It’s been ten years since Elizabeth Gilbert famously wrote about her year-long quest for happiness in Eat, Pray, Love. Who can forget Julia Roberts taking her journey to the big screen in the blockbuster movie (while eating a lot of pizza and falling for a roguish Javier Bardem)? Now it’s your turn.
If you’re looking for the ultimate Eat, Pray, Love inspired journey of self discovery you’re in the right place.
This odyssey starts in Rome where you’ll explore for over a month. Having eaten your body weight in gelato while pondering life’s great mysteries you’ll head east to wander the streets of Old Delhi before finding your Zen among the temples of Bali.
Please note. While no-one can guarantee you a Javier Bardem-style romance, we can guarantee the chance of a one-of-a-kind, life-changing adventure.
What is it?
A 38 day odyssey from the vineyards of Italy, all the way to the Taj Mahal in India and the mist-shrouded mountains of Bedugal in Bali.
When is it?
The trip departs in Rome on September 30 2016 and ends in Sanur, Bali, on November 6 2016.
There is limited space available and the trip is a combination of three small group adventure tours.
What does it cost?
The trip is priced at from USD $7,250 but you’ll need to make an enquiry using the form below for a final price and availability check.
Day 2 – Start your first full day with a coffee, the most important drink in Rome. You may just pick up a tip or two from the coffee roaster himself. Next you’ll head to a bakery owned by Rome’s ‘Michelangelo of pizza’, Gabriela Bonci, for a degustation of focaccia and other specialty Italian breads. Then check out one of the city’s oldest food markets, where pasta-making and other traditional culinary crafts are regularly on display. Chat to local stall holders and sample seasonal produce. The rest of the day is free for your own exploration. Check out some of the city’s cultural icons, perhaps the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, The Vatican or the Pantheon. Or simply pull up a chair at a cafe and watch the world go by.
Day 3 – Travel by train (approximately 2 hours) to the village of Pancole, located in the heart of Tuscany between Florence and Siena. You will stay in a traditional Tuscan farmhouse. Located in close proximity to the enchanting village of San Gimignano, the farmhouse is surrounded by vineyards and olive trees from which the family has been producing excellent wine and olive oil by organic methods for over fifty years. Enjoy a guided walk through the vineyards and cellars of the estate, followed by a tasting of some signature Tuscan wines. The wine tasting will be accompanied by some delicious cheeses, oilve oil and bruschetta. This is a beautiful part of Italy, filled with hill towns, grapevines, wild herbs and olive groves. The region is renowned for a cuisine that celebrates simplicity and the bounty of locally grown produce in hearty, rustic dishes. Pecorino cheese, farro (an ancient grain) and artisanal cured meats like lardo di Colonnata are just some of the many local ingredients you can expect to indulge in during your stay.
Day 4 – Take an guided walk (approximately 1.5 hours; 7 kilometres) along a portion of the Via Francigena, the major pilgrimage route to Rome during the Middle Ages, then explore the medieval walled town of San Gimignano. The walk is on easy terrain. San Gimignano is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is often called the ‘Town of Fine Towers’ due to the preservation of a number of impressive ‘torre’ or tower houses within its walls. The town is also known for its white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, produced from the ancient variety of Vernaccia grape which is grown on the surrounding sandstone hillsides. Spend the rest of your time exploring the walking paths around the farm or simply relaxing by the pool, enjoying beautiful views of the Tuscan countryside.
Day 5 – Travel to Bologna by train (approximately 3.5 hours). Bologna’s culinary claim to fame is a significant one, thanks to the ragu alla bolognese. Home of tagliatelle, mortadella and a range of other cured meats and salamis, Bologna, along with the surrounding Emilia Romagna region, is a bonafide food mecca. Settle into your room and then perhaps get out and acquaint yourself with this city of beautiful old terracotta buildings and lively streets. Later in the day you’ll discover the ‘real food’ of Bologna, with a hands on-cooking class in ther fine art of pasta-making. Feast on your creations over dinner.
Day 6 – Enjoy a day trip to discover the flavours of the renowned Emilia Romagna region. Visit a factory dedicated to the production of one of Italy’s most coveted culinary exports – the mighty Parmigiano Reggiano. Get an insight into how this cheese is made, then enjoy a tasting. Continue to the town of Modena (approximately 1 hour) and visit an acetaia, a house where the family produce fine aged Modena balsamic vinegar in the attic. You’ll see how the vinegar is aged in barrels made from different woods, and is never less than 12 years old (often well over 25). Taste it and learn the difference between the real stuff and the mass-produced kind. Take some time strolling around this delightful town (which certainly doesn’t feel touristy) and admire the Palazzo Ducale. Perhaps sample some of the town’s other specialties: prosciutto, tortellini, or, for the adventurous, zampone (stuffed pig’s trotter). Lambrusco, the town’s famed sparkling red, makes for a fine accompaniment. Ask your leader about the great local specialty panini shop in the market. Your day concludes with a tour of a gelato museum, followed by a demonstration and tasting.
Day 7 – Take the train up to Venice (approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes). There are two ways to explore this famed canal city – by boat or on foot. You’ll wander the romantic streets on an orientation walking tour of some of the city’s artisanal food shops and providores. Take this chance to meet some of the local shop owners – a number have been part of the Venetian food scene for decades. Venice’s distinctive culinary heritage goes back to ancient times and features rich risottos, saline baccala (salted cod) and creamy polenta. You’ll explore the narrow cobblestone streets and spacious piazzas and cross the tiny bridges to find shops, markets, galleries, churches and stunning buildings. Stroll past St Mark’s Square, the Campanile and the Doges Palace. Cross the Rialto and admire the Bridge of Sighs before catching a vaporetto back to the hotel.
Day 8 – It’s an early start today. Walk down to the canals and watch farmers unload their produce from canal boats, ready to be sold at Venice’s famous Rialto markets. This tradition is more than 1,000 years old. Next, swing past the fish market, where the catch of the day might come direct from the Venetian lagoon, the enclosed bay of the Adriatic Sea in which the city of Venice is situated. Finish with a market breakfast alongside the traders. Your adventure comes to an end by 11 am.
Day 9-13 – The next 5 days are yours free to further discovery the beauty of Venice before flying to Delhi for the next part of your adventure.
The next 5 days are yours free to further discovery the beauty of Venice before flying to Delhi for the next part of your adventure.
Day 14 – Welcome to India! The labyrinthine streets and lively markets of Old Delhi are a perfect introduction to India. Wonder at the tall brick minaret of Qutub Minar and visit Delhi’s oldest mosque, Jama Masjid – an architectural delight that can hold 25,000 people.
Day 15 – Travel on the modern metro system, then get a taste of India’s famed public transport with an option for a cycle rickshaw ride through chaotic streets, such as the famous Chandni Chowk. Make a visit to the Jama Masjid, Delhi’s oldest mosque and one of its most impressive buildings, then visit the Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple) to learn about the Sikh religion.
Day 16 – Take a train to Agra and visit the fascinating Red Fort, learning of its history and admiring its architecture. Then experience India’s most famous building, the Taj Mahal, and marvel at its beauty that is more marvelous than any picture can depict.
Day 17 – Soak up the small-town charm of relatively tourist-free Chanderi. Explore ancient rock paintings, Jain temples and peaceful mosques before sitting down to a tasty dinner with a local family.
Day 18 – Wander the streets of Chanderi on a guided walk, meet friendly locals and enjoy the tranquility that India can often offer.
Day 19 – Enjoy a guided walk around the temples and palaces that dot the picturesque Orchha countryside. See the stunning Orchha Palace, and experience an evening puja ceremony at the Ram Raja Temple. Visit a community-run papermaking plant where local tribeswomen craft paper from recycled clothing and wood pulp.
Day 20 – Visit Taragram, a Responsible Tourism project. Take the chance to experience the local flavours at a cooking demonstration by our local friends.
Day 21 – Time for a guided village walk in Alipura before enjoying a group dinner at Alipura Palace.
Day 22 – Explore Khajuraho’s stunning 1,000-year-old temples – infamous for their explicit carvings depicting the entire Kama Sutra.Visit a local Hindu family for a home-cooked vegetarian meal and gain an insight into the life of middle-class Indians.
Day 23 – Hop into a jeep and safari through the wilds of the Bandhavgarh National Park. Tigers live here in relative abundance so keep a look out for these magnificent creatures. At night, sleep soundly in a jungle resort.
Day 24 – Enjoy a National Park jeep safari to search out more wildlife before boarding an overnight train for the journey to Varanasi.
Day 25 – Discover India’s spiritual heart. Take a boat on the Ganges, ramble along the ghats and attend a sunset-candle flower ceremony.
Day 26 – A sunrise boat ride on the Ganges is an Indian highlight, watch the sunrise and the pilgrims gather on the river banks of this mighty river.
Day 27 – Return to the colourful and chaotic streets of Delhi.
Day 28-29 – The next two days will be free to explore Delhi before heading to Bali for the last leg of this adventure.
Day 30 – Bali’s largest Hindu town, Ubud, is also its artistic and cultural heart. There’s plenty of free time to browse the many craft shops. Enjoy a visit to the Gianyar night market.
Day 31 – Take a guided walk through local villages, and in the evening enjoy a Balinese cultural performance.
Day 32 – Take to the backstreets of Ubud and beyond on a bicycle. Stop and admire some of the intricately carved temples along the way. Afterwards, head to the hills and the peaceful, scenic village of Sidemen, set against the backdrop of Mt Agung, Bali’s highest peak. This friendly village is a great place to chill out and meet the locals.
Day 33 – Learn the art of songket weaving at a local workshop before enjoying a traditional bungkus (take-away) lunch. Afterwards, travel into the mountains for wonderful views of Bali’s volcanic landscape.
Day 34 – Rise early and venture out into the cool, eerie darkness to climb Mt Batur. From the summit, take in the spectacular sunrise. For a sea change, head down to the coastal town of Lovina.
Day 35 – Head out for a day of snorkelling among some of Bali’s impressive reefs in the Bali Barat National Park. Lovina is a great base for exploring the north coast of Bali.
Day 36 – Leave the coast behind and visit Seririt Market and the tranquil Banjar hot springs. Discover a hidden waterfall before travelling inland to the picturesque mountain town of Bedugul.
Day 37 – Pay a visit to the enchanting Bali Botanical Gardens in Bedugul. Travel through impossibly green countryside and past countless rice paddies on to Sanur, where you will spend the evening.
Day 38 – Today the tour ends in Sanur. You’re encouraged to continue your adventure in Bali or head off to discover more of the world!