You will never know until you go
A trip beyond our country is a lifelong dream for many. Kevin and I have always wanted to take our children abroad to experience the history and culture, to travel to where our ancestors were born and raised. To make memories together as a family and gain educational insight while we have some fun along the way:) The year was 2015, our first international trip but not our last. I remember the time and energy that went into planning such a lengthy trip for one month! Kevin and I never use a “travel agent” when we travel because we like to do things our way and this is exactly what we did! I had to make sure my family could trust me with handling our itinerary, the trip required tons of organization and creative skills. Failure is never an option with me LOL
We booked our flights with Delta Airlines and departure was May 25th, 2015 to Rome, Italy. Our very first trip international was a big deal travelling with your grown children. Our two daughters graduated from University in Los Angeles. They both acquired a 4 year bachelor degree and we felt this was a great way to celebrate their achievements! The itinerary took me about 5 months to plan and it included eleven cities, 3-4 night stays at luxury hotels and a few overnight stays in between the month long trip. I love a challenge,…bring it on!
Our family stayed at the Grand Hotel Ritz, Rome for 4 days. I felt this was enough time to accomplish our wish list in the city:) Rome is and will always be the Holy Grail of Italy! From the Dome of St. Peter’s, the colosseum, Piazza Navona, Basilica di Santa Maria and the Trevi Fountain is just a tiny list of things to see and do. The day we headed to St. Peter’s Basilica was the same day the city had arranged mass with the Pope. The church is one of the holiest temples in the world. Such an amazing morning filled with so much celebration when the pope arrived! We were very happy to be part of such an extraordinary event, it’s really a life experience and something we will remember for many years to come. We manage to eat our way through Rome as we walked, shopped and took in the sights!
The struggle is real when selecting photos from our trip. I had so many photos, how do you chose the ones to post when you love them all? And there were times when our family wanted to explore on their own, so photos of us all together were limited and few. When you travel with adult children you are bound to let them head off for breathing space from parents:) My husband is not a “walker”, he likes to eat and people watch. I was ok with the fact of venturing off alone for a few hours and know I could see and do what I wanted. When you travel with family it is so important to give a little freedom in daily activities. And this is ok…anything to make our family happy:)
Next Stop was Sicily by plane, the flight takes about 1.5 hours from Rome to Sicily. After a full day in Sicily, our family headed back to mainland to explore Naples. From Naples I had arranged a trip to Amalfi coast. You absolutely need reliable transportation for this itinerary. You can book daily train or bus services. We opted to hire a private driver so we could experience the coastal drive. From sunup we drove along the coast from Sorrento to Positano. This gave us a chance to stop along the way when we came upon roadside stands and taking scenic pictures:) The freedom of not rushing and going with the flow was a big factor with our drive along Amalfi Coast, all in all the day trip took us 12 hours to complete but was well worth it!
You can not book a trip to Italy unless you can squeeze in FLORENCE! Rome may be the Holy Grail of Italy but Florence to many is the Artistic and Cultural city of Italy. The city has the world’s best gelato too! Florence offers so much in frescoes, sculptures, churches and Tuscany is a short drive out of the city! Side note: (we didn’t have time to explore Tuscany when we were in Florence but we did travel back to Italy a few years later and Tuscany was top of our wish list!) The energy in Florence is overflowing with bustle, charm and the cappuccinos and food are 10/10. The Arno river is a must to see and the people here are so welcoming, it’s easy to find yourself never wanting to leave.
Our next destination was Portofino. The small city is overlooked when most travellers head to Genoa or further north to Milan. But who can resist a quaint town along the Italian Riviera. Boutiques, art galleries, cafes and restaurants line the streets of this Italian village. Amazing beaches and yachting is popular here in Portofino! Such a beautiful day and experience along the mediterranean coast. As we said our goodbyes to Italy, we travelled to Barcelona Spain. This was our final destination as a family unit. We stayed at the Hotel Arts Barcelona Ritz for 4 days, enjoying the city and recouped from Italy. The girls would then head back to the United States, Kevin and I would travel by train to Rotterdam, Netherlands. Kevin had a conference there for 3 days. All expenses were fully covered for the conference, so why go home? LOL We had 4 fabulous days in Barcelona with our daughters, we said our goodbyes to the girls at the airport. Kevin and I left the same day by train to Rotterdam:) While Kevin was at his conference, I was able to explore the beautiful city. Kevin and I met up for dinner each night, we both had such a great time even though it was work related. I mentioned to Kevin it would have been a wonderful “second honeymoon” if he didn’t have to work. On our last evening in Rotterdam, Kevin surprised me with a romantic trip to Paris for 5 days:) I just love this man!! Kevin had booked a train from Rotterdam to Paris, and he handled the hotel reservation as well:)
Paris is ALWAYS a good idea – Audrey Hepburn
P.A.R.I.S is not a city, it’s a world. One of the most sought-after travel destinations. A place of love, buttery croissants, the historic Eiffel Tower, Seine River, museums, cobblestone streets, bistros, and a glass of Beaujolais. We stayed at Hotel de la Tremoille which is right down the street from Avenue des Champs-Elysées. Paris has always been on my bucket list to travel. I watched the movie “Julie & Julia” a million times, and we can’t forget the famous scene on the Pont d’Arcole Bridge with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton in the movie “Something’s Gotta Give”. The magnificent arts, culture and cuisine is part of what makes the “city of lights” unique and beautiful without even trying! We spent everyday embracing the gorgeous weather, sights and food. The Louvre museum is an absolute MUST to see. We took in a evening dinner cruise on the Seine, a perfect way to see the city and evening lights while you are indulging in a 4 course meal. Kevin purchased a lock and key from the local store so we could add our lock to the Love Lock Bridge like so many others. I still have my key as a beautiful memory! Paris is got to be on your bucket list, you will never regret it:)
Our last day in Paris was dinner at the famous Le Grand Colbert. A romantic meal, a beautiful conversation about life, blessings and most of all..missing our children! It was time to go home!