Date of Trip: October 2006
Europe for the first time……WOW, what a trip! We cruised out of Barcelona and made our way to Florence, where we had hired a car to take us around Florence, Pisa and Tuscany. The tower of Pisa was awesome – there is even a place where you can stand and it looks like you are holding up the tower… The buildings of Florence are SO OLD! It really brings home the youthfulness of the United States when you see how much history exists in Europe.
Our driver took us into the Tuscany hills to a castle, where you can stay overnight and I cannot tell you how much it grabs at you – the grotto under the “hotel” was made completely of shells and there are olive and lemon trees all over the grounds. The view from the back looks over hills and goes on forever.
Then, our driver took us back to Florence and on the way we saw a monastery, where we stopped and met up with a few monks who were making a liquor, which we of course bought. It was amazing to me to see everything there is in Florence also. The statue of David on the hill overlooking the City of Florence…..then stopping at a plaza across from all the artists working and selling their wares. The outside restaurants with all that delicious food. Again, I have to say WOW!
We went to Rome afterwards, and again hired a driver, who had a guide awaiting in the line outside the Vatican so we would not have to wait for tickets. She knew everything we could ask for about the various rooms and when we got into the room where the Sistine Chapel was, I was so overwhelmed that all I could do was sit and stare up at the hands touching…..I have always wanted to see this and I cannot tell you how wonderful it was. I did not want to leave.
We left Rome and Florence, and went on to Gibraltar, where we took a tour up to the top of the Rock. There are wild apes up there that actually run wild. They jump into the cars, take anything that is not held tightly (especially food) and generally entertaining everyone with their antics. I will stop for now, but there is lots more on the cruise to Europe….in upcoming episodes.