(I should also say that one of the highlights of any trip, regardless of the destination, is the company you have. Drewbles is always good company, but it was fun to spend so much time with Elise and Jeff throughout. Jeff is a pro navigatron and Elise makes awesome sandwiches. Of course it was nice to see Emily and KC again too, who are excellent hosts with excellent food.)
1) The Colosseum.
This building (or the remains thereof) has had a special, large chunk of my heart ever since it almost singlehandedly led to my decision to switch from Illustration to Art History in college. It's so grand and old and Roman!
This was a recurring theme of the trip, but it is so strange to see something in person that a) you never thought you would see for yourself and b) you'd only seen in pictures. In some ways it was hard to even grasp that this was, in fact, the ACTUAL Colosseum. I am still processing this, but as it is, I loved it and stroked the travertine with much fondness (I tried to find patches that looked less tourist-touched).
We ate SO much food and it was all so good. A few of my personal highlights were: the sandwiches Elise made for our trip to NYC. Yes, they were just meat and cheese (turkey and provolone, if I remember correctly?) on potato bread, but I was so hungry and I will never, ever forget those sandwiches.
*Ahem* Aside from those delicious things, the breakfast buffet on the ship was truly magnificent (aside from their dry bagels and low-fat cream cheese--travesties, both). Gelato and pizza in Italy were always winners and the nightly sourdough rolls at dinner were my favorites. Also, there was a turkey and Swiss panini I got more than once from room service. Free room service! That's how life should be.
|Chocolate gelato in Florence! It's amazing Drew got any of this.|
|Pizza in Pompei!|
|More gelato in Rome!|
Because my trip tunnel vision was focused on the Colosseum, I didn't really stop to think about, you know, the Smithsonian and stuff. We spent most of our first day in D.C. at various (free!) museums, and I was both amazed and impressed at what we saw. There were so many artists and paintings that I have loved and never seen myself, like Gilbert Stuart and John Singleton Copley. Be still, my American art-loving heart.
The other highlight, which must be mentioned, was seeing the ACTUAL Star-Spangled Banner. For some reason, I did not expect this flag to be real (???) or to still exist. And then it was just THERE in its own exhibit and it was just amazing to me. It was so large, so grand and...so full of holes from Americans wanting souvenirs.
4) The David
Here's a secret: I have never loved Michelangelo's David. I always preferred (and still do) Bernini's version. But I will say that seeing Michelangelo's in person was really quite awe-inspiring. Awe-inspiring enough to not notice the hordes of people everywhere.
So many arts! So many things I have only seen in slides! I saw some Caravaggio, some Gentileschi, some El Greco, some Velasquez, a copy of Laocoon, some John Singer Sargent, some Mucha...so many beautiful things. I bought many postcards and a guidebook from almost every museum.
6) The European Coast
Um...need I say more? (No.)
Okay, our time here was short (exTREMEly short on the way over), but it was so delightful and inspiring to be back on English soil, even if it was only Heathrow soil. I'm happy to say that we loaded up on pretty much every English chocolate and candy we could. And no, we have not eaten it all
So many markets! And so many delicious looking things! I don't even know what to do with most of the goods available, but I wanted to buy them based on how pretty they were. Wouldn't it be amazing to have something like this in our neck of the woods? The closest comparison I can think of is the Bloomington farmers market and sadly, that is not in my neck of the woods anymore.
|The Barcelona market|
9) Supreezes: Barcelona and Sorrento
Here's another secret: I have never had any interest in Spain. I have no explanation or reasoning for this, other than that I can only have so many countries in my heart at once and the ones already there aren't budging. But both of these cities were such pleasant surprises, and were so pretty and interesting and full of interesting things. Barcelona had the amazing market, and Sorrento had the ocean views and narrow streets you expect from Europe.
|(Insert like 20 more pictures here...too much work)|
(No, this won't be followed up by a list of 10 Lowlights. But in case you're wondering, it has one item and it's called "Too many airplanes.")