Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Best of Europe 2011

I have been thinking about our Europe 2011 trip for days already, wondering how would I answer the question, "what did I like the best?"
I have come to the conclusion that I cannot pick one thing, although I may be able to narrow it down to 1 thing per area.  And in order to avoid repeating my POTDs, I may be able to slant this list with the most surprising of the bests or simply a representative shot rather than the obvious.


And so, here they are, the highlights of my trip:

Rome 
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Trastevere - This Roman neighborhood felt so real, with real shop owners scrubbing their sidewalks and washing their store and cafe windows, and very chic people waiting to eat in tiny chic restaurants, and tons of people out in the park for Republic Day.
 Buying a rosary in the rooftop gift shop of St. Peters.

Naples
Having Sunday dinner with the family.


Sorrento
Not only did we have a lovely balcony with a great view of the Bay of Naples, but the Settimo Cielo had the best shower, ever!
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Amalfi Coast
Every town and every view was sublime, but sensual overload was experienced at the ceramics factory, seeing the most beautiful, giant ceramic tables coming to life, wishing I could have one in my back yard.
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Capri
Successfully buying cheese and strawberries for our picnic lunch in Anacapri.
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Pompei
The extent of this large city in ruins was an overwhelming experience.
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Orvieto
Dinners at Trattoria del Moro Aronne.
Sitting in the piazza in front of the duomo with the sun shining on the facade.
Tearing through the piles of hand-sewn vintage linens at the market.
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Verona
Sipping spritzes on Piazza Bra. Watching the throngs of people in Juliet's courtyard.
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Padova
Seeing the throngs of people willing to stand in long lines for the chance to touch the tomb of St. Anthony.
Witnessing the crash commercialism of the church and the surroundings.
Seeing Giotto's frescoes at the Scrovegni Chapel.
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Stresa
The first morning boat ride, the villa on Isola Bella, the grotto and garden in the villa on Isola Bella.
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Lauterbrunnen
Discovering Gimmelwald in the sunshine, full of flowers and gnomes and real people. Loved the little hike from Murren to Gimmelwald so much I did it twice.
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Montreux
Taking the long walk from our hotel to the Chateau Chillon along the lake.
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Lausanne
Riding on the La Suisse steam paddle wheeler.
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Gruyere
Loved this adorable village, speaking French, eating salade de chevre chaud.
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Chamonix
The Hotel L'Oustelet was oerfectly adorable, and speaking French once again! I loved the cross-stitched door labels and the key pockets and everything that looked lovingly hand-made in the hotel.
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Zermatt
Seeing the Matterhorn, and everyone's reaction to the Matterhorn, was awesome, but what I enjoyed the most was our hike to Zmutt.
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Pontresina
Our hike from Muottas Muragl to Pontresina, our trip up Piz Nair, and my walking tour of Samedan, I was especially touched by seeing the beautifully tended graves in the Protestant churchyard.
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I love the European politeness which demands that every person be greeted, the public transportation system that lets you get everywhere, the lifts and conveyances that make good use of the mountains, the concept of gathering in the public squares, the passegiate, taking afternoon naps, eating late multi-course dinners that end with espresso and limoncello, tiny crooked cobblestone streets, lacy-curtained windows dressed in geraniums.

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