Six Weeks in Italy

Six Weeks in Italy. Hubby and I just spent the last six weeks in Italy. It was an amazing trip with lots of wine, food, and a few archeological sites thrown in. This is a compilation of what we did, where we stayed, and the food and wines we enjoyed while traveling from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south, and across Italy to Venice in the east. In all we visited 11 major cities in Italy, and took a plethora of trips to the Italian countryside.


Hubby and I just spent the last six weeks in Italy. It was an amazing trip with lots of wine, food, and a few archeological sites thrown in. This is a compilation of what we did, where we stayed, and the food and wines we enjoyed while traveling from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south, and across Italy to Venice in the east. In all, we visited 11 major cities in Italy and took a plethora of trips to the Italian countryside.

Six Weeks in Italy

Last year, after Mr. Max passed away, Hubby and I were considering places to travel. We had not been anywhere out of the country in years; our last trip without Max was to Italy and France in 2015. Max was a rabies titer as well as on a lot of daily medications, so anywhere we went, he needed to go with us or we needed Sonny-boy to take care of him.

Hubby asked me how I felt about a trip to Italy, and since I loved our last trip there, I was completely on-board. He spend a few weeks looking into it, came back to me and asked how I felt about SIX WEEKS in Italy.

After a nanosecond of thought, I said, “yes!”

Hubby spent a lot of time planning this trip. He used mainly bookings.com (which we later learned from a tour guide is the #1 way to book travel in Italy), and Viator (for excursions).

We decided to once again travel with only carry-on luggage. It is very convient when transfering trains to only have a small piece of luggage to drag around. I took a carry-on (same one that I used before), and the same pac-safe “purse”.

I decided to forgo my camera and lenses, and purchased a travel camera (the Canon PowerShot) which weighed next to nothing. I used that and my phone this time for photographs.

Hubby used a carry-on, a back-pack, and for every day walking around, he packed a small bag that he used to carry water, suntan lotion, and some snacks.

Since we were gone for six weeks, we, of course, needed to do laundry. I purchased some laundry detergent sheets. They worked very well, were lightweight, and were fabric softening too. We did find laundry sheets on display in several grocery stores in Italy. I am not sure if I would chance it, but it is possible to purchase them there at select grocery stores.

When Hubby was selecting places to stay, we had criteria that included an elevator, no stairs, and a washer. This worked quite well as all the Airbnbs had washers except for Sorrento and Rome (we used a laundromat), all the places that said had an elevator did have an elevator, but for stairs? We got stuck once in Florence as it was not disclosed that there was a set of stairs up to the apartment after the elevator. It worked for us, but if we had been handicapped or elderly, it might not have worked quite as well (these were some very, very steep stairs).

One of the first things Hubby did when we got to Italy was get us each TIM sim cards for our phones. The cost was cheap (about 20€ a month) with 30GB of data… more than we could ever use!

So, where did we go? What did we do?

We landed in Nice, France. Hubby got a deal on La Compagnie (a business seating only plane) that flew from Newark to Nice. We decided to drive to Newark – after our last European plane disaster I was not chancing a connection! – and we stopped midway to watch the Bills game. It worked out great!

In Nice, we took a day to visit Hubby’s aunt and uncle, and then we were off to Italy.

Since the trains from France to Italy didn’t line up well at the time of the day we were traveling, we spent the evening in Ventimiglia and then took a train the next day to Turin.

Six Weeks in Italy. Hubby and I just spent the last six weeks in Italy. It was an amazing trip with lots of wine, food, and a few archeological sites thrown in. This is a compilation of what we did, where we stayed, and the food and wines we enjoyed while traveling from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south, and across Italy to Venice in the east. In all we visited 11 major cities in Italy, and took a plethora of trips into the Italian countryside.


Some of the food for sale during a Turin market tour.


Turin, Italy

In Turin we checked into our airbnb – located in the middle of the city center. We have been told Turin is a big city, yet it felt very small and compact to us.

What did we do in Turin?

Well, our first tour was supposed to be a city center walking tour. We booked with Viator, and we were to meet our tour guide in front of the church where they keep the Shroud of Turin (not on display now) at 6 pm. At 6:15 pm, Hubby called the agency who was giving the tour and got the old “we were just going to call you.” Uh-huh.

This was not an auspicious beginning. Our first tour was canceled! And even worse, they immediately issued a refund and called it “canceled” on Viator. Why worse? We couldn’t leave a review to warn others!

So, we went to the store, wandered around a bit, and then went to sleep. The next day we went on a chocolate tour where I uttered the words, “no more chocolate!”. Turin is known for its chocolate, and it was very good.

We took a very nice wine tour out of Alba, where I bought of few bottles of Barolo wine and expanded my vino taste buds!

Six Weeks in Italy. Hubby and I just spent the last six weeks in Italy. It was an amazing trip with lots of wine, food, and a few archeological sites thrown in. This is a compilation of what we did, where we stayed, and the food and wines we enjoyed while traveling from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south, and across Italy to Venice in the east. In all we visited 11 major cities in Italy, and took a plethora of trips into the Italian countryside.


The port was absolutely beautiful.


Rapollo, Italy

Before Hubby and I left home, we looked at the historical temperature highs and lows of our destination cities to determine what to pack. We saw nothing was much above 75°F, so I packed jeans and a pair of black slacks. Well, starting in Rapallo, the temperatures for the entire month of September ran 10-15° higher than normal. Rapallo is a beautiful little town that led to more beach communities and was about 90°F and sunny outside.

Hubby and I checked into the Best Western Plus – absolutely like no Best Western you have ever stayed in. This was a beautiful hotel with a magnificent view; it was truly lovely. It is also situated well for the beach, boats, and shopping.

Six Weeks in Italy. Hubby and I just spent the last six weeks in Italy. It was an amazing trip with lots of wine, food, and a few archeological sites thrown in. This is a compilation of what we did, where we stayed, and the food and wines we enjoyed while traveling from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south, and across Italy to Venice in the east. In all we visited 11 major cities in Italy, and took a plethora of trips into the Italian countryside.


Guard tower in Rapollo.


Good thing on the shopping. The next day Hubby had us go to a nearby port town, and I was completely miserable. Having only jeans to wear in that type of heat and sun led to an extremely grumpy Ann. The second morning Hubby hustled me into a store for a pair of lightweight slacks which I wore and wore and wore and wore. Best 25€ I spent on the trip (they were so lightweight, they did not last to bring home, but they were still worth the price!!)

We did very little (well, Hubby ate a lot of gelato) in Rapallo, but the town sure was purdy!

Six Weeks in Italy. Hubby and I just spent the last six weeks in Italy. It was an amazing trip with lots of wine, food, and a few archeological sites thrown in. This is a compilation of what we did, where we stayed, and the food and wines we enjoyed while traveling from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south, and across Italy to Venice in the east. In all we visited 11 major cities in Italy, and took a plethora of trips into the Italian countryside.


This is mosaic art in Florence.


Florence, Italy

After that, it was on to Florence!

Our time in Florence was nothing like the last time we went there. We ignored all the art (well, mostly). We used it for a starting point for tours. Hubby had really wanted to stay in Tuscany, but that would have meant renting a car and he was not quite prepared to do that. There were few tours originating in the Tuscan countryside, so we set up base in Florence, and then took the tours from there.

Hubby picked a fabulous spot in Florence on the river Arno. Our airbnb had a private terrace overlooking the river, and a nice little washer set-up.

We did an artisan tour that I swear was trying to kill me. Hubby and I walked 5-10 miles per day every day while in Italy. Some of the walking was easier than others. Some of the cobblestone streets look fantastic, but can contain tripping hazzards. Mentally, this gets to me (I fear falling). The artisan tour started out wonderfully at a Musivo Lastrucci a mosaic artist that is nothing like any mosaic you have ever seen! We wandered over to a shoe maker, furniture restorer, leather artist, and walked and walked and walked. Honestly? We could have gone to the mosaic place, the paper maker and been done and I would have been very happy.

While in Florence we took several trips out into the Tuscan wine country where I bought several cases of wine from Marchese Gondi. This was actually the winery I purchased the most wine from, and I will continue to do so in the future. Our tour guide, Matt, was also a sommelier, and even Hubby learned new things from him. Our other regional wine tour I do not recall the particulars. Oops.

We took one of the best food tours we had while in Italy in Florence, too. Our guide Sarah lived in the neighborhood and really knew what was what.

Six Weeks in Italy. Hubby and I just spent the last six weeks in Italy. It was an amazing trip with lots of wine, food, and a few archeological sites thrown in. This is a compilation of what we did, where we stayed, and the food and wines we enjoyed while traveling from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south, and across Italy to Venice in the east. In all we visited 11 major cities in Italy, and took a plethora of trips into the Italian countryside.


No kitches in Pompeii, so this is a “restaurant”.


Sorrento, Italy

Hubby and I went back to Sorrento as we liked it very much. We didn’t do many tours – well we went to Pompeii since we missed it last time, and did a food agrotourism excursion that was absolutely fantastic!

We went to a wine tasting, then on to visit a guy who was making liqueurs in a still (seriously!) in a tiny little town of about 35 people, and then off to a magnificent experience at a B&B farmhouse up in the hills. The couple cooked for us, and then cooked for us, and then cooked for us. We were a party of eight and all groaning after the first course. Hubby made the “mistake” of asking if they made calzones, so as we were all stuffed to the gills after the third course, we got calzones too! This was one of the best tours (if not the best) we took in Italy, I would do this tour again if I was ever back in the region. It was truly unique and something you will not find just anywhere.

Sicily

There are two ways to get to Sicily – train or boat. And even the train is transferred via boat. Hubby booked us on an overnight boat out of Naples, Italy to Palermo, Sicily, and the question was how to get to Naples from Sorrento. We could take the local train, and then a taxi to the docks, but that was not something we were keen to do.

We ended up going to Capri and spent the day there. Boats from Capri to Naples ran constantly, so it was a pretty obvious choice. We also never went to Capri itself (the town), instead we spent time in Marina Grande and Anacapri (which we liked last time).

Once we landed in Naples, we had to walk over to the second port, but it was an easy half-mile walk and customs was very nice to us showing us how to board the boat without walking all the way around. The ship was very interesting; there were a ton of loaded semi-trucks on the first three floors, and we boarded by escalator. Our cabin was very small, but more than adequate for the evening, and it included a small bathroom with a shower. They had a cafeteria, a lounge, a children’s playroom, etc. We had read some reviews that were not thrilled, but for the price? This was the way to get to Sicily.

Six Weeks in Italy. Hubby and I just spent the last six weeks in Italy. It was an amazing trip with lots of wine, food, and a few archeological sites thrown in. This is a compilation of what we did, where we stayed, and the food and wines we enjoyed while traveling from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south, and across Italy to Venice in the east. In all we visited 11 major cities in Italy, and took a plethora of trips into the Italian countryside.


This Greek amphitheater is in fabulous shape!


Palermo, Sicily

Palermo is a very gritty town. It reminded me of NYC in the 70s (Hubby specifically said Brooklyn circa 1970s). We stayed in a nice airbnb that didn’t have an elevator, but was easy stairs.

We took several food tours, saw the Opera house where scenes from the Godfather were filmed (there were Godfather tours offered all over Sicily, but since I have never seen the movie(s) they would have been wasted on me), and then took more food tours.

Six Weeks in Italy. Hubby and I just spent the last six weeks in Italy. It was an amazing trip with lots of wine, food, and a few archeological sites thrown in. This is a compilation of what we did, where we stayed, and the food and wines we enjoyed while traveling from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south, and across Italy to Venice in the east. In all we visited 11 major cities in Italy, and took a plethora of trips into the Italian countryside.


Our room had a beautiful view!


Taormina

Hubby booked us for a few days in Taormina and wow did I like this place. Very small, quite touristy, it was high up in the hills with a magnificent view. We took a few tours including a wine tour up Mt Etna to the Gambino Winery. I swear this was the most modern winery I have ever been in! The ash and weather on Mt Etna forms a microclimate with great soil, and the wines were very good. They already have a distribution center in New York, so the cost was the cost (they simply shipped across the state) instead of having to deal with a shipping company and duty (it is actually a simple process, but it is an additional cost).

We also took a tour to Erice, and to see Trapani sea salt drying.

The most interesting (to me) thing about Sicily? We went to a lot of Greek ruins (saving Hubby a trip to Athens). Apparently, Sicily has a great quantity of ancient Greek ruins! And, I was thrilled to tour them.

Six Weeks in Italy. Hubby and I just spent the last six weeks in Italy. It was an amazing trip with lots of wine, food, and a few archeological sites thrown in. This is a compilation of what we did, where we stayed, and the food and wines we enjoyed while traveling from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south, and across Italy to Venice in the east. In all we visited 11 major cities in Italy, and took a plethora of trips into the Italian countryside.


Trevi fountain. My SIL & I were able to get right up to it and toss in our coins.


Rome, Italy

After Sicily, we headed to Rome.

After taking a boat down to Sicily, we decided to take the overnight train to Rome. Big, big, BIG mistake. I have taken a lot of sleepers in the United States in my lifetime. My father was a train-nut, and we went all over the country via train. I had no problem going on an overnight train in a sleeping compartment up to Rome, or so I thought.

Hubby booked us on the slower overnight train after I said I did not want to transfer to the train with the Excelsior Sleeper at midnight. I take full responsibility for the awfulness of this train ride. The sleeping compartment was so small we could not both stand up when the ladder was in place for the top bunk. There was no water (they provided a few bottles), there was no way to regulate temperature, it was loud, and horrible, and when we got to Rome we were more exhausted than when we flew from the States!!

In Rome we stayed at this very nice airbnb which had a great location for our purposes. We were close to the train station, embassies (ha!) and the salon where I got my hair done. Priorities!

This location had a set-up that we needed, which was at least two bedrooms as my sister-in-law joined us. It was her first time in Rome so we went to the Trevi Fountian, Spanish Steps, and the Vatican (just as fantastic the second time), Palentine Hill, the Forum, and the Coliseum (OMG we LOVED the Forum), and then on day 3 Hubby and my SIL went back to the Trevi fountain and some church with a tour guide, and they went on a food tour. They did 10 miles that day, and since walking in the Coliseum really pooped me out, I passed. And, after I saw they did 10 miles walking? I was glad I did.

Six Weeks in Italy. Hubby and I just spent the last six weeks in Italy. It was an amazing trip with lots of wine, food, and a few archeological sites thrown in. This is a compilation of what we did, where we stayed, and the food and wines we enjoyed while traveling from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south, and across Italy to Venice in the east. In all we visited 11 major cities in Italy, and took a plethora of trips into the Italian countryside.


Burano was beautiful.


Venice, Italy

After Rome we took a train over to Venice. It was the most expensive city we went to in Italy. I understand why. There are no cars or bikes allowed so things are unloaded at the wharf and placed on carts where men walk the supplies in. Getting around is stairs, stairs, and more stairs (the Italians LOVE their stairs!) and since we are not religious (honestly, how many churches can you visit?) or artsy it was not my favorite place.

My SIL’s friend came down from Switzerland so it was the four of us for three days, and then the three of us for the last day.

Six Weeks in Italy. Hubby and I just spent the last six weeks in Italy. It was an amazing trip with lots of wine, food, and a few archeological sites thrown in. This is a compilation of what we did, where we stayed, and the and wines we enjoyed while traveling from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south, and across Italy to Venice in the east. In all we visited 11 major cities in Italy, and took a plethora of trips into the Italian countryside.


Ever seen grapes grown like this?


We went on a wine tour in Valpolicella and I bought a case of my favorite type of wine, Amarone!

The next day we went to the island of Burano which is famous for its lace making. My SIL, her friend, and I had a fine time buying things!! This little island (part of Venice) we loved and could have spent a lot of time there. But, as part of our tour, it was on to Murano.

For years I had wanted a glass sculpture. I had searched a lot of the US, gone to glass workshops in Corning, and St. Petersburg, Florida, and had not found something that resonated. I decided last year, once Hubby planned this trip, that I would simply wait and get something in Murano.

We ended up in the Gino Mazzuccato demonstration, and then toured their showroom. They made us an offer I could not refuse (I bought one modern sculpture and one in the old style 1600s glass making design), and I went away very, very happy!!

Six Weeks in Italy. Hubby and I just spent the last six weeks in Italy. It was an amazing trip with lots of wine, food, and a few archeological sites thrown in. This is a compilation of what we did, where we stayed, and the food and wines we enjoyed while traveling from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south, and across Italy to Venice in the east. In all we visited 11 major cities in Italy, and took a plethora of trips into the Italian countryside.


We were able to pick and taste these fabulous wine grapes in Valpolicella.


Verona, Italy

After our stay in Venice, my SIL and her friend went to their respective homes, and Hubby and I went on to Verona. This was a place I wish we had spent a lot more time… like weeks more.

We booked a hotel near the Verona Arena (a Roman amphitheatre in Piazza Bra), and wished we had had time to go in. Instead, it was vino time!!! We went to several more Valpolicella wine tours (this one was my favorite!) as I mentioned Amarone is my favorite type of wine.

All-in-all we shipped home six cases of wine on this trip, and I could not be more pleased!

Six Weeks in Italy. Hubby and I just spent the last six weeks in Italy. It was an amazing trip with lots of wine, food, and a few archeological sites thrown in. This is a compilation of what we did, where we stayed, and the food and wines we enjoyed while traveling from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south, and across Italy to Venice in the east. In all we visited 11 major cities in Italy, and took a plethora of trips into the Italian countryside.


Wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.


Bologna, Italy

Our last stop in Italy was the city of Bologna. Our airbnb was tiny, but very clean. It was about 15 minutes from the old part of the city where everything was happening, so very quiet.

Hubby wanted to end with a foodie-bang, and wow, did he get his wish! We had days of wonderful food tours culminating in an excellent food tour with a farmhouse lunch. We saw how Parmigiano-Reggiano was made (and I brought a pound home and now wish I had purchased more), how Prosciutto was made, stopped into the Osteria del Sole which is the oldest bar in Bologna dating from the 1400s (that was cool!), saw how tortellini was made (who needs refrigeration, gloves or hair nets!?), went on an amazing food tour (we had to be picked up at 7am, but this tour really was worth it) and generally just ate, ate, and ate some more.

After that, it was back to Nice for a flight home.

Going Home

That was an interesting little story… we took the train from Bologna to Milan where we needed to transfer to the train to Nice. For whatever reason, our connection was only 15 minutes. I saw it a few days before and did not insist Hubby find a prior train. {head slap} So, our train from Bologna was 12 minutes late, and while we were familiar with the Milan train station, three minutes was going to be impossible.

We eventually picked up some time so we had about 10 minutes to get our transfer. I was the crazy lady in the Milan train station scusi-ing everyone as we ran for our connection. We made it, and five hours later we were in Nice.

Hubby had wanted to go to Cannes to locate a family grave, but between the possiblity of rain and the tight window we had to get there and back to our plane, I told him “next time”. Which turned out to be a very good decision. As we were sitting on the boardwalk in Nice Hubby received a call that our plane would be departing two hours early! We went back to the hotel (that was holding our lauggage) after a delicious lunch, and took a taxi to the airport.

Now, the Nice airport is interesting. I have never, ever, EVER seen so many private planes in my life. And, I am not talking prop planes, I mean jets. The private planes outnumbered the commercial jets by at least 10-1. It was also the easiest TSA-type checkpoint I have ever encountered.

Our plane took off 20 minutes late, and then when it arrived in Newark, it had to circle for an hour due to weather. When we finally landed, there was a huge line for US customs, but since it is now automated, it was pretty simple and steady to get through the line.

Hubby and I stayed overnight at a very nice Marriott hotel, and then rented a car the next day and drove home across southern New York through some glorious fall foliage!

Takeaways from this trip? I’d go back to southeastern Sicily in a heartbeat. I’d love to spend more time in Verona. We will have to rent a car to do Italy next time as we would like to spend more time in Tuscany and in Valpolicella. This was a trip few people have the time to do. I am extremely glad we did it. We have a much better liking of Rome than we did before, and there are some areas we would love to go back to.

Was this an inexpensive trip? Nope. Not counting the wine and glass sculptures I purchased it was still pretty pricey, even airbnb-ing it. All the excursions, restaurants, and train travel adds up. I have no idea how the backpackers do it!

If Hubby told me he wanted to spend six weeks in Italy again, I would do it. However, I would not move around like we did. Even when we moved close, we still lost half a day to travel. IF we did six weeks again, I’d pick the southeastern coast of Sicily, Tuscany, and Veronao/Valpolicella, two weeks in each spot. Constant travel by excursions gets to be wearing, too.

The bright side? I got a lot of wine, a very good education on wine, olive oil, foods of Italy, lost 10 pounds (Hubby was a walking-slave-driver), and finally bought the glass sculptures I had wanted for years!


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A Week in Paris

A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!




Last year, Hubby and I took a 17 day trip to Europe. After an inauspicious beginning, our time at the Vatican, and then in Italy, in Sorrento with day trips to the Isle of Capri, the Amalfi Coast and several days in Florence and then on to Paris and Normandy was all very nice.

Hubby and I were talking last week, and we realized we had made this trip a year ago! Now, first and foremost, I always want to use Ann’s Entitled Life as my online diary. That (rude) awakening that our trip was last year ago has pushed me to share some of the remaining stories and experiences of our time in Europe.

We actually went to Europe for a family function in Normandy. Since Hubby’s mother was in impetus for this trip and she has family in Paris as well as the French countryside and French Rivera, we knew we would be spending some time in the city of Paris.

Now, I will state up front that I don’t care for Paris. At all. And I never have. I just do not see the allure. Hubby loves the place, especially Montmartre. So, he rented us an apartment for our time in Paris in Montmartre, a block from the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur.

The Sacré-Cœur Basilica was designed by Paul Abadie. Construction began in 1875 and was finished in 1914. It was consecrated after the end of World War I in 1919. You can read more about this lovely church at its wiki page.

While our apartment was at the backside steps, we never went in. There is a reason for that:

Many, many years ago I took a trip to Paris. What I remembered and liked best was the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris (aka as Notre Dame), and the Musée du Louvre (aka the Louvre). I told Hubby those were the two sites I wanted to see this trip, and anything else was up to him.

A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


Well, Hubby likes walking around, shopping the local stalls, investigating the restaurants, etc. He’s not a big sightseer, so he was happy to let me have my way.

A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


Now the weather when we were in Paris was terrible. After the gorgeous Italian weather we experienced, the rainy-damp-42-60-degree (more or less) weather in Paris was not especially welcome. While we did have two or three at least semi-decent weather days, for the most part our time was not conducive to long walks. We, of course, made do, and went out anyway, just not to as many things as most others would probably have gone to.

The trip to Notre Dame was on a fairly nice, but rather cool day. We got there and there were mobs of people, the line was quite long, but it moved quickly.

When I was at Notre Dame in the late ’70s, there were no line ropes, the floors were stone, no rugs covered any of the floors. There were no chairs or pews. If you followed mass, you stood or knelt on the stones. There were certainly no displays of the building and renovations of Note Dame, there were no “squeeze a coin, get a pressed image of Notre Dame” machines, there was no gift shop…. in the church, open while mass was taking place!!

Notre Dame had changed, and not for the better.

After speaking with hubby’s family, it turns out the same had happened to Sacré-Cœur. It was “renovated” as a tourist destination. So, we skipped the inside.

We did, however, take the little white train through Montmartre, up the back way to Sacré-Cœur and walked around the outdoor art festival (that Hubby said is always there). It was very quaint, but I didn’t see how we could get anything home, so we didn’t buy.

We also took a boat tour on the River Seine boat tour. We got very lucky. That was our nicest day in Paris. The photos were lovely too! I must have taken a hundred pictures of the various statues, buildings, monuments and boat traffic on the River Seine.

Our of our 9 days in France, we had to take out three days to travel to Normandy. These listed tourist stops were basically all the sightseeing we did this trip in France.

I must say that I found the people of Paris very friendly. I had a secret weapon though! It definitely helped that Hubby speaks and reads French, and because of that, the French quickly spoke English with us whenever they knew English!

Now on to the photos!

This first group are of Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris (aka as Notre Dame).

A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


While standing in line to get in, we could admire all the artwork build into the building. When you consider Notre Dame began construction in 1163, this is a true marvel. Notre Dame wasn’t completed until 1345.

Due to the sheer mass of people, it was impossible for me to get an unobstructed photograph (I could have with filters and slower stops, but I ain’t that good… or dedicated … to the art of photography).

A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


Statues abound. Of course the low lighting and “no flash” policy don’t allow for super awesome photographs.

A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


Everything was cordoned off including the baptismal font. I don’t recall that when I was there last.

Next up was out trip on the little white train:

A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


We picked-up the train across from the Moulin Rouge.

A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


This is the side street entrance.

A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


We went up and down the streets of Montmartre, getting off at the summit of the butte Montmartre. Those are the views of the city from the butte.

A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


This is my “through the fence” photo of the Eiffel Tower from the far right side of the butte.

A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


This is the front of Sacré-Cœur. I actually took this photo the day we got to our apartment as it is only two blocks from where we stayed.

A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


And this is the “back” side. I am not actually 100% sure which is actually considered the front, and which entrance is considered the back.

A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


This is the outdoor art sale where we got off the train at the top of the hill.

Next up, the boat tour on the River Seine:

A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


Some of the boats offer lunch and dinner cruises and in-port dining.

A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


“Real” barge and boat traffic transverses the Seine.

A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


There are a lot of staircases that lead down to a walkway. Clearly it is a gathering spot.

A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


I am sure there is a fascinating story here.

A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


Backside of Notre Dame.

A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


A Week in Paris. Our trip to Paris, France. This is a photo heavy post filled with the sites of Paris: monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, the River Seine and more!


Neither one of us wanted to go to the Eiffel Tower this trip. Been there, done that. And I am pretty sure there was a strike going on at that time anyway. Still, I am glad I was able to see it from the water. That was new to me.

So that is it for the touristy stops in Paris for us this last trip. I have no idea when or if we will get back. There are so many other places I want to go (once Max is no longer with us), and back to Paris isn’t high on my list (although I am sure it is high on Hubby’s list).

If you are traveling to Europe (or anywhere really) for two weeks (or less), you might be interested in this post: Packing for Europe Using Only a Carry On Bag.


Disclosure: the links in this post may be affiliate links.

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The Amalfi Coast, Italy

The Amalfi Coast, Italy; The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline on the southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula in the Province of Salerno in Southern Italy. Known for hosting the rich and famous, Amalfi is beautiful, fairly isolated, and crowded!


The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline on the southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula in southern Italy. Known for hosting the rich and famous, Amalfi is beautiful, fairly isolated, and crowded!

As part of our time in Italy, Hubby wanted to see the Amalfi coast. He had considered our staying in Amalfi, but we opted to stay in Sorrento instead. To visit the Amalfi coast down near (and in) Amalfi, we took an all day bus tour. We chose a small excursion as the larger buses are not allowed on part of the road on the coastline, and must detour up and around.

As part of our tour we stopped in Amalfi, as well as Ravello. The parking prices in Amalfi were insane. There was one place to park for buses and the charges were crazy! In the vicinity of 150€ for 2 hours parking if I recall correctly. The food prices were also quite high compared to all the other places we ate in Italy.

The town of Amalfi itself was extremely crowded. We were there only for a short time and chose to take a boat tour of the shoreline rather than investigate the town itself. I think we made a wise choice. The shoreline was beautiful, the houses we saw were fabulous, the gardens a testament to “where there is a will, there is a way”, and the rock formations were simply stunning.

In the town of Ravello, we did a little shopping, saw the ruins and old cathedral, and walked a million more stairs. The story of Italy is stairs, stairs, and more stairs. I truly have no idea how the elderly or infirm manage to get around.

We loaded onto the bus from Ravello on time, but the rest of our group was a bit late. The bus driver was not allowed to linger, so up the road we went to the medieval town of Scala. I’ll tell you, from the little bit we saw, that would be where I’d like to spend a day exploring!

The Amalfi Coast, Italy; The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline on the southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula in the Province of Salerno in Southern Italy. Known for hosting the rich and famous, Amalfi is beautiful, fairly isolated, and crowded!


This is what you call “a postcard.”

The Amalfi Coast, Italy; The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline on the southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula in the Province of Salerno in Southern Italy. Known for hosting the rich and famous, Amalfi is beautiful, fairly isolated, and crowded!


The Amalfi Coast, Italy; The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline on the southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula in the Province of Salerno in Southern Italy. Known for hosting the rich and famous, Amalfi is beautiful, fairly isolated, and crowded!


This was a little fishing village. Notice how remote? It is not easily visible from above. My photos are from the above left taken from a little cliff where we stopped to see the view. You notice how tiny that village looks in the bottom photo? That just shows you how vast the rocks formations and water really is.

The Amalfi Coast, Italy; The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline on the southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula in the Province of Salerno in Southern Italy. Known for hosting the rich and famous, Amalfi is beautiful, fairly isolated, and crowded!


The road is rather narrow. We had one encounter where all the vehicles on the road had to stop and back up to allow the municipal bus (the red one which is the only large bus allowed on many parts of the road, and always has the right of way) room to get down the road!

The Amalfi Coast, Italy; The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline on the southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula in the Province of Salerno in Southern Italy. Known for hosting the rich and famous, Amalfi is beautiful, fairly isolated, and crowded!


The boats were out in full force! Fishing is a large part of the local economy. We ate a LOT of fish while in Italy.

The Amalfi Coast, Italy; The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline on the southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula in the Province of Salerno in Southern Italy. Known for hosting the rich and famous, Amalfi is beautiful, fairly isolated, and crowded!


There were quite a few ruins about. From watch towers to old churches, the Amalfi coast was settled thousands of years ago, and so have a rich history. This is reflected in the ruins.

The Amalfi Coast, Italy; The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline on the southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula in the Province of Salerno in Southern Italy. Known for hosting the rich and famous, Amalfi is beautiful, fairly isolated, and crowded!


Housing on the cliffs.

The Amalfi Coast, Italy; The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline on the southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula in the Province of Salerno in Southern Italy. Known for hosting the rich and famous, Amalfi is beautiful, fairly isolated, and crowded!


The Amalfi Coast, Italy; The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline on the southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula in the Province of Salerno in Southern Italy. Known for hosting the rich and famous, Amalfi is beautiful, fairly isolated, and crowded!


Tiered gardens growing lemons, olives, other citrus and more. Notice the covers to protect the trees?

The Amalfi Coast, Italy; The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline on the southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula in the Province of Salerno in Southern Italy. Known for hosting the rich and famous, Amalfi is beautiful, fairly isolated, and crowded!


While not as blue as the waters of Capri, the waters off the Amalfi coast were nevertheless quite beautiful!

The Amalfi Coast, Italy; The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline on the southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula in the Province of Salerno in Southern Italy. Known for hosting the rich and famous, Amalfi is beautiful, fairly isolated, and crowded!


This was (and for all I know still is) Sophie Loren’s Villa. There were other houses pointed out to us as “belonging” to the rich and famous (I recall Roger Moore, but can’t remember the others).

The Amalfi Coast, Italy; The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline on the southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula in the Province of Salerno in Southern Italy. Known for hosting the rich and famous, Amalfi is beautiful, fairly isolated, and crowded!


This is how you access the villa via water! You better be in pretty good shape, even with the elevator access.

The Amalfi Coast, Italy; The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline on the southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula in the Province of Salerno in Southern Italy. Known for hosting the rich and famous, Amalfi is beautiful, fairly isolated, and crowded!


And how is this for a simply stunning view!?

The Amalfi Coast, Italy; The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline on the southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula in the Province of Salerno in Southern Italy. Known for hosting the rich and famous, Amalfi is beautiful, fairly isolated, and crowded!


The Amalfi Coast, Italy; The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline on the southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula in the Province of Salerno in Southern Italy. Known for hosting the rich and famous, Amalfi is beautiful, fairly isolated, and crowded!


The Amalfi Coast, Italy; The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline on the southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula in the Province of Salerno in Southern Italy. Known for hosting the rich and famous, Amalfi is beautiful, fairly isolated, and crowded!


I took these photos in Ravello. Hubby and I basically wandered around, I took some photos of stairs, we took a few hillshide photos, and left. While cooler and quieter than Amalfi, it was also extremely “touristy” for such an old place.

The Amalfi Coast, Italy; The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline on the southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula in the Province of Salerno in Southern Italy. Known for hosting the rich and famous, Amalfi is beautiful, fairly isolated, and crowded!


While very pretty with simply breathtaking views, I don’t think the Amalfi coast quite lived up to Hubby’s idea of the place. It seemed to be very expensive, although I am certain the locals know the cheap places to eat and purchase goods. While we are glad we went, it is unlikely we will ever return.


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