Italy & Switzerland – an European photo tour with the family!!!

I recently spend just over a week in Italy and Switzerland with my family and some of our friends. There were 11 of us, women, children and seniors. We also wanted to visit quite a few different places so it was decided that we would hire 2 drivers/tour guides. What ensure is basically the opposite of every holiday I’ve ever been on!!! In facts I felt like I didn’t actually visit any of these places except for the amazing food I had in Italy!!! Especially disappointing for me was Florence as I’ve always wanted to go and we really did not see this beautiful city at all!!! On the plus side, it was a pretty relaxing holiday as I didn’t really have to worry to much now to get anywhere or where to go. I just followed and work on tan!!! I do have a great tan to show for it and an expanded waistband due to all the good food and no exercise!!! Therefore im not gonna write much about the trip but I’m instead just share loads of pics, if nothing else you can see how amazing the weather was!!! I’m going to write another post for all the restaurants as eating was properly what we did the most on this trip!!!

Roma

I only spent 1 full day in Rome but we did stay at an amazing hotel – Boscolo Exedra Roma. It’s soooo big and has a pretty cool if small rooftop pool! The only sight I visited was The Colosseum…lol!!! But of course Rome is so beautiful that you can’t help but be enchanted with everything you see!

You would definitely mistaken the hotel for a monument!
  
A very grand lounge area too!
  
Our hotel room!
  
The sun lounger area.
  
View from the rooftop!
 
Look at that sparkling water, very inviting in the 40 degree heat!!!
  
Our big window in the hotel also offer a fantastic sunrise each morning!!!
The Colooseuem from the outside.
  
The inside!
 
I just managed to get a pic of the Altare della Patria from the car on the way to dinner!

Firenze

As I’ve mentioned before I’ve always wanted to visit Florence unfortunately even though we stayed here for 2 nights I still didn’t get to see it at all! 😓 Well here’s some pics of our centrally located hotel – Grand Hotel Villa Medici with yet another pool which we spent a lot of time! My complaint has to be that the pool was far too shady and I didn’t get much tanning done! 😞

Another grand entrance!
  
and interior
     
We even had a living roomi in our hotel room!!!
  
A very grassy area by the pool!
  
This pool is slightly bigger than the last one!
 

Pisa

So one of the reason that we didn’t see Florence as we had planned was because we spent a bit too much time at Pisa. Which I have to say I’m glad as I wouldn’t have ever made a special trip here! It was actually quite pretty there, we spent a great afternoon there with a home cooked meal at a tiny restaurant and rented Quad cycles to explore the town!

 

The main street of Pisa
  
  
Piazza dei Cavalieri
  
Cattedrale di Pisa

  
The famous leaning tower of Pisa and yes of course we took many pushing the tower pics!!!
  

Venezia

Venice is another destination that was on my bucket list and it definitely did not disappoint. For me it was the highlight of the whole trip and we were able to get a taster of the city. I’m for sure planning on coming back and see the city again the Venetians’ way, slow and leisurely!!! We stayed at the Best Western Premier Hotel Sant’Elena, it was a nice hotel with good size rooms. However if you were only here for a short trip then I wouldn’t recommend it as it’s situated at a quiet neighbourhood and is quite a bit of a walk from the centre unless you’re happy to travel by water taxi as we did. While we were here we also visited the Rainbow Island – Isola di Burano which is an photographer’s dream!!! There’s photo ops in every corner, we spent hours strolling along all the alleyways and taking pictures of EVERYTHING!!! So here I do have more pics than the other cities!!!

A ride o nthe water taxi was so exhilarating!!! I loved sitting at the back smelling the sea air and feeling the wind!!!

Seeing all these cruise ships kind of ruined the view for me a bit!
  
My 1st look at Venice and it was happily just as breathtaking as I had imagined!!!
         
  
Our hotel room.
  
1st look at Rainbow Island!
 
Snap a photo anywhere on this island and it wiuld be beautiful!!!
  
No filter needed, the scenaries speak for themselves!!!
  
   

       

Beautiful sunset as we walked towards our riverside restaurant for dinner!
  
Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri), a must for every tourists!
  
St Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco), this is of course synonymous with Venice!!!
       

Saint Mark’s Basilica
 
A 1st trip to Venice would not be complete without a ride on a gondola although I was a little underwhelmed with the service!!! Where’s the smile and where’s the singing??? I guess you only get that at the Venetian Casino!!!
    

It did feel very romantic meandering along all these narrow waterways!
 
The Grand Canal!
 
  
This is the most elegant police station I have ever seen!
  
    
 
Milano

After the scenic canals of Venice, we headed to Milan. I have to confess I’m not a big fan as from what I’ve seen before it is just like any other major European city, pretty run-of-the-mill!!! This year however they are hosting the World Expo – Expo 2015 and the theme is Food!!! I’ve read so much about it and a friend insisted I go, I mean it’s marketed as the biggest restaurant in the world!!! That’s pretty hard to resist!!! Alas it was not meant to be, due to our tight schedule I just couldn’t find the time!!! I’m pretty gutted and am still thinking if there’s any ways I can still visit before it closed at the end of Oct!!! We stayed at The Square Hotel Milano a mere 5 mins walk from the Milan Catheral ( which I believe it’s the only “sight” in Milan but my friends from the area disagreed. Lol) I would highly recommend this hotel for its location and very speedy wifi!!! So that concludes our journey through the some of the of the most touristic cities of Italy!!! 😝😝😝 Next stop Switzerland!!!

I habe to say that the Milan Cathedral (Duomo Milano) is pretty impressive, this is my 2nd time seeing it and if is still awe inspiring especially at the Golden Hour of the day!

The Galleria Vittorio Emmanuel II, one of the oldest shopping mall in the world, housing restaurants that have been opened for over a century!!!
  
Another glorious sunset we saw on the way to dinner!
  
Random gigantic suitcase on the street, we also saw a gigantic sewing machine nearby!!!
  
Honestly the inside of the Cathedral is not as impressive as the outside!!!
    
    

 

We decided to go up onto the roof of the Cathedral, this is a must do and you would be rewarded with some incredible views of Milan and see up close the Gothic architecture and scultures housed up there!!!
       
 
A bird’s eye view of Piazza del Duomo
 

Luzern

I’ve been to Switzerland once before and that was to Zurich and I had a pretty good time except for the ridiculously high price of everything!!! This time round it was a bit of a grey start, literally the sky clouded over as soon as we crossed the border from Italy!!! Fortunately it wasn’t long lived and by the time we arrived to our hotel – ibis Styles Luzern City we had blue sky again. This hotel is in a fantastic location, only a 10mins walk from the centre. Yet that’s the only good thing here!!! The hotel was just ok, similar to Premier Inn or Travelodge in the UK but at 4 times the price!!! Apparently this city is well known for overpriced hotels so maybe it’s better to come on a day trip! I did actually really liked Lucerne as it was very quaint and charming, in particular the lake.

 

The Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke) at night, just stunning!
  
The area surrounding Lake Luzern at night!
   

   

The Lion of Luzern (Löwendenkmal) – is a famous monument to commorates the Swiss Guards killed during the French Revolution.
    
The Chapel Bridge during the day, the colours were so vivid! I took sooooooo many pics here!!!
  
The inside of the Chapel Bridge
 

Genéve

Geneva has never really been on my radar before so I wasn’t expecting much but have to say I was still disillusioned when I arrived as I presumed that it would be similar to Lucerne but this was not the case at all! It was just like any financial city… We stayed at Suite Novotel Genéve and it was a very convenient hotel…if you wanted to stay near the airport!!! If you wanted to be in the city centre then I would reend looking elsewhere. On the other hand the hotel does provide you with a 24hr travel card and the tram stop is just on the other side of the road and take you directly to the centre in approx 30mins. If you’d prefer to stay local there’s a smallish shopping mall just next to the tram stop! Sadly this trip to Switzerland has put me off visiting the country for a while as I didn’t find that much to see or eat… There are other countries I would rather visit first! 

Well that concludes the sightseeing portion of my Italy & Switzerland trip. Please check up to check out the eating portion of my trip!!!

 

Jet d’Eau, an enormous fountain in Lake Genéve.
  
I love this pic, showing the beam of sunlight and it’s reflection on the lake.
  
Another beautiful lakeside!!!
     
The water was so clear!!!
     
The Broken Chair sculpture
  
The Palace of Nations. (Palais des Nations)
  

The Flower Clock (L’Horloge Fleurie)
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