Summarizing a year which just past is not an easy task because there are too many things to speak about. When you start going out of your comfort zone things are happening, you want that or not. And, if you give the permission for life to surprise you – it’s impossible not to have adventures on your every step.
That would be difficult to choose, which experiences were the best for me in 2014 because all of them are precious. During this year I’ve done many smaller and bigger trips around Italy, for the very first time visited Macedonia, Albania, Turkey, Czech Republic, Georgia and Greece island of Kos, as well – came back again to UK, Denmark, Finland and Estonia. Of course, I must mention my moving back to Lithuania after finishing my studies in Florence too.
However, probably the biggest discoveries this year I’ve done in Italy. When you know that in some place your time becomes limited, you start doing everything you wanted, but couldn’t in the past, in larger extents. I’ve made my decision to come back to Lithuania after my studies on the very first day when I moved to Italy. So, I always knew that one day I’ll fly away. But when you have two years in front of you, you’re not on a hurry for doing things, ‘cause there’s still plenty of time ahead. However, one day, very unexpectedly, comes a moment when you realize that you must do things now because tomorrow there won’t be time anymore. OK, of course there will be time, but all is totally different, when you can spontaneously get somewhere on foot or with a local train in a few hours, and when you need to fly back to Italy any other time for a planned trip. So, you simply want to use your exact state in its maximum.
Generally speaking 2014 gave me very important experiences and at the same time – created a lot of new challenges for 2015. But before meeting them all, let’s overview the previous year.
- I had no idea what I’ll find in Macedonia when I booked my tickets to there. I saw this country only as a spot in my still barely discovered region of Balkans. That’s a perfect example of the popular saying, telling you not to expect anything and get surprised, because at the end Macedonia left me very positive impression. I really enjoyed there everything: people, nature, splendid Skopje city center and the general charm of the place. Now I am really curious to check out all the rest of the Balkan countries and hope to put a few new ticks already in 2015.
- In my travels the main mean of transport is the plane. Occasionally I take a bus, a train or a ferry, go by car and from time to time – make an adventure of hitchhiking too. However, until this year I’ve never crossed a border between two countries on foot. And, this experience was brought by the urge during my trip to Macedonia visit neighbouring Albania too. As the transport infrastructure between countries is not developed very comfortably, I needed to take a bus to the border, cross it on foot and continue with hitchhiking. That’s the story.
- I am always very careful with dates and times of departures, but there always must be the first time of the failure. And, in our case it was missing our ferry from Lithuania to Germany on a trip to Denmark. Until now I have no idea how all that happened, but we simply mixed up the days… All our accommodations and entertainment were booked and paid in advance, so we didn’t have any other choice but to reach Denmark as soon as possible. And, the only way was doing so by car. So, a bit more than 1500 km from Kaunas in Lithuania to Billund in Denmark we’ve successfully done in 21 hour.
We needed to exchange comfortable beds in ferry cabins to the unexpected roadtrip across Poland and Germany, but at the end we took this misunderstanding not as a disaster, but only as an unplanned adventure.
- Christiania, the legendary freetown in Copenhagen, could only be loved or hated: there is no golden middle. For me it was a real positive discovery. The power of freedom, which exists there, cannot leave one indifferent. And, all that is not about the smell of weed everywhere around or the joints, going from hands to hands. Christiania is about unique soul and strong personality.
- Searching for Villa Bramasole in Cortona became one of the most interesting adventures of the year. As well – it became my very first small trip, done for the sake of cinema tourism. Have you ever seen the movie called “Under the Tuscan sun”? Yes, it is the same one, telling a story of American woman, spontaneously buying an old house in Tuscany, one of the most idyllic Italian regions. That was the same Bramasole, which we were looking for. With some effort, but we’ve found it!
- That feeling when your dreams come true is one of the most exciting of all. This time I’m referring to my old desire to visit ghost town of Craco and fairylike Alberobello in Italian South. I gave myself a promise that I won’t leave Italy until I won’t put a step in these dreamt lands. And, I did it. All the travelers will admit that the more you travel, the more you become choosy and the harder it becomes to get surprised. But both Craco and Alberobello caught me immediately. Absolutely recommended visiting them if once in the South of Italy.
- The most interesting accommodation of all in 2014 I had in the rocky town of Matera. That time we’ve chosen sassi, cave carved in stone, which some time ago was the chapel of the church.
- Quite a time ago nearly for one year I was living in Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland. In November I decided to visit this place again and refresh my old beautiful memories. Walking down the same streets, feeling the nostalgic waves in the heart and meeting Santa Claus for the fifth time in my life really made this trip special and proved me one more time how beautiful Lapland is.
- The most generous people, who I met on my travels by now, live in Georgia. I’ve never seen anything like that before, when people, who you absolutely don’t know, are sharing with you everything. Let’s have only this for now, but in my later posts I’ll definitely write about this Georgian phenomenon more precisely.
- When speaking about the achieved goals of the 2014 I can’t conceal my graduation in the University of Florence too. One sunny day of October I finally became a master in the field of sustainable tourism and put on the traditional laurel wreath, existing only in Italy.
by Gintarė Adamonytė