Cruising, International Travel

My first trip to Europe. What did I think?

My husband and I just got back from a 2-week trip to Europe. We started in Barcelona for two nights and hopped on a cruise ship for a 9-night cruise on the Italian Riviera (with port stops in Marseille/Nice France, Portofino, Naples, Sicily, and Rome). Unfortunately because of high winds, we were unable to port in Livorno which meant we missed Florence/Tuscany. 😦

What we saw and experienced was nothing short of amazing. The scenery, architectural masterpieces, and the mind-boggling attention to detail in grand churches literally took our breath away. We enjoyed tasting various foods from each of the three countries –Paella (a rice dish) in Spain, Croissants and various wines including Rose from Provence in France and Homemade Pasta, Chianti and limoncello in Italy! We had beautiful weather for most of the trip and walked nearly 6-8 miles each day at each port stop (which allowed me to eat all the Gelato I wanted!)

Photo by Julia Volk on

Although we went in the ‘off-season’, Europe, especially Italy, was flooded with tourists. The streets were full of people that appeared to be mostly Americans/Canadians (based on their conversations). It appears we’ve definitely boosted their economy, and they had no shame in charging exorbitant prices on food, hotels and various souveniers. However, what surprised me the most is that the residents of these countries didn’t seem thrilled to have the tourism. In fact, the warm friendly experience I thought I was going to have (especially in Italy), really didn’t happen. I experienced many impatient and rude waiters, tour guides, taxi drivers, and store attendants. Perhaps it was because we were in highly crowded tourist areas, and/or the language barrier as most Europeans did not speak English like I originally thought (and read about). Either way, my conclusion is that people are people, no matter what country they live in. Some are friendly, some are not.

Would we go back? Since we were on a cruise ship for most of the trip and only had time for a small snippet of each area, we thought we might want to return to some of the places we visited. However, after careful contemplation, we decided that we would likely only return to Italy, but not in the same places, and not anytime soon. (Long flights are not fun! 😉 )

If you’ve been to Europe, how was your experience?

9 thoughts on “My first trip to Europe. What did I think?”

  1. For our 30th anniversary we took a family trip to Paris, Belgium, and Germany. We experienced a wonderful trip. I speak a bit of French and that helped. My daughter learned some friendly basic German phrases. I think the cruise ship tourism gets less friendly locals, where thousands are in port at one time then leave, whereas we kind of meandered amongst the residents. I’d return, but we have a lot of the US to see.


    1. Exactly. If and when we will go back, it will be in less touristy areas. We are planning on sticking to the National Parks and the 50 states for the next couple of years!


  2. Hi Sharon, this is Chris. I went to Europe as a young adult on a singing tour. Hubby has never been, so it is on our bucket list. Glad you had fun and your foot cooperated.


  3. Lived in Germany many moons ago. Last visit over twenty years ago. Loved, loved, loved it all. My daughter did Scotland two years ago, and loved it (but felt it was being over run). Son traveled to Germany last year and absolutely hated it. I plan on taking the family skiing in 2024 in Germany (if they have heat). Maybe you experienced people ill at ease that we are leading a war that could destroy them? My European friends blame us, right or wrong, for a whole lot of their current problems….


    1. It’s interesting that you say Europe blames us for the war. Perspectives certainly are skewed, and history seems to evade them. Even so, millions of tourist dollars are pouring in from the West. CRAZY.


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