The Virtual Traveller

The coronavirus pandemic has thrown the world into shock and fear and it has disrupted our lives in ways we couldn’t have imagined only a month or two ago. Indeed, only 4-5 weeks ago I was wondering if it would be over by the end of March and I could still go to Turin as planned. I soon realised that was an impossibility, even before the borders closed down – there came a point when the risk of going outweighed any advantages of being there.

There are many things to worry about; there are many things to adjust to. And obviously our concern for our loved ones is uppermost but I think we are all struggling with the knowledge that there is no clear end in sight. We are used to planning ahead and yet when dare we hope that things will be ‘normal’ again? As I said in my last post, I don’t believe we will return to the ‘normal’ we knew but will have to create a new one. Will we start jumping on planes again and travelling frequently all over the world? Will we continue to support buying fruit and vegetables being flown across the far side of the world just so that we can eat foods like raspberries all year round? We are now seeing the implications of such free and easy travel, such disregard for the natural seasons, not only in the astonishing speed at which the virus has spread, but by how the world itself is starting to breathe again. Well, if Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough couldn’t stop enough of us in our tracks to look seriously at climate change, then the virus has. With less carbon emissions because planes aren’t flying and fewer cars are on the road, levels of carbon monoxide, gas CO2 and other pollutants have dropped dramatically. We can literally breathe fresher air. Fish and wildlife are being seen again in rivers and even the canals of Venice where they’ve been missing for years.

I’m finding it’s putting a lot into perspective. I think of the things I was worrying about, angry about, irritated by, only a short time ago and now I see that really the only important thing for me is my family – their health and happiness and that I am with them.

However, I do like to think that one day I will travel to some of those favourite places of mine again! Whether they will be the same, I doubt, if only because some hotels, restaurants and cafes aren’t going to survive this. I’ve been in touch with the fabulous Grand Hotel Sitea in Turin where I’d planned to be staying (for the 4th time) next week; with the wonderful Hotel Al Ponte Mocenigo in Venice where I’ve stayed several times, to check in with owners Sandro and Walter, who now feel like friends. I think of the amazing historic cafes that I love in places like Turin and Florence, which have existed for a hundred years or more – Cafe Gilli in Florence since 1733. They’ve survived two world wars but will they survive this pandemic? I can only hope so.

It’s been interesting that while none of us can travel anywhere at the moment, I’ve acquired more followers to the blog most days. Perhaps we are engaging in virtual travel? Maybe we just need to reassure ourselves that one day we will go to our favourite places again; explore new ones. Maybe we are seeking some semblance of that ‘normal life’ we have lost for the time being. And maybe sometimes it’s just fantastic to dream and live in an alternative world for a little time.

So if you’re in the mood for dreaming, here are a few of my favourite places:



Click here for some reading.



Click here for some reading.



Click here for some reading.



Click here for some reading.



Click here for some reading.


I hope that gets your dreams started! There’s a host of places to look at on the A Travelling Gourmet pages of the blog (click here).


Wishing that you and your families stay safe and well and that it won’t be too long before we are meeting again and travelling in the real world.



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A lifelong lover of good food and travel; writer and book editor

9 thoughts on “The Virtual Traveller

  1. We were due to go to northern Italy in May, staying in two small independent hotels. I can only hope that the hoteliers, their staff and families are safe. Like you, my hope is that we’ll all think more carefully about our choices in the future. Meanwhile, thank you for the virtual holiday. I’ll be taking a vicarious trip to Hydra next week by way of Polly Samson’s A Theatre for Dreamers.

    1. Yes I’m particularly worried about the small independent hotels. I’m glad you enjoyed the virtual holiday and I must take a look at A Theatre for Dreamers!

  2. Virtual travel … well, yes. But also it’s because you write in a way that is informative and very reassuring, your appreciation and keen eye shows through. We are in need of sensitive people like you, especially in times like these.

  3. Lovely post. Nice to read some positives among all the scary news that is non stop, and the panic and stress that is causing so much fear. We need to stay strong and safe. Thanks, Lyn

    1. Thank you, Lyn. I’m limiting how much news I listen to and trying to stay positive that it won’t go on as long as the worst predictions. Panic and fear are bad for our immune systems! And it’s good to look forward sometimes to when we can get out and about freely again. Stay safe and well 🙂

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