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Me, myself and I meandering around Europe

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Sep 15th, 2018, 07:05 AM
  #1
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Me, myself and I meandering around Europe

My SO's mobility issues prevent him from my type of travel - not much planning and see what happens today/tomorrow. Cruising is his mode of travel nowadays and as much as I enjoy it I still need to explore some places that appeal to me and spend more time than the allotted 8 - 12 hours when cruising.

Flew LAX to Barcelona. I've been to Barcelona multiple times so no need for formal sightseeing. Did two free walking tours and a tapas bar crawl. It was very, very hot so decided not to wear my proper sneakers and just wore my fit flops. Consequence - a huge blister.

Bus to Valencia. Loved Valencia. More walking. Did a walking tour and the hop on and off bus. Stayed in old town next to the huge Plaza de Ayuntamiento. Valencia is charming. Interesting jumble of architectural styles. Weather was even hotter.

Flew to Bologna. Found it too crowded and frenetic, long lines to purchase an ice cream, people everywhere. Did a walking tour of Bologna and I must admit I found it fascinating. The blister situation got to the point I could hardly walk so my hotel concierge directed me to a 24 clinic. Unfortunately since I'm a foreigner and did not have the "card" I was told to go to the hospital. I thought the hospital was a walking distance but it turned out to be outside the city center, a huge complex, Sant Orsola. The hospital is huge. I went to the Dermatology Dept., was told to go the emergency dept., was given some paperwork, returned to the Dermatology Dept., had to wait 1-1/2 hours to be seen and finally saw a lady doctor who did not speak English but her nurse did. They drained the blister, gave me written instructions in Italian (of course) and a bill for 23 euros. Back home the ER bill would have been at least $1,000.00 or so. I was sent to another pavilion to pay the bill. As you can imagine this was a very slow walk. I asked if someone could take me there in a wheelchair and the nurse rolled her eyes. I treated myself to a taxi. Of course with the dressing and the swelling none of my shoes would fit me so I bought a pair of lovely red sneakers one size larger.

Day trip to Ravenna. That was one of the highlights of my trip. The mosaics in the chapel of Galla Placidia and the church of San Vitale are stunning. I had difficulty dragging myself away. Ravenna was not touristy at all, no lines, no waiting. Mostly Italian tourists. I heard very little English spoken.

Train to Bergamo. I loved Bergamo, enjoyed the upper and lower cities. Took the funicular to Citta Alta and then another to San Vigilio, with a magnificent view of the countryside. On a clear day you can see Milan in the distance. Not sure of that since the day was a bit hazy. Loved meandering around Bergamo.

Flew to Warsaw. I was born in Warsaw but left right after the war as a very young child. I don't speak Polish, remember some words but not enough to communicate properly. I enjoyed Warsaw. It has an energetic vibe and I visited the street where we used to live. We had a little apartment there and now there are high rise buildings and a freeway. I did a lot of crying and reminiscing. Everyone I knew then is gone including my parents and relatives. Another walking tour and learned some new facts about Warsaw, the war, politics, the resistance and uprising.

Took a night bus to Berlin. That was not smart on my part. Should have taken the train. I wanted another full day in Warsaw. The bus was comfortable and I actually slept as opposed to sleeping on planes but I don't see bus travel in my future. It was OK when I was in my twenties.

Berlin. I loved Berlin. The architecture, the parks, the buildings. The absolute highlight was the Pergamon Museum. I could have stayed there all day long. Mesmerizing. Did a cruise on the River Spree. The leaves were starting to turn gold and red in some areas. Did another walking tour which was excellent. There were many, many tourists in Berlin. You heard more English than German (a slight exaggeration).

Flight to Stockholm. What a lovely, civilized city. Enjoyed the food, the fact that I was able to communicate with the locals in every walk of life and the beautiful blond hair. Some of the women were just gorgeous. Beauty appeals to me, be it people, flowers, natures, buildings, etc.. Did visit a small town in the Swedish Archipelago - Vaxholm. Visited the castle and the fortress. I was the only person there. Enjoyed the solitude.

This was a very enjoyable trip even though I don't enjoy eating dinner by myself. Lunch solo is fine. Dinner or sitting at a cafe at a table for one is a bit sad especially when you're surrounded by people chatting, drinking wine, enjoying each other's company. But the other side of the coin has some advantages. You're your own boss, you don't have to argue with anyone and nobody questions your decisions.

Back home, happy to see my SO and my kitty, as well as my daughters and granddaughters. Suffering from jet lag. No issue traveling East.

All packed and ready for another trip: Cruise Vancouver to Yokohama, staying in Japan for a week and then Honolulu for a week. Life is good.

This is my very first trip report. I'm thick skinned.
Treesa is offline  
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Sep 15th, 2018, 11:46 AM
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Thanks for posting Treesa.

Enjoyed your trip report.

Ok rest up now from your jet lag.
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Sep 15th, 2018, 12:03 PM
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This sounds like a wonderful trip. How many days did you spend in each place?

Glad you got to Bergamo--I never made it there so I still need to visit.
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Sep 15th, 2018, 12:18 PM
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No need to be thick-skinned. This was a nice, succinct report.

Bergamo, which we ended up in by mistake when Easy Jet messed us up, is a really nice town.
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Sep 15th, 2018, 12:46 PM
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>>This is my very first trip report. I'm thick skinned.<<

Doesn't read like a first TR -- even though it was short, there are a lot of nice details. Thanks for posting.
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Sep 15th, 2018, 02:24 PM
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Great report. I would love to see Ravenna now.

I found the part about Warsaw to be really moving.
​​I hope you are able to share it with kids, nieces, nephews, etc. My great aunt told similar stories of leaving the Czech Republic and going back decades later and it really awakened a curiosity in me about my roots.
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Sep 15th, 2018, 02:38 PM
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Thanks for the great report. Bologna and Ravenna (I was in Ravenna once, but years ago) are high on my list. I will add Bergamo.
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Sep 15th, 2018, 03:30 PM
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Great report! I am the same about eating alone in restaurants, so I usually get an apartment if I am staying a few days.

Enjoy the cruise! Hope you have calm seas.
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Sep 15th, 2018, 05:55 PM
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Thank you all for your kind words. Leely, most places were 3 nights, some two nights. I wanted to cover a lot of territory in 3 weeks. I'm ready to slow down a bit.

5alive. Thanks for your comments. Unfortunately I'm an only child so no nieces or nephews.

Off to beautiful Canada (Percy's domain) tomorrow.
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Sep 16th, 2018, 04:43 AM
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Hi Treesa,
Are you on the Westerdam 9/30 Vancouver to Yokohama? I'll be on that one. Will be interesting to chat with you on board.
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Sep 16th, 2018, 06:39 AM
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Sorry, Reading54. I'm sailing tomorrow on the Norwegian Jewel. Perhaps we'll meet somewhere, sometime on another cruise. It's a small world.
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Sep 16th, 2018, 09:56 AM
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Thanks! Have a great voyage.
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