European Excursion

For my 30th birthday, I wanted to do something BIG. After all, you only turn 30 once! I planned a trip to the South of France, Italy, and Spain for my hubby (boyfriend at the time) and I. I was so excited because it had been on my bucket list forever. I told my girlfriends about the trip, and they all said they wanted to go. I thought about how all of our birthdays are in the month of May. I thought hmm, maybe we can all go! I talked to my hubby about making it a girls trip. Although he wasn’t thrilled about being kicked out of the trip, in the end, it was changed from a bae-cation to a girls trip!

I hadn’t done a girls trip of this magnitude before. One of the girls that was coming I actually hadn’t even met before, so if i’m honest, I was a little nervous how it would all work out.  After countless group text messages, and hours long conference calls, we were able to get everything booked and finalized for our ‘European Excursion’ as we dubbed it.

The route we planned for our European Excursion was – Ibiza, Spain – Palma de Mallorca, Spain – Paris, France – Naples, Italy – Amalfi Coast, Italy – Capri, Italy – Rome, Italy, ending in Milan, Italy. We did this in 10 days, with each girl only having one carry-on suitcase & a personal item.  I still don’t know how we did that.

Before we left the US, I wanted to give the girls a little gift, since it was a birthday trip. I got custom mason jars made with each of the girls names in their favorite color. Inside the jar, I put a compact mirror, a travel sized perfume, and a lock (to put on the love lock bridge), and personal trinkets.

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Ibiza, Spain

In Ibiza, we stayed at the Santos Coast Suites. Our suite was called the Nirvana Suite. It was so cute! The resort was beachfront, had an amazing pool, and really fun décor! We loved it.

 

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When we went it was right before the “party season”, so not a lot was going on. We had dinner, then went to a small little club. We ordered drinks, and before we could even take a sip, a guy walks to our table, and starts making conversation. He was extremely nice. Not long after we started talking to him, another guy came over with a stone cold serious face, and started asking us questions. We told him that we were with the other guy, but he refused to leave our table. He told us he was there for “work”, and that he was sent to kill someone with a completely straight face.  He was Russian.

He was VERY odd, and refused to leave. He made us extremely uncomfortable, so we left. Our hotel was walking distance from the bar. When we stepped outside, there were a group of 4 girls on the corner that we passed on our way back to the hotel. We turned around to look behind us, and the girls were starting to circle us! We didn’t know what to do, so I just screamed “POLICIA!!!” A police car pulled right up, and the girls scattered. I could not make this up.

The next day, we hung out at the pool, and went into town to a fun little restaurant/bar called Km5 Ibiza. We had a great night. On the ride back to the hotel, we asked our driver to get as close as possible to the entrance, because of the fiasco from the night before. As the driver pulled around, I saw one of the girls from the night before, but I was in such a state of shock, I couldn’t even speak. I was only able to point. As we drove around further, we saw the other 3 girls handcuffed and sitting on the curb. It turned out the girls were prostitutes, and thought we were competition. Crazy.

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The next day we couldn’t wait to get out of there. It had been quite the experience.

Mallorca, Spain

Mallorca was gorgeous! The water was a stunning blue color, and we had amazing views from our resort. We settled into our room, then went out to relax by the pool to enjoy some cocktails. It was Cinco de Mayo, so of course we had to celebrate even in Spain.

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Our hotel had bikes for rent, so we rented them, and left to explore the island. We biked to the city center and got ice cream cones. It was a beautiful day.

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We changed then had a nice dinner at. The views from the restaurant were lovely, and the food was really good!

The next day we hopped on another flight over to Paris.

Paris, France

This was my second visit to Paris. The first time I went, it was grey, cloudy and a little chilly even though it was summer. I honestly felt it was overrated. This time, the sun was shining bright, the sky was clear, and blue. It was perfect. It really felt like PARIS. We stayed at a hotel that was close to the Eiffel tower.

We decided before we left that we would bring balloons to have a birthday photo shoot at the tower. We brought the balloons, and I had researched a store that blew up balloons close to the tower. We got them blown up, and headed to the tower to shoot. 4 girls in a cab, with a ton of balloons. It was a pretty hilarious site! It was well worth it, because the pictures came out great!

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We did all the typical tourist things. We “locked in” our friendship at the love lock bridge, visited the Louvre, and the Arc de Triomphe. We had a packed couple days, but we were able to get everything done!

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“Locking” our friendship on the love lock bridge
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The Louvre

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From Paris, we took another flight to Naples, Italy.

Naples, Italy

In Naples, almost immediately after landing at the airport, we were warned about how dangerous it was there. We were a little nervous about that, so instead of exploring, we immediately got in a cab, and went straight to the Amalfi Coast, which was our next destination.

Amalfi Coast, Italy

After what seemed like forever, we finally made it to Positano. When we arrived at our hotel – Hotel Margherita, we were greeted by the owners. They were extremely friendly and welcoming with tea and cookies. I don’t know what I was expecting when we got there, but they certainly exceeded our expectations. When they brought us to our ‘room’, they brought us to a house. That’s right, a whole house, just for us! A 2-story home, with a kitchen, patio, bedrooms, everything! To get to the home, we had to walk down a walkway that smelled heavenly. There were lemon trees that lined the walkway, so it smelled like fresh lemons. It was amazing.

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Lemon Tree Lined Walkway
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View From Our Room Upstairs

 

The views from the hotel were also incredible. There was a outdoor seating area for the guests to either eat or relax. It was so charming.

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Amazing Views from the Hotel

 

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View From the Hotel Balcony

 

The first day we went to dinner down in Sorrento. On the way there, we met a girl at the bus stop who was so sweet, and helped us find our way. She was adorable. Her mother came to the Amalfi Coast on vacation, fell in love, and moved there. She owned a boutique shop in the area. I can completely see why she fell in love there. I could see how that happened, because all the men there were so charming, and friendly. It is such a romantic place.

We had dinner at Chez Black. It is a really popular restaurant, right on the water. We sat down, were greeted, and then almost immediately were given a heart shaped pizza. We hadn’t even gotten the menus yet. A few moments later, we were also gifted with limoncello shots. Limoncello is one of the staples in Italy. It is a delicious lemon beverage. The restaurant was amazing! They took excellent care of us.  The view from the restaurant is spectacular as well.

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Capri, Italy

The next day we took a day trip to the island of Capri. The boat ride to Capri was stunning. The water was such a gorgeous blue, and the weather was perfect. When we got to Capri, we had lunch at al Capri. It was a nice little restaurant in the center of Capri. After that, we took a chair lift to the top of the island. I am terrified of heights, but it actually didn’t scare me at all. It was a very enjoyable ride, with incredible views. When we got to the top, it took my breath away! We couldn’t distinguish between the sky and the water. Words cannot describe how beautiful it was.

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After touring the island for a little while, we got back on the boat to head to the blue grotto. The blue grotto is a cave, where the water illuminates in a blue glowing color.  It was a little scary to enter the blue grotto. To enter, you get out of your large boat, and get into a small row boat, that can only fit max 5 people. I wont lie it made me a little nervous, because sometimes the water was so high, it covered the hole that you enter the grotto through. When that happened, they would pause entering the cave until the tide died down. Once you get inside, you can sit up, and then enjoy the beauty of the cave. There was an opera singer inside singing, and the water illuminated a gorgeous blue color. It was a really neat experience! I cannot wait to go back with my husband.

Rome, Italy

Our next stop was Rome, Italy, where we had a short layover. We had to see the city even though we didn’t have a lot of time. We went to a cute little Italian restaurant that was across from the Coliseum. After visiting the Coliseum, we went to another place that was SO.MUCH.FUN!  The restaurant was packed, but it felt as if we were the only ones in there. The servers loved us, and gave us shot after shot. They seemed to really like Americans.

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After that, we got some gelato, and walked around before catching the train to our next stop. This was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

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Milan, Italy

For our last stop, we headed to Milan Italy. We booked a hotel near the airport. I will never do this again, as the airport is pretty far from the city center, and very isolated from where everything is. Milan ended up being disastrous for us. If I told the story, no one would believe it, so I will spare the details. I will just say the trip ended with us running out of the hotel through the back emergency door in the middle of the night, getting split up with no way to contact each other, and being scared out of our minds.  We didn’t even get to sleep.

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However, despite the crazy beginning and end to our trip, it was the most incredible time. It was a girls trip of a lifetime that I will never forget. We made a pact to do some sort of girls trip every year. While we have done quite a few things together, we haven’t been able to top this one. LOL

 

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