This was the first time I went to Europe. It was for on a work trip where I flew into Barcelona, boarded a ship and sailed to Toulon, Villefranche, Florence, via La Spezia, Rome, via Civitavecchia, Naples and back to Barcelona. It was an amazing tour.
I was far more adventurous today. I disembarked and hopped a train for Nice. Walked everywhere. downtown, the fort, along the Promonade Anglais and had Vietnamese food in front of the Fountain of Neptune. Then took a train to Monte Carlo, missed the stop and had to turn around. Ha. Great fun.
Finally. I raced off the ship and took the 1.5 hour train to Florence. They said the trains were bad and to come back with plenty of time... I cut it close and the train was late coming back. Then I jumped off at the wrong stop. Had to run down the hill through the city along the port and just caught the last bus to the ship. Florence was everything I had dreamed.
The port for Rome is Civitavecchia. Grabbed the first train I could and headed for Rome. The last stop is right in front of the Colosseum. It was a perfect day, sunny and warm and I did a "best of Rome" walkabout. The Pantheon is perfection.
Cruise ships dock right in Naples. No trains involved, so it was great just to walk into the city and start exploring. I loved Naples. Gritty and fabulous old buildings and people hanging out their laundry and just living. The Museo Archeologico Nazionale was spectacular: the Farnese collection, the mosaics from Pompeii, and the Secret Gallery of ancient erotic art (Pompeii porn), were all fantastic. Oh, and great pizza.
I returned from the Cruise and spent three days exploring Barcelona. I found an Airbnb in Eixample with two British expats. Really nice guys and a great space: an old apartment with my own suite with an iron balcony overlooking the street. And a cute little dog. Tapas and Paella. Gaudi and Catalan. It was wonderful.