Rose Sculpture in the Atrium
We recently had the chance to tour the brand new Celebrity Reflection and thought you might like to see a few pics of this beautiful ship.
What do you think? Do you these photos make you want to cruise on the Reflection?
Venice: An Elusive Beauty
I have a love/hate relationship with Venice. On one hand, it is so beautiful and amazing, chock full of art, architecture and romance. On the other hand, it involves a lot of walking in a crowd...behind slow people...like Disney World with much smaller pathways. There are few places to sit, the marble or pavement that you walk on is unmerciful on tired feet, and restaurants are either cheap windows with no seating or crazy expensive mediocre food. The sites in Venice are some of my favorite in the world, but I have been more discouraged by this city than any other. It feels like if only you could happen upon the city when no tourists were present, it could be the perfect destination. But Venice exists largely because of tourists, so that dream is not realistic. And so, for me, Venice will remain this elusive, beautiful city that I dream of when I am back home, but silently curse while there. Maybe one day I'll experience the Venice of my dreams. I'll certainly never give up; this gives me the perfect reason to return...
Looking Back on our Trip
It has been over a week since we returned from our trip, but I am just beginning to feel settled since we are also in the process of James attending a military training class and moving the family. But, we are in a makeshift apartment for the next week at least, so I feel like I can finally reflect. Here are the things that stick out in my mind most from our recent trip:
1. Waiting in the rain for a restaurant to open in Bologna because we were starving and in Italy, restaurants don't open until at least 7 for dinner. We crouched under awnings, raced across streets with ankle-deep puddles and were soaked to the bone by the time we reached the restaurant, which had barely opened. Good thing meals in Italy take so long, so we had plenty of time to dry off! We were rewarded with fresh tortellini and other delicacies that were definitely worth waiting for.
2. Wandering around Piazza del Duomo in Florence by myself while James climbed the dome early one morning. I studied the art on the church, the Baptistry doors, and even gave some tourists directions. Someone asked me if I was local, and I almost felt like I was. I attended church in the Duomo and just soaked up the city.
3. My beautiful evening in Ferrara, where we finally took it easy and strolled the streets like the locals. We admired the pink confection of the Duomo, bought candied nuts and listened to street musicians.
4. Touring ports with Joann and Calvin, our tablemates. They were the perfect companions for us: Joann, always armed with optimism, her camera and the willingness to ask anyone anything and Calvin, a man of few words, but who could actually put James in his place.
5. Our amazing Greek lunches by the water which lasted for hours and featured excellent conversation with wonderful people. The first, with Maria from Katakolon Express, and the second with our other tablemates, Mike and Debbie. I've never enjoyed al fresco dining as much as I did eating fresh feta by the sea.
6. Winning trivia with Jeannie and Paul, our brilliant teammates who made us the winningest trivia team I've ever been a part of. They became great friends, and we learned so much from them. We aspire to travel like they do one day.
It's funny. As I look at this list and think back, it occurs to me that none of them revolved around a single monument or piece of art. Of course we saw amazing things that I will never forget, but the more we travel, the more it becomes about the people and the authentic experiences. I would never have believed it before we first visited Europe, and I know that I will always be filling our days with museums and churches in the future, but now I understand how important it is to leave room for those impromptu experiences. They are what travel is all about!