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19 Days of Sun and Fun

Author: David Lewis
Date of Trip: June 2012

On June 27th we began our vacation of a lifetime. There were 13 family members from Canada and China. In addition to 9 adults we had 4 children aged 9, 14, 15 and 18. We spent our first day in Italy in Civitivecchia. The view from our hotel the San Giorgio was amazing and we sampled our first Italian pizza. The combinations were certainly different such as smoked salmon and potato, but the flavours were amazing. After a evening stroll along the waterfront we turned in early only to be awakened when Italy won the semi-final match of the FIFA world cup. The celebration went on for hours.

We departed the next day on the Crown Princess. On the first day at sea we celebrated our 18 year old’s high school graduation.

At our first stop we went on a Tuscany winery tour. This was more fun for the adults, but the children did enjoy the horse drawn carriage ride.

Our next stop was Naples and the group split up with some going to Mt. Vesuvius and others went to Sorrento, but all tours went to Pompeii. The heat was sweltering, but we did not let it ruin or day. The adults discovered Lemoncello.

At Santorini there were 5 ships anchored. I refer to this day as the running of the Donkeys as I walked up the stairs amid the donkeys going both ways and general pandemonium. My wife and son waited in line for the tram and had an encounter of a different sort of ass who made rude comments to my son, they ended up leaving the line and returned to the ship. Strangely enough we encountered this same person on the ship later on.

In Athens we took the train to Monistiraki station and climbed to the Acropolis. The view from the top was amazing, but it was crowded.

At Mykonos we walked through the town and took photos of little Venice and the windmills.

At Katakolon our 15 year od discovered the museum of ancient greek technology and now he wants to be an engineer.

At Corfu we took a quick walk through the town, but did not do much shopping as it was Sunday.

At Split the waterfront reminded me of Miami. My wife bought 5 pairs of earrings and necklace for 180 Kuna, equivalent of 35 dollars.

The sail in to Venice with Andrea Bocelli playing on the loudspeakers was breathtaking. We again split up with some going to Murano for glass blowing, a gondola ride and a visit to San Giorgio church to see the last supper. My son and I visited the campanile and ponte de vecchio, but chose not to wait in the long lines for the Doge’s palace. The water taxi ride was an experience in itself.

We left Venice on a chartered bus and our first stop was Bologna where we spent a couple of hours in the city center and had a wonderful lunch. Then we continued on to Florence where my wife fell in love with the Mercato central and the leather purse of her dreams. The next day we toured Pisa in the morning, much too quickly and then did a walking tour of Florence in the afternoon. It was truly amazing as one moment we were in Limbo, or more precisely Piazza del Limbo, and a few minutes later we were at the gates of heaven. This is the name Michelangelo gave to the engraved doors of the Baptistry.

The next morning we left early for Rome our last stop before returning home. We did a Vatican museum tour in the afternoon, but needed a full day. i have never seen so much art in one place. On our last day in Rome we toured the Colosseum and the Forum in the morning. The size was difficult to comprehend. In the afternoon we split up again. Some did shopping while others visited the sites, collectively we saw the Spanish steps, Piazza Navone, Trevi fountain and the Pantheon. We were exhausted. That evening we had a final big family supper and said farewell to our 3 family members who were returning to China later on that night. the next morning we boarded our flight home. In 19 days we never had a drop of rain. for most of us it was our firs trip to Europe, but it will not be our last. 19 days was definitely our longest family vacation and 13 people was a large group to keep track of, but we were left with memories that will last a lifetime.

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