One of the few redeemable qualities about Facebook are the memories that it continually sends you.

This has been particularly pertinent recently given the current travel ban in Australia.  Thus, the only way I can travel is via my memories on FB, my photo storage or vicariously through the eyes of my friends.  🙌🏼❤️

Over the past couple of weeks, several of my friends from Canada have jetted off to Europe and North America to enjoy their first taste of travel in almost two years.  Now to say I’m a tad envious is an understatement…

As you know Australia has been relatively unscathed by Covid considering the impact that it’s had almost every other country.

The downside is that once I got back into Australia last November it was made clear to me that I was now unable to leave.  This mandate is in place for all Australian citizens not just me… lol!!!  🤨

For the most part it has protected the population as only citizens are able to return, under a very strict quarantine mandate.  As well, no tourists have been allowed to enter Australia since the lockdown began back in March 2020.

Even for those that live permanently overseas and have returned to Australia during the pandemic because of the loss of a loved one or some other family emergency they are now unable to exit the country.

I guess there is a fine line between protecting the population and diminishing civil liberties.

Nothing I can say or do will change this, but these ongoing restrictions will continue to impact everyone in Australia as well as the Australian economy, especially tourism.

So for the meantime I’m having to enjoy Europe through the eyes of my friends…envious much???  🤨

It seems like a million years ago that I was last in Italy – back in October 2019.  The big question for me is whether we’ll ever get back to the freewheeling lifestyle we had before the pandemic?

You know the one…when you could get on a plane and fly wherever and whenever you wanted without a care in the world.

I’ve been personally spoilt with my ability to travel the world for the last decade, and not being able to travel has been a bitter pill to swallow…

It’s generally this time of year that I head to Italy for a week or two and relax in San Giovanni di Bellagio.  Catch up with friends and luxuriate in all things Italian and immerse myself in the “la dolce vita” lifestyle.  🙌🏼❤️

One of the high points of staying in San Giovanni is catching up with the owners of Nenè.   Over the years I’ve always rented an apartment from them when I’m there and love the multifaceted family business that they’ve developed in and around Bellagio.  So cool!

In addition, I’ve also developed a great friendship with Mitch who owns and operates Bellagio Water Sports.

Whether it’s SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) or Kayak adventures Mitch’s intimate knowledge of the lake and local region is unparalleled. 👍🏼

Can also recommend and connect you with activities and people who can ensure you have an incredible experience in this part of the world, whether it’s a great restaurant, or perhaps biking, hiking or anything in between.

One of my favourite things to do when I’m visiting San Giovanni is to take a day or two to unwind by taking the ferry to some of the little towns up and down the lake to explore.

Perhaps drinks or a meal across the lake to the timeless Grand Hotel Tremezzo which continues to set the finest traditions of the European hotels of a bygone era.

Another of my favourites is Villa del Balbianello near the town of Lenno.  This 18th century monastery is now managed by FAI (Fondo Per L’ambiente Italiano – National Trust of Italy) and a great place to host a wedding or perhaps a Hollywood movie set.

The gardens are impeccable! ❤️

Another must visit village is Varenna. Varenna is one of the best-preserved medieval centers of the entire lake area, with its charming, steep cobblestone streets, porticos and historic churches this commune dates back to the 8th century.

When you visit Varenna take the time to hike up to Castello di Vezio which overlooks the commune.  It provides a great vantage point for incredible lake views.

Then perhaps finish your visit with a lake front walk and lunch at one of the many patios and restaurants that dot the water’s edge before taking the ferry back to Bellagio or San Giovanni.

If you’re looking for great food and wine, the you’ll definitely want to check out the Michelin rated restaurant in the village of Loppia (midway between San Giovanni and Bellagio) – Alle Darsene di Loppia.

I’ve dined here many times over the years and love the ambience, the friendly and knowledgeable staff but the exquisite food is ultimately what it’s all about.   Yum!  My mouth is watering just thinking back to some of the scrumptious meals I’ve had there…

I suppose if there is a silver lining to not being able to travel and experience Italy firsthand, then it’s provided me with an opportunity to go back and curate my photos from many of my previous trips.

As you can see by the Gallery on my website I’ve been adding new locations as I begin working my way through the tens of thousands of shots I’ve taken…and that’s just of Italy!

Clearly, only a select few photos are used for my gallery or on my social media accounts, but it’s been a lot of fun scouring my trips.

If you’re travelling, savour the moment cos’ who knows when you’ll be able to do it again…

Until next week