Sunday, August 10, 2014

Europe Part I

As many of you know if you follow me on Facebook, we went to Turkey and Italy for 2 weeks this summer! It was so awesome to be off work for 2 whole weeks. Jerrod was on summer break and we thought it was a great time in our lives to do a trip to Europe. October 3rd is our 5th anniversary so we were also wanting to do a big trip for that! We researched, well I researched a lot of different places but kept going back to Italy. I've only been to London so far, and Italy was next on my list. Jerrod lived in Italy (Milan) back in 2006 while he played basketball over there on a team. So... he had been to Milan, Venice, Rome and San Moreno. But, he said if you really want to go to Italy we can go :) So we found amazing deals on flights through and booked our flights 6 months out. I did all the planning myself, but honestly I LOVED it. I love doing the research, checking trip advisor and making spreadsheets so it was honestly fun for me. Maybe I should be a travel agent... do those still exist? Anyway, one of my sister's friends, Jackie recommended that we get the Rick Steve's Italy 2014 book. She used it a bunch when she went and boy was that helpful! Best $15 ever spent! At times Jerrod got annoyed with me because we'd be walking around a city and I'd say, "well lets see what Rick says...." haha. Maybe it's a man thing.

We included a layover each way in Istanbul, Turkey. It worked out great because the flights were cheaper that way, and we have always wanted to visit that city. So we spent one night on the way and one night on the way back in Istanbul and we had a great time, and even got to do some site seeing! It's such a cool city with lots of history and different cultures.

Here we are at  the airport checking in...  and going on little sleep because I was too excited to sleep. 

2 weeks worth in one backpack... nobody thought it was possible :) This is proof.

We flew to Istanbul straight from Houston, landed, checked in, freshened up and walked the streets. I was going crazy over all the cobblestone streets and cute buildings. I think Jerrod got a kick out of watching me :)

We found a cute little sidewalk bar to watch the World Cup game!

Here we are with the Blue Mosque behind us...

Part of the old city wall.

In front of Hagia Sophia.

Our cute little hotel.

Our hotel had a great rooftop so we got some good pictures from there.

Then we flew to Rome, and took a train straight to our first city... Florence!!! It was a little chaotic finding which train/kiosk to use and we ended up on the wrong train. We meant to take the fast train that takes a little over an hour, but we ended up on the 4.5 hour train ride to Florence. We stopped at every little town on the way. Needless to say we saw a lot of countryside, but we were SOOOO over it by the time we got to Florence.

Here I am, bored on the train....

Some of the pretty countryside...

When we finally got to Florence we found our B&B, checked in, changed clothes and headed out to see the city and eat dinner. We stayed at Residenza dei Pucci B&B which I would highly recommend. It was a great location in the heart of Florence.

Then we ate at a little restaurant that Rick Steve recommends in his book. We loved it! Here I am with my first glass of Italian wine... it was picture worthy :)

We walked around the city, watched the sunset over the river and took some pictures. Then we had our first taste of gelato and listened to live music on the bridge. It was pretty spectacular!

Street entertainment. The buildings were so old and pretty!

The CHANEL Store

More sunset pics... It was so beautiful! Don't mind my crazy hair, it was super windy!

I think it's fair to say the first night in Florence I officially fell in love with that city, and it quickly became my favorite that we visited!! I would love to back one day! The food was probably the best we had in all the places we visited. The people were so nice and everything was priced really reasonably. I also love that you can walk everywhere, and even though it is a city, it feels small. Oh, and Florence has the best gelato!

On to day 2 in Florence next!

1 comment:

  1. I loved this post! I'm so happy you had such a wonderful time. I live by Rick Steves. The guy knows what's up! Europe holds a special place in my heart. I wish I would have gone more, but I have time to see it all still!! Those are my favorite vacations I took. Glad you got to enjoy it. Florence was my favorite too! Can't wait for the rest of these posts.
    Love, Jackie