Amy & Laurie Calhoun, the Sisterhood of Traveling Untourists – Our Untourists the Week

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Amy & Laurie are sisters who travel together a lot. The photo is of Amy and the words are Laurie’s.

1. Tell us a little bit about your most recent Untour.

Our most recent trip was to Provence, though we’ve been there twice and cannot wait to return for a third time! This is one of the wonderful aspects of Untours: instead of going to ten cities in five days, you learn to slow down and focus deeply. Much like the slow food movement, Untours encourages slow travel, and it is a valuable concept to adopt.

2. Why did you choose to go there?

We had such a fabulous time on our first Untours visit to Provence, which was in the late fall, that we wanted to go in the spring and see the difference each season can bring. Also, we fell in love with the area, the people, and the bounty of the markets. In fact, our advice to everyone is to stop at every farmer’s market you can find if you want to really learn about an area. You’ll eat like a king, save money, meet the most interesting people and have fun, too. Everything about Provence is magical and Max and Regine are superb local hosts.

3. What is your favorite Untours memory?

From this trip, it would have to be eating the best, juiciest cavaillon melons and waking to their intoxicating fragrance filling the house. Also, the view from our windows was enchanted! We also had a fabulous lunch at Les Florets in Gigondas; it was leisurely, luxurious and perfect.

4. How is taking an Untour different from other ways of travelling?

Untours has completely changed our concept of travel. Staying in places that are a bit off the beaten track (in the more rural areas where we have stayed with Untours) allowed us to explore villages we might not have found on our own. We also were able to explore areas in depth vs. rushing around trying to see and do too much. Staying in place also ensures that you don’t try to cover too vast an area (which tends to blur your memories), and allows you to really relax. Now we prefer to go back to the same places, explore them in depth and find all of the hidden gems! And for those who are concerned, driving in France and Italy is a blast; you will love it! The roads are well marked and fun to drive and the freedom that a car gives you cannot be beat in rural areas. All of these things are such special attributes of an Untour and make it infinitely preferable to staying in a hotel.

We can hardly imagine the limitations of hotel-based travel anymore, and as a result we now almost always rent apartments in the U.S. too. At the end of a day of walking and sightseeing, there is nothing more delightful than to be able relax in your own home (or on a patio), have a glass of wine and fantasize about what it would be like to live there permanently. Some of our favorite times on each trip have been spent sharing these relaxed times with our neighbors and hosts.

5. If you could describe an Untour in just three words, what would they be?

Everything you imagine!

Laurie is going on her 7th Untour this year; here are some spots she’s been in the past.
2013

Vineyard Rose on a Alsace Untour

2007

Pascal on a Provence Untour

2005, 2001, 1998

Donella on the Tuscany Untour (three times!)

 

 

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