Wednesday, March 27, 2024


Wow! Time does indeed fly when you're having fun. Except, here in North Florida, during January, February and the first part of March. April's coming fast. For Serious Vagabonds, It's the time of year when you need to get your tickets, reserve places to lay your head and the much-needed trip to a spa. Some of the spas in Italy are utterly amazing. And I have more good news. If you put in the time, you can put together a trip to Italy, Spain, France or Greece that will not break the bank. I know this, because I have been to those countries, plus I spend an inordinate amount of time researching cool places to stay, eat, relax and live like a local. Admittedly, we didn't do a lot of traveling in 2023. A very wise person once said - I retired last year, why am I so busy? Oh, so true - grandkids, kids, doctors, friends and more stuff that comes out of nowhere!   Inflation rates are off the charts making travel, eating out or just going somewhere for a few days to relax costlier than ever.

And I know, many Vagabonds read every word of my erudite opinions, advice and wandering thoughts on travel. LOL! Of course, nothing changes you quite like travel. Romance is more focused when you travel, and travel shows you things about places, people and cultures that you can't really see if you don't go there. If you care to browse through this blog, just enter a country, a city, a restaurant, or a place to see in the GO AHEAD ASK BOX to the right and something will come up.

In some recent posts, I have given various web sites and search engines you can use to find those places you want to go.  I've said it many times - you can travel to Italy, France, Spain, Greece or even The United Kingdom for far less than the good old USA. As an example, I just found a nice boutique hotel in the beautiful city of Florence - The Riva Lofts on the Arno River for a paltry $99 per night! A hotel in Northern California can run six times that! As an example, The Post Ranch Inn, voted  the No. 1 hotel in the world, is $4,800 per night! Nice room, nice view but Wow! 

The only downside of traveling to Europe is the cost of airfare. Generally, tickets run about 20-30% more than tickets in the USA. That can be overcome if you have Travel Points with a major airline. We haven't bought a plane ticket in years.  As I have said many times throughout this blog, the best web site to find reasonably priced hotels in Europe is i-escape. They list hundreds of hotels all over the world from low priced to very high priced. If you are desirous of inexpensive travel in America or Europe, by all means check out AIRBNB. You can find great places to lay your weary head from $70 to $200 in Napa, Texas, Tuscany, Spain or France.

One last thing to consider is traveling in Europe via trains. Train travel in Europe is the best, most comfortable and cheapest way to get from Point A to Point B. There are many web sites to reserve your seats for very reasonable prices. My recommendation for Europe is trainline. I just looked up a ticket from Rome to Florence for $22 Standard or $42 First Class. That is downright cheap! The trains are very fast, comfortable and immaculate with great service. Train travel in our beloved USA is for another post.

So, get off the couch, get on your laptop and find places to go and things to do. You'll be better for it I promise. There is nothing like having a late lunch at the Castello di Tornano, a quick 45 minutes from Florence, sitting on a beautiful terrace with nothing but vineyards as far as the eye can see. A still photo of Castello di Tornano is shown at the beginning of this post. The video below features this amazing, repurposed stone fort/castle turned into a boutique hotel.  And it cost $136 per night today, including lunch, dinner and all the wine you can drink!

So Just Get Up & Go, Go, Go! Happy Travels!


And for all Vagabonds - Here is a very cool version of the classic Stand By Me, written by the great R&B artist and Grammy Hall of Famer Ben E. King in 1961. It is listed as A Song of The Century by the Recording Industry Association of America. This deeply relaxing tune is by a Canadian duet Music Travel Love with a few friends. It will help ease your thoughts and relax as you travel.

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