Among the delights of traveling alone, undoubtedly my favorite is to do whatever you want.
I can wake up anytime I want, eat what I want (and when), and 100% of the precious time and precious money we spend is totally for what we want to do on trips.
Of course, traveling with friends, boyfriends, crushes and family is delicious. But if you have a minimum of common sense, you will dose your desires with that of your travel partner.
The urge to change the script, to do crazy and unexpected things, is moderate. Not that it’s abnormal, or bizarre. Simple things like suddenly skipping a meal, or hanging out all morning in bed, are not part of a group trip.
Below I recall 3 moments that were marked for me because yes, I was traveling alone. I’m sorry if there is nothing big, highly cultured or super bizarre and bold. But for me it was great. Here is real text, friends. No flourish or engaged to win many likes. Just ordinary things, delicious as life has to be sometimes.
A BIRTHDAY ALONE (BUT NOT SO MUCH)
In 2008, after a friend of mine skipped a trip with 3 months of planning, I decided to face a Eurotrip on my own. Not that it was a super adventure feat: we went to safe countries (Holland, Czech Republic and Germany) and I had already booked comfortable hotels. But it was my first trip abroad alone and in countries I had never visited before.
I scheduled this trip as a gift for my birthday, which is in late September and on the day, it was rainy and cold in Amsterdam. It hit that bad at the beginning (I’m not going to lie) of spending my birthday alone (when I like to celebrate with friends and family, I do like to receive congratulations, I don’t deny). But I soon thought: I’m in Amsterdam! Stop whinning!
I went back to my hotel, got all dressed up, took a long relaxing bath (even because I didn´t have a roomate to leave soon the shower) and chose my clothes sipping my champagne in the hotel’s toothbrushing glass (yes, Veuve Clicquot is not absurd in Europe) and made a spectacular script for the night: dinner in a trendy super restaurant that happens to be one of my nicknames (Momo) and stretch the night in one of the most recommended clubs in the city.
Reservation? I didn’t have to go anywhere. But Amsterdam is welcoming with unsuspecting tourists and with a good blank face, I boasted that it was indeed my birthday. They gave me complimentary drinks, the best table to sit on, free entry to the club.
Dinner was great. The club not so much. Giant women in their micro dresses and gangster-like men made me stay just 30 minutes there. On the way to the hotel, I saw a nice PUB. Of those dirty ones, that the entrance is free and full of tourists like me. The place was rough. But the 1.90 Dutchman I met there… And yes, it was the best birthday present the universe could give me at that time and showed me: you did the right thing. Life is here and now. Unforgettable.
2) I WENT IN ALL VENICE BAKERIES AND PASTRY SHOPS
I’ve always had a thing for food that I don’t consider very normal.
When I went to Venice again, I made a point of looking for the pizza place that went with my mother about 5 years ago.
I don’t remember where it was, the name of the pizzeria, I didn’t have the name of the place or what the street was like (in Venice, all streets look the same). I only knew it was in Venice and sold pizza, of those individual, Neapolitan, with only tomatoes and cheese.
I loved getting lost in that labyrinth and I absolutely entered ALL the pastry shops in Venice. Honestly, I don’t like sweets that much. But I think the windows and formats are beautiful and I’m most curious to know what they look like.
Basilica, museum, Piazza, Monument? I had seen it on another trip, thank you. Gondola ride? I passed. But can I map all the pastry shops in Venice… and the Pizza? Ah, that was what I was looking for initially. Nevermind.
A DAY IN BRUSSELS – SWEETS AND BEER
And that´s it.
To say that it was not just that, I did a city tour that I slept in the middle, visited the city museum (mere than okay), went to see the Manneken Pis (the statue, which is tiny, of the baby boy pissing ), all of this in 2 hours. I had set aside a day and a half for that city.
I did the same thing as in Venice, only this time consuming in all bars and chocolate shops.
I stopped at a bar. i drank one of the 1000 Belgian beers available on the menus. I went into a chocolate shop. I bought 3 chocolates. i stopped at another bar. I had another beer (I admit: I loved the raspberry one). Another chocolate shop. I bought another bag. And so it was…. until the next day.
And I was very, very, very happy.
Silly thing? Perhaps? But it’s my thing, girls. Nobody takes me that.