced it into a four-team playoff for a World Cup berth. They start Thursday when Italy hosts North Macedonia and Portugal hosts Turkey.. The winners meet March 29.
I wrote a couple weeks about the return of wine tastings in Rome. I went to Io Vino’s Sunday which concentrated solely on wines from Le Marche and Campania regions. A total of 80 winemakers gathered in one room. Ever tried them? Le Marche and Campania wines are very underrated. Their headliners are the Verdicchio in Le Marche and Aglianico in Campania.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine Thursday, the 256,000 Ukrainians in Italy have been glued to the news. Olga, Didun, my housekeeper, has been in daily contact with her family back in the Ukraine. They’re safe but she’s worried. She took some time Tuesday to discuss her fears, their situation and her views of the political situation.