GOODBYE WINTER: 10 PHOTOS TO MAKE YOU TAKE A EUROPEAN SUMMER ESCAPE

View from Notre Dame, Paris

View from Notre Dame, Paris

Parisian cafes, Le Marais

Parisian cafes, Le Marais

Colosseum, Rome

Colosseum, Rome

Rome streets, Hedera Sweetness & Co

Rome streets, Hedera Sweetness & Co

Burano, Italy

Burano, Italy

The canals of Venice

The canals of Venice

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

Passaggio in Oia, Santorini

Passaggio in Oia, Santorini

Valletta, Malta

Valletta, Malta

Ephesus, Turkey

Ephesus, Turkey

 After returning from my European vacation it’s been hard to get back into the swing of things especially now the cold is upon us in Melbourne.  However, these photos take me straight back to the sun, sea, wine and gelato and I'm instantly happy.

Paris was the first leg of the trip and this stop was all about good food, overindulging on pastries, stinky cheese and red wine.  Highlights included spectacular views from the top of Notre Dame, excellent coffee at Coutume Café owned by a Franco Australian duo and finding the little gem Rose Bunker which is a cool vintage and recycled bric- a-brac shop located in Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement.

After 5 nights in Paris, my family and I stayed in Rome over May day long weekend which was absolute mayhem but a lot of fun! May day festivals meant the locals were out and about enjoying the fine weather and activities.  Some of my favourite stops included the Porta Portese flea market, which takes place on Sundays on Via Portuense and the adjacent streets. If you love flea markets like I do, you will love this place. You won't find another market in Rome of this size and that's this crazy! Also, while exploring the streets around the Vatican I found Hedera Sweetness & Co (pictured above) for some of the best gelato I've tasted in Rome.* I enjoyed so many meals of pasta, pizza, fresh seafood and steak that I almost had to be rolled to our next stop - the Celebrity Constellation.

I spent the next 12 nights on the cruise travelling the Mediterranean including Naples and the Amalfi coast, Valletta, Santorini, Rhodes, Crete, Mykonos, Kusadasi and Venice. Highlights on this leg of the trip included good coffee and a lovely brunch of fruit, nuts and Greek yoghurt at Passaggio in Oia, Santorini (pictured above) . We ate brunch on the roof top with a perfect sea view and the industrial inspired interior reminded me so much of Melbourne. This was followed by a seafood lunch at Da Costa in Fira and shopping in the busy laneways and markets. The best form of transportation down the hillside in Santorini is via donkey, so naturally we skipped the queue for the cable car and jumped on!

The four weeks I spent in Europe was full of sun, sea and gelato which was the perfect escape from the cold that was waiting in Melbourne.

Happy travels!

Amanda

*Tip: steer clear of the "fake" gelato, i.e. the brightly coloured and whipped looking variety. It's usually full of added colours and preservatives and doesn't taste as good as the hand crafted, naturally flavoured kind. Look for gelato stored in metal containers.