I am honored to feature another guest blog post by Flavours of Italy. Enjoy.
Blue Skies, A Brand New Year in Italy and not a single supplement in sight.
I turned over the calendar and three quarters of the year is already complete. It’s not long until the time of the year I have begun to dread. Call me curmudgeonly, call me Scrooge but the Christmas and New Year festivities leave me cold. In fact, I have been known to book a remote cottage in Snowdonia and go to hide. After divorce and kids scattered round the world the notion of Christmas being a family fest long since disappeared in a puff of smoke.
So if you find yourself contemplating ways of avoiding the spirit of togetherness then it is worth throwing out both baby and bath water and making alternative plans. Changing life long habits can be hard. Yet on the flip side it can be extraordinarily exhilarating. If you have reached middle or middling age then it’s even more exciting to do something completely different.
Bearing in mind Wales can be bone numbingly cold at New Year’s, I made the decision to travel abroad on a holiday for single people only. I had glanced too often at what Italy has to offer but the idea of being swamped by other tourists during August did not appeal. I was looking for a completely different experience. I wanted a holiday that would recognize I was not an alien from another planet just because I had made up my mind to travel solo. I didn’t need pity or a well-meaning pat on my forearm. I was a woman looking for a different experience which would come complete with a single occupancy bed. Most importantly it wouldn’t pack an unwelcome sting which is the ubiquitous hefty single person supplement.
I was actually surprised to see holidays for single people have come of age. It’s now a bona fide category in the tourist business: we exist! I even had options. I could spend the New Year holidaying in Tuscany, Sicily or Venice. What was going on? Well, dear reader I have to say it was painful trying to make a decision regarding where I was going to usher in the New Year but in the end I plumped for Tuscany.
Who wouldn’t be totally smitten by china blue skies in the middle of winter, being met at Pisa airport and then being whisked back to a stunning villa for a welcome drink and dinner prepared by talented chefs who know just how to show off Italian food. Any thought of tramping through snow to see just what was left on the supermarket shelves could not have been further from my mind.
That doesn’t mean to say that food wasn’t playing a massive part in my thought processes; let’s face it, if you can’t treat yourself for New Year’s, when can you? Cooking lessons on my holiday for singles were a joy and if things weren’t wonderful enough a private wine and olive oil tasting had been arranged at a local vineyard. Goodness! It was only the second day of my New Year’s break.
Mind you the real highlight was yet to come. The seasonal markets in Florence are cute, traditional, colourful and a feast for the senses. It was lovely walking around with others and also taking time out to browse alone. Sharing a holiday with single people who all shared a common interest was so lively. Conversations and experiences were fascinating and a huge plus for me.
The New Year itself was celebrated in style and nothing much apart from snuggling close to a roaring fire was planned for the first day of 2013. It was bliss. Five whole days exploring what Tuscany means, meeting other people who were also travelling solo, and indulging in a little shopping, some exploration and beautiful food is so life affirming.
So, why not do something radical and see in 2014 with a complete change of scenery, company and experience. You cannot possibly regret it. I have to say that I have already booked a trip to Venice in January, so maybe I might see you there. Holidays for single people are really not what your past prejudices might have lead you to believe. Life is for the taking and you don’t need a partner to have a fantastic time in Italy.
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