S: Europe 2010 Spain, France, Italy & England
FC: Europe 2010 | Spain, France, Italy & England
1: Places we visited: Barcelona, Spain May 19-23, 2010 Toulon, France May 25, 2010 Pisa, Italy May 26, 2010 Rome, Italy May 27, 2010 Paris, France May 29, 2010 London, England May 30, 2010 | What an amazing trip we had! Shelby & I toured Barcelona for a few days before Chelsea & Carol joined us. On the Monday we began our 5 day Mediterranean Cruise stopping in Toulon, France; Pisa, Italy and Rome, Italy. To my beautiful daughter Shelby, I want to say "Thank You". You planned this trip and made sure that it happened. It was a trip of a lifetime! To be able to have these memories with my daughter, sister & niece are priceless. Before we came home we were able to spend a day in Paris, France & a day in London, England..... It was just amazing!!
2: Barcelona is the capital and the most populous city of Catalonia and the second largest city in Spain, after Madrid. | Couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day... | Torre Agbar | Sagrada Familia | Las Arenas Stadium
3: May 21 - 23, 2010 Barcelona, Spain | Plaza de Toros Monumental
4: There are two Spanish legends concerning the founding of Barcelona. One legend says that it was founded by Hercules, 400 years before the building of Rome. But, according to the other legend, the city was founded in the 3rd century BC by the Carthaginian Hamilcar Barca, father of Hannibal. He named the city Barcino after his family, the Barca family of Carthage. Which one do you believe? | Olympic Stadium
5: Palau Nacional | The view from Palau Nacional
6: Monument a Francesc Macia | Saturday night Shelby & I had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe.
7: La Rambla is probably the most famous street in Barcelona, but in reality it consists of 5 boulevards -or ramblas- joined to make one long promenade. It starts from Placa Catalunya and ends at the Colombus statue by the waterfront. For this reason, this 2 kilometer long boulevard is also commonly known in plural as Las Ramblas. Thousands of people stroll on Las Ramblas every day & night, where they watch the performing street artists, shop, or sit for a nice meal or coffee. Las Ramblas is the major center of activities in the city and is undoubtedly the most famous promenade of Barcelona, and probably in all Spain | This was such a pretty area. We strolled the Rambla, shopped, had a nice dinner or two & I would definitely recommend the Sangria. Thought it was funny that you can buy chicken from one of the booths & the human statues were great!
8: Park Guell is one of the world's most intriguing parks. The pavilions and main staircase designed by Antoni Gaudi look like they belong in some fairy tale. | Mosaic Dragon | Staircase with Sala Hipostila
9: Serpentine Bench | There's A Connecting flight of stairs leads you to another famous feature of the Park: The Gran Placa Circular. It was originally intended a marketplace for residents, this plaza is bordered by what is known as the largest bench in the world. The colorful ceramic serpentine bench, designed by Jujol, twists snakelike around the plaza. The view from the plaza is spectacular, you can see as far as the Mediterranean Sea. | The whole platform is supported by 86 huge columns, creating a hall beneath the plaza, known as the Sala Hipostila.
10: After touring Barcelona all day our last adventure was walking through Park Guell. What an amazing place to visit, the views were absolutely spectacular! By the end of the day our feet were sore & we were exhausted. That evening we had a great dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe.
11: Pavilion | Barcelona Tibidabo Amusement Park
13: Sunday, May 23, 2010 Shelby & I had quite an adventure getting to the Airport to pick up Chelsea. Once we got back to the hotel, we headed out to show Chelsea the sites of Barcelona. As tired as she was she hung in there!! We walked along the pier to the beaches & back to the Ramblas. And of course, did a little shopping too! I took the girls into an Irish Pub & we had a drink, Chelsea was too funny!! She kept saying they're going to ask for my ID!! They didn't...
14: Columbus Monument | Shelby & Chelsea at the base of the Columbus Monument | Rambla Del Mar | Rambla de Mar
15: The sea side in Barcelona was completely run over by industries and there existed no beach for the use of the city’s populace and tourism. This was changed in 1992 when the city was chosen to hose the Olympic Games. The authorities shifted industries and converted the seaside area into one for leisure, with lots of hotels, restaurants, bars and of course, new beaches! | Sant Sebastia is one of the two nudist beaches in Barcelona. Shelby & Chelsea wouldn't walk through all the topless women to put their feet in the Mediterranean Sea. I DID!! I have to say...The water was very cold!!!
16: Herzog & de Meuron Forum | Plaza de Catalunya is the City Center where we caught the tour bus. Younger school kids were singing & Playing games. They were very cute!! | Casa Mila
17: Monday, May 24, 2010 After we checked out of our hotel we stopped at a little cafe close by. They had most delicious breakfast. If we had the opportunity, I think both Carol & I would go back to Barcelona to get another piece of Quiche. What a way to end our stay in Barcelona & begin the rest of our Journey
18: Another adventure begins. We hopped on our Cruise and now are headed to France & Italy May 24 - 28, 2011 | Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
19: Monday, May 24th It took quite a while to be able to board the ship... but once we were on board, in our room & settled we were ready to have some fun!
20: The Promenade Deck was where to go if you wanted to shop. There were always people walking around. It was absolutely gorgeous!
21: Royal Caribbean Cruise Line 5 Day Mediterranean Cruise leaving from Barcelona, Spain. Ports of Call: Toulon, France Pisa, Italy Rome, Italy | If you wanted to sunbathe, swim, jog, climb the rock wall, basketball, or just relax & have a drink... Outside on the deck was the place to be!
22: Between all the activities available for you to do. One of the most enjoyable was being outside and watching the beautiful sunsets. The girls enjoyed going to Johnny Rockets every night. Carol & I had fun playing a game or two of ping pong.
23: Toulon, France Tuesday, May 25th It wasn't a good thing when they forgot to tell us that we HAD to ride the shuttle so our venture in Toulon started out on the wrong side of the harbor....
24: When we first got out & started walking around we definitely thought we were in the ghetto! Our first impression of Toulon was not very good! After our hour journey to nowhere.... the girls decided to stay on the boat & relax. Carol & I hopped on the shuttle & once we got to Toulon enjoyed our day.
25: Carol & I walked all over Toulon. We found an Internet Cafe to Skype with Mom & Dad. We had a lot of fun today.
26: We strolled along the waterfront stopping now & then to enjoy the view & a little shopping. Before heading back to the shuttle we stopped and had a delicious crepe... | The old town of Toulon, the historic center located between the port, the Boulevard de Strasbourg and the Cours Lafayette, is a pedestrian area with narrow streets, small squares and many fountains. The area is also home of the celebrated Provencal market which takes place every morning on the Cours Lafayette, which features local products. The old town had decayed in the 1980's & 1990's, but recently many of the fountains & squares have been restored, & many new shops have opened.
28: Captain's Dinner | We had a really nice time at the Captain's Dinner. I think we all enjoyed getting dressed up. We got our pictures taken & enjoyed a delicious dinner. I have to say the best part though was the company. Afterwards there was a Captains Welcome Aboard Reception, with Champagne on the Promenade Deck. Later there was entertainment, the "Almost Village People" sang & danced across a stage overhead. It was a blast! Afterwards we went & enjoyed an Ice Skating Show.
30: Wednesday, May 26th Once we docked, we got on the shuttle to get to the train station. We had to take a train to Pisa, Italy. We were meeting one of Shelby's friends Alessandro, she's been a Pen pal with him for quite a few months. Alessandro came down to Pisa with his family to meet us. It should be a very nice day. | Pisa, Italy
31: From the train station, we hopped on a bus, it was about a 20 minute ride to reach the Leaning Tower of Pisa. We are meeting Alessandro & his family there.
32: The Leaning Tower of Pisa is more accurately referred to simply as the bell tower, or campanile. The Pisa tower is one of the four buildings that make up the cathedral complex, called Campo dei Miracoli or Piazza dei Miracoli, which means Field of Miracles.
33: The construction of Tower of Pisa began in August 1173 and continued for about 200 years due to the onset of a series of wars. The name of the architect is still a mystery.
35: The leaning Tower of Pisa was designed as a circular bell tower. It is constructed of white marble & is eight stories tall, including the chamber for the bells. The bottom story consists of 15 marble arches. Each of the next six stories contains 30 arches that surround the tower. The final story is the bell chamber itself, which has 16 arches. Outside diameter at it's base - 15.484 meters Width of walls at it's base - 2.4384 meters Weight of tower is approximately 14,500 tonnes
36: Did you know that the Tower of Pisa is 185 feet high & there is a 297 step spiral staircase inside to reach the top. When you're walking up the tower, you can feel it leaning, it's crazy! | Shelby & Oriana
37: Shelby, Alessandro & Luca | Sergio & Carol
38: We had pizza for lunch with Alessandro's family. Around the table was Alessandro, Shelby, Sergio (Dad), Christine, Carol, Oriana (Mom), Chelsea & Elisabetta (Grandma)
39: Udy | We had such a nice day in Pisa with Alessandro and his family. After walking around by the Tower of Pisa, we found a little restaurant and had lunch. What a nice visit. Alessandro's family had driven down from Costa Volpino in their Motor Home. They were telling us that Italy has very strict rules on how many people can be inside a Motor Home when you are driving them but... we all fit in & they gave us a ride back to the train station. What an enjoyable day!
40: We were rushing to make it to the train station. The train was leaving at 4:00 pm, we made it... with a few minutes to spare.
42: Thursday, May 27th Today we're going to Rome, Italy. The one thing that we found out is that we've had to travel a distance to be able to reach our destinations for our Ports of Call. Today after we docked, we had to take a shuttle to Civitavecchia, then we had about a 10 minute walk to the train station & then we had about a 45 min train ride to Rome. | The smallest gas station ever!
43: Trevi Fountain A traditional legend holds that if visitors throw a coin into the fountain, they are ensured a return to Rome.
44: It was too bad the line for the tour was so long. It would have been nice to have be able to see the Colosseum from the inside. Fact: The Colosseum could accommodate some 55,000 spectators who could enter the building through no less than 80 entrances.
45: Above the ground are four storeys, the upper storey contained seating for lower classes and women. The lowest storey was preserved for prominent citizens. Below the ground were rooms with mechanical devices and cages containing wild animals. The cages could be hoisted, enabling the animals to appear in the middle of the arena.
46: The Via Sacra, the Sacred Road, connected some of the most important religious sites in the Roman Forum, stretching from the summit of the Capitoline Hill to the area of the Colosseum.
47: This road was continually filled with solemn religious festivals, magnificent triumphs of victorious generals, and the daily throng assembling in the basilicas to chat, throw dice, engage in business, or secure justice. | There just wasn't enough hours to see everything we wanted to see. I think we should go back so we can see more.
49: Saint Peters Square
50: We were able to walk around for a little bit after our Bus Tour. We stopped & got some Italian Gelato which was very good! After that we had to head back to the train station for our ride back to the boat.
51: Gelato anyone?
52: Friday, May 28th The last day of our cruise. Time has flown by way too fast!
53: Finally a day to relax & soak up some sun! I think we all need another day like this!!
54: The last night at sea
55: We had the best servers!! Juan Pablo, Ronaldo & everyone else that helped us were the best!!
56: Before the Midnight Buffet we went to a comedy show. I have to say that there was so much food at The Midnight Buffet....wow!! By that time of the night I don't think any of us were very hungry but of course we had to have a bite to two of a few things... | Waiting in line patiently for our final bill. By that time....we needed a drink!!
57: Midnight Buffet
58: Johnny Rockets
59: Shelby & Chelsea had to go to Johnny Rocket's every night! They said they really liked it but, I think it had something to do with the cute guys that worked there...
60: The meals we had were amazing! This is just a sample of some of the things we got to eat.
62: Towel Animals
63: It was our last morning on the ship, we got up early & had a nice breakfast. Last night we had to pack up all of our stuff & put it out for the staff to take. We have had such an amazing trip, it's sad that it's already over. We have a few more days left to go, we're going to hop in a Taxi & head to the Airport. We're off to Paris France. Carol is going to be staying in Barcelona for a few days, then she will be going to London then she'll meet up with Jason in Tunisia. I am so blessed that the four of us girls were able to take this trip, we may never get this opportunity again to do something like this, I know I will cherish these memories forever.
64: Saturday, May 29th Our last morning in Barcelona, Spain What a beautiful sunrise...
65: Waiting at the Airport.. and now... We're off to Paris
67: An iconic symbol of French culture, liberty, and progress, the Eiffel Tower in Paris was completed for the 1889 World Fair, which happened to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. About 6.8 million people visit the tower each year. Construction started on January 26, 1887 & was completed on March 31, 1889. It took 2 years, 2 months & 5 days to complete from start to finish. The Tower is 324 meters tall & weighs approx. 10,000 tons, with 7,300 tons being metal. In clear weather you can see approximately 42 miles from the top of the Eiffel Tower. | The flight from Barcelona to Paris wasn't very long. When we got to Paris our taxi ride to our hotel was about an hour. Once we got settled in, the girls went to McDonald's. After that we walked to the Subway & took the train into Paris.
68: The only day that it was cold & rainy. We had to wait for about an hour in line to get to the 2nd Deck.
69: From the 2nd Deck of the Eiffel Tower | Unfortunately it was another hour wait to get to the top level. We decided not to wait...
70: Mosaic Dragon | Our stay in Paris wasn't very long. After we went to the Eiffel Tower, we had a nice meal & took the subway back to our hotel. It was rainy & cold. | In the morning Chelsea & I walked to a little bakery & bought some croissants that were just delicious! Now.... we're headed to London
71: Sunday, May 30th The last day of our trip.....WOW, it's hard to believe that it's already the last day. We've seen so many amazing places!! Once we arrived in London we got a hotel room at the airport. Our flight out in the morning is pretty early so we didn't want to be too far away... We went downstairs and the hotel called us a Taxi. We ended up spending the day with Johnny, our Taxi driver. He gave us a personal tour of London. Took us to all around the city & even bought us lunch in a little Lithuanian Restaurant. What a nice way to end out trip... | Big Ben | Double Decker Buses
72: Victoria Tower
73: The clock tower's official name is Saint Stephen's tower, it's 316 ft high and consists of a 200 ft high brick shaft topped by a cast iron framed spire The clock faces are 180 ft above ground level. | Big Ben | Westminster Abbey | There was a big protest happening while we were there across the street from Big Ben. The tower was constructed between 1843 and 1858 as the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster, now better known as the Houses of Parliament.
74: Buckingham Palace
76: Tower Bridge
77: Millennium Eye
78: John, our Taxi driver was the best!!
79: Hyde Park | London Horse Sculpture | Marble Arch | The Marble Arch was built in 1827 & stood at Buckingham Palace, but when Queen Victoria enlarged the palace in 1851, she moved the Marble Arch to the entrance to Hyde Park.
80: The World Famous Harrod's Department Store
81: For only having one day in London, we were able to see so many sites!! It makes me want to come back & see all the places we weren't able to! | The Cenotaph | Hungerford Bridge | Notting Hill Gate
82: We stayed at the Hilton, this was looking down from our floor. A picture with Johnny, our Taxi driver. He gave us a personal tour of London, what a pleasant surprise.
83: Thank you Chantal, For picking us up!! | We're finally back home. What a wonderful trip!