Summer is Over!

Tomorrow I report to work at 8am. We have a week to ready our rooms, but vacation is officially over. It was the summer to top all summers.

Even though last year, we went to Iceland, which I would name, hands- down, as my favorite place ever, this summer was so so fun. One of our taglines, each time we added something new and exciting to the mix, was ‘summer topping.’ And so much of it was completely unexpected.

Last time I wrote, it was about Lisbon. A beautiful city, with each and every corner holding some gem. It has history and modern vibrancy. It’s so pretty it made my heart ache. Furthermore, one of their national dishes is pork and clams. I also loved that you can take a short train trip to Cascais on the Atlantic Ocean. Although that water was so cold it was hard to swim. Perfect for a quick dip to cool yourself. I was sad to leave.

To top off the summer, we went on a huge cruise ship, the Norwegian Epic. It has been something we have both wanted to try and I was especially interested in a Mediterranean cruise.

The Norwegian Epic has the biggest water slide of any ship and the largest outdoor screen for movies. I finally saw ‘Chicago’. There were pools, bars, theaters, a few buffets and restaurants, with the fanciest “free” one being ‘The Manhattan Supper Club’; they served an excellent volcano cake.  We skipped anything with a cover charge. We did check out the casino, go to an impersonation show, ‘Legends’, and bingo. Our favorite thing was ‘Howling at the Moon’, a dueling piano show, where the audience gets to request songs and sing along. They also tell cheesy jokes, another one of my favorite things. We went three times! The hospitality on the ship was incredible and the whole experience very relaxing.

We were happily surprised that while our room was tiny, it was so well designed that it didn’t feel cramped. There was space for everything, including a place to tuck away my suitcase. It was nice to totally unpack for the week.

The port stops are not the best way to truly see a place, but you do get an enjoyable itty-bitty taste of each. The cruise ship went from the Port of Rome, to the Port of Florence, where we stayed in Pisa for the day, Cannes in France, Palma de Mallorca in Spain, Barcelona, a day at sea, then Naples, italy and back to Rome. Cannes was less awesome (trashier) than I expected and Palma de Mallorca more amazing (serenely elegant) than I imagined. This is the problem with expectations.

We were able to return to our favorite restaurant from our first night in Rome, Mangiafuoco, for a final dinner together. I really can’t understand why fried olives have not made it off the boot. This time, instead of catching up on our lives, we were reflecting on all we had seen and our hopes for the year ahead.

Ending in Rome felt full full circle. A complete and perfect ending to our incredible summer.

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