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“First” experiences when I get to travel still give me butterflies which to me is part of the fun. I can tell you that taking the Italio fast train for the day from Rome to Florence was one of the best first experiences that I truly enjoyed from beginning to end.

Here are a few reasons why I highly recommend this, and any train day trip from Rome.

1. The cost of the ticket for the train for us was more expensive since we bought it on the day of travel, but if you buy it in advance, it is economical. We did upgrade our ticket to first-class and got that got a seat assignment and beverage service. I don’t think we’d do that again if we bought in advance because it wasn’t that much of a benefit. In case there wasn’t much of a difference in cost so we thought we’d try it out.

For Florence, it’s a walking city so having a car would have been a waist and renting a car in Italy is not for the faint of heart.

2. The fast train got us from Rome to the center of Florence in just 90 mins. That was important to give us as much time in the city as we could get for the day experience. We took the early train in and one of the last departures back that day which gave us 10 hours to explore.

3. Seeing the country outside of the bigger cities is so refreshing. Don’t get me wrong, the cities in Italy are why we come but getting out of the noise and busy streets, it’s easy to imagine the simple day to day life of the countrysides. I also could imagine what it was like hundreds of years ago with the simple beauty of the hillside villages in simpler times.

4. For us, this was our first introduction to Florence and let me tell you, it does NOT disappoint in any way. It is an easy city to “find” the important places you want to see. We bought a “highlight” city map when we got off the train and could find every site easily on our own. Even when we did go down the wrong streets, there was wonderful discovery’s to be made.

Most cities in Rome you’d visit via train I can imagine would be the same in many ways: wonderful sites, smells, and people.

5. Doing a day trip lets you get just enough of a city to know if it’s a place you want to spend more time on your next visit. I’ve done day trips to places others have raved about that to me, I was ok to experience it once and not feel the need to return. It didn’t speak to me I guess the way it to someone else. It happens. And, I’ve been to places that I’ve cried when I left before I knew my heart was there and I wanted to see and experience everything – One day would never be enough and those are the places that will be the focus of your next trip.

Now that hope that if you find yourself in Rome you consider taking a day to explore outside of that magnificent city and see what more is waiting for you to experience.

Happy travels!

All the best,
Wendy Fracchia
Morris Murdock Escorted Tours

(801) 483-5285
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I had the incredible opportunity of visiting the beautiful country of New Zealand. After arriving in Auckland and picking up our rental van, we headed south through the gorgeous countryside. New Zealand was experiencing spring, with all of its delightful flowers and green lush hills. This was quite an experience in itself of going from the colors of fall in Utah to flowering trees, tulips and daffodils everywhere we looked.

My husband, an excellent driver, navigated the left-side of the road quickly, as well as the clockwise direction of the many round-about intersections. I can’t say enough of the gorgeous countryside. It rained the first day, but this seemed to make the rolling hills even greener. The many cows and sheep seemed to really enjoy themselves in this part of the world.

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In October we went on A Canada New England Cruise on Royals Serenade of the Seas. We Flew into Boston a couple days before so we could see some sites in Boston before the cruise. We had a late flight after the cruise so thought that would be plenty of time in Boston. There was so much to see and do in Boston that we wished we had chosen a longer pre- or post-Cruise stay in Boston.

Boston really is a place to learn the history of this great country. We saw Plymouth Rock which commemorates the location where Europeans first set foot onto what's now U.S. soil. The Plymouth Plantation and Grist Mill were very educational and interesting. We were also able to spend a little time at each of the following. The Salem Witch museum, The Wax museum, the New England aquarium and the Boston tea party. We rode the city view hop on hop off Boston Trolley Sightseeing tour but did not have time to visit everything we wanted to.

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Visiting the Andalucia region of Spain is the quintessential Spanish experience. Everything from the charm of the white hill towns, to the flamboyant Flamenco dancers, to bull fighting matadors, to tasty tapas feels like a page right out of a travel magazine. Also in this region you’ll find the Alhambra in Granada and the Mezquita in Cordoba that melds Europe and Islamic architecture into a mesmerizing experience. The nearby Costa del Sol is a perfect place to slow down and soak up some Spanish sun.

The large cities of Andalucia - Seville, Cordoba, Granada - are becoming increasingly connected with the rest of Spain as the AVE high speed train connects them to each other and Madrid. However, you might consider renting a car or hiring a driver in this region for the convenience of wandering off the beaten path and exploring the small nearby hill towns. The distances between cities are short, no more than a couple of hours. Or, if you’re looking for a central home base, consider Marbella along the Costa del Sol.

Seville is the capital of this region and the 4th largest city in Spain and yet, the city itself is intimate and very walkable. By staying in the city center it is quick walk to the top sights of the Alcazar, Cathedral, and Barrio Santa Cruz - Seville’s Jewish Quarter.

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I had the opportunity to experience my very first cruise onboard Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas. I had a fantastic experience on the newly amplified ship.

This ship is a medium sized ship with large activities. There was so much to do you couldn’t do it all. There are activities for every age and personality. There is the sanctuary for those that want to just relax and waterslides, flow rider and rock climbing wall for the more adventurous.

The entertainment aboard the ship was great! There were always so many things going on. We saw comedians, an ice skating show, participated in game shows, watched live bands, and went to a 70’s and 80’s dance parties. For the more laid back entertainment there was a movie every night under the stars. There was even a guy who put a piano in the elevator and rode it playing and singing requests.

I had an amazing adventure with the specialty dining options. The food and the menu options are very diverse. You definitely feel as if you are dining at a five star restaurant. There are so many different options of places to eat that I never ate at the same place twice with 12 different places to choose from.

We ported for a day in Nassau and a day at Royal Caribbean’s private island Coco Cay. They advertise it as the perfect day and that it is. Whatever you want your day to be it can be relaxing or adventure filled. From water slides, zip lining, hanging out in the pool or relaxing on the beach you get to paint your perfect day. I also was amazed by how much area there was on the island. There were two mid-sized ships there and you could still walk up to any area and find a place to hang out. Again the food options on the island out did themselves.

I had an amazing adventure and would recommend that you go and experience an adventure like this!

Welcome on board!

All the best,
Kari Cellan
Morris Murdock Travel - Billings

(406) 655-3500
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