Honeymoons | Cruises | Disney | Europe | About Us
Trending Destinations | Travel Tips | Contact Us


This spring Tony and I went with a group of friends on a 3-week European Vacation. It started in Barcelona.  What a magnificent city. After a lovely lunch at the home of our friends Patty and Xavi, Tony and I were off to our beautiful 5-star Monument Hotel.  Patty and I met on a cruise out of Barcelona in 1998 and have remained friends.  She and Xavi have visited us several times over the years and it was nice to see them at their home in Barcelona. Patty has a lego room filled with legos she has put together. It’s amazing, be sure to see her room at the end of the slide show. Tony and I and our friends Ellen and Mike spent 2 fabulous days enjoying the rooftop terrace and pool that overlooks Antonio Gaudi's The Scottish Sun after taking in all the sights of the city. The Monument Hotel is also home to the 3 Michelin Star Restaurant, Lasarte and a very comfortable bar area.  Highlights of our days were visits to Antonio Gaudi's Sagrada Familia and the Cathedral of Barcelona. 

On May 1st we were joined by our other good friends Ed and Jeanette, boarded our home for the next 12 nights, Celebrity Cruise Line's Celebrity Edge, and settled into our Sunset Veranda.  Our first Port of Call was Palma De Mallorca, a bustling harbor city.  Many of the main sights are separated so a good and affordable way to see them is on the Hop on Hop off Bus.  In Marseille we did an excursion organized by Celebrity to Avignon and a visit to the Pope's Palace, followed by a wonderful lunch. One of my favorite ports of call is Villefranche, the city of Nice.  We had an excellent private guide for the day.  He drove us along the promenade where we observed a crowd of people taking photos of a miniature Statue of Liberty on our way to the old city, the flower and vegetable market. What a treat for the senses. Then up the mountain to Eze.  What an amazing city built into the mountain. Our day could have ended there but it did not! On to Monaco. I am not a car person, but the cars were amazing, Ferraris, Bentleys, Rolls Royce, just to name a few were everywhere. The highlight for Tony and our good friend Ed, we drove the actual circuit of the famous Formula One Grand Prix in Monaco!  It was impressive!  The Casino de Monte Carlo was fascinating, but I did not understand the jellyfish?  I have since read it was not a permanent installation. The next day we were off to the port of Santa Margherita and the Cinque Terre. Five villages overlooking the Ligurian Sea.  We had a private driver that transferred us from the ship to the town of Riomaggiore, we decided not to get on the train there but to go to the next town, Manarola.  The best way to see the Cinque Terre is by train.  There is a long steep walk from where cars can park down to the villages on the water.  Once you are down there the best way to get to the next village is by train or boat. We went on to Vernazza, but because of time constraints had to skip Corniglia and went right to Monterosso, a beautiful beach town where of course we had lunch!  And then there was our lunch the next day in the beautiful, ancient walled city of Lucca.  Our private driver for the day to Lucca was supposed to speak English, but he did not, his boss that morning assured us he was an excellent driver and he was!  I was almost run over by a car, but that was my fault, I didn't think there would be cars in the walled city. In Cagliari, Sardinia we found an open-air taxi that took us on a wonderful tour of the city.  We did find a lovely cafe for lunch and I now know of a great spot that has horse and donkey on the menu if you are interested!!  We had the best day in Taormina, Sicily. Our private driver and guide were both excellent.  Our 2-hour walking tour including admission to the Teatro Greco was just enough time to explore this wonderful city and still have time to be serenaded at lunch. The next day we were off the ship early in Naples and our private driver was taking us to the Amalfi coast.  Traffic was murder! 3 hours later we were in Positano, we were able to take some photos, have lunch at a wonderful place, Ristorante Costa Diva, with marvelous food and views under the lemon trees before our exciting (nail biting) ride back to Naples and the ship.  

After full days of fabulous sightseeing and lunches on land we enjoyed equally wonderful dinners, shows, cocktails and sunsets on the ship.  Tony and I celebrated our 37th Anniversary on May 10 on the ship with our friends over a delicious dinner and bottle of wine at the Steak House Restaurant.  Our last Port of Call was Rome where our friends left us for the USA and Tony and I continued our adventure. 

We spent May 14, Mother’s Day in Rome.  We did a walking tour in the morning and had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in Rome, Salone Eva in the Hassler Hotel.  After dinner we went to 7th Floor Terrace Bar in the Hassler for cocktails, it has the best views of Rome. 

For the next 8 days Tony and I traveled from Rome, to Florence, to Siena, to Bologna and finally to Venice by train.  We visited 4 fabulous wineries during our 2 days in Tuscany. North of Bologna we went to the Ferrari Museum and Factory Tour in Maranello and to the Enzo Ferrari Museum in Modena, both were interesting and fun to visit!  Tony loved both!  The next day was one of our most enjoyable, we ate food all day!  We met our guide in the town of Parma.  Our first stop was a guided visit to a Parmigiano Reggiano Dairy where we saw the Cheese Master (the owner) make huge Parmigiano Reggiano wheels by hand and then we had a tasting of the cheese from the freshest to aged 60 years.  Delicious! Our next stop was a guided visit to a Parma Ham Factory where we met the owner Mrs. Conti and sampled some very delicious ham.  But our food tour was not over. We stopped for a delicious lunch at a quaint trattoria, we were the only tourists and the talk of the restaurant. Our last stop was in the town of Reggio Emilia, we had a guided visit to a traditional balsamic vinegar production, we tasted vinegars from 5 to 100 years old.  We enjoyed the 100-year-old over homemade custard the Vinegar Master's wife had made for us. The perfect way to end the day.  And then we went to Venice.  I love Venice, we have been there a few times and like it more every time I visit.  Maybe it's the gondolas!  Maybe it’s because there are no cars in Venice! We had the most excellent room!  It was an apartment; I could have just moved in! It overlooked a canal, there was an accordion player out my window!  It was special.  It was hard to leave. 

Our European journey has come to an end but I would love to help you plan yours.  By land or by sea or combination of the two we can plan it for you.   

Please enjoy the slide show!


Copyright © 2023 Iaria Travel, LLC   All rights reserved.                                                        Phone Number:(732)288-2519