Jon and I got back a couple of weeks ago from a two-week trip to Europe! We had been thinking about this trip for a couple years, so we had a lot we wanted to fit in. We tried to do as much as we could in the two weeks, so we were traveling to a new city almost every other day.
Here's the map of our route:
In case you can't quite read that, it was:
- Barcelona (through Madrid)
Montpellier was supposed to be a one-night stop between Barcelona and Cannes, but our Airbnb there canceled, so we continued on to Cannes and had an extra night there. We flew into Madrid and did all the traveling by train.
I'm glad we started out in Spain because I can still speak some Spanish, and Jon a little too, so that helped ease us into a foreign-language mindset. By the time we got to Italy, we were mixing up all the languages, so I think our Spanish would have been a mess if we had done the trip backwards.
Here are just a few photos from each place we stayed...
Parque del Buen Retiro, "Park of the Pleasant Retreat"
This is where I studied abroad in college - not a city the average person would plan to visit during a week in Spain, but I really wanted to go back and I wanted Jon to see it. It ended up being nice to have a small town on our itinerary of mostly big cities. We felt like we could do everything we wanted in our 2 days there, and that was not the case anywhere else except maybe the French Riviera.
our view into the plaza from our hotel room - BEST hotel location of the trip
the pedestrian bridge//the famous cathedral
Plaça de Catalunya at the end of La Rambla
La Sagrada Familia, forever under construction, exterior & interior!
On to FRANCE where we were totally lost with the language! We skipped our night in Montpellier and had an all-day travel day getting to Cannes, home of the famous film festival which was happening the following week! Unfortunately no celebrity spottings in Cannes. Apparently Blake Lively arrived the day we left :(
Cannes is also known for its super yachts $$$$$
It wasn't good beach weather when we were in Cannes, but I still insisted on renting beach chairs while we had the chance to lay out and do nothing. We went to an amazing crepe place for dinner/mostly dessert!
We had only one night/day in Monaco, which is just an hour train ride from Cannes. Monaco is its own tiny principality and is known for the Grand Prix, fancy cars, casinos, Grace Kelly and again, super yachts.
The Historic Grand Prix race took place the week after we were there, so we got to see all the setup. The bigger Formula 1 race ended yesterday, I think. The race takes place in the center of the city around the downtown buildings and harbor. The city streets were already lined with barriers and bleachers at the harbor. It looked like a huge construction project to go through every year.
There was way too much to do in too little time in Florence and Rome. It kind-of feels like we ran around non-stop listening to Rick Steves and trying to see as much as possible. We could have done a whole week just for these two cities, but I'm so glad we fit in what we did!
We did not mean to climb the duomo. I wanted to climb the bell tower (behind me in the picture below), but we got in line for the duomo without realizing it and when we got inside there was no choice but to go upstairs. We realized what we were doing about halfway up the 463 steps!
Then Jon ran up the 414 bell tower steps by himself (haha!) to get the duomo IN the picture.
We hit all the big spots in Rome - everything pictured here plus the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, the Sistine Chapel of course (inside the Vatican) and the Spanish Steps. There was still a lot more we could have done. The biggest surprise in Rome was how CROWDED it was. It wasn't even the high tourist season yet, but I couldn't imagine it being any more crowded.
Arch of Titus//St. Peter's Basilica - coolest thing about the Basilica is that Peter is buried here!
The end! We highly recommend going to ALL of these places!