Friday, May 15, 2009

Look Out, Europe!
Here Come Sarah and Natashia!

This year is going to be a big year for me! I have several adventures that await me, but the one I am probably most excited about is this fall.

After years of talking about the possibilities, my friend, Natashia, and I decided to take the plunge (no, no...we aren't getting married, silly!) and go on a Mediterranean cruise!!!! I'm going to use this site to share itineraries, research, and after the trip, photos and stories from our adventure!


Natashia and I will meet in New York City, where our international flight departs JFK airport in the late evening. After a brief layover in Reykjavik, Iceland, our flight will take us to the City of Lights...Paris, France! We will have a full day and a half to explore the many sights of Paris, including the Muse de Louvre, Arc de Triomph, Moulin Rouge, Luxembourg Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, and of course, the Eiffel Tower! In fact, our hotel is only a 5 minute walk from the Tour de Eiffel, and we even have a view of it from our room!

After our much-too-brief-time in Paris, we will board an Elipsos Trenhotel (overnight train) and ride in a private sleeper compartment to Barcelona! We will have about 7 hours to explore sights such as La Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila, La Rambla, and Montjuic before boarding our cruise ship and setting sail on the Mediterranean Sea!

For one week, our ship will take us on a grand tour of some of Europe's most amazing cities! First is Cannes, France. We will explore the luxury of the French Riviera and hope to take side trips to Nice and Monaco.

Day two will take us to the port city of Livorno, Italy. From there, we will day trip to beautiful Renaissance Florence, and to Pisa, with its legendary leaning tower.

On Wednesday, we will get to experience the city of Rome! We won't get there in time to have an audience with the pope, but I can't wait to see all the sights...the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Vatican City and St. Peter's, Spanish Steps, and Trevi Fountain, just to name a few! It will be a jam packed day, but very exciting!

On day five, we will stop in Ajaccio, Corsica, the birthplace of Napoleon. Corsica is rich with natural beauty, and Ajaccio is relatively small, with not a whole lot to see. This day will be very laid back, and a nice break after days of intense sightseeing!

The next day, we will be at sea on the beautiful Mediterranean...our first day to just relax on the ship! It will be a little on the chilly side, so I don't think sunbathing by the pool will be on order for the day, but I'm sure we will not be bored!

Our last stop in Europe is Malaga, Spain. We will take a bus about an hour and a half inland to Granada to see the cathedral, the Albaycin (old Moorish town), and of course, the Alhambra! We won't have time to go inside the Alhambra :-( but at least we can say we have seen it!

We will re-board our ship, but our adventure doesn't end there!! Oh, no! We will have ANOTHER FULL WEEK on board our ship, sailing across the Atlantic Ocean! We can enjoy the ocean sunrise from our private balcony while sipping a mimosa, gamble away some change at the casino, sing off-key at a karaoke bar, dip our toes in the indoor pool, indulge in a massage or facial, or take a nap in the middle of the day! It will be the ultimate in relaxation, and I can't wait!

After a nice, gradual change back to US time zones, our ship will finally drop us off in New York City. We will spend three more days living it up swanky style with visits to the Empire State Building, Central Park, Times Square, and Rockefeller Center (we get to see the Christmas Tree!!!). On our final night, we will get all dolled up for a fancy dinner and a Broadway show before heading back to our hotel to try to pack all of our souvenirs into our luggage for our return trip home the next day!

All in all, it will be (almost) three weeks of incredible, life-changing experiences, and Natashia and I are bursting at the seams with anticipation!!!
*On a side note, we have been amazed at the off-peak season deals we've gotten, not only on the cruise fare itself, but on flights, hotels, and tourist attractions! Who knew Europe could be so affordable?!?!