“I have always dreamed about going to….” or “I alway wanted to see….”. How many times did you hear it? How many times did you say it? And it has never happened. No matter how exceptional or exaggerated you dream might be there is always a chance that one day you actually do what you always wanted. I did. Some things I have always dreamed about came true. Here is my list of best activities I have ever done.
This is hard to explain why wales have always fascinated me. It’s not only that they are the biggest mammals that have ever lived on earth, or rather, in the ocean. There is a particular combination of early childhood memories and genuine passion for getting know things. There is this child poem titled “Mr Tiny” that tels a story about a travel. The smallest creature desperately wanted to meet the biggest creature so he takes risk and go to the ocean in a nutshell. Eventually, instead of on an island he makes a camp on back of a whale and turns home scared but proud that he made his dream come true. I still know this poem by heart and I still enjoy saying it loud. The power of children books! Be careful what you read to your child.
I also remember that I was collecting a sticker album published by WWF many years ago and a sticker with blue whale was absolutely breathtaking. The blue whale was photographed from the air and so you could see how big he wss. It played with my imagination when I was little just because of the comparison with all other animals. When I went to Canada I saw three humpbacks and this was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.
Skiing in the Dolomites
I know, I know, I broke my leg there so why should I put this activity on my list? Well, if you imagine pain of a broken leg and the fact it is still worthy to put it on the list then it’s easy to understand how great it is. I have told you the story already but I think that if you ski you should go to the Dolomites at least once in a lifetime. This is a stunning background for your ski rides. I think that the Dolomites gives you an opportunity not only to ski in a sort of artificial and only-for-tourists place but also you can get closer to the real people and their real lives. Exceptional place.
Driving a Scooter
Since I saw ‘Roman Holiday’ with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck as a teenager I always wanted to drive a scooter. Just like she did. Well, maybe not exactly as she did. I didn’t want to demolish the whole market but in any case it seamed a marvelous idea to me. When I moved to Italy it became my obsession and it was getting worse when I was watching all these people driving around like crazy. So, one day, I received the best gift ever: an old, used, beautiful scooter! This was one of the happiest days in my entire life. Seriously! And driving a scooter was the only skill I had before I learnt it. Hopefully, I’ll discover more of this stuff in the nearest future to make my life easy and enjoyable.
Since I got the scooter I drove thousands of kilometers around the place where I had lived: to a restaurant, to bring ice creams or pizza home, to visit friends, to see fireflies, to take pictures of old churches, well literally everything. And when I left Italy I gave it to someone who still drives it.
This sort of dreams are easy to realize. There are many renting agencies where renting a scooter is possible also for tourists. Pick up one and ask for the details. If you have never driven a scooter before it is better to try it on the large parking place to avoid the potential damage of property. And always remember to ask for insurance: you don’t want to be involved in any kind of accident related issues.
Learning Italian traditional cooking methods was never on my bucket list. I simply used the opportunity I had. My neighbors were absolutely exceptional people and through this experience I felt in Italy like at home. It’s not only cooking itself that gathers: it’s passing your time on doing something together. A common activity is always something that brings people together. What was so appealing about it was the time, patience, willingness to share the personal stories, practicing the language and showing respect to tradition: all combined in this simple activity.
This was a great adventure, and what is even better, you can try it while you visit Italy as a tourist. In Emilia-Romagna there are couple of agriturismi that organize cooking lessons, and I am not talking about the professional schools for the cooks. This might scare you, but what you could do instead is to stay in a B&B or agriturismo and have your cooking lesson there. Stress free way of learning things.
Sauna in Lapland
I hate heat. I normally avoid humid and warm places where it is hard to breath and to think. So, why sauna? This is a very warm place, indeed. I would say that in this case all depends on the circumstances. I went to sauna for the first time in my life in Swedish Lapland and the sauna on the photo below is along the King’s Trail. Now, this is a very particular place and generally speaking during this trekking the opportunities to take a bath are scarce. Unless you are ready to do it in a water which has a temperature of melting snow. I wasn’t. But after few days with no shower sauna seamed to be a nice option, despite of its warmth, as this is the only place which provides warm water.
How it works?
When you arrive to the mountain hut you need to chop the wood first. Then you wait for your slot in the evening, when the sauna is already warm. Inside it might be as warm as 90 Celsius degrees and, at least in Sweden, it is also very dry. After a long day of walking with a heavy backpack and getting cooled by the strong North wind this is great and even a person that hates warmth it is pleasant. After about 15 minutes you go out and- preferably- enter a stream or a lake. Yes, it is still of a temperature of a melting snow but this time this is nice. During the evening you repeat it few times until you feel totally relaxed. I remember the first time I did it I was astonished to discover that standing outside the sauna hut the whole body evaporates making really fantastic impression. The feeling is magnified by the smell of dry Swedish wood used to heat the sauna and the silence of this place. This is absolutely A MUST activity.
So, how would you end the phrase starting with…I have always wanted….?