Here is the scoop of what we put on our itinerary for fun in each place we went. It was a jam-packed schedule… but I have never been good at ‘resting!’
Italy: We spent a majority of the vacation in Italy visiting four different places. In Florence, we climbed to the top of the Il Duomo Cathedral and looked over the city early in the morning. We crossed the Ponte Vecchio bridge which has been selling jewelry for hundreds of years in these little shops off the bridge – holy cow, the diamonds, emeralds, and gold… I understand how people blow money there! Florence is known for its art, being the home of the renaissance. In Venice, the best thing we did was just walk around. We heard from EVERYONE to take a gondola ride… so of course we hopped in one early in the evening for a cheap price, while most people were at dinner. If you ever take a gondola ride… bring a snack and some beverages… that would be my only recommendation. Venice is known for the water, romance and shopping. There is nothing in the world like it. I woke up EARLY the day we left and got lost on the tiny island. In the process, I wandered out of the tourist areas and into the residential areas. The way these people live is so tremendously different than anything I have ever seen, it is incredible. Oh and by the way… The shopping was amazing! In Rome, we toured the Colosseum. It is crazy to see how sophisticated the building is for being 2,000 years old! I toured the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel. I threw two euros into the Trevi Fountain so I will absolutely be back! Finally, we went and walked around the grounds of the Roman Forum which is a HUGE outdoor park full of ruins. You always hear about the Colosseum and the Fountain, but not a whole lot about the ruins… it was incredible! Hands down, one of my favorite parts of Rome. In between Florence and the Vatican… I was able to see the artwork of all four of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (PS -that is a joke).
Switzerland: One of the goals for my trip was to hike the Alps! I have always been a little outdoorsy, growing up in the Pacific Northwest, so that was absolutely something on my bucket list. It is so easy to take a train into any of the Alpine towns that are along the base of the range, so I picked a train into Grindelwald. All of Switzerland reminded me a lot of Canada and specifically British Columbia. Grindelwald looks and feels exactly like Whistler to me (my family vacationed up there for a few winters and I went a few times in college during long weekends). They had all of the high-end shopping amenities of a world class outdoorsy town but still felt small and easy to navigate. From there, it was also my idea to hike… yes HIKE up to ‘First’ one of the peaks that is about 7,700 Feet up. Grindelwald is at 4,100 feet. Once we got to First, we ate a meal then took a zip-line down 2,400 feet. We hopped on a gondola (much different than a Venice gondola) for the last bit. We also hit up the town of Lucerne for one of our days. If Grindelwald is Whistler, Lucerne is Victoria, BC. I actually felt like at any moment I was going to turn a corner and see the parliament building! In Lucerne, I discovered amazing shops, adorable restaurants and walked the lakeside. We ended at the penthouse rooftop night club at the end of the night, which I was too exhausted to get truly ‘turnt’ but besides that it was a blast!
France: If you are going to go to Paris ,you will have to make a hard decision. Live like a Parisian or like a tourist. There are a million amazing things to do, but then again, there are a thousand wines and cafes you should sit at for an entire afternoon and do nothing. I insisted on doing a few touristy things. Number one… I shopped. I worked so hard to get a few things from some small Paris boutiques that could not be found at home or in the US. Number two, I went to Versailles, home of the Louie the XIV the ‘Sun King.’ How can you not go look at one of the most extravagant human being’s residences? We walked through the Luxembourg Garden, where every single resident of the city was out lounging in the sun, drinking cases of beer and wine they had brought from home. Jennifer, my friend and travel agent signed us up for a winetasting, where we received two bottles of free wine at the end. I did a quick tour of Notre Dame, the rose windows are spectacular. And Finally, I was not going to go to Paris without seeing the Louvre. After those touristy things were checked off my list, I decided to live like a Parisian and eat as many desserts as I could shove into my mouth, sit at cafés and I even bought some fresh yellow freesias, purple lilacs (these two – SMELL AMAZING) and pink peonies(my favorites!) at one of the famous street markets.
There is too much to put into one paragraph about what was amazing and what was a hit. The fun is unending!
Today I am jumping on an EARLY train to go somewhere off the beaten path! I cannot wait to update you on where I am headed today!
I will update “Shop This Post” tomorrow with outfits from today. If you have any questions about any of the items from these links check out my post from yesterday!