“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” – Dr. Seuss
We wrote this blog to capture the highlights of our 25th anniversary trip. This travel blog allows us to reflect back weeks, months, even years from now; the words and pictures will bring these memories to life for us. If we were able to share our journey with you along the way, that’s an added bonus.
Our final blog contains a catalog of sorts. A catalog of moments we haven’t already captured in previous posts, but these moments are no less important to us. Forgive us if we also insert a few travel tips we learned this time around.
1. Peaches. Those peaches from the local market in Sanary sur Mer were some of the juiciest, sweetest peaches we’ve ever had!
2. Laughter is good for the soul. Laughing so hard at dinner on our last night in Barcelona – until we almost cried – was just plain fun. The beauty of this memory? I don’t even know what we were laughing about, but I do know it felt good for the soul.
3. Drink wine while in Paris! We paid 15 Euro for a bottle of water. Mark’s glass of wine? A mere 7 euro!
4. When traveling overseas on a connecting flight, pack one outfit in your spouse’s suitcase, and have them pack one in yours. That way, if one suitcase doesn’t make the connecting flight, you have at least one extra outfit to get by until it arrives/is found. Thanks to my awesome, world-traveler mother-in-law for that advice!
5. Book private tours when you can. There are so many advantages, and it is so worth the extra cost. You have flexibility to change your plans, you learn interesting, little known facts you would never get otherwise, and you skip the lines at most attractions.
6. Mark learned he loves Cortado (Spanish coffee with milk).
7. Seeing one of Monet’s water lilies paintings up close and in person is something everyone should see in their lifetime.
8. Kissing from the Eiffel Tower is something every couple should do once in their marriage.
9. The use of illumination and color inside the Sagrada Familia is nothing short of genius.
10. If you are cruising, pack your swimsuit in your carry-on. Luggage takes a while to reach your stateroom once you are onboard. While you wait, you can change and head to the pool for a celebratory cocktail!
11. Karen loves flowy sundresses. We lost count at five purchases in local boutiques along our ports!
12. McCarryn makes a mean Moscow mule!
13. Another cruise trip – don’t overdo the excursion options. Our “best decision ever” was the day we skipped our excursion and ventured on our own for a relaxing day.
14. Dinner with friends should be a three-hour experience every time. Europeans understand this; tables aren’t turned in an hour.
15. Learn the names of the people serving you and acknowledge them. Your experience will be magnified by extending this courtesy to them.
16. Who knew bottles of water could be so interesting and come in so many colors?!
17. Anything “with ice” in Europe means you are going to get one ice cube.
18. Nothing beats starting your day with coffee (or tea) on the balcony of your stateroom, overlooking the sunrise above the water.
19. Drink the wine or beer in the country you are visiting; appreciate the food that is local and typical to the culture. You will be so glad you did.
20. Try to find the green flash just as the sun disappears from the horizon.
21. Disconnect from your everyday life while on vacation. Don’t watch the news. Instead, pick up a book. I read two while on this trip, even with all the running about!
22. While shopping in a medieval town like, say, Lucca, and you see something you really like, buy it. Don’t think twice. Life is too short and you will regret it. Trust me – there’s a leather bag still there with Mark’s “name” on it!
23. Eat dessert! Does this really need further explanation?
24. Take photos of everything. It’s easy to delete later, and you’ll be glad you recorded your memories!
Lastly, find friends you can share life experiences with, travel with, and make memories together. We have been blessed with an amazing world just waiting to be discovered. It’s so much sweeter when shared with friends! Until our next journey, au revoir, adiós and ciao!