Before 2017, I had only ever been to Durban from Johannesburg. My first trip to the ocean was when I was 19 years old and looking back now, I never would have believed that 10 years later I would be living in Europe or that going to Durban would be something that would end up being a normal trip as my husband’s family lives there.
In June 2017, I prepared myself for my first international trip. I was scared of heights and usually preferred to drive than to fly but with an international trip driving was definitely out of the question for me. It was a nerve wracking experience and I hardly slept but on the other end was my first ever stamp in my first ever passport. I landed in Zurich, Switzerland the next morning and flew out to Milan an hour later. I remember looking out the window at about 5am that morning over the Alps and looking at the sunrise. It was definitely one of the best sunrises I have seen while sitting in a plane.
Since then, I have been to a few more places both outside of Italy and inside. When we first got here, we had to wait for our permits (Which takes a few months including the time between your application and the actual date of your appointment and then obviously you have to wait a few months after the appointment in order to receive your permit so that you are free to travel between any of the Schengen areas). Our first Christmas here was spent on a short trip to Lake Como. It is not far from where we live and while we haven’t been back again, we plan to make another trip this December and to do a little more touring. While waiting for our permits, we decided to take a trip to the coast and the place we went to was Genoa. Yes, the place where the bridge collapsed the following year. It was an amazing weekend but I was eager to cross the border and visit Switzerland. We were finally notified that our permits were ready but of course, we had already anticipated that and already had our accomodation sorted out in Geneva.
We took a drive through the Mont Blanc tunnels, an 11km long tunnel that never seemed to end and had lights to indicate how far you should be from the person driving in front of you. Traffic there was a nightmare but the views were breathtaking. There was still a lot of snow and I was beyond excited to finally be in Switzerland. We spent our time there going to CERN and to Lake Geneva. While CERN didn’t interest me much, the Lake was a day well spent and we ended up spending our time on a boat tour surrounded by mountains. I was sad to leave but the reward of the view on the way back to Italy was definitely worth it!
The next place we went to was our first European summer trip. We decided to tour further south in Italy and ended up in Livorno which didn’t have much to see in the way of monuments but there was the beach and the beach is my favourite place on earth. Our plan was to make a pitstop at the Leaning Tower of Pisa on the way back. We did make the stop and managed to take a few pictures until we spotted the storm that was coming in. It was a short trip but it was fun and I hope to return to Pisa one day.
We returned back home for a short visit after our trip to Pisa and Livorno and our next trip was to Nice, France with a day trip to Monaco. This was the trip that I was definitely the most excited about. I have always wanted to go to Monaco, I have always been interested in the history of Monaco and the history of the royal family and other royal families in the world. While Monaco is very expensive to stay in, we ended up staying in Nice and took the train to Monaco and Cannes. During this trip to Nice, we spent one day at the beach (it was the middle of winter but we had amazing weather and spent most of the day sitting in the sun and watching the waves). The next day we went to Monaco and walked almost everywhere (we did not know about the hop on – hop off buses on this trip) and didn’t make it to the palace because we were too exhausted. Our last day in Nice was spent on the beach in Cannes and exploring the area.
Our next trip was in April of this year. We ended up going to Limone sul Garda on Lake Garda and despite the fact that our accomodation was noisy, we spent two days there looking at the beautiful mountain and lake views, playing mini golf and just relaxing. We drove here and the traffic around that time was absolutely horrible because we spent at least an hour sitting on the same stretch of road because of an event that was happening in the area but the breathtaking view from our balcony was definitely worth it.
Our last and final trip was another trip to my favourite destination, my husbands brother and his wife ended up visiting us here in Italy and we decided to take another road trip down to the beautiful city of Nice and of course Monaco. We visited Cannes and Monaco and stayed in Nice again but this time our trip to Monaco was a lot more successful than our previous trip. We ended up seeing the same sights in Cannes but we did end up buying the bus pass for Monaco and ended up seeing all of the sights including the palace. It was absolutely amazing and I will definitely be returning there even if it is just one more time.
Our last trip was to Florence. We spent two nights in a hotel that overlooked the Arno river which is the main river that runs through Florence. This trip was definitely not one we enjoyed because of the extreme heatwave that swept through Europe during the month of August but we managed to have quite a bit of fun while touring the city and eating good food in the area. It was an amazing trip and we spent the rest of the week at home with each other and most times just being together is enough, it doesn’t have to be anywhere else but home but it is always nice to see new places!
Out of all of the places you have been to, which places turned out to be your favourite?
-The Uninspired Blogger