Europe

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Saint-Tropez, France

Having never been to southern France, when I imagined visiting Saint-Tropez, I thought of bright beaches and sparkling sunglasses and navy blue bathing suits. But after a  6½ hour flight direct from NYC into Nice and a quick drive, we arrived in a town that I can only describe as quaint, quiet and pristine. The pastel buildings were painted pale colors, as perfect as a fresh box of chalk. We learned from a waiter, after pronouncing it phonetically for months, that the real pronunciation is…

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Florence

Since there last, I have remembered Florence as the city that smells like leather and warm waffle cones toasting on the open streets. This time several weeks ago, the air was a bit friskier and the shops not quite so exposed, and yet, the mystery behind the cobbles and closed wooden doors on every alley drew me in yet again. Third time, and still such a charm. We arrived via train from Nice fairly late our first evening, and queued up for one of what seemed like only three taxis in town. Our…

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Cinque Terre by boat

Back to our morning on the boat, the highlight of our travels through Cinque Terre! When my mother-in-law mentioned we'd like to take a boat, Stephano, our hotel owner, told us we might not find one this late in the year but to head to the harbor to see. We took the train from Monterosso (home base and the northernmost town) to the southernmost of the five, Riomaggiore. The train announcements sounded like rio-ma-CHEE-or-ay; love how they drag out the vowels. We walked down to the harbor, just…

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Cinque Terre, Italy

Italy will always glow like a bright orange ember in my heart for its romance, because it was during my first trip to Italy with a college friend that I was just starting to date Walker. We spent every spare, and not spare, minute searching for (cringe) internet cafes, so that I could type wobbly letters to him, across an ocean, telling of our adventures through glass factories and marmalade pastries. Our stops included Venice, Florence, and the Cinque Terre, a huddle of five ancient villages…

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Amoudi Bay, Santorini

On our last afternoon on the island, we took a cab five minutes down the back of the island to the port of Amoudi Bay for the famed lobster pasta. Amoudi sits at the very base of the cliff on which Oia towers, at the farthest point on the north of the island. The water in Amoudi was reminiscent of the clarity in Chania on Crete. For our very last meal in Greece, we sat at the Sunset Taverna one foot from the lapping Adriatic with no guard rail, and listened to the waves pat the wall and the…

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Imerovigli, Santorini

Oia, where we stayed, is on the northern tip of Santorini; Fira, the capital is in the middle, and between these two is the sleepy village of Imerovigli. We took a cab to dinner in Imerovigli one evening and from our quick time in the area, were surprised at just how quiet it was, and that there was no main street or walkway. If we ever get back to Santorini, I'm putting this wee hike to the end of this natural zigurrat-shaped hill on my list (before dawn!) Because, did I mention it's heat?…