Exploring Europe

Summertime each year is always a nostalgic, and often bittersweet, time for me as I reminisce over past holidays and the adventures I embarked on in previous years. This summer is no different. Every day my timehop presents a photo or post that reminds me of the amazing things I’ve experienced in my 19 years.

Most prominently I find myself mulling over the trip I was lucky enough to take last summer, so I thought I’d share that experience with you.

I’ve always had a want to travel. For as long as I can remember I’ve had a list of places I desperately want to visit, from New York at Christmas to seeing the Northern Lights in person, and last year I was able to tick off quite a few places from that list.

Once my exams were over, my boyfriend and I spontaneously booked to go on a two week Mediterranean cruise in order to explore Europe.

I know what you’re thinking – wow that must have been expensive. However, when I say spontaneous we actually booked the cruise only 4 weeks before it set sail and so managed to get an amazing deal that worked out the same as one week all-inclusive to somewhere like Greece.

I also spent all weekend, every weekend working in a retail store so that helped a bit.

We set sail on the Emerald Princess on the 15th July and visited a total of 7 European cities. Our first stop was Barcelona where we visited the Sagrada Familia cathedral and Camp Nou Stadium.

Admittedly, I have little interest in football, but I found the cathedral overwhelming and loved learning about the architecture throughout the city.

Second stop was Ajaccio – the capital of a mountainous, Mediterranean Island named Corsica. I had little knowledge of this place before we went and had few expectations, yet it became a highlight of our trip. The island was absolutely beautiful with picture perfect beaches and street markets at every turn.

Next up we have Rome! I had actually visited Rome previously, but as I had thrown a coin into the Trevi fountain, it looks like tradition came true as I returned.

We crammed as much into one day as humanly possible visiting the Coliseum, Catacombs, Trevi Fountain and Vatican City. I don’t think I’ll ever find words to describe how breath-taking the inside of St Peter’s Basilica is, although there was no sign of the Pope this time.

Probably my favourite day was visiting Pisa and Florence – before you ask, of course we were typical tourists and took a pic holding up the leaning tower! We had the day to explore Florence admiring the huge, beautiful buildings and eating a LOT of gelato. Our tour guide did almost leave us behind, but that’s a story for another day.

Our final stops included Genoa, where we visited the second largest Aquarium in Europe, and Gibraltar where we thought it would be a great idea (it wasn’t) to climb the whole of monkey rock on foot only to reach the top and find…. absolutely no monkeys.

Overall, it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. It’s soppy, but there really is no better way to travel than with the person you love.

I also fell in love with the places I visited and hopefully this blog and whistle stop tour has given you a little insight into why.