From Italy to Spain to France… here’s a breakdown of all the ports-of-call from our cruise and what we got up to along the way. Enjoy!
This post is going to be mainly photo-based because (as I always say) I think that’s the best way to show off a city instead of just rambling on like I usually do…
Stop 1) Genoa, Italy
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to spend any time in Genoa as it was just our arrival and departure port. We spent most of the time in a waiting room but from the small glimpses we did manage to catch from the ship balcony, it looks like a beautiful city. I wish we could have explored the streets and taken more photos but, who knows, maybe I’ll get chance to visit properly one day!
Stop 2) Rome, Italy
The very first post I ever wrote on this blog was about Rome and, for that reason, this city has a special place in my heart – clearly it was inspiring enough to encourage me to start travel blogging! Looks like my Trevi Fountain wish came true and I returned for a second time as part of this cruise.
It also happened to be my Mom’s birthday! What a great way to turn 60 (Kidding, she’s 50-something – I’m just being cheeky). Seeing as we were lucky enough to tick off all the tourist hotspots back in 2014, we decided to just take it easy. We re-visited a few key monuments and also spent a lot of time in pizza/ice cream parlours – of course.
Stop 3) Palermo, Sicily
This was my least favourite stop of the whole trip. Maybe because the weather wasn’t great or maybe because there wasn’t as much obvious stuff to do. Perhaps a longer stay in Sicily would allow me to change my mind but, at this point, I can only judge it on the day we spent there.
Palermo is quite a quaint little place and there are some scenic areas as you can see below but generally it’s all a bit bland. We hopped on a tourist bus but spent most of the day stuck in traffic – lesson learnt: walking is the best option! I spent quite a long time in Zara… How tacky of me – visiting a brand new place and spending it in a high street clothes store but what can I say? Euros go further in Zara and now I’m returning to the UK feeling suitably glammed up so it was worth it, okay?!
Stop 4) Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Whenever I think of Mallorca I think of Magalauf but this port-of-call was a lot more cultural than I had imagined. The main town area is super classy and the architechture is beautiful. We took a tour around the major landmarks and I even found a speciality vegan ice cream shop – who’d have thought it!
5) Barcelona, Spain
As most of you know, I spent 6 months living in the Spanish capital of Madrid and so Barcelona is no stranger to me. For this reason, I planned an entirely different day out – a trip to Mount Tibidabo. If there are any friends fans reading this then they’ll know Joey’s line about ‘backpacking through Western Europe and hiking in the foothills of Mount Tibidabo’ but if not then you may never have actually heard of it. It’s not the number one choice for tourists as they usually want to immerse themselves in Gaudi architechture but it’s definitely worth the visit if you fancy something different. It takes a metro journey, a tram and a funicular train to reach the top but it’s definitely worth the time (and expense). The views were breathtaking – there’s a cathedral and a theme park on the mountain. A strange mix but weirdly, it works. Spain will always be my numero uno and so, this was undoubtedly my favourite day of the whole trip but I’m definitely biased…
6) Marseille, France
A few people had told me to avoid Marseille and catch a bus straight to Aix-en-Provence. Me and my Mom weren’t sure whether to take this advice or to give Marseille a try. We settled on the latter choice and I’m SO glad we did! It has a reputation for being a bit dirty, run-down and less sophisticated than other French cities but from what we saw it was quite the opposite. The harbour area is so picturesque and there were tons of viewpoints around that city that just took my breath away. We had so much fun at our last port of call and the weather was delightful, making it all the harder to accept the fact that home-time was near…
6 great European cities in just 7 days. It may have been a whirlwind tour and, of course, it’s not long enough to truly explore every nook and cranny and tick off every attraction but it’s definitely enough to get a taste of each culture and decide where you’d like to re-visit one day. Who knows, maybe in another 2 years I’ll be back in Rome! Read my blog in 2018 and we’ll see where I am, shall we? For now, it’s back to university life. A final push and a few more overnight library sessions and then it’s all over… eek!