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18 days. 6 countries. 1 bag: The itinerary

Monday, December 12, 2011
On 10-10-10, I got married at a gorgeous resort in the Riviera Maya, Mexico. It was a small intimate breathtaking (but still ridiculously fun) 3 day event that will go down as one of the most memorable moments in my life. Hard to believe that not too far from that notch on top 10 life-list will be the honeymoon that followed just a year later. Initially our plans were to take a transatlantic cruise from the Rome to Ft. Lauderdale (cheaper airfare!) but when the ports were changed or taken away (like Monte carlo), and then a hard to pass up deal arose on a 10-night eastern Mediterranean cruise around our booking time - we did a switcharoo and snapped up the bargain (tip #1: be flexible and open minded with travel plans!). so the most important part was done: Cruise - check.

The cruise itinerary was as follows:
Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy / Sicily (Messina), Italy /  Valletta, Malta / At Sea / Chania (Souda),Crete, Greece / Rhodes, Greece  /  Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey  / Athens (Piraeus), Greece  / At Sea / Naples/Capri, Italy   / Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy

We learned from an earlier European trip that it was easy to get around to other countries using the budget airlines. Unfortunately what we flew before, Vueling, didn't serve the same cities. EasyJet did however and had prices that just couldn't be beat. So we decided on Virgin Atlantic for the hop across the pond then easyjet to get around to other countries. This conveniently added London to our list, giving us the opportunity to visit some close friends. However post-cruise I wanted to add another city to our itinerary so after tossing around cities like Amsterdam (cold?) Ibiza (off-season/cold)  Lisbon (ehh?) Bilbao (only because I saw that guggenheim museum) Milan (not much to see) we landed on Madrid for it's nightlife and close comparison to Barcelona (which we loved).

Planning this itinerary was fun thanks to the low airfares of EasyJet but logistically was a bit of a nightmare since I had to give us the flexibility of time getting to the cruise or to the airport. So here's how we ended up:

Fly to London - chill with friends for two days
Fly to Rome - two days. if we're up to it, train to Florence for a day-trip
Train to Civitavecchia to board ship for 10-day cruise (see above)
Arrive back at Civitavecchia and take the high-speed train to Milan
Next day flight to Madrid - two days
Flight back to NYC via layover in London

I just got tired typing that up. But it was awesome... some things didn't go as planned, there were some potential hiccups (strikes!) but all in all it was amazing and a great way to get a taste of the Mediterranean.  Next up.. Packing.
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