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Mad Cow's Italy trip discussion thread


Where should we go for our trip?  

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On 10/10/2019 at 7:44 AM, Captain Cranks said:

What's your take on San Gimignano?  It looks like it could just be a bus trip from the Siena train station.

It's a nice place to hike up to the top and get some pretty views of the Tuscan countryside. It also has the top rated gelato place in the world (Gelateri Dondoli). The gelato was a notch above there.

It's not a destination but fine for a couple hours. 

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20 hours ago, Captain Cranks said:

We're halfway through our trip now.  Venice...Wow!  Coolest city I've ever seen.  Florence was nice but underwhelming.  Siena...Wow again.  Everywhere you turn there's a postcard picture.  I'll report back in more detail after our trip.  

Beauty sure is in the eye of the beholder.  Venice is a polarizing city.  Some love it.  Others, like me, think it's way overrated and worthy of a day and half, two days at most.  1 main square, go through the grand canal at night, and.....

Florence on the other end was far and away the favorite of our entire family, with Rome 2nd and Venice 3rd.  Felt we could live in Florence - loved it that much.  

We liked Siena as well.  Went there the day after the Palio and they were still parading the winning horse and jockey around.  Enjoy the rest of your trip!

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6 hours ago, Judge Smails said:

Beauty sure is in the eye of the beholder.  Venice is a polarizing city.  Some love it.  Others, like me, think it's way overrated and worthy of a day and half, two days at most.  1 main square, go through the grand canal at night, and.....

Florence on the other end was far and away the favorite of our entire family, with Rome 2nd and Venice 3rd.  Felt we could live in Florence - loved it that much.  

We liked Siena as well.  Went there the day after the Palio and they were still parading the winning horse and jockey around.  Enjoy the rest of your trip!

It is interesting reading people's reaction to Venice. We absolutely loved it. Not just for the main sites, but going into the more backstreet areas and just getting lost in the city. It didn't hurt that it was our first exposure to Italy so it made it that much more exciting. We liked Florence but were somewhat underwhelmed with it too and it was noticeably in 3rd among Rome Venice and Florence. If I had a choice to only visit one again it would be Venice over Florence.

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6 hours ago, Judge Smails said:

Florence on the other end was far and away the favorite of our entire family, with Rome 2nd and Venice 3rd.  Felt we could live in Florence - loved it that much. 

I had the same experience, only subtract Venice from the equation. I'll have to go see Venice next time I visit. Florence, I felt like I could live there, too. Just a beautiful place. 

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interesting reading the thoughts here.  i dislike venice.  to me there is no real day to day life there.  florence, rome, siena, perugia, even montepulciano and orvieto seem to have inhabitants and daily life.  venice just seems like a day park, with people showing up to work attractions.  florence and rome are quite different, but i feel in florence it’s a drop quieter and you have a chance to sit and think.  rome feels much more like an urban jungle, though there are places in neighborhoods like prati and trastevere and testaccio to find solace.  i’d prolly live in rome over florence, but i couldn’t really give you a definitive answer why.  for you golf fans, remember the ryder cup comes to rome in 2022 i believe.

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25 minutes ago, Chemical X said:

interesting reading the thoughts here.  i dislike venice.  to me there is no real day to day life there.  florence, rome, siena, perugia, even montepulciano and orvieto seem to have inhabitants and daily life.  venice just seems like a day park, with people showing up to work attractions.  florence and rome are quite different, but i feel in florence it’s a drop quieter and you have a chance to sit and think.  rome feels much more like an urban jungle, though there are places in neighborhoods like prati and trastevere and testaccio to find solace.  i’d prolly live in rome over florence, but i couldn’t really give you a definitive answer why.  for you golf fans, remember the ryder cup comes to rome in 2022 i believe.

To me, Florence, Rome, and Montepulciano were more enjoyable to walk around and see.  With Venice, the novelty of the canals and the winding alleys make it fun to experience once, but I don't know that it would have any appeal as a repeat visit for us. 

Though the one thing I really enjoyed more there was the feeling that, removed from the canals and on more of the back streets, I could sit outside all day with a little aperol and just chill, chat, and watch the people roll by. There was no need to be anywhere and be going/doing constantly.  Maybe a little of that in Sorrento, too. There was a restaurant with outdoor seating just at the base of the hill where the shops were (and the ztl started, iirc), and a number of times we just found ourselves hanging out there with a drink and relaxing. 

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3 minutes ago, waiver wire said:

I really enjoyed venice , 

I think the key to enjoying/loving it is to get out of Piazza San Marco and get lost in the other parts of the city . 

Well, technically, when you get outside of San Marco you are always lost in other parts of the city.

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So, been lightly looking at my schedule for next September, particularly the cruise.  It’s 9 nights, but the 9th night is after leaving Naples for Rome.  The boat docks at 5a and i believe they will begin getting us off around 7a.  We may go to the airport, but if flights are pricey, we may stay 1 night in Rome and come home Monday.  I have a strange plan right now of actually getting off the boat in Naples for good.  We dock at 7a.  So, grab breakfast, maybe wander a bit.  Then grab our carryons and head to the train station.  The high speed takes about 1.10 to Termini.  Then we’d likely stay in Rome 2 nights.  Just spitballing this right now.

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On 10/17/2019 at 10:46 PM, msommer said:

It's pretty chaotic. The pavements are narrow, people walk and stop randomly, change directions, jump tp avoid being run over by electrical cabs, etc. There are queues for every tourist attraction (except when it rains).

When we left that and came to Parma we all fell in love with that city. Super nice place to change gears again

This not to say Florence is not great. It was. Parma just felt like a place you could stay. My oldest daughter even started researching how she could transfer to study there when we'd walked around downtown for about 45 minutes

Damn, we had the same experience, but instead of Parma it was Lucca. 

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7 hours ago, 3 hour lunch said:

Anyone have a good plan of attack for the Vatican museums? We have breakfast/audio guide but no tour guide. Looks overwhelming, I’d like to do in 2-3 hours if possible. What can’t I miss and what should I maybe skip?

Private guide is not expensive and worth it. If at hotel, they can usually arrange.

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On 10/18/2019 at 8:35 PM, 3 hour lunch said:

So how walkable is that whole area? Hard to get a sense for how far apart the Trevi fountain, Forum, Pantheon and Vatican are. 

We were surprised how easy it was to walk this area. Blocks in most Italy cities seem smaller than in US. 

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8 hours ago, 3 hour lunch said:

Anyone have a good plan of attack for the Vatican museums? We have breakfast/audio guide but no tour guide. Looks overwhelming, I’d like to do in 2-3 hours if possible. What can’t I miss and what should I maybe skip?

the breakfast and audio guide grants you museum access?

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5 hours ago, Chemical X said:

the breakfast and audio guide grants you museum access?

Yes, it was museum tickets through the Vatican website I think that included early entry and the audio guide. Since we already bought these I’d like to not add a private guide on top of it if possible 

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Alright.  I'm finally back in the States after two weeks in Italia.  I'll try to remain brief since I want to cover a lot of topics that may help others in the future.

Milan:  Was just here for a few hours so I don't have too much of an opinion.  We arrived here on a Sunday and just missed being able to go into the Duomo.  After seeing the Duomo in Siena, I realize this was a big mistake and will force me to visit Milan another time.  More on that later.  The Galleria was cool to walk through.  Sforza Castle was so-so.

Venice:  We were here two nights.  As previously mentioned, I was blown away.  It's like Disney World for adults.  Yes, there are tourists everywhere, but there are certainly places to hide away from the hustle and bustle.  It's beautiful, it's different, it's fun.  I would have liked to stay here for a week just to relax and hangout.  Burano was great.  Doge's Palace was cool thanks to the prison portion of the tour, and St. Mark's Basilica was so-so.

Florence:  We were here three nights.  I think I suffered from having high expectations of this place since some on here hold it in such high regard.  It was ok, but certainly didn't shout to me that I need to revisit.  The Uffizi Gallery was a disappointment, Accademia was good, and the Duomo was decent.

Siena:  We were here three nights.  This place was cool.  It felt like we were on the set of a GoT Winterfell scene.  I don't feel like I need to go back again, but it was a very cool one-time experience.  The Duomo de Siena blew me away.  I quickly learned that I have an appreciation of basilicas which led me to read more about Milan's gothic cathedral and realize I missed an opportunity a few days before.  We also took a tour of a local winery near Siena (Azienda Agricola La Lastra) which oddly enough served the best meal I had in Italy.  For 65 euros for a 3 hour tour that includes lunch, I strongly recommend.

Rome:  We were here four nights.  Rome is a really cool place with a lot to do, much more than Florence, imo.  The Castel Sant'Angelo, Coliseum, and Pantheon were all cool.  Palatine Hill was an awesome surprise as was St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museums.  We also did a tour of San Clemente church which is a church built on a church built on another church.  Very cool to walk down the stairs to hundreds of years of prior history.  I would want to go back to Rome and do things at a more leisurely pace.

Going in October was perfect.  High temps were always between 70-80 degrees and rarely sunk into the 50s at night.  We bought advance tickets for very few things and never had to wait longer than 30 minutes including the Coliseum and St Peter's Basilica.  I would never want to visit Italy during the summer.  No friggin way.  Give me less crowds and a heavy coat any day. 

For anyone looking at itinerary ideas in various cities, check this site out.  It was very useful.  Reids Italy  

Overall it was a very pleasant trip.  Here are a few things I liked and didn't like about Italy.

Liked:

- No tax and no tipping.  It sucks to come back to the States after having gotten used to this premise for two weeks.

- Friendly, patient people.  Rarely is their honking on the roads despite apparent chaos.  Usually customer services is excellent despite the no tipping.

- It felt safer than the US.  One security guard was checking my bag and felt something sharp from the outside.  He asked if it was a knife.  I said no.  He gave me a stern look and let me go on without looking inside.

- Their mass transport system is awesome, especially the trains.

- Their alcohol policies. 

Didn't like:

- Their water habits when dining out.  Just serve me some free tap water and keep it coming, for god's sake.  We had to limit ourselves to like 8 ounces of water per meal or else our water tab would have been through the roof.

- No clothes dryers.

- Old women begging in Rome.  It's sad.

- Having to pay AFTER you eat/drink in a cafe.  I'd prefer to just pay when I order, bring it back to the table, enjoy it, then bolt rather than pay afterwards.

- Small coffee servings.  I want a 16 ounce coffee to take on the run, not some 3 ounce tea cup serving I'm done with in 5 minutes.

- Lack of public restrooms.  Having to pay to go to the bathroom sucks.  

- Smoking everywhere, especially when you're trying to have a nice meal outside.

- Seeming absence of any jaywalking laws.  If I was a driver having to bob and weave through all the pedestrians crossing the street when they shouldn't, my blood pressure would be sky-high.

Anyway, thanks to everyone for their help with planning; especially @Chemical X

Hopefully I can be of help to future planners myself.

  

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12 hours ago, 3 hour lunch said:

Yes, it was museum tickets through the Vatican website I think that included early entry and the audio guide. Since we already bought these I’d like to not add a private guide on top of it if possible 

the audio guide is quite good and you could download one on your phone too.  but, i always recommend a guide and i really enjoy the gallery of maps.  sistine of course.  a local guide answers questions if you are real curious.  if you just want to see and aren’t that into history, go solo.

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On 10/26/2019 at 10:46 AM, 3 hour lunch said:

Anyone have a good plan of attack for the Vatican museums? We have breakfast/audio guide but no tour guide. Looks overwhelming, I’d like to do in 2-3 hours if possible. What can’t I miss and what should I maybe skip?

schedule as early a breakfast as you can.  waste as little time as possible on breakfast.  my wife and i were nearly alone, for an hour, in the vatican.  it was incredible.

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On 10/26/2019 at 9:03 PM, Phil Elliott said:
On 10/26/2019 at 1:46 PM, 3 hour lunch said:

Anyone have a good plan of attack for the Vatican museums? We have breakfast/audio guide but no tour guide. Looks overwhelming, I’d like to do in 2-3 hours if possible. What can’t I miss and what should I maybe skip?

Private guide is not expensive and worth it. If at hotel, they can usually arrange.

100000% agree

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We just got home late last night; really enjoyed our trip. A few thoughts, some similar to Cranks....

- Trains are so convenient and easy. So much so that I would look into additional day trips to other cities I may not ever get to otherwise. We landed in Rome at 8 and was at our hotel in Florence by 11:30.

- As mentioned, lack of bathrooms sucks. A pay bathroom in the train station? Not sure what the deal is here.

- Nobody seems to understand what silent/vibrate is on their phones. This drove me a little nuts, especially on the trains.

- Almost everyone spoke some English, so much so that I had some basic phrases learned but never really used them. Stuck mostly to Buena Sera, Caio, etc.

Florence:

- Stayed at Glance hotel and really liked it. Walking distance to everything including the train station. Rooftop pool overlooking the city. 


- Duomo is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen; just how huge and intricate is it. We did the climb to the top of the dome and that was really cool. Reserve in advance! 
 

- Enjoyed the Accademia and hearing about history and details of David, etc. Uffizi was more overwhelming and the tour guide took a long time in some of the rooms. May have preferred to go through that one alone. 
 

- Did Ristorante Accademia one night on the recommendation of a few people in this thread and it was very good. Cute little place. Our other two meals in Florence were just ok. Florentine steak was just an average T bone.

- Overall, really liked the city. Loved the parts where no cars were really allowed. Was quaint and welcoming. 
 

- Not sure how all of the pizza places, gelato places and leather shops stay in business. It’s like half of the overall shops!

 

Positano:

- What a beautiful town, took so many pics here. Enjoyed wine on our patio as the sunset each night.

- Path of the Gods was an amazing hike. Took about 3 hours, it wiped us out!

- Had a day trip to Capri. Rough sea made the boat rides tough to handle. Pretty place, but not a ton to do besides shop. Did like the little ski lift thing to the top of Anacapri and enjoying the view from up there.

- Had a cool class in Sorrento where we saw how cheese got made, we made our own pizza and we saw where Limoncello was made, etc. Another fun day.

- Food in Positano was great, although we picked some more upscale places here. Da Vincenzo, Next2...La Sponda was a special place as well. 
 

- Holy stairs...calves were sore after doing some exploring. Get a good map that shows exactly where they all are. 
 

- Crazy how tight the streets are and how straight up the town is built. We had a driver take us in from Naples; would be a tough place to rent a car (and there is like no parking anyway)

Rome:

- Only had 1.5 days here at the end, but managed to see a lot. Piazza Navona, Piazza Venezia, Trevi fountain, Pantheon, etc. 

- Historical sites are so cool, but sad to hear the stories about how much of it was destroyed. There could be so much more to look at.

- Ended up just doing the Vatican on our own, and I think that was fine with the audio guide. We did have the early entry and breakfast, which I highly recommend. Line was crazy long when we left around 11:00. People were openly ignoring the calls for no photos in the Sistine Chapel. People are terrible. 
 

- Evening tour of Colosseum was cool, it’s amazing that still stands although honestly there’s not much to look at inside. We got to go underground and hear the stories about how like 100 years ago archeologists excavated animal cages, bones, coins, tickets.....and threw it all out 🤬

- Rome lacks the intimate charm of Florence but there is a lot to see. Ended up going in a few Churches just walking around (not “major” ones) and they are so  beautiful. 
 

 

- Overall, enjoyed all 3 places, for different reasons. Would probably be least likely to spend a bunch more time in Rome, just because it was such an urban jungle. Let me know if anyone has questions about anything! Thanks to all of the input in this thread that helped plan my trip.

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11 hours ago, 3 hour lunch said:

 

- Evening tour of Colosseum was cool, it’s amazing that still stands although honestly there’s not much to look at inside. We got to go underground and hear the stories about how like 100 years ago archeologists excavated animal cages, bones, coins, tickets.....and threw it all out 🤬

Your trip sounded awesome.  We are going next September.  Did you use a tour company for the night tour and if so which one?

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16 minutes ago, bcat01 said:

Arrive the 11th in Rome and leave the 25th from Venice.

interesting, i'm gonna arrive FCO around the 9th I think and head to my place for about a week.  my cruise is set for 9/18.  if you are heading thru Tuscany/Umbria, let me know.  i'm always up for meeting iStrangers at a winery or dinner. 

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10 minutes ago, Chemical X said:

interesting, i'm gonna arrive FCO around the 9th I think and head to my place for about a week.  my cruise is set for 9/18.  if you are heading thru Tuscany/Umbria, let me know.  i'm always up for meeting iStrangers at a winery or dinner. 

We will miss you.  After Rome we are taking train to Cinque Terre then we head to Florence on the 18th.  That is the closest we would be to you.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/26/2019 at 7:46 PM, 3 hour lunch said:

Anyone have a good plan of attack for the Vatican museums? We have breakfast/audio guide but no tour guide. Looks overwhelming, I’d like to do in 2-3 hours if possible. What can’t I miss and what should I maybe skip?

Literally just wrapped this up.  A ticket is 17€.  I went to Expedia two weeks ago and paid 50€ - for it I got the aforementioned admisssion and a roughly 3 hour tour in English with 20ish people.  Skipping the line alone was worth it.

you meet at the “backdoor” of the Vatican City at a cafe with an address you can uber too.  It was super easy.

 

 

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So how do I know I made the right choice staying in Trastevere?  At the end of the Vatican tour the guide says “if you are hungry don’t stay here - take a taxi to a neighborhood called Trastevere..... it’s the best food in the city and the prices are the best”.

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55 minutes ago, The Ref said:

So how do I know I made the right choice staying in Trastevere?  At the end of the Vatican tour the guide says “if you are hungry don’t stay here - take a taxi to a neighborhood called Trastevere..... it’s the best food in the city and the prices are the best”.

Sounds like you are having a great trip.  Looking forward to a full trip report with your favorite restaurants.  My wife and I will be there in September.

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2 hours ago, The Ref said:

So how do I know I made the right choice staying in Trastevere?  At the end of the Vatican tour the guide says “if you are hungry don’t stay here - take a taxi to a neighborhood called Trastevere..... it’s the best food in the city and the prices are the best”.

pizzeria nerone.

fonzie, the burger’s house.

da enzo al 29.

la fraschetta di castello sant’ angelo.

la tonneria.

 

 

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3 hours ago, The Ref said:

So how do I know I made the right choice staying in Trastevere?  At the end of the Vatican tour the guide says “if you are hungry don’t stay here - take a taxi to a neighborhood called Trastevere..... it’s the best food in the city and the prices are the best”.

Had a top 3 sandwich of my life at a place called Donkey Punch in Trastevere.

And Dar Poeta around the corner from there has pizza that rivals Gusta in Florence (popular spot among FBGs), just as good IMO.

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50 minutes ago, Nigel said:

Had a top 3 sandwich of my life at a place called Donkey Punch in Trastevere.

And Dar Poeta around the corner from there has pizza that rivals Gusta in Florence (popular spot among FBGs), just as good IMO.

i was just in that area and walked by....next time.

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  • 1 month later...

Ok, so tomorrow we are booking a trip/cruise.   Youngest son (:bye: @kutta) is leaving for Bilbao, January 11th for a semester at the college there to almost finish his Spanish degree so he can become an interpreter.   

Please feel free to add anything of value to any part of our trip.  We have been to Europe once, two years ago on Viking River cruise (21 days) from Budapest to Amsterdam.  Did three days in Prague before it.

4/7 - Fly from Boise to FCO Rome.  Land about noonish on 4/8.  Light day resting. @Chemical X recommended we stay here   In the center of the city.    I like the location, feel and price on this place....  :thumbup:  :banned:  :hifive:

4/9-10-11.... three days in Rome to do it all.   

4/12.... Board Viking Ocean Cruise for 8 days.   Can board pretty early, but it doesn't leave until 11pm.
Viking includes "walk tours" in every city as part of the price and some optional pay tours also.  We did like 50/50 on the river cruise.  Anyone have any "musts/avoids" in the cities below?

Mon 4/13...  9am .... arrive in Florence/Pisa for 33 hour stay.
Tue 4/14...  Florence/Pisa until it leaves at 6pm.
Wed 4/15.... 8am.... arrive in Monte Carlo, Monaco..... leaves 11pm
Thur 4/16....  7:30am.....arrive in Marseille, France....... leaves 6pm
Fri 4/17..... 8am..... arrive in Montpellier, France...... leaves 9pm
Sat 4/18.... 8am.... arrive in Barcelona..... have all day, does not leave.
Sun 4/19....  AM, disembark ship.....    train? to Bilbao (6 hours)

Mon 4/20, Tue 4/21, Wed 4/22 in Bilbao.  Going to Bilbao vs RCD Mallorca match on 4/22.  We actually saw Athletic Bilbao of Spain play in Boise in 2015. And in just looking up that old date, they are coming to Boise again July 25, 2020, for another friendly.  (Huge Basque population in Boise).   Any cool things to do/see in Bilbao?  TIA

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1 minute ago, Getzlaf15 said:

Ok, so tomorrow we are booking a trip/cruise.   Youngest son (:bye: @kutta) is leaving for Bilbao, January 11th for a semester at the college there to almost finish his Spanish degree so he can become an interpreter.   

Please feel free to add anything of value to any part of our trip.  We have been to Europe once, two years ago on Viking River cruise (21 days) from Budapest to Amsterdam.  Did three days in Prague before it.

4/7 - Fly from Boise to FCO Rome.  Land about noonish on 4/8.  Light day resting. @Chemical X recommended we stay here   In the center of the city.    I like the location, feel and price on this place....  :thumbup:  :banned:  :hifive:

4/9-10-11.... three days in Rome to do it all.   

4/12.... Board Viking Ocean Cruise for 8 days.   Can board pretty early, but it doesn't leave until 11pm.
Viking includes "walk tours" in every city as part of the price and some optional pay tours also.  We did like 50/50 on the river cruise.  Anyone have any "musts/avoids" in the cities below?

Mon 4/13...  9am .... arrive in Florence/Pisa for 33 hour stay.
Tue 4/14...  Florence/Pisa until it leaves at 6pm.
Wed 4/15.... 8am.... arrive in Monte Carlo, Monaco..... leaves 11pm
Thur 4/16....  7:30am.....arrive in Marseille, France....... leaves 6pm
Fri 4/17..... 8am..... arrive in Montpellier, France...... leaves 9pm
Sat 4/18.... 8am.... arrive in Barcelona..... have all day, does not leave.
Sun 4/19....  AM, disembark ship.....    train? to Bilbao (6 hours)

Mon 4/20, Tue 4/21, Wed 4/22 in Bilbao.  Going to Bilbao vs RCD Mallorca match on 4/22.  We actually saw Athletic Bilbao of Spain play in Boise in 2015. And in just looking up that old date, they are coming to Boise again July 25, 2020, for another friendly.  (Huge Basque population in Boise).   Any cool things to do/see in Bilbao?  TIA

Nice! How is the young lad?

I can’t offer much on the trip because I’ve only been to Rome of all those cities. I will say, if you are seeing the Vatican or the Collesium, book a tour. The lines are LONG, but the tours skip the lines.

Hope you guys have a blast!

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Just now, kutta said:

Nice! How is the young lad?

I can’t offer much on the trip because I’ve only been to Rome of all those cities. I will say, if you are seeing the Vatican or the Collesium, book a tour. The lines are LONG, but the tours skip the lines.

Hope you guys have a blast!

He turns 23, on our last day in Rome, 4/11.    We  had great tour guides on our Viking cruise and other vacations, so we will likely go that route. We both love the history of the places we go, and guides have always done a great job with that info.    My last bucket list item is to see a live soccer match with him in Europe.  

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11 hours ago, Getzlaf15 said:

He turns 23, on our last day in Rome, 4/11.    We  had great tour guides on our Viking cruise and other vacations, so we will likely go that route. We both love the history of the places we go, and guides have always done a great job with that info.    My last bucket list item is to see a live soccer match with him in Europe.  

Your best chances for a soccer match will be in Rome or Barcelona, most matches are on the weekends. So you should check out the schedule for Lazio, Roma and Barcelona (most matches are on Sunday, though)

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2 hours ago, msommer said:

Your best chances for a soccer match will be in Rome or Barcelona, most matches are on the weekends. So you should check out the schedule for Lazio, Roma and Barcelona (most matches are on Sunday, though)

My son live and breathes soccer in Europe.  The only cruise in terms of cities and length was the one we are booking.   Bilbao plays on a Wednesday when we are there.   My son says we should have no problems getting tickets for that match. 

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22 hours ago, Getzlaf15 said:

Ok, so tomorrow we are booking a trip/cruise.   Youngest son (:bye: @kutta) is leaving for Bilbao, January 11th for a semester at the college there to almost finish his Spanish degree so he can become an interpreter.   

Please feel free to add anything of value to any part of our trip.  We have been to Europe once, two years ago on Viking River cruise (21 days) from Budapest to Amsterdam.  Did three days in Prague before it.

4/7 - Fly from Boise to FCO Rome.  Land about noonish on 4/8.  Light day resting. @Chemical X recommended we stay here   In the center of the city.    I like the location, feel and price on this place....  :thumbup:  :banned:  :hifive:

4/9-10-11.... three days in Rome to do it all.   

4/12.... Board Viking Ocean Cruise for 8 days.   Can board pretty early, but it doesn't leave until 11pm.
Viking includes "walk tours" in every city as part of the price and some optional pay tours also.  We did like 50/50 on the river cruise.  Anyone have any "musts/avoids" in the cities below?

Mon 4/13...  9am .... arrive in Florence/Pisa for 33 hour stay.
Tue 4/14...  Florence/Pisa until it leaves at 6pm.
Wed 4/15.... 8am.... arrive in Monte Carlo, Monaco..... leaves 11pm
Thur 4/16....  7:30am.....arrive in Marseille, France....... leaves 6pm
Fri 4/17..... 8am..... arrive in Montpellier, France...... leaves 9pm
Sat 4/18.... 8am.... arrive in Barcelona..... have all day, does not leave.
Sun 4/19....  AM, disembark ship.....    train? to Bilbao (6 hours)

Mon 4/20, Tue 4/21, Wed 4/22 in Bilbao.  Going to Bilbao vs RCD Mallorca match on 4/22.  We actually saw Athletic Bilbao of Spain play in Boise in 2015. And in just looking up that old date, they are coming to Boise again July 25, 2020, for another friendly.  (Huge Basque population in Boise).   Any cool things to do/see in Bilbao?  TIA

avoid pisa and spend all your time in florence, would you stay the night?  i gave you  y rome thoughts, but the friday night vatican tour frees up your day for other things.

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26 minutes ago, Chemical X said:

avoid pisa and spend all your time in florence, would you stay the night?  i gave you  y rome thoughts, but the friday night vatican tour frees up your day for other things.

one night in Florence on ship.     Viking has a free excursion bus tour drivimg through Tuscany to Pisa.  We might take that.

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6 minutes ago, Getzlaf15 said:

one night in Florence on ship.     Viking has a free excursion bus tour drivimg through Tuscany to Pisa.  We might take that.

Assuming you’ve not been there before I think your time is better spent exploring Florence on your own.

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  • 2 months later...

Just postponed our Italy trip from April to September due to COVID-19 😢.  Luckily we hadn't bought our flights yet, so all we had to do was re-book our hotel rooms.  Didn't want to take any chances since travel insurance doesn't cover epidemics.

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