Okay, I’m not going to bore you with all 173 pictures, but I just thought I’d write a bit about our wonderful time away.
We were so lucky that Doug’s parents agreed to watch our kids while we went to Europe. This is the first time that we had spent a night away from all of our kids … ever. I’m a big talker about leaving kids, but we just never had the opportunity to leave them all before this. I don’t know that I would recommend a twelve day journey … across an ocean for your first trip away, but we found a way to make it work!!
Originally we were going to do a three city tour of Italy, but then my friend Andrea found us a sweet deal on a Mediterranean cruise, and our decision was made. We flew into Rome and spent 3 days touring the city and then we boarded a very large ship and set about relaxing in style!!
We visited the ports of Genoa, Toulon, Barcelona, Palma, and Cagliari. Doug was a little apprehensive about the whole idea of cruising, but he adapted well. The only unhappy moment was the auction to win a tour of the engine room. If you know Doug at all you know that the engine room is where his heart was! Unfortunately the bidding went a little high for our tastes. More unfortunately though was the winner’s attitude. The tour was for a group of four and so Doug went to offer to split the bid with him and the guy told Doug he could have it … for $500, which was more than twice what he bid on it. It was a little annoying, but we survived.
Besides Rome, I would have to say that our favorite city was Barcelona. Doug only wanted to do two things in Barcelona and we managed them both. The first was a visit to the Sagrada Familia and the second was a tapas meal. The meal was probably the best meal of the trip. We picked a restaurant from our Lonely Planet guide and we were not disappointed. Bubo Bar was amazing. We just asked the waiter to bring us a selection of tapas and it was all delicious. The best though, was the roasted eggplant with goat cheese. After dinner we went next door to the Bubo pastry shop. Wow. I can’t even describe. Just go ans see for yourselves!
In France I really just wanted to go to the grocery store and the market. I picked up some fun stuff and we had what may have been the longest lunch of our lives. A relaxing lunch is not something we do very often so we were getting a little antsy at the end!
Rome was almost indescribable. It’s hard to really appreciate the vastness of all that city has to offer. It was also a little surreal knowing that everything was authentic. The Egyptian obelisks really were spoils of ancient war. Oh, and I also saw where Marc Antony gave his eulogy for Caesar. It was a special moment for me because I had to memorize Shakespeare’s version of the speech for Mrs. Merchant’s grade 10 honours English class.
This is a trip I would definitely recommend if you get the chance. If you do a cruise I would make sure you do your research on each of the cities. I think we saved a lot of money by not doing any of the organized port excursions. We just mapped out what we wanted to see before we left. It probably would have gone a little more smoothly if we hadn’t left two of the guide books at Doug’s parent’s house, but that just added to the adventure!
I don’t know when we’ll get the chance to do something like this again, but we definitely enjoyed every minute of it.
p.s. As per my usual we dealt with delayed planes, canceled flights and lost luggage on our way home!!