Karen: Many of my best travels have been with Intrepid and I did recommend them to you. I have only done their basic or exploratory trips, which I loved. You did an Intrepid comfort trip in Italy. How was it?
Jo: It was amazing. Both my husband and myself are big travellers, we were not up for a “jump on the tour bus” type trip so Intrepid suited us perfectly. I didn’t have a lot of time to plan this trip as I have spent so much time in Bali this year. It’s pretty time consuming organising your own trip, so we decided on a 10 day Intrepid tour which highlighted all the major sights. It was an amazing experience giving us enough confidence to then go off on our own. It’s the tour you have without having a “tour”. Louisa our guide was unreal. You get a good feel for the country, food was amazing, we went to local bars and restaurants that we would not have been able to find for ourselves.
Karen: A long time ago I spent a month in Florence, immersing myself in local life, attending language school. (I know…. I was “Eat, Pray, Love” just waiting to happen … I could have written the Italy and Bali sections of that book if a publisher’s advance had been forthcoming!) During my Italian sojourn I set myself the task of tasting a different flavour of gelato everyday. Without a notion of guilt I can say that I accomplished that mission with ease. I set the challenge for you. How did you go?
Jo: I took up the challenge and had a gelato everyday. I did go to the gelato bar that you recommended. I had one for you. We made our way across the bridge and I said Stop! Even though its 7.30 in the morning we are having a gelato as this is Karen’s no 1 gelato bar. It was beautiful.
Karen: Lets get to the important Italian facts… favourite gelato flavour?
Jo: A random one.. Basil – it was so refreshing.
Karen: That clearly puts you in the “Healthies” category! Best memory with a glass of wine?
Jo: We were in a small village near Assisi. We found a 14th Century hotel/bar run by a family. They served us bread, olive oil, and home made wine. Authentic.
Karen: Best pizza experience?
Jo: Buying pizza by the slice in Venice. Grilled courgettes, aubergine, capsicum, with buffalo cheese was perfect for me as I am vegetarian.
Karen: You are famous for planking in the most unusual places. Did you plank and where?
Jo: I planked all through my trip. The hardest plank I did was in Dubai in the middle of the desert. It seemed like a really good idea until I planted my elbows in the sand and realised that it had been under 40 degree heat all day. Spent the rest of the trip managing slightly burnt elbows. I tried to plank on a gondola in Venice but that was a bit challenging for my balance.
Karen: We all know Italy brings out the romance. Do you want to share your most romantic moment?
Jo: We went to Italy to celebrate 30 years of marriage so the whole trip was romantic. A highlight was a kiss we shared on the Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence.
Karen: So how do you work off all of that fabulous pizza, pasta, gelato and wine when travelling in Italy?
Jo: The trip was an active holiday. I wasn’t prepared to sit on a bus and look at the sights, I wanted to experience and feel as much as possible. We did the Cinque Terre walk along the coastline. It took us 6 hours. We chose to walk to a famous restaurant on the Amalfi Coast, instead of taking the bus. 2 hours and 1700 stairs later we made it. We kayaked, we swam, we walked and did every trail run we could do. It is beautiful place for trail runs.
Karen: Where to next for the Sharp Moves nomad?
Jo: I’ll always be travelling back to Sharing Bali, but I’m looking into Spain and Portugal for a big trip next year. Plus Sharp Moves is going to expand into doing retreats in Australia. Byron Bay is the closest place similar in feel to Bali so we are starting off with a weekend retreat at Mt Warning in February. It will take in fitness bootcamp workouts as well as the Mt Warning sunrise climb. It’s the most easterly point in Australia so you are the first to see the sunrise.
Karen: I may be in Australia in February, so I’ll do my best to join you for a new sunrise adventure.