Today's theme is Favourite Vacations. This is a tough one because all of my vacations have been memorable and all special in their own way. I decided to choose our honeymoon. This was my first trip to Europe and my first vacation at a place other than an all inclusive resort.
I actually wrote in a journal when we were away so this memory of our trip is enhanced because of this record.
First, our itinerary: On May 25, 2009 we flew from Toronto to Rome. We spent three days there and then took the train to Venice. After four days in Venice, we took the train to Interlaken, Switzerland. We spent two days in Interlaken before taking the train to Paris where we spent three days before heading home on June 7.
Our first meal there at a place near the train station. I still think about this pizza with the fresh tomatoes, arugula and cheese.
The Trevi Fountain
The Colosseum. Our ticket here included a tour of the ancient ruins. Unfortunately group tours of the ancient ruins are prohibited so partway through our tour, our tour guide was chased out. It was too bad because I was learning a lot.
Dave enjoying the first of many gelato.
St. Peter's Basilica. This was my favourite part I think. We arrived at 7:00 in the morning and there was hardly anyone there. We went inside and it was so peaceful. We then went to the Vatican museum. We didn't have to wait to get in because we were there as soon as it opened. This is the only way to visit Vatican City. The Sistine Chapel was also quite interesting. I love being in a place with so much history.
On top of the Castel Saint Angelo, also in Vatican City. The views of Rome are worth the price of admission, but the history was interesting too. There is an underground tunnel between it and St. Peter's Basilica so the popes of years gone by could run and hide if there was trouble.
Each corner you turn in Venice produces another beautiful view. Venice is beautiful. I loved seeing the water transportation, we saw a DHL (delivery) boat, a police boat, personal boats, and of course the public transit that we travelled on.
I mean, seriously, you can't get a better photo than this.
Taking a break from walking with some beers.
This view is from the top of the bell tower at St. Mark's Basilica.
One of our favourite things about Venice. In the Rialto Market area instead of sitting down at the tables in the restaurant, you could go in a different door, choose from a variety of little antipasti and wine. Although you stand at the counter to eat them, it is cheaper. We got this for 13 Euros. There was also a cart at the market selling bottles of wine for 4 Euros and fruit cups for 1.50 Euros. Prices in Venice were more than in Rome (a lot more tourists and cruise ships), but there were some deals to be had if you were lucky.
Another highlight of Venice for me was attending a Vivaldi concert. Vivaldi is my favourite composer, and when I was little I had a cassette tape that told a story about a girl in Venice who learned to play the violin by Vivaldi. I have always imagined being in Venice listening to that music, and then there I was!
We stayed on Lido, an island off the main Venice area. This restaurant was on Lido and this was our last dinner before leaving. I pretty much ordered the caprese salad wherever we went.
Our train ride from Venice to Interlaken required four trains, but we made all connections without difficulty. This is a photo taken from the train. Picturesque villages all along the way.
By the train station. Our trip was here was short but sweet. This was our first night when we wandered around looking for a place to eat. We wanted reasonably priced Swiss food. Interlaken is the extreme sport capital of Europe and attracts many tourists. There are restaurants for every taste but only a few traditional Swiss places. We almost gave up and went to McDonalds but since a Big Mac meal was 12 Swiss Francs, we thought we could do better.
Beautiful mountains at every turn.
In the morning we took the train to the top of Schilthorn via trains and cable cars.
Dave is not a fan of heights so he needed to be coaxed to the edge to get a picture.
I think this was the town of Murren from above.
Enjoying a beer after our day on the mountain.
Our first stop was the Galleries Lafayette. This is a mall but you have roof access so your views of Paris include the Eiffel Tower.
I love Paris. It is a big city with a lot of energy, but there is something special about it, because it is Paris! It was the last leg of our trip so we were getting tired of travelling. I was happy to be in a city where I knew the language and could easily get a Starbucks. I also love that there are parks everywhere so there is always a place to stop and rest.
Les Jardins de Tuileries.
We waited forever for that car to move but it never did. I was amazed by the driving around the Arc de Triomphe. If I was driving, I would definitely have to do several loops around before being able to take the road I wanted.
Eiffel Tower. We didn't go to the top and I'm okay with that.
We didn't see the Hunchback of Notre Dame but we did see some Gargoyles
View from Sacre-Coeur in Montmartre. It had been our plan to spend the morning there but the rain deterred us.
We instead headed to the Louvre. I foolishly said to Dave in the first room of paintings, "I think we should stop and look at each painting and really appreciate them". That didn't last long. I would still be there if I did that.
Our last night of our trip.
Whew! If you stuck around for that, well done, and thanks for reading. A few things we learned from our first real trip together - 1) Have lots of ideas for restaurants; no one will be happy if you're wandering around a strange city, hungry, and don't know where to eat; 2) Churches are great, but I've seen enough for now; 3) Talk to people while you're waiting in line, other tourists may have good ideas about what to do; and 4) Spend time relaxing on vacation. Yes, you want to see and do as much as possible when you're in a new place, but you're also on vacation so it's okay to take a break. One day in Venice we sat on our balcony and read books and drank wine. Nothing wrong with that.
Can't wait to see what everyone else writes about. I have the travel itch!!