Jan 13

My First European Introduction

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Travel & Me

My first ever trip to Europe was in 2006, I had 5 weeks pre-arranged leave and although I mostly cherished the thought of spending my time in France I thought ‘what if I never make it again in my lifetime?’  And so, I researched a package tour to a few other places to give me an idea of Europe of places I would like to see this encompassed 11 days of my time and then I would spend 3 weeks in France!

The carrot for the tour I decided on was mostly that we would arrive in Paris on my birthday the 10th of June, but aside from that it took in sights of places one romanticized about.  Here is the high speed itinerary of the tour;

Day 1; Depart London for the ferry in Dover at the disgustingly unsociable hour of 4am!  Catch the ferry to Calais and drive to Brussels for the evening. Then take in the beautiful architecture and cosy atmosphere of an old city.

London Calling

A view of Big Ben from ‘The Eye’

White Cliffs of Dover

The White Cliffs of Dover





Day 2; Depart Brussels for Lake Lucerne via insufferably conservative Luxembourg.

Joan of Arc - Luxembourg

A Tribute to Joan of Arc


Day 3; Wake up to snow on the 2nd June and head up the Stanzerhorn rail car to picture perfect virgin powder snow!  Then heading over to Venice and it’s wonders!  Arriving in Venice late evening

Statue in Lake Lucerne Switzerland

Summer Snow in Stanserhorn Switzerland

Summer Snow in Stanserhorn Switzerland

Day 4; Spend the day exploring Venice – the famous Murano Glass, the amazing architecture, the Gondolas, Gondoliers, Singers, St Marks Square as well as the tranquility and amazing cuisine of the island of Burano!

Venetian Glass

Venetian Glass

Venice: Gondolas & Gondoliers

Venice: Gondolas & Gondoliers


Venice - Burano Street Canal

Venice – Burano Street Canal


Venice - Saint Marc's Square

Venice – Saint Marc’s Square



Day 5; Head to Rome arrive in the afternoon, take in the Spanish Steps and the beautiful Trevi Fountain followed by an entertaining dinner out with theatrical waiters wooing the ladies!

Trevi Fountain - Rome

Trevi Fountain Rome

Day 6; Up early to join the queues at the Vatican and enjoy the brief tour culminating in the wonderment of the Cistine Chapel.  Then off to explore the Roman Forum and experience the enormity of the Coliseum!

Roman Forum

Roman Forum


Roman Forum Another View

Roman Forum Another View
Rome - Coliseum interior

Rome – Coliseum interior

Day 7; off to Naples to the sound of Dean Martin and Arrivederci Roma!  Through the impoverished streets of Napoli to the port we take the ferry to the beautiful Island of Capri for a treacherous bus ride up the steep cliffs and to find a panoramic cliff top restaurant with great food and wine for lunch before devouring the sights of Ana Capri.  Then back to the town of Capri for unseasonable torrential rain and hail before squishing into the funicular and sheltering in a café while drinking delicious hot chocolate and taking the ferry back to Napoli then checking in at a hotel on the outskirts.

First View of Capri

Capri – Almost there


Capri Storm Scape

Capri Storm Scape

Day 8;  Pompeii imagining the inexplicable terror of the eruption, a brief insight into the lives of those in ancient Pompeii and unbelievable astonishment at the size of the local lemons – bigger than a man’s head!!  Then off to Florence arriving in the evening having a wonderful meal and propositioned by the exceptionally attentive waiter for a midnight rendezvous (which I declined)!

Pompeii - Citrus Vendor

Pompeii – Citrus Vendor

Pompeii - victim -child

Pompeii – victim -child

Pompeii - Street Scene & Vesuvius

Pompeii – Street Scene & Vesuvius

Day 9; Florence, a wonderful park Piazzale Michelangelo overlooking Florence’s Ponte Vecchio then the  Piazza Della Signoria, Uffizi Gallery (and David) and Santa Maria Del Fiore.  Then off to Pizza for the Leaning Tower and some great Gelati before nestling into a quite night in Arrezano just outside of Genoa before our next day’s adventure!

Florence - Roof tops

Florence – Roof tops

Florence - David el fresco

Florence – David el fresco

Pisa - Leaning Tower

Pisa – Leaning Tower



Cherubs Pisa

Cherubs Pisa

Day 10; Early start through the Mont Blanc tunnel and Geneva Switzerland for the night.  With fantastic weather paragliders treated us to a show of their daring skills and the Swiss show us their quiet contemplation of chess.

Mt Blanc Glacier & Paraglider

Mt Blanc Glacier & Paraglider

Geneva - City of Time

Geneva – City of Time

Geneva - Chess Players

Geneva – Chess Players

Geneva - Paragliders

Geneva – Paragliders

Day 11;  My birthday!  We are heading to Paris!  We arrive in the early afternoon for a date with the Mona Lisa whom we are introduced by our guide Vincent who I think is the doppelganger of Vincent van Gogh fiery red hair and a passion for art! We see an early evening tribute and wreath laying at the Arch de Triumph, go for a river cruise on the Seine, scale the heights of the Eiffel Tower, then watch the light show at 10pm before a few glasses of champagne then bed.


Seine River Cruise

Seine River Cruise

Paris - Jardin Des Invalides

Paris – Jardin Des Invalides


Paris - Remembers 10 June.

Paris – Remembers 10 June.

Paris - Eiffel Tower

Paris – Eiffel Tower

Paris Louvre Illumination

Paris Louvre Illumination

Day 12;  The next day my tour group are off to London, we have a quick bus around and they drop me for my next adventure in the heart of St Germaine de Pres – I now have 3 weeks to visit France at my leisure!  What fun!!


Jardin du Luxembourg

Jardin du Luxembourg










  1. sally

    beautiful tour and really beautiful pictures!!!

  2. Cathy

    Ingrid, I agree with Sally. Lovely photos. A great introduction to Europe 🙂

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