Hello there! Long time, no blog. I hope you all are well and have been enjoying the start of spring!
We arrived home from our European adventure last night and dutifully forced ourselves to stay up until our normal bedtime. Well, at least we tried to force ourselves – ultimately we collapsed into bed about an hour before usual. And although we both woke up at 2:30 am wondering why we weren’t in a hotel room, we were able to get back to sleep until 6:30 this morning – pretty impressive considering that’s 3:30 pm in Barcelona, where we were less than 24 hours ago.
I may still be a bit jet lagged, but I wouldn’t trade the feeling for anything. The past 12 days have been jam-packed with sensory overload in the best possible way. Everything we saw, smelled, tasted, heard and touched while abroad has left me feeling inspired, moved and truly fulfilled.
Of course, it’s also necessary (and funny, in hindsight) to mention the several moments of sheer panic and terror along the way. Like the part at the beginning of our trip when our flight to Paris was cancelled due to a major mechanical issue found after we had already boarded the plane, and we spent a good hour thinking that we would never make it there at all. Or the several times we got semi-lost while driving in Italy, the land of self-proclaimed “reckless” motorists.
Lest Mama Bender should panic when she reads that last part, I should add that the really hilarious part about getting lost – and I stress hilarious in hindsight – was that it always happened once inside the city, and the confusion always began when we were within only a few blocks of our hotel or the airport. Never on the highways or in the countryside, but instead once we had reached the areas where we had detailed Google and paper maps to use as our guides. Go figure. I think it’s safe to say that European grid plans are not quite the same as what we’re used to from Chicago.
But even typing about the less-than-stellar moments makes me smile when looking back on our trip, and I haven’t even told you about all of the amazing parts yet! With more than 1,500 pictures (gulp), I am looking forward to recreating our journey over the course of the next few weeks. There is a lot to share, from fascinating history lessons to fantastic food and everything in between.
I’m definitely still processing it all, but in the meantime wanted to share these small snapshots from our days spent in France, Italy and Spain. Bobby and I created them together each night we were gone as a way to keep in touch with family and friends, and it turned out to be the best way for us to visually talk through everything we had seen and done – a digital journal after long days of walking. We both enjoyed having the chance to hear what the other person loved most about each day and why – it made us feel even more grateful for this special time we had alone with each other.
Hope you enjoy the sneak peek…be back soon with all the details!
Our first view beyond the train stations in Paris after an unexpected detour through London…
Sights and tastes from our first day in the City of Light. Angelina’s chocolat chaud was mind blowing, as were our Sidecars from Le Harry’s New York Bar – Hemingway style!
Scenes from Paris, day two. Much more to share about Versailles, as we spent almost the whole day there and it was incredible. We explored the Latin Quarter with crepes in the late afternoon and had dinner at Les Fetes Galantes, which was amazing.
We covered every corner of Paris on our third day and despite the cold, the views were spectacular!
Our travels took us to Italy next, where we explored Pompeii en route to the Amalfi Coast. What amazed me was not only what Vesuvius destroyed, but more impressively what is still around since 79 A.D. As the Latin phrase “Have” says – be well!
Buongiorno from Sorrento…
…where lemons the size of your head make the best limoncello and buffaloes the size of, well, buffaloes make the best mozzarella cheese.
From Sorrento we took a road trip to Rome…and spotted a rainbow over the ruins on our first day!
We explored Vatican City and even saw Pope Francis sing. Pasta on the Spanish steps and dark chocolate-covered gelato were also highlights, as was sitting in the park at Villa Borghese.
From Rome we drove our tiny, lovable Fiat still further north to the region of Tuscany. Holding up a leaning tower along the way? Pisa cake.
We then got ourselves into a Firenze-y over Florence. Yep. The puns just kept on coming. The candy-colored Duomo and towering David were incredible, as were the views from Piazzale Michelango.
The time then came to say arrivederci to our beloved Italian rental car. We took a plane ride west across the Mediterranean Sea to spend our last day in Barcelona and couldn’t have asked for a better ending to our vacation. From the architectural genius of Antoni Gaudí’s La Sagrada Familia to the sandy beaches of Barceloneta, we added to the overflow of memories we’ll treasure forever.
Europe, you were good to us. We feel so very lucky. Ciao for now!
Embrassades, abbraccios, abraçades y abrazos,