My name is Penelope Peabody, the official spokesperson for Travellati Tours. I am the woman you've seen riding a bicycle with a stream of colorful hats trailing behind. (I must say, the drawing adds 10 pounds!) It’s a pleasure to finally meet you.
A few years ago, I took a sabbatical from my job as a marketing director and decided to travel through Europe for three months. I had just turned 51 and realized I was no longer thrilled by my job. I found myself just going through the motions so I knew I needed to re-set.
I began my trip in Tuscany, working my way through small villages of stone and marble. I drank espresso in the courtyards of monasteries that hosted travelers, where the sunshine on the terra-cotta brick blurred into a single memory of tangelo and blue skies.
I moved into a converted farmhouse set in rolling olive orchards. I knew I was on to something when one night the farmhouse owner directed me to a stone house set in the middle of nowhere for supper. The matron offered me the option of two pastas for a primo and either steak or rabbit for the main course. The pasta was rich and chewy, and flavorful in a way that I did not know flour-egg-salt-and-water could be. The steak melted in my mouth.
Subsequently, I stayed in the Latin Quarter of Paris for a month where I indulged in a nightly routine of drinking absinthe in various establishments and then meandering home. I went on to Berlin for another month where I was dumbfounded by the breadth of the history, architecture – and sheer size – of the city.
Friends often came to visit me during my travels. The first couple flew in from Chicago and rushed around for a week with great anxiety that they wouldn’t see everything in their guidebook. They spent evenings planning their days. They got lost on the subway and couldn’t figure out the bus. They ate mediocre food at restaurants with too many tourists just like them. They were too hurried to talk to anyone except for the occasional waiter, who, inevitably, was too hurried to talk to them.
Quickly, I realized their dilemma. My American friends had no focal point, so they ran after everything and left feeling they had experienced nothing. I feared that they had not enjoyed themselves nor dived into the charms of the city.
I decided something needed to be done. My friends needed an insider to curate their experience so that they could emerge from tourist mode. Someone to organize the tedious details so that they could relax and have some fun. They work hard at home; they deserve a vacation that works for them! Thus, Travellati was born!
Currently, I am preparing for our upcoming trips: "Papa's Paris" -- where we'll "run into" Hemingway and his coterie; and "Bowie's Berlin," an homage to Bowie where we'll "meet" the artist and his entourage. In the meantime, I will be sharing travel tips and insights with you through these newsletters as well as on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.