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S: Europe 2011

FC: Paris Nice Monacco Florence ROME Athens | Kusadasi Mykonos Naples Barcelona

1: Our first hotel as we landed in Paris. We could just see the top of the Eiffel Tower peeking over the buildings | Welcome | to PARIS | a

2: Finally Here! 9368 kms from Vancouver

4: The Top of the Eiffel Tower

5: We took three elevators to the top and then walked all 40 storeys back down to the ground.

6: The Louvre We could have spent days here just looking at all the art work

7: We ran through the Louvre to see all the highlights. Clockwise from top; Psyche and Cupid; Venus de Milo; Mona Lisa; Dying Slave

8: The Pantheon | Our Open Top Bus Tour

9: The Sights of Paris

10: Arc de Triomphe

12: City by the Sea | Nice

13: Our cruise ship in port in NIce. This was a small harbour that couldn't accommodate our size of ship so we had to tender in to shore

14: Monaco

15: The next stop was Monaco. We toured the city and saw the church where Grace Kelly married Prince Ranier. We watched the changing of the guard at the palace and visited the Grand Casino. We had the opportunity to gamble a few Euro in the casino and won 165 Euro on a five centime slot machine!

16: Duomo Cathedral | The Emperor's Statues | In Florence we decided to take the bus into town and explore the city on our own. We loved the freedom to see things at our own pace and do some shopping. One of our favourite days!

17: A replica of the statue of David and the interior of the Church of Santa Croce. This is the statue that's claimed to have inspired the Statue of Liberty.

18: good eats | We visited a small restaurant in Piazza Santa Croce at the recommendation of our guide and had the most amazing meal at Ristorante Boccadama. We even ate their delicious bruschetta starter, which is a big feat for two people who usually don't like tomatoes! This is Matt's "too full to smile" face.

19: There were so many people in Florence this day as it was Festa della Republica celebrating when Italy became a Republic on June 2, 1946 | The outside of the Church of Santa Croce

20: ROME | in a DAY

21: Trajan's Column

22: The Trevi Fountain We each threw two coins in the fountain. One for love and one to return to Rome

24: The Roman Forum

25: Hadrian's Arch

32: Brilliance of the Seas

33: Our Home Away from Home We chose a balcony room and thought it was great to wake up in the morning and go outside before starting the day. We'd come to bed at night and find the famous towel creatures waiting for us.

35: We had a great time on board the ship as well. They had two pools, a theatre that we got to tour and lots of windows so we could check out the scenery.

36: The Acropolis

37: The Parthenon and , Caryatids at the Acropolis were a big check mark off our list of places to see!

38: Olympic stadium | Athens | Greek parliament building

39: EPHESUS | We didn't have very high expectations for the port of Kusadasi but were pleasantly surprised by how interesting and beautiful it was. Ephesus was so full of history and a great tour someone like me who loves random facts | The Goddess Nike (of running shoe fame) | A statue of the Emperor standing on top of the world. This is very interesting because it is represented by a sphere in 1BC, long before Christopher Columbus took off to prove the world was round!

40: Ephesus | TURKEY | The Library


46: Mykonos was quintessentially Greek with blue and whitewash houses, windmills and even a resident pelican named Pedro II. Pedro I met his unfortunate demise after a run in with a vehicle, which was not surprising based on how many times we had to jump out of th way of motorists driving on the cobblestone streets ourselves.

47: Mykonos also marked the only port where we really just had a chance to pull up a beach chair and relax with a drink or two by the ocean.

48: Naples, Italy | Amalfi Coast | We visited a working farm and watched a mozzarella cheese making demonstration. We were both amazed when the Italian grandma would just stick her hands straight into boiling water. We had the opportunity to sample some as well as fresh tomatoes and proscuitto and home made limoncello

49: We | There was no shortage of amazing food all across Europe. Margherita pizza in Sorrento which is made of white mozzarella, red tomato sauce and green basil to represent the Italian flag. A rare occasion where we remembered to take a picture of our food before finishing it.

51: POMPEII | For me visiting Pompeii was a must-see stop on our trip. I had read about it in so many textbooks and everywhere we turned was something I remembered. From the "Beware of Dog" tiles to the haunting images of the citizens' last moments cast in plaster it was an absolutely surreal experience.

52: Waving good-bye to the ship

53: In Barcelona we disembarked our cruise ship and had two days to ourselves to explore the city. We took a open top bus tour and saw some Gaudi architecture and a working bull fighting ring. | In Barcelona we disembarked our cruise ship and had two days to ourselves to explore the city. We took a open top bus tour and saw some Gaudi architecture and a working bull fighting ring.

54: Barcelona, Spain

56: Another tiny European hotel room!

59: Barcelona is famous for its architecture. Gaudi certainly had a unique sense of design and we thought all his buildings looked slightly reminiscent of gingerbread. We visited Park Guell and his masterpiece, Sagrada Familia, which he was unable to complete.

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