We are all about making the most of the time when we take a trip. Our journey started from JFK Airport in New York. We had just arrived and had taken a flight from Florida to JFK in order to make our flight to Rome. We flew with Alitalia, which was absolutely wonderful EXCEPT that you need to make sure you have enough time to go through security in JFK. We made it in time with 20 minutes to spare to catch our flight! We arrived in Rome, took a bus from the airport to our ship in Livorno. After relaxing a bit, we had our itinerary pretty much lined up prior to going on our trip.
A couple of tips that were helpful to us. First, be sure and save EVERY receipt! Secondly, it was wise of us to get Travel Insurance. The company we used was CSA Travel Protection, 1800-541-3522. Because of a delayed flight, we did end up using our travel protection.
See our article “Top Items to Pack for International Travel” for best items to take.
Our first stop was Livorno/Florence, Italy. We took the Florence/Pisa tour through seeamalficoast.com. This is a pricier tour, but well worth it. Our tour guide picked us up in a Mercedes and gave us a perfect tour of Florence. He asked if we would be interested in seeing Michaelangelo’s “David” and yes we would! He managed to procure tickets and seeing the Accademia Museum in Florence ended up being one of the highlights of our trip! We also got to enjoy the drive in the “Tuscan” region, catching a few great photos!
The next day, our ship docked at the port of Cannes, France. We researched what there was to do in Cannes, and found a little known half-mile ferry ride across the port to Ile Saint-Marguerite. This was an incredible visit! We visited the Fort-Royal Museum of the Sea. Most of this was built in the 17th century. The “Man in the Iron Mask”, made famous by Alexandre Dumas and Voltaire, was the most famous prisoner of this old fort and prison. This island and fort holds much beauty! At the opposite end of the fort is a Sailing school and if you walk the grounds, you will find a bird sanctuary and a pristine beach area with gorgeous “umbrella” pine trees. It was absolutely breath-taking. Ile Saint-Marguerite was a gem to visit!
Our 3rd day, we traveled with the cruiseline to the scenic villages of Palma and Valdemossa. This was a lovely visit and the scenery was beautiful.
Following our visit to Valdemossa, we cruised to Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona was a busy city with gorgeous architecture and many sights, sounds and smells! We took the Viator “Early Access Montserrat” tour, which was absolutely a must-see! Everything about this visit was remarkable! The photography opportunities were amazing, the cathedral was gorgeous. You could even enjoy a hike a near the mountain. And interestingly enough, it was here in this beautiful place and my husband and I got into a fight! In my notes I wrote, why is it when we are so blessed, we let irritations find their way to us? Good news, is, we made up! haha So, my other tip is make sure in your travels you take your vitamins, eat healthy, and still get enough rest!
Our visit to Naples meant another private tour with seeAmalficoast.com to Sorrento and Positano! These towns are magnificent. Set along the Mediterranean Coast, the mountains are peppered with colorful homes and everything has such an exotic feel. Later we drove to Pompeii. Pompeii was surreal. Finding the National Geographic photos was difficult, as the grounds were massive. Our time of year to travel (June) meant red poppies grew wild on the historic sites. We didn’t have enough time at this site as we would have liked. Something to keep in mind if you have the opportunity to travel here.
Our last day, we arrived back in Rome and stayed at the Domus Terenzio, via Torenzio, 10, Vaticano Prati, Rome 00193, which accidentally put us in the perfect place for a long afternoon/evening walk all through many of the wonderful sites in Rome. We visited the Colosseum (through Viator), St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel inside the Vatican, as well as the Vatican. Our walk took us to Castel Sant’Angelo, which was filled with such beautiful art. Our complete trip, including travel, took 10 days. Pretty remarkable to fit in all we did for the price.
Our final tip was to get a credit card with a travel bonus. We had to purchase new appliances anyway and used the card for the 1st $2500 we needed to purchase, and received a $500 credit towards our plane tickets. By checking prices at different days and different hours, we managed to get plane tickets to Rome for $449 each, for a total of $896. Take off our $500 credit and we flew together for $396 total (2017 price). It IS possible to travel internationally! There are many other creative ways to travel! Sign up here for updated articles and we can notify you of new articles sharing new tips!