Ever Enchanting Palma de Mallorca

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I have been searching for the best beaches in Europe since 2010, when I got invited on the Costa Deliziosa Western Mediterranean itinerary it was the perfect excuse to find the best beaches in Europe.  I sailed through the Balearic Islands, and the Italian coast.  Let me tell you, it was the perfect combination of sight-seeing through Europe yet also having some downtime at the beach.  

This cruise is when I discovered the ever-enchanting Palma de Mallorca.  We arrived in Palma at 8 a.m. and left around midnight, it gave us more than enough time to tour the island, get some beach time and dinner on the boardwalk.  The stop before this one was in Ibiza, which before the trip I thought would be the highlight but honestly, Ibiza is completely over-rated.  When we got to Palma everything was fairly priced.  We took a tour through the hop-on / hop-off bus; it started and ended at the Catedral-Basilica de Santa Maria de Mallorca. Which I should point out is an easy shuttle ride from the cruise port. 

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The Cathedral is absolutely breathtaking, and you can catch a glimpse of it from many parts of the island. The tour starts there takes you all over the island and then has stop at the Bellver Castle where you can see the amazing viewpoints like the ones below.  After spending some time at the viewpoint, we headed back on the bus to the end of the tour.  

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We then took a cab to the beach, the cab was roughly '14 from the cruise port, rented 2 beach chairs and spent the rest of the day relaxing by the ocean.  Out of all of the beaches that I have visited in Europe Palma was by far the best.  The sand was nice and cool, after leaving Ibiza and everything there being overly expensive, we were shocked at how cheap everything in Palma was.  The beach chairs cost about 12 'to rent.  The water was the perfect temperature, I really can’t say anything negative about our day at the beach.  

After soaking up the sun and enjoying the water we decided to have a late lunch/early dinner on the board walk before heading back to the ship.  There were plenty of restaurants to choose from on the boardwalk with fresh seafood and paella.  After some tapas, paella and a few glasses of wine we decided to keep shopping on the boardwalk to dry off before heading back home for the night.  It was the most perfect day of our 7-day trip along the Western Mediterranean.  Palma will always hold fond memories for me, and I can’t wait to go back and stay at one of their resorts on the beach and really get to enjoy it for more than just 1 day.  

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The Beautiful City of Venice

Disclaimer: The 2 times I have been to Venice, I have encountered the worse weather.  It has been gloomy, rainy and freezing.  

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          My first time in Italy, was magical.  I feel in love with every city, every alleyway, every day was great.  With that said, Venice still seems to me a bit over-rated. However, an under rated city in Italy is still and always will be a beautiful city compared to anywhere else. If you haven’t noticed by now I special love affair with Italy.  Back to my first time in Italy, what a beautiful experience.  Being first-timers we made the mistake of driving from Rome. Since it was our first time driving in Italy and being confused by the laws and speed limits and getting lost, we arrived in Venice late at night. Which was a perfect time for a late-night traditional meal.  It was gloomy, the streets were slippery, therefore we weren’t able to enjoy it to its fullest.  

            Six years later I was able to give Venice a proper visit of 2 full days.  In proper travel fashion I was supposed to land in Venice take a gondola ride and enjoy the next 2 days in Venice before boarding on my Mediterranean cruise.  My transatlantic flight from Miami to Madrid got delayed, which caused me to miss my connecting flight to Venice.  I had to wait 15 hours in the Madrid airport catching the last flight to Venice of the day. On the bright side, if I was to be stuck in any airport the Madrid airport is not a bad one to be stuck in.  There’s enough to do to keep you entertained and busy for days in end. There’s shopping, coffee shops, bars, and typical Tapas restaurants all around.  

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            Arriving in Venice, at around 1 a.m.; we had to cancel our tours and just wish the best for the next day.  The next day we decided to make the best of it and try to do our canceled tours before checking into the cruise.  When we woke up it was pouring rain and it continued to rain throughout the day, but it was that type of rain that was so cold that you can feel it in your bones. Yes, that type of rain to say it was awful is an understatement. It’s important to note that from the cruise port you need to take a ferry to get to the island of Venice.  

            After arriving to the island, we figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask the tour company if we could do the tour that was scheduled for the day before but was missed because of our flight delay.  Being that the weather was so awful, and it being off season it didn’t take much convincing for them to take us our gondola ride.  Boy am I glad we did that gondola ride.  This gondola ride is extremely touristy, takes you through the canals of Venice, if you’re lucky you’re on the canal in which the musician is on. Regardless, you’re able to hear the music in whichever gondola you are in.  And it is just magical.  As touristy as this may seem it is a definite must do!

            After the gondola ride, we took a quick tour through the Piazza San Marco and throughout the streets of Venice before taking the taxi back to the cruise ship.  Despite the weather Venice was a beautiful city for me but in my opinion, it was over-rated, it wasn’t the marvelous, picturesque romantic city everyone dreams of when they think of Venice. After our adventure to Venice it was off to enjoy 12 days aboard the NCL Spirit through the Mediterranean.