Buongiorno! Here’s another post on the Eternal City, and this time we explore two more famous sights – the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain. I was really looking forward to visiting both of these places, and I was quite disappointed that both of them were under restoration. Well, I just have to go back to Rome another time!
The Fontana di Trevi is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and the considered by many as the most beautiful in the world. A traditional legend holds that if visitors throw a coin into the fountain, they are ensured a return to Rome (TreviFountain.net). Even though the fountain was under restoration, there was still a place where tourists could throw in their coins. Of course, I didn’t pass up the chance to throw in a coin or two into the fountain. I want to go back to Rome and see the Fontana di Trevi!
We also visited the Spanish Steps, another must see place in Rome. It is also known as “Scalina Spagna,” and it has an irregular butterfly design consisting of 138 steps placed in a mix of curves, straight flights, vistas and terraces. They connect the lower Piazza di Spagna with the upper piazza Trinita dei Monti, with its beautiful twin tower church dominating the skyline. (Rome on a Segway)
We were also invited by my mom’s friend to eat at their place, and we happily obliged. They prepared a delicious and hearty Italian meal for us, serving us cheese, bread, fruits, pasta, roast beef, and wine. They also brought us to a nearby gelato place, and I think we had the best gelato here! We also stopped by Pontificio Collegio Filippino, where Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle celebrated mass, in line with the Filipino Independence Day. It was great to be with Filipinos, we had a taste of home after weeks of traveling.
Thank you to Tita Narcisa and her son Longines for the delicious lunch and for the warm welcome. Much thanks to Sister Pierette for accompanying us during our stay in Rome.
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After spending our first night at the cruise ship, it was time for our first stop – Marseille. It was an amazing feeling waking up and knowing that we were already in a different country. We had an early call time, but of course we couldn’t do anything but to get ready on time. A day of exploring awaits!
Marseille is a rich, pulsing port city bubbling over with history, cutting-edge creative spaces and hip multicultural urbanites. Since Greek settlers came ashore around 600 BC, waves of immigrants have made Marseille (now France’s second-largest city) their home.
Marseille’s iconic figure, Notre-Dame de la Garde or “La Bonne Mère” watches over sailors, fishermen and the entire city. It is located on the top of the hill, and also offers great views of the city.
We also had a photo stop at The Palais Longchamp. It brings the Museum of Fine Arts, Natural History Museum and botanical garden (formerly a zoo) together on a single site.
Our next stop was Aix-en Provence.
A pocket of left-bank Parisian chic deep in Provence, Aix is all class: its leafy boulevards and public squares are lined with 17th- and 18th-century mansions, punctuated by gurgling moss-covered fountains. Haughty stone lions guard its grandest avenue, cafe-laced cours Mirabeau, where fashionable Aixois pose on polished pavement terraces sipping espresso. While Aix is a student hub, its upscale appeal makes it pricier than other Provençal towns.
We walked around and browsed through small shops (although a lot were closed, maybe because it was a Sunday) and just enjoyed strolling around a Parisian town.
After our stroll, we took a break and sat down near Fontaine de la Rotonde, a huge fountain from 1860 in the centre of Aix’ main roundabout. Some pigeons also approached us as we ate some snacks.
Although we had very limited time, it was nice to see and visit the main sights of Marseille and Aix-en-Provence. Next stop, Italy!
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After our Montserrat day trip, we had late lunch and a quick rest before touring again. What’s great about our visit in Spain (and other Mediterranean countries) is that the sun sets late, around 9 pm, which gives us more time to walk around and explore. But don’t get me wrong, Barcelona is beautiful at night as well!
On our way back to our place, we passed by the Barcelona Cathedral, so we also had a photo taken here. Such a beautiful structure!
The place we stayed in was near Palau de la Música Catalana – considered as an architectural jewel of Catalan Art Nouveau. It is the only concert venue in this style to be listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, which today represents an essential landmark in the cultural and social life of Catalonia. Look at those details – amazing!
After getting a quick rest, it was time to see more of Barcelona – this time it was Montjuic!
We saw the Castell de Montjuic, which used to be a military fortress. The castle was used as a military prison until 1960 when it was given back to the city and used as an army base. Now, it offers stunning views of the city.
When it was about to get late, we rushed down to catch the magic fountain light show, in front of another beautifully-built structure, the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya.
It was a long, tiring but very fun day exploring Barcelona! Took a few more photos before heading back to our place as more days of walking around was waiting for us. We all look so happy in our photos, I guess our happiness was caught on camera. We just loved Barcelona!