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Writer Wednesday: Favorite Vacation

Posted Jun 7 2016, 11:47 pm

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As an ode to summer, we’re talking about our favorite vacations today. My hubs and I love to travel and we’ve taken some great trips, but I think I’ll tell you about an incredible trip we took with our kids in 2007, when they were 18 & 20 years old. (Both not legal drinkers in the US, but they were excited to learn they were totally legit in Europe! We found out just how much fun they’d had when we got the liquor bill on the cruise ship. Seems my son was buying drinks for pretty Italian girls…. :0 )

 

So our first stop was busy, busy, crazy, rainy Rome. We stayed right by the Vatican in a remodeled monastery that was fantastic. We couldn’t figure out what all the fuss was about because the Vatican was supposed to be closed that day, but then lo and behold, we looked up and the Pope was speaking . (That was a bit of good luck!)DSC00880 Next we did all the typical touristy stuff you do when in Rome. We stopped by the Trevi Fountain and the kids threw coins in over their shoulders. (My two are in the middle. My daughter is a bit of a goofball and would kill me if she knew I picked this pix, but I couldn’t find my other ones. LOL)

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The next day we set out early and saw more attractions.  We were riding along in our tour bus and boom! There sits the coliseum!  In the US we’d have a parking lot and signs, but this place is pretty darned old, so there are buildings all around and you’d miss it if you blinked. We also went to the Forum, Pantheon, and various other places that day.

 

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So after two days in Rome, and eating some of the best food we’ve ever had, we boarded a cruise ship for a sail through the Mediterranean.  We had beautiful cabins with balconies aboard an Italian ship named the Costa Victoria. Can you see how blue the water is? Like no other blue in the world!

We were part of the 155 English speakers out of 2900 passengers, so we learned some basic Italian pretty quickly!  We also figured out that the Italians don’t “queue” like Americans so if we wanted food at the buffet we had to get aggressive! Luckily, we’d opted for “seated dining” at night.

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 Or first stop was Catania, Sicily, then we had a day at sea, and next we stopped at Patomos in the Greek Isles.  Here, we visted the grotto of St. John where its said he composed Apocalypse, better known as the book of Revelations in the bible.  (He was 98 years old.)  

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Later that evening we stopped in Mykonos and had an amazing dinner. (Saving more Greek pix for a bit later)  Then the next day we went to the coastal town of Izmir, Turkey, where we shopped in crowded markets.

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While still docked in Izmir, the next morning we took an hour long bus ride to Ephesus, one of the seven wonders of the world.   It was once a coastal town and had been buried in silt. They are still uncovering things there, but below are the library and stadium that is actually still used for concerts occasionally. The most amazing thing to me was seeing the sewer system and the bath houses, pretty clever plumbing systems for back in the day. And they found an underground tunnel that led from the library to a brothel. Men often innocently told their wives they were off to visit the library. But instead of reading, they’d sneak through the tunnel for a whole different kind of entertainment. 

 

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The stadium is below.  Can you see the people sitting on the steps in about the middle on the left? This is a huge structure. Impressive building techniques for a lack of modern tools.

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Next we got back on the ship and went to Santorini, by far the prettiest of the Greek Isles. We were interested to learn that all the buildings are cement because there are no trees indigenous to the isles, so wood construction is rare. Everything is made from cement and then white washed.

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They have very few color choices to maintain the “beauty” of the island.

 

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The view above you might have seen before… pretty famous spot to take pix.

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And the flowers only add to the gorgeousness  of this place!

Next we sailed back to Rome and we caught a bullet train to Florence. My kids had been out of the US for about 10 days at this point and found their favorite attraction of the day…..

 

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Florence is one of the most spectacular cities in the world! We visited the Duomo, a cathedral that took over 300 years to build! And after that, many, many museums, until the kids begged us to stop.

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And we found out there are more than one statues of David! (Who knew?)

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On the third day we took a bus out to the rolling hills of Chianti (where the wine is from) and had a tasting and a lesson about olive oil. Each vineyard makes their own right along with their wine. Fantastico!

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When we got back to Florence we visited the infamous Baboli Gardens.  The kids weren’t as impressed with this as my hubs and I were. They were much more  impressed with all the scooters lined up everywhere. They thought that’d be a pretty great way to get around. It was fun to see so many women in dresses and men in fine suits riding around the city on them.

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And after a little over two weeks, we were tired, but so grateful to have seen so much living history. So it was time to say,  “Ciao, baby!” and head back to the US.

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Check out some of my writer friends favorite vacation memories:

Paranormal romance writer Kay Hudson  | Romantic suspense writers Carol Post Sharon Wray | Novels with romantic elements Jean Willett  | Young adult romance writer TL Sumner

 

 

12 Comments

Comments

12 responses to “Writer Wednesday: Favorite Vacation”

  1. Jean Willett says:

    Love the photo tour of Europe. This is the tour we’d like to take some day. Looks beautiful.

  2. Sharon Wray says:

    Love your post today, Tamra. And I LOVE the photos. I’ve been to Rome and Florence, but can’t wait to one day go to Ephesus and Santorini and some of the other Greek Islands. What an amazing vacation!!!

    (I cried when I saw the real David at the Accademia. He was so incredibly beautiful!)

  3. Carol Post says:

    Great post, Tamra! I loved all the pics. Hubby and I have talked about taking a Mediterranean cruise, but haven’t made it yet. Seeing your pics makes me want to move that up on our “things we want to do” list.

    • Really Carol, the Mediterranean is so incredibly beautiful! We were on the cruise ship when seeing the isles and wished we’d had a bit more time at each one. So since you guys like to cruise, find one with full day visits on Mykonos and Santorini if you can. Hope you guys get there soon!

  4. Kay Hudson says:

    What a wonderful trip, Tammy. I’ve never been to Europe. Who knows, maybe someday!

    • I think you’d really enjoy it Kay. In the US our oldest buildings are infants compared to what we saw. The idea of walking right where Julius Cesar walked is pretty amazing. I hope you get to see it one day!

  5. Wow, that looks like an amazing trip! I’ve never been to any of those places, but would love to go someday. Your kids were at a perfect age to join you, too — old enough to really appreciate everything. Love it!

    • Yes, we’d taken the kids to Norway for a big family reunion when they were a few years younger. We’d stopped in Switzerland on the way home and they just were’t old enough to appreciate a lot of it. They wondered why everything was so “old and annoying.” Why hotel rooms were so tiny, why the bathrooms were odd, why McDonalds didn’t taste the same in Switzerland, and why in Norway people ate fish for breakfast and reindeer for dinner. Yuck! They’d take Hawaii any day over Europe. But then they grew up a bit and saw how wonderful Europe really is. LOL

  6. TL Sumner says:

    My daughter and I were just talking about how we should consider a European cruise for one of our upcoming vacations. Your pictures were great and I love how you got to see so much! I’m more convinced that might be the way to go. 🙂

    • Our only regret was if the sea is at all rough, they can’t dock and have to take you by tender to some of the islands, which takes up a ton of sightseeing time. This happened to us in Mykonos, unfortunately. So if you go, look for a cruise with lots of time to explore each day! Hope you get to go very soon!

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