Back – and Desperately Avoiding Jet Lag
After visiting 5 countries (Italy, Croatia, Greece, France, Spain,) 2 micro-states (Monaco, Vatican City,) and returning with a connection in Sweden, I’m back – and now 367% as worldly!
The vacation was truly eye-opening. My only previous international experience (aside from growing up in Canada, and moving here to the United States) was a low-budget resort trip in the Dominican Republic. That trip gave me a filtered taste of a different culture, but had nowhere near the impact of a Mediterranean cruise around Europe.
By far, the biggest impact came from experiencing the rich cultural fabric formed by thousands of years of history. The cruise was very port-heavy (12 ports in 14 days,) so I finally had the chance to experience:
- the canals of Venice
- the immense fortifications of Dubrovnik
- the hospitality of Corfu
- the grottos of Capri and Amalfi
- the ruins of Pompeii
- the opulence of the Vatican
- the ancient architectural masterpieces of Rome
- the beaches of Corsica
- the duomo and leaning tower of Pisa
- the duomo of Florence
- the exclusivity (*cough* expensive designer shops *cough*) of Portofino
- the wealth of Monte Carlo
- the beautiful churches of Marseille
- the amazing architecture of Barcelona
To put North America’s 500-year history in perspective, I gazed on the steps of Barcelona’s Palau Reial Mayor – the same steps Christopher Columbus walked up to announce his discovery of America. I stood in the Coliseum of Rome – where an exceptionally old participant in the project would have also have experienced the death of Christ. I walked the streets of ancient Pompeii, where ruins built upon ruins vastly predate even that.
An aspect I didn’t anticipate was the awkwardness of trying to stumble around language barriers caused by me – and the rudeness of speaking with my travel companions in a language foreign to most others within earshot.
All in all, it was a great experience and I look forward to experiencing the next!