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Rome: Slow Down, Enjoy! Tops Tips!


TLCOhio

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On one of the other questions with a title that was not clear in being about Rome, one traveler had a very, very aggressive four-day plan for Rome. I am posting under a new thread to urge SLOWING DOWN! I would urge allowing some time to dine outside, walk around, enjoy the people and informal sights, etc. Sometimes getting lost in Rome can be fun, discovering and seeing a site or sight that is special, unique and unplanned. Rome is also a very congested, busy, having lots of noise and intensity. You need some breaks to enjoy some time with others and/or by yourself to rest, catch up, savor the moment. Given the driving challenges in Rome, there are part of this town where walking can be as fast and probably more enjoyable than trying to travel by a car.

 

Here are two other key personal suggestions from my experiences there:

 

1. Relax and enjoy! The Romans already controlled the world once and are not in that much of a hurry. It will all work out. Be patient! That's their approach to life! Kind of smart!

 

2. It's hard to have a bad meal in Italy! If you like seafood, you'll find lots of great dishes there. But most everything is wonderful. Enjoy the food and wine! Italy is the world's number one wine producer. Maybe at the high, more costly end, Italy doesn't quite reach the levels of France for certain of these wines. BUT, overall, the wines of Italy are very, very good and highly enjoyable.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS ON ROME:

This vivid city has so many unforgettable images: St. Peter's Dome against a pink-and-red sunset; the array of broken marble columns and ruins of temples of the Roman Forum; standing in the Imperial Forum where the funeral pyre for Julius Caesar happened; a Bernini 17th-century colonnade resting against an Egyptian obelisk carried off from Heliopolis while Jesus was still alive; Renaissance frescoes in a papal palace built on top of the tomb of a Roman emperor.

 

Rome's 2,700 years of history are laid open with every step and glance of your eye. Nero fiddling, Mark Anthony praising Caesar, and Charlemagne being crowned. Walk in their footsteps past the masterpieces of Michelangelo, sip your beverage in the shadow of Mussolini, and dodge Vespas speeding by Baroque palazzo and Egyptian obelisks. There is REAL HISTORY here in Rome, not a marginal or pale Walt Disney World imitation! And the people of Rome? Real, alive and interesting! Classy! So charming and so much fun!

 

Whether it is one day on a hurried cruise visit or hopefully longer before the start or at the end of your sailing, approach Rome and Italy correctly. You cannot see it ALL in just a day or a few days. Sip and savor it, not gulping and rushing like fast food and a quick soft drink. ENJOY!

 

THANKS! Terry in Ohio

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Your excellent advice is applicable to tourist sites and cities all over the world. I hope some few people take note of your suggestions.

 

Yes, there is history out there, yes, there are tourist looky-loos. But many of these sights can be seen on television as documentaries or backgrounds. In a foreign city, I enjoy having a meal of local flavours at an outdoor cafe while watching the parade of humanity pass by, going to a local grocery store to see the unknown foodstuffs and fruits, watching the current fashions of the locals, taking time to take it all in.

 

And getting lost is the best. Wandering around, trying to figure out where you should have gone or which stop on the Metro is for your hotel, finally asking a local for directions in a language you don't speak - it's grand fun and these experiences are what you will remember when you return home.

 

Ruby

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I love this post so much! I commented about how it nearly brought tears to my eyes when I read it under the other thread about the Rome itinerary! I know you saw that response ;)

Thanks for posting the info again! I believe your comments really capture the best way to "see" and experience Rome!

 

Having said that, you know how much I love Italy & its people, especially Rome, Positano and the Amalfi Coast!

 

Thanks again for being so helpful to people!

 

Ciao e Buono Viaggio!

Toni Lee

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I have to agree. One of the best experiences we had was in our last night in Rome.

 

We were dropped off at our hotel in the morning after our cruise, then rushed to the Vatican for our Scavi tour. DH was feeling toured out afterwards, so we ambled to a small restaurant had a leisurely meal then a long nap. That evening we had booked a wine tasting tour with Through Eternity Walking tours. Best decision we ever made. Not wanting to be late, we decided to stroll from our Hotel near the Vatican to Campo Di Fiori where we were to meet the guide. We strolled in the evening light across the Tiber taking photos and soaking in the atmosphere. Of course we were an hour early, but we just wondered around the area and found some stores with great souvenirs at half the cost!

 

Then we met our guide. Well talk about a great walking tour. It consisted of visiting various wine bars (Enoteca's), eating snacks and talking about life in Rome with the guide. There was only 3 of us and the guide a young American lady married to an Italian. We strolled through Rome at night and soaked up the atmosphere as our guide filled us in on various aspects of Rome.

 

It combined the best of both worlds - learning something about this great city, not being herded or rushed in a big bus and tasting some great products. DH who normally dislikes wine was guzzling it down like it was nectar of the gods! However, experiencing Rome at night was wonderful.

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I got goosebumps reading your post. It's obvious you love this great city as I do. Unfortunately, so many people only have a day in Rome. Rome takes time to really get to know......and love.

 

Some of the things that stay with me:

 

Having a drink at night in front of the Pantheon, all lit up and looking all of the wonder that it is.

 

Walking the actual paving stones of the Via Appia and Via Sacra, in the footsteps of every illustrious Roman, and every illustrious visitor to Rome.

 

Seeing how modern Rome incorporates ancient Rome without tearing it all down and getting rid of it. Walk into any store or restaurant and you are apt to see a plexiglas hole in the floor where you can peer down at ruins, or pay a visit to their basement which just happens to house the remains of an ancient temple.

 

Nothing beats walking in Rome. There are new discoveries down every vicolo. :)

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I wholeheartedly agree, Terry. I do my own walking tours in Rome and I never cease to be amazed at the beauty of the city. It's around every corner.

 

Thanks for those inspiring words to those of us who are in love with Rome and all of Italy.

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I just read bunnyette's post and both TLCOhio and bunnyette's post reminded me of something about my first trip to Italy and Rome.

 

Long story short...after listening to so many folks for YEARS about when, where, how, etc, etc, to travel to Rome, I decided that I was going to stop talking & dreaming about visiting Rome and just plan a visit. Well, like so many others, I was VERY intimidated about going on my own with DH, having read stories, etc, etc.

 

After pricing Perillo Tours and other similar companies and recognizing that for us the costs were exorbitant, I convinced DH that we should land tour on our own. As an aside, DH & I are taking our FIRST CRUISE EVER in October because we have traveled extensively but only unescorted and on our own, by air and land (no sea) :D

 

Anyhow, I can only say that I wish I had gone to Italy YEARS sooner, on my own, with NO WORRIES! To me, Italy has got to be one of the kindest, friendliest, warmest and EASIEST places for folks to visit in Europe.

 

Now, I haven't been around the world :eek: but all my worrying was for naught. I am 2nd generation Italian American, as mom was born in Italy (Pratella Sannita, near Caserta & Naples) and dad's dad was born in San Giovanni Incarico (near Rome). I boned up on my Italian language and my meager understanding of Italy and off we went...it was fabulous and a trip that I will NEVER forget!

 

I think because I am of Italian heritage, I felt "at home" the minute I stepped foot off the plane and into Fiumicino Int'l Airport...it's a feeling that I can't quite explain. I was immediately in love!

 

However, objectively (if I can be so), I do believe that the Italians are warm, helpful, kind, gracious and extremely FRIENDLY towards tourists! Yes, Italy can be a bit, oh...how shall we say it...delightfully chaotic and unpredictable...however, that's part of its charm.

 

IMHO, Rome is a VERY easy city to navigate by oneself, if manned with a few good reference books and a great pair of hiking shoes! The food, as TLCOhio has mentioned, is great no matter WHERE you eat and surprisingly, quite inexpensive in many instances.

 

Subways are safe, buses are safe, yes...beware of pickpockets in "tourist" areas (Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Termini Stazione, The Vatican, blah, blah) and on subways and buses especially, but...

 

And one last thing...although I try to only speak Italian when I travel to Italy (because I am studying the language and it gives me a chance to practice and be corrected by Italians), many people in the more tourist-y areas of Rome do speak a bit of English. However, there are some folks, just off the beaten path, who will not speak a lick of English.

 

I have found that if you smile, attempt a greeting or salutation in Italian with humility and a warm hand gesture, the smile (and assistance) you will elicit from your Italian friend will be unforgettable! It's almost like magic :)

 

So, "per favore"- please

"piacere, dove"- please, where is...

"scuzi, per favore"- excuse me, please

"mille grazie"- a million thanks

"buon giorno, signore"- good day, sir

"buona sera, signora"- good evening, madame

"cia ciao"- good bye (or hello)

"fa bene, caro amico"- be well, dear friend

 

...simple attempts will go a long way in Rome and in Italy! Italians will feel proud that you are attempting to connect with them in their beautiful language (not to mention that they will get a kick out of you)...they will never make you feel small or dumb (as I feel anyhow, 'cause my Italian is awful)!

 

Buono Viaggio (Good Travels or Happy Travels)!

Toni Lee Fiore

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I got goosebumps reading your post. It's obvious you love this great city as I do. Unfortunately, so many people only have a day in Rome. Rome takes time to really get to know......and love.

 

Some of the things that stay with me:

 

Having a drink at night in front of the Pantheon, all lit up and looking all of the wonder that it is.

 

Walking the actual paving stones of the Via Appia and Via Sacra, in the footsteps of every illustrious Roman, and every illustrious visitor to Rome.

 

Seeing how modern Rome incorporates ancient Rome without tearing it all down and getting rid of it. Walk into any store or restaurant and you are apt to see a plexiglas hole in the floor where you can peer down at ruins, or pay a visit to their basement which just happens to house the remains of an ancient temple.

 

Nothing beats walking in Rome. There are new discoveries down every vicolo. :)

 

Cynthia...now YOU'RE going to make me cry!

 

The Piazza Rotondo and the Pantheon at dusk into night, are two of my most valued treasures in Rome :o

 

Thanks for the beautiful post!

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I love Italy & its people, especially Rome, Positano and the Amalfi Coast! Thanks again for being so helpful to people!

Ciao e Buono Viaggio! Toni Lee

 

THANKS for the added comments and chorus agreeing on the need to slow down to ENJOY Rome and Italy, plus so much in Europe! I also really love Positano and the Amalfi Coast. It's so wonderful there. I can still remember having the wonderful seafood dish there along the water side at Chez Black in Positano. Many miss going down south to Positano and the Amalfi Coast. There is so much with many varied and interesting differences throughout Italy. Terry in Ohio

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I can still remember having the wonderful seafood dish there along the water side at Chez Black in Positano... Terry in Ohio

 

Okay, Terry...now this is getting scary. You and I are either soul mates or twins separated at birth!

 

I absolutely loved Ristorante Chez Black! I had a love affair going on with one of the waiters there...GOSH, I'm completely blanking on his name right now :mad:

 

After my 8 days of either eating at Chez Black or stopping in for a drink at sunset, or just going in to practice my Italian and get a hug, my waiter gave me a really beautiful glicee copy of a water color from the Russo Family's private art collection (the owners of the Ristorante Chez Black). The print is a beautiful reproduction of Positano images including images of their restaurant, the tiled majolica dome of Santa Maria Assunta and the archway that marks where land meets sea near Chez Black. I have the print matted & framed, proudly displayed in my dining room!

 

I'll try to download of photo of the glicee here...it's not a great photo, though:

 

261924635_W7WBB-M-1.jpg

 

Here's a photo of DH on our way to Ristorante Chez Black:

 

57765584_WGKEi-M.jpg

 

 

Here a photo of my "going away pizza" from my waiter at Chez Black:

 

57771129_AAYZa-M.jpg

 

 

Thanks for bringing back such wonderful memories!

 

Toni Lee Fiore

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YES, it's a small world to focus on one dining place in a small coastal village in Italy. We only had one lunch there at Chez Black. I had the seafood stew or "soup" that was HUGE with about ten different types of fish and other large pieces of treasures from the sea. Great food and setting! Then to soak up the sauce/broth with Italian bread. Wonderful!!! Will be aiming to visit there again, but we have lots of other places to reach first. This summer it's England and the Baltics. My wife's an RN and you're in the nursing field. Keep enjoying!

 

THANKS! Terry in Ohio

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I also loved the OP. Its a travel philosophy we have used for years and I will ocassionally post messages here about what I call the "If its Tuesday it Must be Belgium" syndrome shared by many of my fellow Americans. So much of the best part of Europe can be found by simply sitting in a well-located outdoor cafe and watching the crazy tourists rush by in such a hurry to see everything they really see nothing. One vivid memory from our early travel days was strolling along the Rue de Rivoli in Paris on a gorgeous day and seeing the tour buses roll by with the passengers noses pressed up against the sealed windows. I am sure they went home and told their friends how wonderful Paris was through a glass window, but its not our style.

 

Hank

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I would be wonderful to experience Rome and Italy and many other countries the way you suggest. I am sure it is the very best way!

 

However, not all of us have the luxury of the time and/or money to do so. I will be embarking on my first Mediterranean cruise this Fall, and while I hope to be able to go to Europe again someday, who knows what tomorrow will bring? We will have a grand total of 11 hours in Rome, from docking to sailaway. While I would love to spend the day wandering the streets of Rome and sitting for hours watching the world go by at a lovely cafe near the Trevi Fountain, how can I possibly return from what may be my only visit to Rome and NOT have seen the Colisseum, the Forum, the Pantheon, the Vatican (and the Sistine Chapel), the Spanish Steps AND Trevi Fountain :confused: .

 

That goes for other ports as well. I can't possibly see all of Naples, Pompeii, Amalfi, Positano, Ravello AND Capri !! So I have to make choices, and I want to be able to see as much as I possibly can with the limited time I have. I hope I am fortunate enough to return one day, to visit it all again, at a slower pace, with at least a few days in a number of cities.

 

I will, however, try my best to slow it down when I can and soak up the atmosphere, as all of you suggest. Wish me luck... ;)

 

Bonnie

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I'm sure I'm stepping on virtually everyone's toes with the following, but here goes:

 

I quit carrying a camera in 1990. I buy postcards. And I'm happy with that decision. A year ago, as Nautica sailed majestically out of Muscat, Oman at twilight, I marveled at the sight of the hillside over the harbour which had a wonderful fort from the 16th century lighted by coloured lights. We also sailed past the twinkling lights of those handsome new hotels outside of town.

 

The entire time we were sailing out of Muscat, a nice lady with a new digital camera was running to the rail, trying to get a photo, coming back to the deck chair to read the dials and buttons, going back to the railing, fussing with the camera - she never saw the beautiful view and sights.

 

At the boarding gate at Changi Airport in Singapore, I got a wave from a nice couple from the ship. They were pouring thru their digital photos, trying to remember which photo was shot where. I sat down with them and helped fill in as much information as I could.

 

I may not have a photo of me standing in front of the Sphinx, but I do enjoy abfab memories of my trips.

 

Ruby

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I would be wonderful to experience Rome and Italy and many other countries the way you suggest. I am sure it is the very best way!

 

However, not all of us have the luxury of the time and/or money to do so. I will be embarking on my first Mediterranean cruise this Fall, and while I hope to be able to go to Europe again someday, who knows what tomorrow will bring? We will have a grand total of 11 hours in Rome, from docking to sailaway. While I would love to spend the day wandering the streets of Rome and sitting for hours watching the world go by at a lovely cafe near the Trevi Fountain, how can I possibly return from what may be my only visit to Rome and NOT have seen the Colisseum, the Forum, the Pantheon, the Vatican (and the Sistine Chapel), the Spanish Steps AND Trevi Fountain :confused: .

 

That goes for other ports as well. I can't possibly see all of Naples, Pompeii, Amalfi, Positano, Ravello AND Capri !! So I have to make choices, and I want to be able to see as much as I possibly can with the limited time I have. I hope I am fortunate enough to return one day, to visit it all again, at a slower pace, with at least a few days in a number of cities.

 

I will, however, try my best to slow it down when I can and soak up the atmosphere, as all of you suggest. Wish me luck... ;)

 

Bonnie

Let's see--the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, and the Trevi Fountain are a fairly long but reasonable walking distance from each other--no problem there. Although people on this board violently disagree with me (which is fine), I think that trying to do the other two well-separated main sites (Vatican Museum/St. Peter's and the Colosseum/Forum/Palatine Hill) is too much for one day. CAN it be done? Sure. Personally--I agree with the OP--walk around the city at a reasonable pace, since there is something interesting--a shop, a church, unbelievable gelato (ah, San Crispino by the Trevi Fountain, Giolitti and Della Palma by the Pantheon) a famous historical site, an obelisk, a fountain, etc. everywhere you go. I like Rick Steves' philosopy on travel--presume you'll return someday, even if you might not. Will that apply to everywhere you go--no!-some places are fine for blitz tours. Rome, Paris, the French Riviera, the Swiss Alps, Florence, London, New York, San Francisco, Tokyo and lots of others don't fit that mold.

Les

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We all have different priorities when we travel...much as I look forward to seeing the wonders of Rome, I also know that I do not particularly enjoy spending days on end in ANY urban area...the crowds, the noise, the pollution are all things that just don't appeal to me....but that does not mean I won't enjoy a "blitz" tour of the highlights (and then a quick escape to somewhere quiet to recharge my batteries). And on some vacations we avoid the larger cities altogether (we spent only 36 hours in Vienna in a wonderful 2 week vacation in Austria, and skipped Munich altogether last summer even though we spent 10 days in Bavaria).

 

On the other hand, I can spend hours (or days) outdoors watching birds or whales or other aspects of nature that I have seen hundreds of times already.

 

One thing is certain...what is right for one person is not always right for another. For me, spending 8-10 hours seeing a few highlight by day and relaxing in the evening to the sound of the ocean from my balcony is a very appealing option; a full week in Rome, no matter how charming and unique and truly wonderful it may be, is not a vacation I would choose.

 

And as for photography...we all choose to capture our memories different ways...I am not a serious photographer, but have many friends who are, and the challenge of getting that "perfect shot" does not in any way diminish their enjoyment of the overall experience.

 

The GREAT thing is there are many ways to travel...so we can each have the version that suits us the best (just like religion and politics)...and no matter what vacation you choose, I hope it's a great one!:)

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One thing is certain...what is right for one person is not always right for another. For me, spending 8-10 hours seeing a few highlight by day and relaxing in the evening to the sound of the ocean from my balcony is a very appealing option; a full week in Rome, no matter how charming and unique and truly wonderful it may be, is not a vacation I would choose.

 

I agree! I wasn't going to post here because everyone seems to travel like the OP. I think the OP has a good point but that doesn't mean it is right for everyone.

 

My DH and I are walkers and we plan to walk all over Rome. Yes, we will try and take it all in slowly but there are certain things we want to see because this will probably be our only time in Rome.

 

We are not coffee/wine drinkers who like to sit for hours at a cafe and watch people. But, we do plan on sitting for a while at the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps.

 

I would never assume to tell someone else at what speed the should go thru a museum or any ruins. Everyone has different priorities.

I guess my point is, let everyone enjoy their vacation the way they want!

 

JMHO :)

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I would be wonderful to experience Rome and Italy and many other countries the way you suggest. I am sure it is the very best way!

 

However, not all of us have the luxury of the time and/or money to do so. I will be embarking on my first Mediterranean cruise this Fall, and while I hope to be able to go to Europe again someday, who knows what tomorrow will bring? We will have a grand total of 11 hours in Rome, from docking to sailaway. While I would love to spend the day wandering the streets of Rome and sitting for hours watching the world go by at a lovely cafe near the Trevi Fountain, how can I possibly return from what may be my only visit to Rome and NOT have seen the Colisseum, the Forum, the Pantheon, the Vatican (and the Sistine Chapel), the Spanish Steps AND Trevi Fountain :confused: .

 

That goes for other ports as well. I can't possibly see all of Naples, Pompeii, Amalfi, Positano, Ravello AND Capri !! So I have to make choices, and I want to be able to see as much as I possibly can with the limited time I have. I hope I am fortunate enough to return one day, to visit it all again, at a slower pace, with at least a few days in a number of cities.

 

I will, however, try my best to slow it down when I can and soak up the atmosphere, as all of you suggest. Wish me luck... ;)

 

Bonnie

 

I just checked out your cruise with HAL! OMG...it looks like such a wonderful time! It's a similar itinerary as my cruise with the addition of Greece. How wonderful!

 

Your ship seems incredible...it really does. DH & I started on RCCL Voyager but decided to do a 12-day Med cruise instead if a 7-day Med cruise. Carnival was just about the only line that fit our budget :o

 

You can see a lot of Rome AND soak it all in at the same time! IMHO, Rome is a relatively compact city and pretty easy to navigate!

 

Have fun and enjoy!

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We all have different priorities when we travel...much as I look forward to seeing the wonders of Rome, I also know that I do not particularly enjoy spending days on end in ANY urban area...the crowds, the noise, the pollution are all things that just don't appeal to me....but that does not mean I won't enjoy a "blitz" tour of the highlights (and then a quick escape to somewhere quiet to recharge my batteries). And on some vacations we avoid the larger cities altogether (we spent only 36 hours in Vienna in a wonderful 2 week vacation in Austria, and skipped Munich altogether last summer even though we spent 10 days in Bavaria).

 

On the other hand, I can spend hours (or days) outdoors watching birds or whales or other aspects of nature that I have seen hundreds of times already.

 

One thing is certain...what is right for one person is not always right for another. For me, spending 8-10 hours seeing a few highlight by day and relaxing in the evening to the sound of the ocean from my balcony is a very appealing option; a full week in Rome, no matter how charming and unique and truly wonderful it may be, is not a vacation I would choose.

 

And as for photography...we all choose to capture our memories different ways...I am not a serious photographer, but have many friends who are, and the challenge of getting that "perfect shot" does not in any way diminish their enjoyment of the overall experience.

 

The GREAT thing is there are many ways to travel...so we can each have the version that suits us the best (just like religion and politics)...and no matter what vacation you choose, I hope it's a great one!:)

 

This is very thoughtful...thank you :)

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Hi Lovetodream (me too :D ),

 

Wow, our itineraries are very similar; in fact I think we will be in Barcelona on the same day, although we don't arrive until 4:00 and you leave at 5:00! We looked at the Freedom as well, since we liked the idea of a 12 day cruise, but my sister really wanted to see Santorini, so we decided to stay with HAL.

 

Hope you have a fabulous cruise, and that our weather is good :)

 

Bonnie

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I posted the thread Leisurely Rome? ...this is exactly my philosophy...get a leisurely overview the first time you are in any city...then next time if there is a next time, see some things in more depth...

 

for those that feel this is their only chance to see as much as possilble, I have an example of what we did in St. Petersbourg....10 hours of churches, palaces, museums...exausted..it was all a blur after a while and it left me wondering...What is ST. Petersbourg really like? I vowed I would never see another city from the inside of anything. So this time when in Rome, others want three hour guided tours of everything...I just want to wander around and see what I will see and my leisure...a little bit of information...some people watching..some shopping...and if something captures my attention and I want to spend a little more time there then that will be my decision...

 

but it is very difficult to find an organized tour with leisure in mind...and even more difficult to have others join you...

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Hi Lovetodream (me too :D ),

 

Wow, our itineraries are very similar; in fact I think we will be in Barcelona on the same day, although we don't arrive until 4:00 and you leave at 5:00! We looked at the Freedom as well, since we liked the idea of a 12 day cruise, but my sister really wanted to see Santorini, so we decided to stay with HAL.

 

Hope you have a fabulous cruise, and that our weather is good :)

 

Bonnie

 

(((Bonnie))) thank you! You are sweet!

 

This whole cruise idea built after DH & I had a land trip to Florence, Tuscany, Assisi, Umbria, Perugia, Venice, etc, etc planned for August '08 and a friend of ours from Sicily turned us on to a cruise! When we started doing the math, we realized that a land vacation to Europe was going to be very expensive for us this year, especially with the US $$$$ in such poor shape in Europe :(

 

Sooooo, we found the RCCL cruise, then the Carnival cruise and the rest is history.

 

Another thing...I sooooooo wanted to see Venice...it's been a dream for a very long time. Anyhow, the hotels in Venice (and Venice in general) are among the most expensive in Europe, especially in Italy.

 

I had planned a 2-night stay at a place in Venice...it was going to cost us over $500 US dollars/night...and it wasn't too special :o the cost kept climbing to over $320 euros, or something like that :eek:

 

So, DH was thrilled that we are making it to Venice but we are doing so without the cost of 2-4 nights in a hotel there...

 

Too bad we can't meet in Barcelona...I hope you have a wonderful time!

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