By Monica G
I recently had the opportunity to visit Europe for two weeks this summer. I had a blast! My vacation started in Dublin, Ireland. The flight from Los Angeles to Charlotte, North Carolina was four and a half (4 ½) hours, then off to Dublin which was eight and a half (8 ½) hours.
Albany House, it wasn’t a pleasant experience. As an American, when the hotel list double beds, you automatically think twin beds right? Well this is not the case in all the countries in Europe I visited (Ireland, France, Italy and Spain). Well at the Albany House, there was mold, which I am highly allergic and the paint was peeling off the walls. The shower was not built for a tall person, so my friends and I moved to O’Callaghan’s Hotel.
This hotel was nice and had “twin beds”. The receptionist felt so bad for us (my friends and I) she threw in free breakfast. The breakfast was delightful, we could order anything off the menu and as much as we wanted.Note to everyone-the croissants, bacon and waffles are the best! During my trip, I had the opportunity to take a tour of Jameson Distillery and taste different types of Irish whiskey. I’m not a whiskey drinker, but wow, it was potent. The other tour that I would recommend is the Country side (Glenlock tour). The tour of the country side was so green, it was beautiful, plus the sky was gray, therefore, my pictures were magnificent. Before we left Ireland, we did some Pub hops, which was fun, but watch out-the drivers in Ireland, will run you over with their car (and despite with the Irish say-we Americans do not drive on the wrong side of the road). Overall, the Irish are very friendly and I recommend everyone to visit Dublin, Ireland you will not be disappointed!
After Ireland, my friends and I went to Paris, France. In my opinion, Paris wasn’t as fun as Ireland. Yes, I saw the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Arc, but it seems like Americans are not on the French favorite list. However the hotel, Oceania Paris de Versailles and the staff were awesome (after a bump in the road). There were no twin rooms, so the hotel manager offered my friends and I an upgrade (we all had our own rooms). Well, I winked at the manager and received a robe and slippers, so I was happy. Although the hotel is far from the tourist sites, I recommend this hotel, as it is modern and chic. The breakfast however was continental and a big difference from Ireland’s. I didn’t care for French food, as there food is more rich (creamy in texture), but the desert was delish! Would I recommend Paris? Well if you want to see the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre (Mona Lisa) yes, other than that, skip it and spend more time in Italy.
Next, I was on my way to Florence, Italy, which has very old vintage hotels. We stayed at the Atlantic Palace Hotel. The staff was nice, rooms were decent, but the shower was not built for a tall person. The bellman Ramon was overly nice, eager to assist you at any time. The continental breakfast was okay, but having been spoiled from Ireland’s breakfast, it wasn’t anything special. Florence did have a city market place which had everything, wine, souvenirs, food, fresh meat, sauces, olive oil and even a cooking class. In Italy, we took a two (2) hour train ride to Rome and toured the Vatican, the Colosseum and the Spanish steps (no I did not climb the Spanish steps-this girl was tired). The Pope wasn’t home, but the Vatican has some awesome artwork and is a must see in Rome. The food was awesome. We went to this tavern named Open Baladin Roma, although the kitchen was closed, my friend had a beer and we both shared homemade chips. The chips
were made from real potatoes and were awesome. While sitting and waiting for our friend, the kitchen opened…and OMG, they made the best burger EVER! I can’t explain it, just know if you are ever in Rome, go and eat at this place, you will not be disappointed. The next day, my friends and I took another two and a half (2 ½) train ride to Venice, Italy. I’m in love! Everyone, I mean everyone should go to Venice, San Marco’s Square! It is beautiful. Take a boat tour of the city and go to the Glass Blowing Tour. It is magnificent. All of the restaurants that I attended were good, but then again I love Italian food.
Lastly, I was on to Madrid, Spain. Shockingly, I enjoyed Madrid almost as much as Italy. The hotel Inside Madrid Genova- is modern, chic and just plain awesome. The staff was great, even those who didn’t speak fluent English (it is a Latin country-so we need to learn their language). The tapas bar, El Tigre was delicious. This bar was family owned and the food was GREAT! I had steak, very well- seasoned. Don’t forget to take a tour of the Palace, and while you are there-go to the Flamenco show and a ballet. You won’t be disappointed.
I hope you enjoyed my short version of my European trip…until next time loves…