My 10 Year Anniversary with Rome

Thanks to those fun Facebook memories, I was reminded that July 3rd, 2007 I arrived in Rome for the first time.

I had traveled before. We traveled to the Caribbean often and I had spent a month in Ireland a few years before, but this trip was different.

I was traveling as a supervisor for a high school English credit (which just so happened to have my brother and cousin taking the class). The students had class during the day, and we spent our afternoons Rome-ing around.

That first day exploring we visited the Baths of the Diocletion, the Piazza della Republica and the Spanish Steps. I remember so vividly walking from the Baths to the Spanish Steps when it hit me – these were the roads that an ancient civilization walked on, these were the places they built. Here I was, thousands of years later, being in awe of all of it. That feeling of being in awe followed me each day – to the Vatican, through the Forum, to the Pantheon and on our day trip to Florence.

That month changed my life. I learned so much, about myself and this beautiful city. I grew as a person. I found a strength in me I didn’t know I had. It sparked a love of travel and need to continue exploring the world.

No matter where my travels take me, I always feel a calling back to the Eternal City.

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Italy 2017

We’re home! In fact we flew in less than 24 hours ago. Fingers crossed we can fight this jet lag quickly!

We had a fabulous time with the best weather possible! I’m going to do a series of blogs on this trip, but in the meantime, I’m going to leave you with this photo of Venice at sunset.

 

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Quick Take: Lisbon 2016

We visited Lisbon again on our (now annual) Eurotrip in 2016. Here is the quick take!

Visited: May, 2016
Days in Lisbon: 4.5
Travelled to Lisbon by: Plane from Barcelona
Stayed at:
 Airbnb

Favourite day:
Cascais!
Favourite restaurants: Bonjardim, Maria Catita and Cascas.
Favourite Squares: Praca do Comercio, Rossio Square.
Tours: None this time ’round, we just spent time at the beach.
Must Do: 
Visit each of the unique districts in Lisbon. Enjoy a Fado show. Stroll and enjoy the historic capital.

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Take a look at what we did during our trip to Lisbon in 2015!

Oh The Places You’ll Go…2017

Well, it’s been 2017 for 10 days now and I’m planning travels for this year! Here is a list of what we’re thinking for 2017:

~ Montreal or Ottawa road trip with our friends for our 30th birthdays.

~ Italy for our 30th birthday slash five year wedding anniversary trip (I’m thinking a road trip of the north with a few day stop in Rome – of course!).

~ Perhaps a second trip to Europe, for an extended long weekend.

~ Las Vegas!

~ Boston or Chicago (or both) road trip.

~ Rounding off the year somewhere hot, if our time off allows. I haven’t had a beach vacation in years!

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Quick Take: Lecce

We visited Lecce on our South Italy Road Trip in 2014. Here is the quick take!

Visited: May, 2014
Days in Lecce: 3
Travelled to Lecce by: Car from Bari
Stayed at:
Palazzo Rollo

Favourite site:
Roman Ampitheatre.
Favourite restaurants: Trattoria Nonna Tetti where we first had fave e cicoria
Favourite Squares: Piazza del Duomo.
Must See:
Roman Ampitheatre, Triumphal Arch, Lecce Cathedral, the obelisk, Church of Santa Croce.
Day trips: Otranto, Santa Maria di Leuca, Gallipoli, Porto Cesareo.

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Road Trip: Montreal

Sorry not sorry you won’t get me to shut up about Montreal for a little while. What a fantastic city! Although it confirmed my suspicions that I’m not a great city explorer in insane heat (or rain), we persevered and had the best time!

Here are my favourite parts of Montreal…

The juxtaposition between old and new. So many old buildings beside some that are modern and new.

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The architecture is beautiful and reminiscent of Europe.

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Stunning churches. Even if you’re not religious, you can appreciate the beauty of the churches across the city.

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The street art is incredible and everywhere!

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The food! If you’re a foodie, Montreal is a must! I’m going to be dedicating a whole post to it.

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The views from Mount Royal.

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…and Old Montreal, which is also getting a dedicated post. I can’t wait to share more of our road trip with you!

Winter Holiday 2016 – Planning

Almost every year, my family takes a winter holiday. Usually somewhere warm. Usually somewhere in the Caribbean.

This year is going to be a little different. My brother is living in Australia (coming home sometime in the late spring) and my parent’s don’t really want to fly all the way there, so we’d like to meet him somewhere.

We’d love your suggestions and recommendations for a half way point between Toronto and Brisbane!

Four Days in Barcelona

We landed in Barcelona, excited for warm weather after our relatively cold and rainy time in Amsterdam, and headed to our hotel in the centre of the city. We dropped our bags and went for a walk. What a great location – perfect for site seeing!

I’m going to be real here. We didn’t love Barcelona. It might be one of our least favourite European cities that we have visited. We came to the conclusion that it’s a combination of Lisbon and Rome. Not a ton to see (like Lisbon) but huge and more gritty (like Rome).

Here’s what we didn’t like…

  • I didn’t feel particularly safe in parts of the city, especially while on Las Ramblas. I took off my wedding rings for the first time while travelling, in fear of having them be taken off me.
  • There were a ton of street and beach pedlars. They were everywhere and very persistent.
  • The majority of the sites are Gaudi. Don’t get me wrong, he was a genius, but it felt like the tourism industry lives and dies on this guy’s creations. Twenty Euro to go into a building seems a bit steep. We did pay to get into the Monumental Zone at the Park Guell and neither of us felt it was worth the money.
  • Like Paris, we had mixed reactions to the food. Some places were reasonably priced and fabulous. Others were reasonably priced and not good. We did splurge one night and loved that dinner.

It wasn’t all bad. Here are the parts I loved…

  • The weather was perfect for strolling and lounging in parks (like Park Guell) and on the beach.
  • La Boqueria Market was so much fun.
  • Gin and Tonics (which is one of my favourite drinks) are everywhere! I tried a Bombay Sapphire gin with Hibiscus Schweppes tonic water drink and I will forever dream of that combination.
  • While in Barcelona, we did something for the first time – a hop on, hop off tour bus. It was perfect to see parts of the city we would never have otherwise, like Camp Nou (the Barcelona FC team stadium), the Olympic stadium and the Forum. It also brought us up to the Park Guell and down to the water.
  • Sagrada Familia is something you must see in your lifetime. Hopefully it’ll be completed in your lifetime!

 

Quick Take: Cinque Terre

We visited Cinque Terre on our (now annual) Eurotrip in 2013. Here is the quick take!

Visited: May, 2013
Days in Cinque Terre: 4
Travelled to Cinque Terre by: Train from Florence
Stayed at:
A Ca Du Gigante in Monterosso Al Mare

Favourite town:
 We loved four of the five towns that make up Cinque Terre. I can’t pick just one favourite, but Corniglia was our least favourite.
Favourite restaurants: Belvedere (for the fish stew baked in terre cotta), Cantina di Milky and Il Massimo della Focaccia.
Favourite views: The view coming into Vernazza on the hike from Monterosso al Mare to Vernazza.
Must Do: 
A hike. Visit each of the five towns by train (or hike, though only the one trail was open when we went) – if you don’t have time, skip Corniglia. Take a boat trip.
If you have time: Spend a day on the beach.

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