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Mediterranean Family Vacation: Barcelona

Barcelona Spain trip | REidmore
Mediterranean Vacation
Over the next few weeks I’m sharing photos from my two-week travels throughout the Mediterranean with family. Follow along on the blog to see hear more about the beautiful trip.

Barcelona, Spain

After a great week on the Mediterranean Cruise, the family was disembarked back in Barcelona, Spain with plans to spend a few days exploring the city. The first day back in Barcelona the group split up – the guys to check out Nou Stadium, Dad and Grandma to rest, and us girls to see the sights.La Rambla Souvenir Shopping | Reidmore

The guys had a flight to catch that evening, so we met up at Plaza Catalunya so they could see the most popular sites before they left. After a quick tapas break, we started the crowded stroll down La Rambla and wound up in Placa Reial in the charming Gothic Quarter.

Placa Reial Barcelona Spain | reidmore Gothic Quarter Barcelona Spain | Reidmore

It was a hot day, so we stopped at the very cute Artisa icecream shop.

Ice cream in Barcelona Gothic Quarter | Reidmore Barcelona Spain Icecream break | Reidmore

After a long walk down La Rambla and along the marina, we finally ended up at Barcelona’s beach. It was a Sunday so the every inch of the sand was covered with locals sunbathing.

With our legs aching from all of the walking, we finally got settled into the apartment, our home for the next few days. The Airbnb was a large and historic (by American standards I suppose) apartment, featuring a private garden patio – perfect for enjoying a tinto break after a long day.

 

That night my dear friend Raisa flew in from Copenhagen to spend the week in Barcelona with my family. I had not seen her since our Northern Europe trip last fall, so I was so glad she could join us for a few days. She is part of the family now, and everyone was so happy to have her with us.

The next morning the group was ready to see the sights. Our Airbnb was walking distance to the most popular Gaudi houses and la Sagrada Familia, our destination for the day. Map in hand, I led the way.

We first visited Casa Batllo, designed to look like skeletal house of bones.

Gaudi house Barcelona | Reidmore

Next on our Gaudi architecture walk was La Pedrera.
La Pedrera Barcelona | Reidmore

And finally, a few blocks later, La Sagrada Familia. Gaudi’s famous and controversial church is still under construction today.

La Sagrada Familia Barcelona | Reidmore

Due to the intense heat and 5-hour wait, we decided to skip the interior tour for the day and settled for a leisurely lunch.

Lunch in Barcelona near Sagrada Familia | Reidmore

With a free afternoon in front of us, we decided to visit La Bouqueria, the market on La Rambla. It is probably my favorite thing to visit, with so many colors and smells and tastes. Warning – color overload ahead.

Colorful Candy La Bouqueria Barcelona | Reidmore

The market is famous for the rainbow-hued displays inviting you in. There was candy, chocolate, ham, fish, fruit, spices, and more. Fruit Boqueria Market Barcelona Spain | Reidmore

But Boqueria Market is most famous for its fruit smoothie juices. For a few euro you can sample all of the flavors. Fruit juices Boqueria Market | Reidmore

Coconut, strawberry, apple raspberry, mango, kiwi, and more.
Fruit smoothies Boqueria market Barcelona | Reidmore

We started sipping on the smoothies as we wove our way through the crowded stalls.

Boqueria Barcelona Market | Reidmore

The market was a great gift-buying stop. We picked up ham, olive oil, salts and more. And snacks for a tapa-style dinner that night.  Barcelona Spain Boqueria Mercat | reidmore

On the way out we made one final stop for a fruit popsicle.

La Boqueria Popsicles Reidmore

We took a slow walk back to the Airbnb apartment, stopping at the amazing Spanish stores on La Rambla.

The next day we set out with a better plan. We would take a cab up the hillside to Park Guell in the morning, then in the afternoon head to La Sagrada Familia with pre-purchased tickets to see inside.

My previous trip to Barcelona we loved our Park Guell visit. I fondly remember taking the escalator to the top of the park, which was bizarre enough as is, and loving the mosaic benches and crazy Gaudi architecture. What we did not realize is that Park Guell now charges for admission to the most popular park attractions.

Park Guell mosaic signs | Reidmore

So with my Grandma in tow, we decided to do a streamlined walk of the Park that morning.

 

Walking Park Guell | Reidmore Park Guell tour Barcelona Spain | Reidmore Park Guell caves | Reidmore

Park Guell, even just the free parts, was great to revisit. Next time I’d spend more time in the park and pay to see the famous mosaic benches, palm tree tunnels, and the lizard statue. But when you’re in a group, you go with the flow.

A quick cab ride later, we were back at La Sagrada Familia, this time with tickets in hand. The cathedral was beyond impressive, my photos not doing the massive and intricate space justice. Every corner of the cathedral was covered in elaborate geometric yet organic-inspired designs. Tree columns reached to the ceiling.

Sagrada Familia design | reidmore

The space was unbelievable. I was surprised I liked it as much as I did, since Gaudi designed the facade to be over the top gaudy. Covered in fruit, rainbow colors, bizarre text. Way to over done. But the inside was more nature-inspired and geometric, so the crazy designs worked.La Sagrada Familia stained glass | Reidmore

For our final night in Barcelona the family went out for a final tapa meal at La Tramoia.

Tapas Barcelona Spain | Reidmore
Dinner in Barcelona Spain | ReidmoreAfter dinner we did like the Spaniards and strolled La Rambla, an eye open for a gelato shop. The adults returned home while us kids shopped our way back up La Diagonal towards the Airbnb.

It was sad to see our Barcelona trip and our time with Raisa come to an end. But we were all so looking forward to the most relaxing part of the trip, still to come, Blanes.

EUROPE FEATURED TRAVEL

Mediterranean Family Vacation: Marseille to Sanary-Sur-Mer and Le Castelellet

sanary sur mer le castellet | reidmore
Mediterranean Vacation
Over the next few weeks I’m sharing photos from my two week travels throughout the Mediterranean with family. Follow along on the blog to see hear more about the beautiful trip.

The final cruise day was finally upon us, so our day in Marseille was bittersweet. We had heard that Marseille could be a rough town, so the group booked a tour of  two very different local villages, Sanary-Sur-Mer and Le Castellet. After driving through historic Marseille, which looked beautiful, we took a scenic drive along the sea and through the mountains.

Sanary-Sur Mer, France

Our first stop was Sanary-Sur-Mer, a small fishing village 30 minutes east of Marseille. It was a Saturday, so the town was buzzing with locals going about their weekend errands at the farmers market and fish stands. I was instantly in love with the colorful harbor greeting visitors and small-town vibe.

Sanary sur mer trip | Reidmore

After a quick history talk from our tour guide, we were able to disperse through the small village to spend our morning.

Visiting Sanary sur mer france | reidmore

The family started roaming through the colorful streets. With the palm trees, pink buildings, and harbor, Sanary-Sur-Mer reminded me of a much smaller, much quieter Cannes.

shopping in sanary sur mer france | reidmore

We had arrived early in the morning, so the tourist shopping streets were quiet and empty at first, but quickly came to life.

sanary sur mer day trip | reidmore

The tiny village streets were small and quaint, so the group divided up to shop and try to find some wifi. Camryn, Sam and I naturally found a French bakery, where we sampled a gigantic meringue and other sweets. For cultural-experiencing of course.

Similar to Cannes, there was lots of shopping to be done. This part of France was known for herbs and lavender. So we stocked up on lavender satchels and scented soaps for our family and friends back home. sanary sur mer streets | reidmore

After a morning of shopping and exploring the town, the group reassembled a a local cafe for 1 euro espresso and free wifi.

Sanary sur mer coffee | reidmore Sanary sur mer coffee break | reidmore

It was such a quiet and calm town, I think we all could have spent the day there.

Sanary Sur Mer day trip from Marseille | Reidmore

Unfortunately we had to meet up with the tour to catch the bus to our next stop. On the way back out of the town, I bought a painting of the Sanary-Sur-Mer sailboats by a local artist to remind me of this peaceful town.

By the time we boarded the bus, my arms were full of shopping bags, but my stomach was full of espresso so I was eager for stop number 2.

Le Castellet, France

If I thought our first stop that morning, Sanary-Sur-Mer, was a small and charming town, I was more than surprised with our next stop, Le Castellet. The tiny fortified village sits atop a hill and dates back to the year 1030. As you walk into the quiet town, the towering stone walls is the first thing you notice.Le Castellet France | Reidmore

Le Castellet day trip | Reidmore

Followed by the amazing views. Thanks to the hilltop location, Le Castellet had panoramic view of Provence below, wineries, mountains, and the Mediterranean Sea all within eyesight.Family Mediterranean cruise selfie | Reidmore

After taking in the scenic views, the group headed the uphill trek through the quiet town.
Le Castellet village in france | Reidmore

The cobblestone streets lined with bright colored homes and beautiful plants were straight out of a movie set. The streets are steep, but we stopped every few feet to snap another picture or visit a souvenir shop.

day in Le Castellet | Reidmore Doors of le castellet | Reidmore Le Castellet France Trip | Reidmore

At the top of Le Castellet sits the town’s stone church, with winding streets branching down.walking Le Castellet France | Reidmore

Despite the small size of Le Castellet, there was plenty of shopping to be done. During our Iceland/Northern Europe trip last fall, my favorite souvenir were the bronze candlesticks I got at the trendy second-hand shop in Stockholm, so during our Mediterranean travels I knew I wanted to buy a few items for my home again. The Marseille area is well-known for printed textiles, so I stocked up on some colorful printed dish towels and a few more local cooking ingredients.

Shopping in Le Castellet France | Reidmore

On the back end of Le Castellet we stumbled upon a stone archway, leading out to a narrow patio with more scenic views of the Provencal countryside. View from Le Castellet | Reidmore

Le Castellet france cruise trip | reidmore
Day trip to Le Castellet village | Reidmore

After enjoying the breeze and the view, we realized we sadly had to leave. Luckily the walk downhill is always a little quicker.Town of Le Castellet | ReidmoreAlong the walk back I laughed at this building, which looked like a face with a purple goatee. I think I need to submit this photo to the Buildings That Look Like Faces blog.
Smiling building in Le Castellet | Reidmore

The walk out of town was so beautiful, and surprisingly full of lots of greenery and beautiful plants, so I kept snapping away. You just don’t expect giant cactus on a hilltop stone village in Southern France. Village of Le Castellet | ReidmoreLe Castellet vacation | reidmore

After a quick afternoon in Le Castellet, our tour day was already over. The group boarded the bus and headed back to the ship to wave “au revoir” to France and to enjoy one last day on the sundeck.Norwegian Epic mediterranean cruise | ReidmoreIt was sad to be leaving the cruise the next day, along with some of the group members, but we were all looking forward to the Barcelona and beach trip that lied ahead.

 

BEACH EUROPE FEATURED TRAVEL

Mediterranean Family Vacation: Cannes

Day trip to Cannes France | Reidmore
Mediterranean Vacation
Over the next few weeks I’m sharing photos from my two week travels throughout the Mediterranean with family. Follow along on the blog to see hear more about the beautiful trip.

Ferry to Cannes from Mediterranean Cruiseship | REidmore

Cannes, France

The next morning we woke at sea, with a view of the Cannes harbor out our windows. With a more leisurely day in mind after days of rushing, we finally boarded the tender boats and headed towards Cannes. Everyone was excited to see the glamorous town and hit up the beach for the first time on the cruise.1 Day Trip to Cannes France | Reidmore

The second we stepped off the boat, I was in love. You walk through the harbor to get into town, and it was gigantic boat followed by even nicer gigantic boat. You have always heard about the rich and famous in Cannes, so I was excited to see it for ourselves.
Cruise stop in Cannes France | Reidmore

We made our way through the charming town, just meandering through the streets. The game plan was to shop in the morning, grab lunch, change into our swimsuits, and head towards the beach in the afternoon.Town of Cannes | Reidmore Cannes France cruise trip | Reidmore

(Sam was becoming more European by the day)

Shopping in Cannes France | Reidmore

Soon we arrived at the shopping district, rue’d Antibes, the famous cobblestone shopping pedestrian street. It was full of charming little boutiques and clothing shops.  Antibes runs parallel to the designer store mecca, La Croisette, which was fun to window shop in, but Antibes was more my speed.

This was my first opportunity to souvenir trip (previous Italy days were too packed with sightseeing,) so I may have gotten a little out of hand.

There were the cutest French kitchen stores on every corner, filled with local herbs de provence, lemon olive oil, sardines, mustards, tapenades, and more. I stocked up on salts, spices, oils, and a beautiful wooden spoon. Got macarons to snack on and espadrilles to wear. I was in love with the Cannes shopping.

Shopping Antibes street Cannes France | Reidmore

I think my Mom and I could have spent all day popping into the local shops.

Rue d'Antibes Shopping in Cannes France | Reidmore

But we didn’t want to slow down the family, who were patiently waiting for us at the end of Rue d’Antibes.

Ritz Carlton Hotel in Cannes France | Reidmore

After a walk past the famous Ritz Carlton Cannes hotel (reminding me only briefly of work back in DC,) the group settled on a tiny cafe for lunch, our group taking up the whole space for lunch. A quick swim suit change later, we finally found the public Cannes beach and claimed our spot in the sand.

Beach day in Cannes | Reidmore

How many turkish towels does it take fit a family of 8 sunbathers?

It was brutally hot out, the sand burning our feet. So we only laid out for a few minutes more before heading toward the water.

Gopro selfie Cannes France beach | Reidmore

The Mediterranean sea was quite chilly, even in the summer heat, but with views of Cannes and our cruiseship, we couldn’t help but enjoy ourselves. GoPro in hand of course, we snapped a few glamour shots.

After an afternoon at the beach, Camryn and I split in the group to search for free WiFi. We ended up at Steak N’Shake, the most American restaurant ever, in Cannes of all places. After slurping down a milkshake while uploading our Instagrams and Snapchats, we met up with the group and headed the tender to get back to ship. I was sad to be leaving Cannes, my favorite cruise port of the trip so far. I was in love with the cobblestone street shopping and Mediterranean beach bumming.

After a hot day in Cannes, a few of us decided to hit up the SVEDKA Icebar on the boat that evening. They make you wear the heaviest Eskimo coats to tolerate the freezing temperatures.

Icebar Norwegian Epic cruise | Reidmore

At only 17 degrees, it was beyond chilly. So we enjoyed our drinks, snapped a few photos with the ice sculptures, and hightailed it out of there before our fingers fell off.

Hoping to warm up, Sam & I headed to the upper deck where we ran into Camryn, too young to enjoy Icebar. Around us, everyone was decked out in head to toe white and heading towards the back of the boat. Out of curiosity we followed the group and realized there was a European dance club white-party that night.

Not ones to miss out on a good time, we made a quick wardrobe change and headed to join the crowds for a European club dance party. Lots of people watching, lots of fun.

Perfect end to a perfect day.

EUROPE FEATURED TRAVEL

Mediterranean Family Vacation: Florence

Florence Italy Day Trip | Reidmore Blog
Mediterranean Vacation
Over the next few weeks I’m sharing photos from my two week travels throughout the Mediterranean with family. Follow along on the blog to see hear more about the beautiful trip.

Florence, Italy

The next morning we woke to Livorno, Italy, a port town outside of Florence. After a bad experience with the tour guide in Rome, the group was eager to go explore Florence at our own pace. A few of us visited the city before, so we were confident we could navigate for the day. Which was a good idea, but poorly executed.

As we exited the cruise mid-morning (excited to sleep in since there was no early tour time,) we leisurely strolled down to the taxi area where we quickly realized we had underestimated our trip into Florence. No 20 minute train. We took a shuttle bus to the Livorno train station, half the group nearly missing the train (sorry for the scare, Mom,) then a 90 minute ride into Florence. With the final train leaving at 3:30, our day in Florence had to be shorter than we had hoped for.The day we had hoped would be calm and slow was quickly turning into a rushed and stressful day. Presenting, how to see the best of Florence in just 3 hours…

Florence Italy Cathedral | Reidmorea

After picking up a map at the train station, we found our way to Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, the most recognizable attraction in Florence. The Gothic cathedral was covered green, white, and pink marble and covered with intricate designs, different than the exterior of St. Peter’s Basilica we saw at the Vatican the day before.

Florence Italy Selfie | Reidmore

The day before we were in gigantic, hot, and smelly Rome, being herded around in a big tour group. So the group just so happy to finally be in sweet Florence, exploring on our own. Though I’d been to Florence twice before, I always get starstruck by the Duomo’s russet orange shingles.
Florence Duomo | reidmore

With no tour guide to lead us, we sped-strolled down random streets, stopping in leather shops along the way. It was an intensely hot day and we were all growing hungry, so we found a local pizzeria with shade and wifi for lunch (priorities.)

The family unanimously agreed: Ristorante La Grotta Guelfa was hands down the best pizza we ever tasted. Devan and I split the salami pizza and caprese salad, which makes my stomach growl just thinking about it.

Ristorante La Grotta Guelfa Pizza Florence Italy | reidmore

Around the corner from lunch was the Mercato Nuovo, also known as the Mercato del Porcellino, the famed open air leather market. Florence is known for leather goods, so the group divided into the maze of the market, looking for purses, leather jackets, and souvenirs for family and friends. I had my eye out for a leather tote bag for work, but due to stubborn vendors refusing to negotiate, left empty handed.

Florence Mercato del porcellino leather | Reidmore

Sadly this guy did not come home with me.

The group spent nearly an hour in the market, browsing the stalls for the best deals, while I kept track of time. By 2PM I wrangled the family, forcing them to move along to the final stops before we had to make it back to the train station.

Mercato nuovo Florence leather | Reidmore

After the market, we wandered to the beautiful Ponte Vecchio bridge. It was a brutally hot day, with the crowds out in full force, so we left after a minute in order to stay on schedule. Ponte Vecchio Florence Italy | Reidmore

The final Florence stop was to see the statue of David replica in Piazza della Signoria, my eye on the clock.
Piazza della Signoria Florence Italy | Reidmore

Soon it was time to head back to the train station, our quick day Florence was coming to a close. With the final train departing in minutes, I sped-walked the group back to the station, rushing to get us tickets and seats on the train back in the knick of time. Not a second wasted in Florence before we headed back to Livorno.

After our rushed day under the tuscan sun, the exhausted group reconvened at the ship’s waterslides to cool down. The Norwegian Epic had 3 slides, so we all took turns testing each one.

And if you don’t GoPro your waterslide ride over the Mediterranean sea, did it even happen?

EUROPE FEATURED TRAVEL

Mediterranean Family Vacation: Rome

Traveling to Rome, Italy | Reidmore Blog
Mediterranean Vacation
Over the next few weeks I’m sharing photos from my two week travels throughout the Mediterranean with family. Follow along on the blog to see hear more about the beautiful trip.

Rome, Italy

After a beautiful day exploring the Amalfi Coast, the group had high hopes for our excursion in Rome. The cruise docked in Civitavecchia, a port town an hour outside the city.

Anyone will tell you Rome is like the New York City of Italy – busy, crowded, and bustling with so many freaking tourists. There is so much to see and do, it’s a little overwhelming to accomplish in just a day. So we arranged for a guided tour of the Rome highlights – Trevi Fountain, Colosseum, Roman Forum, and the Vatican. And that might have been our first mistake – thinking we could get to everything in one day.

Rome Italy tour group | reidmoreWe finally exited the bus in Rome and follow the guide through the beautiful Roman streets.

Tourist shop in Rome | reidmoreUnfortunately unlike the day before, our tour guide was not as personable or helpful. She sped-walked us throughout the streets at crazy speeds unrealistic for the large group. Mumbling bizarre explanations of the surrounding streets into our earpieces and forced us into her partner souvenir shops. The family realized within minutes the day would be more enjoyable without her bumbling voice in our ear and yanked the headset out. Peace at last.

Trevi Fountain cruise excursion | reidmore

We arrived at our first stop, the Trevi Fountain. A cleaning crew roped off the fountain to collect the millions of coins, dodging coin tosses and photobombing family pictures while they worked.

Trevi Fountain Rome | Reidmore

Italian folklore says the number of coins you toss into the fountain seals your fate – 1 coin to return to Rome, 2 coins to find an Italian love, and 3 coins to get a divorce. The family quickly turned our backs and tossed an undisclosed amount of coins into the fountain. Tour of Trevi Fountain in Rome | Reidmore

 

After tossing our coins in the Fountain, the tour group zig-zagged through the streets, crowded with tourists and morning commuters. As a resident of Washington, DC who deals with masses of crazy tourists, I felt bad for the Romans.

Eventually we made our way to the Roman Forum. I loved the ancient intricate bronze doors, now a green patina from the years. It is crazy to imagine this now-empty space was once the city center of ancient Rome.

At this point in the day, the sun was out and it was warming up. Speed walking through Rome in extreme heat, as grand and historic as it is, can be exhausting, so we were all counting down the minutes until lunch. But the incredible Colosseum was next, so we trekked on, hangry and all.

Rome Colosseum tour | reidmore

And once you get inside the Colosseum, the space is so huge and historic, you almost forget that your feet hurt and you miss air conditioning. It’s that cool.

Colosseum cruise excursion | reidmore

View from Colosseum in Rome | reidmore

After a lunch break (pasta and red wine of course,) our refueled group walked to Vatican City, where we were greeted with massive lines.

Vatican Lines | reidmore

We patiently waited under the columns to get inside St. Peter’s Basilica.St Peters Vatican in Rome | Reidmore

Snapping selfies and laughing about the horrific guide and rushed tour to pass the time.

St Peters Basilica | reidmore

Finally we made it into the beautiful St. Peter’s Basilica, every corner covered in ornate gold and marble. It was a calm and peaceful closing to a hectic day.

Beyond exhausted, the group was grateful for the bus ride back to port, just long enough for a nap. When in Rome, avoid the summer months, plan a longer trip, and pack comfortable shoes.

BEACH EUROPE FEATURED TRAVEL

Mediterranean Family Vacation: Naples to Amalfi Coast and Pompeii

Amalfi Coast Pompei | Reidmore
Mediterranean Vacation
Over the next few weeks I’m sharing photos from my two week travels throughout the Mediterranean with family. Follow along on the blog to see hear more about the beautiful trip.

A few weeks ago I packed a giant suitcase and flew east to meet up with my extended family for 2 weeks exploring the Mediterranean and Barcelona. The family met in Barcelona, embarked on a weeklong Western Mediterranean cruise, then spent a week back exploring Barcelona and the nearby beach town of Blanes. I’m still catching my breath after a fun but exhausting trip, but mostly overwhelmed with the 1000s of photos I took. It was as beautiful as it sounds, and then some. I’ll be posting a ton of trip photos of each of our destinations, so stay tuned.

Barcelona, Spain

Our first night in Barcelona was a short one, since we all arrived throughout the day. We were exhausted from the long flights but I suggested we visit the Magic Fountain (Font Màgica) near Plaza de Espana on the first night. Back in 2009 I visited the Magic Fountain when I was in Barcelona during my study abroad semester.

Mediterranean Family Vacation | Reidmore

In my memory, the Magic Fountain was cheesy and funny. And my memory was correct. It had only gotten more cheesy since my last visit. Instead of synchronizing the water show to current pop songs, they now play a Freddy Mercury song where the only lyric is “Barcelona,” repeated again and again.

Magic Fountain show Barcelona | Reidmore

Way cheesy, but it definitely put us in the Barcelona spirit for the trip ahead.

 

Norwegian Epic Western Mediterranean Cruise

The next day we left the Airbnb and headed to Barcelona’s port to board the Norwegian Epic. We spent the next 2 days at sea relaxing, mostly sunbathing and guessing which island we were passing at the moment (answer – Sardinia, Corsica). The ship was huge but very nice and new. It was a relaxing start to a busy two weeks ahead.

 

Naples – Amalfi Coast and Pompeii

Our first port was in Naples where we had planned an excursion to drive the Amalfi Coast and visit nearby Pompeii. Hands down, the Amalfi Coast drive was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, and pictures don’t do it justice. Our guide for the day was Fabio, an animated local who made the day for our group.  His long winded explanations of tomatoes or “crazy women drivers” ranting was the entertaining soundtrack to our day.

fabio Amalfi Coast Pompeii tourguide | reidmore

Mount Vesuvius from Naples Cruise Port | Reidmore

As we left Naples and started winding up the mountain roads, you get quick glimpses of Mount Vesuvius through the trees.

Amalfi Coast cruise excursion from Naples | reidmore

The roads were extremely narrow and windy, perched high on cliffs directly above the sea waters. Along the drive we stopped many times to let drivers pass, missing our windows by a few millimeters.  The Amalfi Coast drive entertainment was partially the view, partially the anxiety and nausea causing driving.

 

 

The view changed drastically every few miles. My camera was busy snapping photos every 5 seconds.Amalfi Coast driving views | Reidmore

After the long drive along the Amalfi Coast, we finally took a break in the tiny town of Amalfi. The town was incredibly charming with a cathedral built into the mountains, cobblestone streets, and lots of shops.

Town of Amalfi Italy | Reidmore

We spent a few hours walking up and down the town’s windy road, stopping to load up our bags with the famous Amalfi limoncello.

In Amalfi the group got the first taste of real Italian gelato. I got the limoncello gelato, which was delicious. Gelato + shopping + small Italian town… I was in heaven.

But sadly it was time to go, onto our next stop. We stopped for lunch at an Italian restaurant (are all restaurants in Italy Italian? is this redundant?) overlooking the sea.

As a big Gray Malin fan, I excitedly snapped these overhead beach photos on the drive to lunch. The colorful rows of striped umbrellas and beach towels were too perfect for words. The busy beach full of sunbathers turned into art from beautiful art when snapped from above.

Beach scene on Amalfi Coast | Reidmore

Amalfi Coast overhead beach photos | Reidmore

I was sad to see the scenic Amalfi Coast go as we drove inland towards Pompeii.

Italian beach photos | reidmore

 

Arriving at Pompeii, I was surprised. The ancient grounds were larger and more built and developed than I expected. I’m no history buff, so I was expecting it to look like a gray ash-covered lava field. But it looked just like the original town.

Pompeii cruise excursion | reidmore

 

After a long day of walking around in the Italian sun, the family was quite selfie-happy by this point. My favorites are of Sam with a random lady and the ones with Fabio photobombing.

 

 

Visiting Pompeii | reidmore

Camryn, my youngest sister, studies Latin in highschool and was beyond excited to tour the ancient grounds. It was sweet to see her so happy.

Pompeii family tour | reidmore

After the Pompeii tour finished, the group headed home. I was exhausted from all the walking and sun, so the ship was a nice place to put your feet up and enjoy the sunset.

IMG_9150

… until we hit Rome, but that’s a blog post for another day.

EXPLORING DC

Back to Seven Oaks Lavender Farm Outside DC

seven oaks lavender farm outside dc | reidmore blog

A few years ago I enjoyed a day trip out to Seven Oaks Lavender Farm with Sam and his Mom. I posted a few photos on the blog (does it really happen if you don’t blog it?) which caught the eye of Devan, my new-to-DC sister.
Seven Oaks Lavender Farm | Washington DC

When I asked Devan what she’d like to see or do in town, the lavender farm was her first response. So I picked up the LivingSocial coupon ($16 total for 3 adults to pick 50 stems) and planned a day trip for us during prime lavender season in June. Lavender farm  near dc | reidmore where to pick lavender outside Washington, DC | reidmore where to pick lavender outside Washington, DC | reidmore

Since I last visited the lavender farm, the place has grown significantly. What used to look more like a lavender garden, is now a full-fledged lavender farm with rows and rows of french and english lavender plants. We spent an hour walking the aisles and assembling our bundles.

Picking lavender catlett virginia  | reidmoreLavender Farm outside DC | Reidmore

Though the time at the farm was quick, it was nice to take a break from city life. And we all enjoyed the drive home through the countryside, the car smelling of sweet lavender.

 

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