A Quick Recap of My Trip to Europe

by Gray Cargill on May 27, 2015

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Has it really been a month since I wrote on this blog about my (at that point) upcoming trip to Europe aboard the Norwegian Jade? Hard to believe. What a month it was! I had a fabulous trip to five cities in four countries in 10 days. You’ll be reading a lot more about my trip in the coming months, and I’ll be sharing some photos of the beautiful places I visited. But today, I just want to do my usual post-trip recap of random observations and trip notes.

An Inauspicious Beginning

I had hoped I’d get at least a little bit of sleep on the nine-hour overnight flight to italy. Nope. Didn’t happen. I also hoped this would be the trip that would break my unlucky streak of getting sick on airplanes en route to my vacation destination. That didn’t happen either.

I started feeling ill about an hour after they served us breakfast on the plane. Could have been something I ate on the plane, could have been the dinner I’d forced myself to eat at the Philadelphia Airport food court the night before. Who knows. But there I was, after shuffling bleary-eyed off the plane, standing second in line at passport control at Marco Polo Airport when the urge to vomit hit me. I haven’t known panic like that in a very long time.

But “all’s well that ends well”. I was nauseated for the rest of the day, but I didn’t throw up, and somehow I not only made it to my hotel in Mestre, but, after resting for a few hours, took the train into Venice for the afternoon and got lost wandering the maze-like streets and bridges of this watery city. I think it was the sight of the Grand Canal sparkling in the bright sunlight that revived me. I saw my first real Italian gondolas (dozens of them) and took my first vaporetto ride. …Keep Reading!


NCL Jade Cruise Sneak Peek

April 29, 2015
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As of the writing of this post, I am less than 2 weeks out from my trip to Venice and my cruise aboard the Norwegian Jade. I’m really excited about seeing all the ports on my itinerary, and relaxing about the ship. But the amount of hours I’ve put into preparations for this trip is […]

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Ford’s Theater for the DC Visitor

April 22, 2015
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Ford’s Theater, as students of American history know, is where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Boothe in 1865. Aside from the Lincoln Memorial, it’s probably the most Lincoln-centric tourist attraction in Washington, DC. I visited Ford’s Theater on a rainy Wednesday in Washington, DC. (Thank God for museums on rainy days.) Before […]

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A Quick Tour of Arlington National Cemetery

April 8, 2015
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I love walking through cemeteries. You can learn a lot about a culture by looking at how they treat their dead, and you can learn a lot by reading old headstones. Cemeteries are peaceful places to go for a meditative walk and consider the meaning of life. I personally am opting for cremation when I […]

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Hotel Rouge: Love at First Sight

March 25, 2015
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[Disclaimer: I’m not sure why all my photos of this place came out so terribly, but you can definitely blame the photographer and not the subject. You’ll have to use your imagination to picture how great it looks in person.] Hotel Rouge had me at “Hello.” Literally. I arrived late on a Saturday night, after […]

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A Newbie at the United Club Lounge

March 11, 2015
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Are you one of those lucky people whose business pays for you to spend your airport layover time in an airline club lounge instead of with the rest of us riff-raff in the food court or at the gates? Or are you, like me, someone to whom the airline club lounge experience has always seemed […]

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My Two Favorite Smithsonian Museums

February 25, 2015
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You know how there are museums that you visit once and you’re glad you did, but you also know you never need to go back again? This article is not about that kind of museum. I’ve been to Washington, DC exactly two times–once back in the 1990s for a single rainy Saturday and once this […]

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A Tour of the U.S. Capitol

February 4, 2015
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Once again, I have to thank Tracy Antonioli, the Suitcase Scholar – this time for convincing me to tour the U.S. Capitol when I was in Washington. I didn’t want to. I’m so disgusted with politicians in Washington, Congress in particular. Why would I want to visit this temple to ego-driven decision-making? But the more […]

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Dining Around DC

January 21, 2015
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One of the greatest surprises for me about Washington, DC was just how much I dug the dining scene here. I didn’t get a chance to try as many restaurants as I would have liked; I had a really long list of places I wanted to try and didn’t get to a third of them. […]

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