I undertook my first Macs trips as a Solo Traveller this year which I was really looking forward to. As much as I love travelling with my boyfriend, and friends I enjoy the freedom of travelling alone, as well as the opportunity to leave your comfort zone and create your own journey. I started with the Pisa to Florence Cycling trip then continued on to do the Final Stage of the Via Francigena. I had a great time on both as they each had their own individual highlights however as a Solo traveller, the cycling trip stood out for me, and here is why…..
You overnight in Towns and Villages that are vibrant, charming and worth exploring. I enjoyed finishing my cycle early afternoon ( then hid from the sunshine mid-afternoon) so that I could spend the early evening wandering around, and getting to know the towns. Lucca was my favourite, I could have easily spent another few nights here there. You can walk or cycle around its walls, visit the churches, architecture and its pretty gardens. You can make your day as fulfilled or as relaxing as you like.
Reflecting on the trip I realized I met so many people I probably wouldn’t have, had I been with someone. From the lovely Danish couple on the flight, (we chatted about books, our travels, family-life) to the Italian lady on the train (she put my rucksack on my back when my hands were full; I felt like I was seven again) and the friendly owner of the Airone Pisa Park Hotel, that chatted to me about the origin of the accommodation, where its name come from (Airone bird; a rare bird species now extinct) it’s moments like those that add value to your experience.
Macs Adventure chooses small, family run accommodations that are personal. In Lucca and Vinci, I felt like I was staying with a family friend which you don’t get when staying in chain hotels. It is really comforting as a Solo traveller to sit outside in the gardens or go for dinner and feel comfortable and welcomed. I really enjoyed the breakfast at Il Podere di Rosa in Lucca, each morning it was set up fit for a king, all fresh produce made in the garden.
Unlike a walking trip your moving at a pace where there isn’t much time to chat to your partner. This means you can choose your own route, pace and schedule. When you finish a 40-60km cycle on your own, it’s such an incredible sense of self-achievement. I find that hiking alone, can at times be lonely however it was a completely different experience on a bike. Our bike rental company are based in Lucca, it was good to know that if I had any issues I could contact them or visit the shop.
As cliché as it sounds, it really was rejuvenating. It’s a simple life; starting the day with a hearty breakfast, cycling it off, exploring the towns, meeting new people, making really important decisions like; what flavour of gelato to have next, then sleeping like a baby. I think we all need at least a week of this in our chaotic and busy lives.