February doesn’t have to be all about romantic love – we love warm, fuzzy stories about friendship, families and travel. It’s why we used #Galentine’s as the excuse to ask Amelie from Australia about how she met her best friend when they were kids, and the dream trip they took together to Italy with their families.
“I’d just graduated high school with my best friend so our families decided to go on a joint trip. It was the first international trip we’d taken as a family and it was amazing to be able to experience authentic Italian culture together,” Amelie said in her Trafalgar Unlocked Awards entry.
Trafalgar Unlocked Awards
We’re loving seeing your wonderful entries to our Trafalgar Unlocked Awards. If you’re a Trafalgar past guest, all you need to do is share your most memorable Trafalgar moment with us for the chance to win two seats on a 12-day trip to the Balkans with flights.
Now, let’s find out more about Amelie and her best friend Angela, what it was like to explore Italy together with their families, and where they want to go next.
Tell us more about how you met your best friend Angela?
Wow, where do I start with this one! I’ve known Angela since I was maybe 10 years old, so I guess that makes it 18 years of friendship. We were swimming rivals at the time, and she lived in a different town, so the only time we’d see each other was if we both went to the same swimming carnival/event and raced each other.
When I was 12, her family showed up to my swimming club one day, as they were moving to my hometown (Rockhampton) and we were rivals no more. I remember grilling her to figure out what school she was going to, and when I found out we’d be going to the same school, the very next day I walked right up to my teacher first thing in the morning and demanded to know when she’d be starting. From then on, we were inseparable.
Although we don’t get to see each other much now, as I moved to Brisbane for university and have stayed there, our Rockhampton-based families still regularly catch up.
How did you convince your parents to do a joint trip?
It didn’t take much convincing. My family was always planning to do a trip at the end of my schooling life, and once I told Angela, the next thing we knew, we were having joint family meetings to argue over where we should go. I remember sitting out on our back deck, surrounded by brochures – it was utter chaos in the beginning.
What tour did your families take together to celebrate your high school graduation?
Originally our plan was the United States, and I don’t remember how we settled on Italy, but I am glad we did. We took the Best of Italy tour, which goes for 14 days and covers a large portion of Italy.
EXPERIENCE IT: Best of Italy
Have you travelled together as two families before?
As two families this was our first group trip together, and I don’t think we could’ve chosen a better first trip. However, it was not the first trip for Angela and I, as we had been to Hawaii together through our school music program.
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What were a couple of highlights from the Italy trip?
Travelling together was so fun and you always had someone to go exploring with. Personally, I loved Venice. We were there for my mother’s birthday, and I’ll never forget when we went for a cruise on a Gondola and the driver sang to her. She was so embarrassed from all the attention.
I also thought it was amazing that it is so normal for water to be in the streets and lobbies of hotels. I remember walking on wooden boxes through St. Mark’s square to keep off the ground, which helped keep us dry. We also did the optional experience to the Island of Burano, which was just breathtaking. Although it was dreary day, the houses still reflected beautiful colours into the canals.
What types of activities do you and your best friend like to do while travelling?
Angela is a huge foodie, so a lot of our time is centred around where to eat next. Travelling is hungry work! Whereas I get more caught up in the history of the town/city and try to take a photograph that somehow shows the beauty and captures the magic of the trip. As long as I let her stop for snacks, we work well.
RELATED BLOG: Have you taken our most popular Italy tour? Let’s dive into 8 epic highlights
Can you share another favourite or funny memory from the Italy trip?
It was the day we first flew into Rome – I think we got to our hotel around 8am and we were soooo jetlagged. Our parents insisted that we seize the day, to not only get in some sight-seeing in but to align our body clocks. We lasted most of the day and crashed back into our hotel room around 5pm. We were lying on the bed (I was sharing with Angela and her sister Tanja) trying to find something to watch on the television. The only thing we could understand was football.
The last thing I remember is our parents coming in to take our dinner order. Apparently there was this nice kebab store across from the hotel. The next thing I know, I woke up to my alarm at 7am the next morning with a half-eaten kebab on me. I don’t remember getting the food or eating it. I was that delirious from the jet lag. It was hilarious!
Have you taken any trips together with your best friend and family since?
Since Italy, we have been on a joint cruise to the South Pacific, visiting Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji. Coming from tropical Queensland we are avid beachgoers, but these islands were just incredible. The crystal-clear waters of Lifou Island in New Caledonia was the family favourite destination of the trip.
GET INSPIRED BY: Contrasts of Australia
With our Trafalgar Unlocked Awards you can win 2x places on our Balkan Delights tour. What would you be looking forward to the most?
I’ve never been to the Balkans. I’d first heard about the area from Waterpolo, I’m an avid player and some of the most accomplished teams in the world stem from Eastern European countries such as Montenegro. If I was fortunate enough to win seats on this tour, I’d love to take my partner Nick with me to experience the history of these charming towns and cities whilst also indulging in the traditional cuisine the Balkans have on offer.
Hvar Island in the Croatian archipelago, and Kotor in Montenegro top the list of what I’d look forward to the most. This tour looks exquisite, and I would be very lucky to experience this with him.
ENTER THE COMPETITION: Trafalgar Unlocked Awards
EXPERIENCE IT: Balkan Delight
What destination do you dream of travelling to next? Where else is on your bucket list?
Dream destination would have to be Canada, I am not much of a skier, which I learnt the hard and painful way. I do however love, like many I assume, picturesque landscapes that just make you realise how beautiful and magnificent the world around you is. One of my friends works at the ski resort in Banff, and it looks like it’s out of a fairy-tale. I can’t wait to be able to go there.
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Have you entered our Trafalgar Unlocked Awards contest? It’s easy – if you’re a past guest of Trafalgar, just share a favourite memory with us. You have until 24 February 2023!