Thursday, April 24, 2014

and tomorrow we fly.......!

Adios a Barcelona!

Today was our final day in Barcelona....A full trip with a ton of weary, but well-travelled bunch of  students (and adults).  Today our day began with a bit of a sleep in and a little later start than normal. and we were off to the top of the stairs at the arts museum (originally built for the 1929 World Exposition in Barcelona).  An amazing view and great opportunity for a group shot.  After that, we ventured on to La Rambla (we explored some of it yesterday, and the reminder today).  Half way down La Rambla, we proceeded into the Barrio Gotica (Gothic Neighborhood).  A great area of shops and awesome architecture.   We reconvened and proceeded onto the waterfront where we spent some time exploring the beautiful day and scenery of the second largest port in Europe.  After that we proceeded back up La Rambla to a tapas dinner.........

Weary and bedraggled, we took the subway back to the hotel.

Along with chaperones Joe & Lynn Bonaldo, we cannot be more grateful for your trust and your kids.   Never a problem, and never a worry.


Looking forward to a tour in 2 years to London & Paris!

Taking home many souvenirs, pictures and happy memories.

With sincerity & thanks,

Mrs. Maher & Sean

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Where ya goin'?....Barcelona


Today was our first complete day in Barcelona....WHAT A DAY!
We woke early, had a breakfast, complete with Spanish Chorizo and, yes, more bread!

After breakfast we, along with our wondrous Claudia our EF Tour Guide, met our local guide, Ellie, and began our amazing bus tour of Barcelona We began with a  tour of the area where our apartment/Hotel is located Mount Juic.  So named because it is the location of the first Jewish Cementary in Barcelona.  

We drove to the top of Montjuic for some amazing vistas of Bareclona.  After a stop for some pics at the peak of Montjuic, proceed to cross Barcelona and take a look at some of the most amazing architects in Europe at the time....Most distinctively, Antoni Gaudi.  

We visited the pout side of his most iconic work, the Cathedral de la Familia Sagrada (Cathedral of the Holy Family.  The work on which began in 1882, and is not finished (expected completion 2026!)  It is a perfect example of Gaudi's ins[irational Art Nouveau style, as is his amazing Casa Batllo (Dragon House) and the fascinating Park Güell, home of the most mind blowing mosaic and tile work.  We were able to see all this and more!

After this time and lunch in the City center.  We just happened to visit on the day of Sant Jordi (St. George)  It is Catalan's version of At. Valentine's day and the streets were filled with people buying roses for each other.

After this amazingly full day, it was on to dinner and then  Spanish subway rode back to the Hotel for some much needed rest!
At the top of Mount Juic

The Dragon House

Gaudi's bench at Park Güell


Amazing mosaic building at Park Güell

Closeup of the bench at Park Güell

The breathtaking Cathedral of La Sagrada Familia by Gaudi (set for completion in 2026)

Monday, April 21, 2014


(phonetically Nise Nees)

Today we spent a fantastic day in Nice, France on the Côte d'Azur....the French Riviera.

We woke early and drove from our hotel in Cannes to the beautiful French southern coastline.  An amazing day...Free time in the morning, exploring old Nice...There was an outdoor antique market and a nice sunny cool morning walking through the most beautiful streets and alleyways.

Many thought this was the best day so far....Mrs. Maher and I included.

After lunch on our own we all met at the meeting point and went on a hike up "the rock" in Nice.  Incredible views and great friendship!

After the hike...a free afternoon...more time to explore.....

After dinner...back to the hotel.....gearing up for an eight hour drive to Barcelona!

Sunday, April 20, 2014


Today was our visit to Monaco....the second smallest independent state in Europe.  Monaco has been ruled but the Grimaldi family for over the past 700 years.  The most famous resident of Monaco, to US citizens, was Oscar winning movie actress Grace Kelly, Princess Grace of Monaco.

Monaco, and Monte Carlo are some of the wealthiest locations on earth.

The weather cooperated today with plenty of sunshine.  There were some overcast skies in Monaco, but a beautiful day overall.  We started our day with a 3 hour drive from Ameglia, Italy to Monaco.  A few hours in the gorgeous country and then off to Cannes, home of the renowned international film festival.....the Palm D'or....a few hours there and then a nice dinner in Cannes.  After the very full day we checked into our hotel and tomorrow a full day in Nice, France including a hike to the top of the rock in Nice.

Everyone is having such a great time!

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Cinque Terre! (AND Italian rain)

Today we woke up early and were off to visit the Cinque Terre (five lands) region of northern Italy – The five lands are Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.  We visited 3 out of the five, (Vernazza, Manarola and Riomaggiore).  While Mother Nature did not cooperate initially (with no complaints by anyone for the rain and cold), by the end of the day the sun was shining.  We explored the three beautiful coastline towns by train and walked the hills for some breathtaking views.  We were all taken in by the vistas and the food (gelato) and some tried lobster for the first time! (…and shopping of course).  Back to the hotel by 5 for a chance to warm up, relax a bit and have dinner, then an evening at the hotel.  Tomorrow, off to Monaco!  Happy Easter to all!

Friday, April 18, 2014



(We have arrived!)

A flawless flight over on Emirates airlines.  We left JFK on time, and arrived in Italy, the same.  Good food on flight (I think most had the chicken stroganoff for dinner and the frittata for breakfast....Movies were plentiful on the flight and FROZEN was the most watched (over and over and over....!)

We arrived, sailed through immigration and met our amazing guide Claudia Esposito!  Board our very roomy coach bus (the glory of having a small tour) and started our 3 hour journey to our Hotel in Ameglia, Italy!

We stopped along the way for the obligatory "PP" stops and a small meal at a highway stop.  Beautiful views of the Italian countryside, and view of the Appenines (courtesy of Susie Beyl).
We then arrived at our hotel, checked in and had a great dinner of pesto rotini, pork in sauce and apple tart.  Early to bed (9:00 room check) and a 7:30 wake up for a full day of exploring the beauty of Cinque Terre (preview below).  Mother nature might not cooperate all that much tomorrow but....never fear, we will take in every minute!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Just days away!

Thanks to Zaneta Nicholson for this terrific collage -

Clockwise from up right - Nice, France; Cathedral of Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain; Monte Carlo Casino, Monaco; Porotfino, Cinque Terra, Italy