Today on the Nomad Files we meet fellow traveler Susie Wellendorf, founder and lead writer of the SnapShot Traveler blog. Susie loves food, loves taking photos and loves traveling the world with her retired husband – three things I can relate to. Well perhaps not the retired husband part. I’ll leave that that to you Susie. Well with the sound of crickets still ringing about that zinger, let’s get into it. <!–more–>

Hi Susie, welcome to the Nomad Files. Tell us a little about your story and what types of adventures you go after.

I’m fortunate to get to travel the world with my retired husband. I started blogging in earnest about our travels almost a year ago as a way to reflect on and share the fascinating places we experienced.

I love comfortable trips to European cities and beach resorts. But some of my most favorite travels have been those that push me out of my comfort zone, whether it’s cruising through the turbulent Drake Passage to see Antarctica or being mock-charged by a rhino in the African bush. Both a bit disconcerting, but memorable experiences I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Comfortable Europe to cruising Antarctica, what a contrast! I think we might be in for a treat here. Do you have a particular song/video/poem/quote that particularly inspires you to travel?

“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is the change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Mary Ritter Beard

I love this quote because it highlights that travel is about more than checking places and sights off your bucket list. You can’t visit a place without it having some effect on you. Each place I visit teaches me something not only about the location, but also myself and my beliefs.

View from Susie's hotel room in Ravello
View from Susie’s hotel room in Ravello

That’s very profound, and actually so true. I think you’d be hard pressed to travel somewhere new, especially a different culture and not be changed or moved. Ok so what off the beaten track treasure have you fallen in love with that everyone should know about? 

I fell for the Amalfi Coast in Italy after our first visit. I promised myself to return someday. The first time we made Sorrento our home base. The next time we chose to go a little deeper into the smaller coastal towns and landed in Ravello.

We stayed four nights and thought we’d venture out to Positano, Amalfi or maybe Capri like we did when we made Sorrento our home. We loved Ravello so much, we didn’t leave. Forget day trips. There’s plenty to do in this cozy town.

What did you do there and why should I look out for when I visit? 

First order of business is to relax. You can’t help but feel the chill-factor on this Italian hilltop village. But if you insist on doing more than take in the gorgeous scenery of hills, coastal homes and beaches, there are a few places you should visit.

Take in the views at Villa Cimbrone Gardens and Villa Rufolo. Cloisters, infinity terraces, grottos, architecture and art all come together on these grounds to create beautiful, stroll-worthy places.

Learn to cook with Mamma Agata. Not surprisingly, one of our best Ravello discoveries came in the form of a cooking lesson. It was really more of a watch-and-eat kind of session with lots of cooking tips sprinkled along the way. Any experience that starts and ends with homemade lemon cake is a good one.

Dine al fresco for dinner at Rossellinis at the Palazzo Avino. We loved this place so much we ate there two consecutive nights.

Check out the ceramics at Ceramiche d’Arte. Yes, they’re pricey. But the pieces are just as durable as they are beautiful. We’ve had our set for over a year and haven’t chipped one yet – and we’re pretty accident-prone. Each meal at home will bring back fond memories of your visit. My favorite souvenirs are ones you can use in your everyday life.

Another stop along the paths of at Villa Cimbrone Gardens
Another stop along the paths of at Villa Cimbrone Gardens

Me too actually, but this wasn’t always the case. I have been known to “overdo” the souvinir purchasing. In fact my friends and I at one stage took great pride in doing “souvinir shop crawls”, like a bar crawl… I like to think I’ve grown out of that a little. So how did you find out about Ravello?

We almost visited this place during our first trip to the Amalfi Coast, but ran out of time. A friend told us about his dreamy stay there, so we decided to give it a try.

No better recommendation than a friend’s. Tell me about the food. Small town Italy I imagine you’d be spoiled for choice.

I love Italian food, so I wouldn’t call it a new culinary adventure for us. But Italian food paired with those views made it that much more special. It redefined the meaning of dining ambiance.

Could you explain a bit about the culture of this place? Did you have much interaction with the locals?

The cooking school gave us our most intimate interaction with three generations of Italians. They were just what you’d expect from an Italian family – warm, animated and possessing the ability to make you instantly feel at home.

Was there anything you actually missed out on doing that you wish you had?

I’d redo that exact same trip, but add a few more days. Then maybe I’d pry myself away to take a few day trips.

The classic traveler conundrum: The more you see the more you realise there is to see. It’s a self perpetuating cycle! Do you have any tips for those of us (read: all of us) now wanting to visit Ravello?

Book your reservations for the cooking school in advance and go with an empty stomach.

Chiara Lima and her mother, “Mamma Agata,” share their cooking secrets
Chiara Lima and her mother, “Mamma Agata,” share their cooking secrets

Changing lanes a little now, can you share with the internet one hidden secret of a favourite city of yours that people would likely skip past unless they knew about it?

I’ll brag a bit about my hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Believe me, it’s not a tourist hot spot, but it has some impressive Art Deco architecture built during the oil boom of the 1920s and 30s. We have impressive collections of western and European art on display at the Philbrook and Gilcrease museums. The Italian-inspired gardens at Philbrook are a true gem. We also have the Woody Guthrie Center, a multimillion river development project in progress and plenty of great restaurants to enjoy.

To finish up, where do you live on the internet and social media for people to come visit?

You can find me at www.snapshottraveler.com. You also can follow my travels on Twitter and Pinterest at SnapshotTravel, as well as Facebook and Instagram at SnapshotTraveler.

Mamma Agata’s lemon cake
Mamma Agata’s lemon cake

All Image rights belong to Susie Wellendorf of Snapshot Traveler. 

 


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