This time three years ago, I travelled to the great Italy with a good friend of mine to celebrate a milestone birthday. Fast forward, and we are sitting at level three lockdown in Auckland, and have been for nearly seven weeks. It’s times like these that really make you appreciate the freedom we once had. I’ve been reminiscing on this trip ever since Google highlights reminded me of it. I’m remembering all the beautiful places we visited, the sights we took in and the fabulous food we inhaled.
Amsterdam was the first stop on our way to Venice. A couple of things I could not forget, were the thousands of bikes and canals parked up around the city, that’s when it hit me, we were not in New Zealand anymore – oh how I miss that foreign feeling! And of course, the gorgeous artwork displayed at the Rijksmuseum (particularly The Night Watch which is one the most famous pieces).
Just as I thought the canals of Amsterdam were striking, Venice was a whole other story with its winding canals, dramatic architecture, and beautiful bridges. I will never forget enjoying the peace that lurked in the early mornings at St Marks Square, before the chaotic tourists soon arrived (obviously we weren’t annoying tourists at all lol).
Next stop, Florence. We stayed a street away from the Duomo. The enchanting countryside and Siena was nothing short of spectacular, everywhere you looked! Thrown in there, a side trip to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, of course. When I was five years old, we took a family trip to Europe and I remember being too scared that I was going to fall off the leaning tower, so instead I sat on my behind and went down the steps that way. I was hoping to go up the Tower again and make up for my five-year-old efforts, unfortunately we didn’t get enough time, nor for the obligatory picture in attempt to hold up the Tower.
Rome was our final destination. The Colosseum, an incredible structure made of stone, concrete and stuff, standing four stories tall at its highest point which was once used for gladiatorial combat was a favourite attraction of mine. Along with Vatican City, the Trevi Fountain and the Angels and Demons Tour (following the Dan Brown book) – certainly a highlight!
Along with many other things I had intended, a trip I had planned out in 2020 to New York, Boston and a road trip through Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire of course had to be put on hold, which is a damn shame! I’m reluctant to travel again any time soon with things still so out of control. I am also aware that when I do decide to travel again, being vaccinated will be the new normal and travel will be much different going forward.
I figured that next time I organise an overseas holiday, one of the first things I will check are the countries vaccination rates. According to this source, currently United Arab Emirates has the highest vaccination rate with 83.35% being fully vaccinated. I have never been there before, not even on a stopover, so perhaps it could be my next destination!
Hopefully my trip down memory lane has helped your travel itches, and if you have any recommendations on things to see and do for my next trip, flick me an email, I would love to hear what you have to share.
So, while I don’t need my passport right now, I sure hope to use it before it expires in 2026!