Meet Karen Anders, a repeat Tenon Tours traveler that recently returned from a personalized trip to Italy. At 76 years old, Karen and her boyfriend, Jim, decided to embark on this once-in-a-lifetime trip.
With specific areas and towns in mind, she knew she needed help with all the details to finalize their “ideal itinerary.” And after taking a trip with a friend to Ireland with Tenon in 2014, Karen knew that we would be a good fit for her Italian adventures. What stood out to her the most was working with our By-Your-Side ServiceSM TEAM Manager, Courtney.
“She literally catered to my every whim and she never made me feel like I was being a pest. I just always felt like I could count on her for everything.”
But perhaps what truly makes Karen’s story one to remember is not where she traveled, but who she traveled with: her boyfriend, Jim. This dynamic duo started their love story back in 1963 as high school sweethearts but ultimately went their separate ways. It wasn’t until 50 years later that the two reconnected, and ever since then they have been traveling and having the time of their lives together! How sweet is that?
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In Love With Italy
Karen and Jim spent an entire month exploring the Italian regions of Cinque Terre, Tuscany, and Rome – and they truly made every moment count. From breathtaking views on their apartment balcony in Vernazza to a self-drive tour through Tuscany, every meal was a virtual feast perfected with spectacular wines. Every piazza provided an opportunity for an Aperol Spritz or Italian gelato.
But these seasoned travelers know the true meaning of travel isn’t just about indulging in the culinary scene; it’s also about connecting with locals and others from all over the world.
“In Cinque Terre, we met a lovely couple from Houston, Texas, who always seemed to be in the same restaurant as us and with whom we will keep in touch. We also met a lovely woman in Montepulciano who is from Normandy and who gave me her email address so I could get in touch with her if we do decide to go to Normandy on our next trip.” – Karen Anders
They even met up with one of their waiters for a drink the following afternoon!
“Best Day Ever”
Fellow travel enthusiasts will appreciate the challenge of selecting just one favorite memory from a vacation abroad. In Karen’s case, she opted to choose an entire day – April 25, Liberation Day in Italy.
Karen and Jim’s Tenon Tours itinerary marked April 25 as a free day to explore Florence at their leisure. Their experience is a true testament to how spontaneous, seemingly small moments, can have the most impact.
After enjoying a wonderful breakfast in their hotel, they took a stroll down to Ponte Vecchio, enjoying the flowers in full bloom as they passed through Piazza della Signoria. Jim purchased a painting from a delightful local artist, from whom Karen had bought one previously. From there, they enjoyed a gelato while watching a Liberation Day parade. Their walk provided this history-loving couple with a chance to admire the buildings, churches, and even the walls. They ultimately happened upon Bardini Gardens, which to their surprise was open despite the holiday. Of course, they visited, and Karen can still remember the way the garden plantings meshed with the ancient walls and statuaries. But their day was far from over. After climbing up many hills and steps toward the Basilica, they made perfect timing to attend an impromptu Mass – a truly authentic experience, considering traditional mass is held in Italian. What a wonderful memory to have! They ended their free day with an evening stroll to the Arno River where they saw the statue of David and enjoyed dinner at a local restaurant in San Niccolo. But our favorite part? How they looked at each other and said, “best day ever.”
Karen and Jim, we sincerely appreciate you choosing us to plan such a memorable vacation. We hope that you’ll keep us in mind for your future travels to France!