Now is as good a time as any to travel to Europe. Exchange rates are good, the summer peak season is ending, and the weather is still mild enough for tropical island-dwellers (read : not freezing).
My trip across Europe started in Venice and ended in Madrid, before flying back to London. It lasted 21 days, and I managed to hit 4 countries and 11 cities on that blitzkrieg of a holiday. It was a reward for finishing my post-graduate studies, and it was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.
Looking at it now, it seems pretty insane. I promise you, it will all make sense in the end.
This being my first trip as a solo traveller (companions from Intrepid Travel notwithstanding), I think I’ve done pretty well for myself. Just enumerating the number of stops made me realize that I will need more than one post – and probably a few Panadols – to catalog this adventure. I’ve started the process with my previous post on Venice, and will continue by country as I go along.
Here’s my quick take and tips on the different cities I’ve visited –
Venice – love the little shops selling leather, glass art, and handmade trinkets. Explore local neighbourhood cafes
Lucca – a well-preserved medieval city, complete with the fortress or city walls.
Florence – the Firenze Duomo closes at 4pm, so be there early! I actually missed this due to an oversized gelato cone. I’ll explain later.
Cinque Terre – if you love the mountains and the sea, you’ll love these quaint towns. Oh, and the vineyards. You’ll love the vineyards.
Nice – seaside town that is neither too quiet nor too rowdy. Not the best beach I’ve been, but I guess that’s what you get in Europe.
Monaco – prepare to have your ears assaulted; the track has small races going on throughout the year.
Avignon – the heart of Provence and the seat of Christendom in the middle ages. Enjoy views of the Rhone River.
Paris – enchanting. This was my longest stop in my trip, and I still didn’t want to leave when time was up.
Barcelona – vibrant. This is where you will understand why Gaudi is a genius.
Madrid – dull in comparison to Barcelona. But it has its own industrial charms.
Toledo – quiet historic town, with the old fort still intact. Wear sunscreen.