“Travel: it leaves you speechless and then makes you a storyteller” – Ibn Battuta
Piazza Navona, Rome
Hello sweet readers!
It has officially been two years (too long) since my unforgettable first trip to Europe in 2016 when we visited the beautiful cities of Rome, Paris, and London. In commemoration of this Europeversary, I wanted to look back and share my favorite moments, monuments, and 5 pieces of travel advice from the trip!
The magical city of Rome in all of its history and timeless beauty named itself my favorite city from the moment we arrived. The aroma of Italian leather coaxed me in like a bowl of Bolognese. I found myself running to Piazza Navona in my free time, frequenting Manufactus Leather Shop daily to indulge in more leather trinkets and enjoy the view of artfully sculpted fountains, flower-filled tresses, and artists displaying their freshly crafted paintings. My Aunt Rhon and I were able to go back to Piazza Navona one last time before our last excursion in the ancient city, which was to visit the prison that held Saint Peter and Paul. Our meeting time was precisely 3:00 at the “Wedding Cake” building, so called, giving me a small window of time to run back to Manufactus for a last minute leather gift for Charles (and grab a quick fix of gelato, of course). I wanted to get his initials engraved in a wallet from the shop, but found out that it had to be hand stamped at their different location across town. In a dash, the sweet Italian shopkeeper ran to the other shop and delivered my personalized gift just in time, leaving us with 5 minutes to get back to meet with our group.
We found ourselves peering down several streets which seemed to all look very similar with their quaint shops and cobblestone paths. Gelato in hand, we picked a street and started our speed walk to the “Wedding Cake” building, it’s official name unknown to us. As we turned down several streets with still no scent of wedding cake, we decided to ask for directions, to no avail, as neither of us know Italian, and we probably came off as a little crazy asking people about a “Wedding Cake” building. Finally, we were pointed in the right direction and the great and elaborate Altare Della Patria, in all of it’s matrimonial glory, showed itself. We made it to the group just as they were leaving the meeting place for our final excursion.
The Altare Della Patria
The prison that held Saint Peter and Paul was under construction, and instead of calling it quits, our tour guide smuggled us past the gates and we were able to have a private tour! The amazing history and architecture that fills the streets of Rome make for an amazing trip whether you are making a wish in the Trevi Fountain, exploring the Colosseum, or getting lost in the city streets with your gelato and only knowing the word “grazie”. There were too many sweet memories made and stories to tell of all of the cities we visited for one post, and although Rome was my favorite, there were so many special things I loved about each city. The streets of Paris, the museums, the PASTRIES, the Eiffel; London’s castles, Shakespeare’s globe, Harry Potter, oh my! This trip has only fed the fire for my yearning to explore more of the world and experience more speechless moments and have more stories to tell.
I have 5 helpful tips to make your trip even more magical that were very helpful for us!
- Transfer your currency with your bank or a local bank (compare rates) before the trip. ATM fees can add up quickly once you’re abroad, and we found it was much cheaper and more convenient to get your currency beforehand.
- Get an outlet converter (or a styling iron, phone charger, etc. with a European plug). Even with a converter, my curling iron bit the dust from overheating on our trip.
- Learn the basics of the language of the country you are visiting. Not only is it important to be able to communicate with people if you are visiting a country that speaks a different language, it is also respectful to at least attempt to speak their language rather than expecting them to know English. We were given a study sheet before each destination which was very helpful, as it listed useful phrases like “where is the bathroom?”, “I’d like to order this”, “please and thank you”, etc.
- Keep a travel diary. If you have time, at the end of the day, write down what happened that day- the things you saw, what you learned, something that made you laugh. When you look back and have forgotten some of the details, the small quirks and happenings from your diary make for very sweet memories to keep. That’s why I love my blog so much! I write these things down and I love going back later and re-remembering them.
- This one is very important: Make sure to live in the moment. You may need to pinch yourself every now and then, but take it all in; the culture, the smells, the beauty of somewhere new/old. Experiences like this don’t happen every day and you can learn so much from being amerced in your surroundings.
I can’t believe it has been two years since this amazing trip! To say I’m ready for another is an understatement. It won’t be long before the travels continue! I can’t wait to share my next adventure! Thanks so much for reading!!
Sweet Maddie Jane