As you can tell, I have been practicing my greetings when we go to Spain and Italy! I hope to learn some more words as we near our trip. I don’t want to repeat my epic fail in China when I couldn’t even order food because I didn’t learn some basic words.
Moving on. After our awesome trip to Asia, bf and I planned (and booked) yet another exciting itinerary! Hola, Spain! Ciao, Italia! Remember when I said book early and get the early bird specials? Of course, we booked our round trip tickets (from Hawaii to Europe) and hotels with points, miles, and $500 in taxes. Yes. That’s it. You read that right. We only paid $500 per person for everything! Of course, this does not include our pocket money.
Now, where do we get our miles?
As I have said before, we use our credit cards for almost all our purchases and pay them off at the end of the month. By doing this, we rack up miles and points on our accounts. Also, some credit cards have big sign up bonuses that you can’t just pass up. I will have to update my article about credit card sign up bonuses later on.
Our first stop is in Barcelona. We are supposed to arrive there in the evening so there’s nothing really much that we can do other than to indulge ourselves with some authentic Spanish food on our first night. The next four days, however, will be jam packed. Of course, Sagrada Familia (a basilica) by Antoni Gaudi is on the top of the list. In case you are wondering, Antoni Gaudi was a famous Spanish architect in the past that designed buildings in a unique and distinctive way. Other than this, La Pedrera, Casa Batllo, Plaza de Catalunya, Gothic Quarter, La Rambla, Mercat de la Boqueria are also on the list. We are also going to the mountain through a cable car to see the entire Barcelona metropolis. And while we are there, visiting Castell de Montjuic, Museu Nacional D’Art de Catalunya, Jardins del Mirador, and Fundacio Joan Miro are a MUST! Spain is rich in culture and history (not to mention the food) that we are excited to see and experience for ourselves.
After 5 days in Barcelona, we are going to the beautiful Venice. I have heard and read so many beautiful stories about Venice. Marco Polo is from Venice, too. To be able to walk the streets of Venice would be amazing. This floating city is filled with sights like Piazza San Marco, The Basilica, Campanille (bell tower), Doge’s Palace, Rialto, and the Grand Canal. If we find a cheap gondola ride at the Grand Canal, we will definitely do it. If not, oh wells. Also, the hotel that we booked is close to every sight that we want to see. The hotel is also 5 minutes away from the train station. So, the hotel is definitely a plus. The only caveat is that, the hotel is kind of rundown like most of the hotels in the city. I think they want to preserve the old Venice, and not do so much renovations or upgrades. We’ll manage. We will spend most of our time sight-seeing anyway.
After two days in Venice, we will then take the train to Florence. With arts and buildings from the Renaissance period that still exist today, strolling around Florence would be a treat. The Duomo, Statue of David by Michelangelo (inside the Accademia Gallery) , and St. John’s Baptistery are just three of Florence’s highlights that we want to see. Of course, the experience wouldn’t be complete without eating authentic Italian food. And have you watched the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” that starred Diane Lane? It has been one of the many inspirations why I wanted to go to Italy. The setting of the movie was just beautiful. We plan to go to that piazza (plaza) where Diane was at, and see fields and fields of sunflowers! Like Venice, we are only spending two days in Florence.
Rome was a no-brainer. It’s uncontestedly one of the most visited places in the world. I am taking world history classes at the moment, and learning about Rome before we go there gives me its background and rich historical facts which makes me appreciate the place even more. Our itinerary here over the next five days include the Vatican (hello Pope Francis!), St. Peter’s Square, Sistine Chapel, Pantheon, Roman Forum, Castel Sant Angelo, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, and of course, The Colosseum. Have you watched the movie “Gladiator” by Russell Crowe? We also purchased the Omnia Vatican and Rome passes to give us fast entry to some of these must-see sights. It also acts as a travel card. Meaning, we can ride the buses and other transportation system in Rome for free! To be able to see the land to which the Roman Empire was built will be an icing on the cake.
I love planning trips. Planning and anticipating trips is just as exciting as the actual trip itself. It gives you something to look forward to. It broadens the mind, and the experience that you get from travel is priceless. It’s even a greater joy if you can book your trip for less. I can’t wait!
How about you? When is your next vacation? To where? Did you use miles and points to book?