A Europe trip was long overdue for this New Yorker. I managed to clear 19 days (flight time inclusive) to figure out how to plan such an itinerary and came up with:
Day 1 – Fly from NYC to London overnight
Day 2 – Check in hotel, brief sightseeing, sleep
Day 3,4 – Explore London
Day 5 – Daytrip to Paris via Eurostar
Day 6 – Travel to Edinburgh, sightseeing
Day 7,8,9 – Tour the Scotland highlands
Day 10 – Travel back to London, Harry Potter tour
Day 11 – Fly from London to Barcelona, sightseeing
Day 12-18 – 7 day cruise
Day 19 – Fly back home
The most challenging part is planning it all (and saving enough money as well). The flights, hotels, where to go, how to get there, things to avoid, not getting lost, saving money, optimizing time, eating, bathroom stops, what to pack, currency, backup plans for when things go wrong, survival, etc. Somehow, everything went according to plan with a few minor mishaps. Follow me on my travels as I cover the itineraries, highlights, and other random encounters and experiences.
Although the ship docks in Napoli (Naples), I have no idea what Napoli looks like. Several excursions take cruisers to various areas around the area and do not stop in Napoli necessarily. Such as is the one I chose: Amalfi coast and Pompei. We had a great tour guide for the day named Rosana. She knew a lot about her country and taught us some Italian as well. It was a long drive along the coastline mainly because of its very narrow streets and more than 1,000 curves along the mountainside. It was quite impressive to see buses squeeze through traffic with an inch between them. But before the coastal drive, you could not miss Mt. Vesuvio (Vesuvius) dominating the scenery.
Every 15 minutes revealed another picturesque hillside town with beaches. First Sorrento, then Positano, and Amalfi.
The tour gives you an hour to walk around the Amalfi coast. Not nearly enough time to do the infamous Walk of the Gods hike but it was good enough for photo ops. I wouldn’t mind staying at a hotel in Amalfi for a few days.
And then there was a bit more of this…
Not too long after, the tour dropped us at a hotel restaurant (Voce del Mare) where you get views like…
For many of us, it was a first pasta meal in Italy. Once we drove off the coastal road, we made our way to the ruins of Pompei; the ancient city that was destroyed by Vesuvio. There was actually no lava, but a nuclear bomb type of volcanic explosion that caused its destruction. Pompei was once near the ocean but the volcano eruption raised the land such that it isn’t anymore. Once you walk around Pompei for a while, you begin to realize how large it is and that you won’t be able to see it all. Also, there is no cover from the blazing sun and it’ll eventually exhaust you. All of the city’s rooftops are gone since they were wooden and didn’t survive the eruption. The ruins are preserved well enough that you can almost imagine yourself as if you lived in this city while walking down its cobblestone streets. Here are a few photos of Pompei.
The creepiest thing is coming across preserved bodies from the volcanic ash.
Next stop, Roma…