Each year we plan a BIG trip to commemorate another year together. Somehow we’ve ended up going in June/July each year instead of our anniversary month of August, but it does usually make for sunnier weather wherever we go. This year we landed on Greece and Italy.
We started in Athens, but only spent 24 hours there – THANKFULLY. It was a blistering 104 degrees when we arrived. That would be hot for anyone, but try being in your first trimester when you’re exhausted, nauseous and basically feeling like doing nothing. Yeah, that was me. We made the best of it though, with frequent breaks for water for me and Greek beers for LW. We got to see most of the major landmarks in Athens in that time (walking more than 6 miles in that heat!), including: the Parthenon and Acropolis.
We took a quick flight from Athens to Santorini the following day. It was slightly cooler but still upper 90s. I had no idea how hilly Santorini actually was so it was quite surprising when we got out to explore. It was more gorgeous than any picture could show and we had some of the best views, food and relaxing time there. I struggled with the heat and just general exhaustion on most days, requiring a late and very bland breakfast, small meals for lunch and dinner, a mid-afternoon nap, and TONS of water. We did a great tour while we were there though and really got to see the island, stopping at the Black Beach, Akrotiri, a vineyard, a small town to explore how locals live, and watching the sunset in Oia. After 3 nights in Santorini, we made our way to Italy with our first stop being Florence.
Florence is a great walking city – and relatively flat so it helped this pregnant lady out! It was still warm there, but I expected that and was better prepared with each passing day on how to tackle the heat/nausea/tiredness. We spent lots of time in galleries, museums and cathedrals while in Florence. We unknowingly got in the line to climb the steps to the Duomo. I made it up 300 steps before calling it quits. LW finished and took pictures for me so I didn’t feel TOO left out. Next we headed to our best and favorite spot of the whole trip, Cinque Terre.
If we ever go back to Italy, we will spend at least a week in Cinque Terre. It was everything we dreamed it would be. We stayed in Monterosso, where the best beaches can be found – and where we swear some of the best food can also be found. By this point in the trip, I was perking up slightly. Maybe it was due to the ocean breeze or the medicine my doctor gave me before I left, but it was a great time to start feeling better. I wasn’t able to do any of the hiking that this area is known for but Landon was and it gave me time to lounge around in the morning before taking the train to meet him in Vernazza. We took a boat from there to Manarola and watched our new Aussie friends jump from the cliffs (another activity I couldn’t partake in).
We loved every second of our 3 days in Cinque Terre. On our last night, we had dinner at this tiny family-owned restaurant recommended by our B&B. It was the perfect end to that part of our trip. Next we headed South to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast.
We actually stayed in Sorrento – which turned out to be fantastic. They had the best lemons, amazing food, and gorgeous sunsets. We spent a day exploring Pompeii (that’s Mount Vesuvius behind us!) and another day exploring the Amalfi Coast. The bus ride to Amalfi was tough for both of us (hair pin turns!) but the boat ride back was LONG. I’m glad we went but don’t think I need to do that ever again. Rome was the last stop of our EuroTrip – and somehow the busiest.
We managed to cram A LOT into our time in Rome. You need AT LEAST 3 days to do Rome properly… we gave ourselves 36 hours. On day 1, we basically scouted out what we wanted to see the following day, made a game plan, had an early dinner and hit the hay. For our full 24 hour day, we grabbed tickets for a hop on, hop off tour. We thought this might cut down on the walking and therefore keep me feeling spry all day. We were wrong. When all was said and done, we walked over 7.5 miles that day – even with riding a bus. Rome is HUGE. But we saw the Vatican (skip the line passes are AMAZING!) and Sistine Chapel, visited the Trevi Fountain, explored the Colosseum and Forum, and got a glimpse of other landmarks like Palentine Hill (I was too tired to continue exploring at this point) and where Caesar died.
While I don’t think we would have planned this trip if we’d known that we’d be expecting, or how awful I’d feel, or even that we’d be trying to sell a house, I am so glad we went. We LOVE exploring Europe and were grateful to mark two more countries off of our bucket list with another successful trip. We started our journey home feeling relaxed and thankful for the experience. We had no idea just how busy life was about to get…