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Amazing Stampin' Up! Incentive Trip -- Mediterranean Cruise Highlights

 

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Welcome to the Mediterranean Achievers Blog Hop for June 2016. 

The theme for the hop this month is to reflect and share pictures of our experience during the Mediterranean Cruise.  OH. MY. GOSH!!!  Every time I reflect back to the beginning....I mean, the end of Stampin' Up!'s Convention in 2014.  When I heard the announcement of the Grand vacation, I set my ultimate goal as a demonstrator...to earn the Mediterranean Cruise.  To achieve this award would be my very first grand vacation!  My immediate thought was "WOW! What a dream vacation."...with a follow-up thought...what a wonderful 25th wedding anniversary gift this would be for my hubby!  My eyes swell every time I think back to that day.  What once was a dream became a real life experience....all in due part to the wonderful and dedicated customers that helped me achieve my goal down to the very last minutes (literally), my AMAZING team members, and my beautiful and supportive family and friends.  For this, I gratefully (and with an overflowing heart) Thank YOU all so very much.

You may be starting from here at my blog, Lori Mueller - Stampin' Dreams, or you may have come here from the previous person to me on the list. Please be sure to click the person after me to move along the blog hop. If you get off track at any time, the full line up below will help you move along from blog to blog.  So, here are only a (very) small number of pictures I took during the trip.  We were asked to limit it to 15 pictures.  Yee GADS!!  I took over 950 pictures!  Nonetheless, I am excited to share with you.

 

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Thursday, May 19, 2016:  My husband and I decided to extend our trip to Europe by leaving early and spending some time in Dublin, Ireland.  We spent two days walking around the area that we stayed at and walked across the famous Ha'penny Bridge.  The Temple Bar near Trinity College was another stop we had on our list, which was full of guests listening to an Irish native singing the Irish tunes.  All of the streets in this area were cobblestone.  Loved walking these streets.

 

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Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland

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Saturday, May 21, 2016:  We have arrived in Barcelona, Spain and toured the sites from the top of the Hop On Hop Off Bus.  What a time saver!

 

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AND, we have lights!!  When we came back to our hotel room after sight-seeing through the city, we realized that we had no lights or electricity.  We scoured the room for 15-20 minutes before we gave up and went to the front desk.  The very kind person behind the counter indicated 'no one told you?'  Hmmmm, told us 'what?'  "There is a box beside your door...you put your room key in the slot and that will turn on your electricity."  AHHHH!  Brilliant concept...when you leave, you need your room key, right? and it turns off the lights!  LOL

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Port of Barcelona (Sunday, May 22, 2016):  The day has arrived!  The day to board the Norwegian Epic cruise ship!  YAY!  Here's a view looking back on Barcelona, Spain from our Stateroom Balcony.  Amazing!!


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First port stop...Napoli, Italy!  This castle may look really small, but take a closer look at the people walking up to it.  It was HUGE!  Castel Nuovo Museo Civico, Napoli, Italy

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2nd Port Stop....Rome, Italy  Walking around the Coloseum ruins was breathtaking.  I think I have a pretty good camera, but these images don't do the magnitude of the beauty near the justice it deserves.

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Not only is there the beauty of the structures, but the city of Rome ravishes on their flower beds.  The greenery and bright colors really made the buildings come to life.

 

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St. Peter's Basilica in Rome...the only vocabulary I have to describe this amazing structure...WOW!!  Stole my breath!

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Our driver, Savigno, had one last 'present' for us to remember the City of Rome.  The best view to soak it all in.

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3rd Port stop (Thursday, May 26, 2016):  Florence, Italy.  We hopped into a van and drove off into the Italian countryside.  Since I grew up on a farm, my heart was in heaven.  I love the fresh air, the smell of dirt stirred into the air, and warm sun rays on my skin.  We were heading to Fattoria, Italy to check out the San Michele A Torri vineyard and experience some wine tasting....Italian style.  A little bit of history with this vineyard....during World War II, this cellar became a bomb shelter for over 125 women and children for almost a month.  The war ended when U.S. troops came in.

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It was very interesting to learn about the different wines, how they are processed, the length of time, and that no part of the grape is left without making something with it.  The different wines that we tasted (and all with wonderful breads) were good, but that Grappa!  That was pure moonshine!  I swear I could breath fire after the teeny-eentsy taste that we got.  haha


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When you step foot into any city of Italy, you are immediately engulfed with a store serving many flavors of Gelato!  OH. MY. GOSH!  I swear...every block had Gelato cases with wonderful flavors to choose from.  This little store only had a dozen of flavors to choose....while others had about 2 dozen!  So it seemed, anyway.  I forgot to take a picture to help me remember.  haha

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No Italian pasta dish is complete without a little glass of wine or champagne.  So, anyone want to tell me what they think of the napkin?  Are you thinking "Swirly Bird" like I did?  So cool!

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4th Port stop (Friday, May 27, 2016):  Cannes, France.  On this day, a small group of us ran through the streets of Cannes to catch the train because we weren't staying.  GASP!  Yep!  We boarded a train heading to Monte Carlo, Monaco!  It was only about an hour or less to travel, so why not?  Our goal was to see the Formula 1 cars racing the streets in preparation for the big Grand Prix race on Sunday.

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5th (and last) Port stop (Saturday, May 28, 2016):  Marseille, France.  Our stop in Marseille was a shorter stay than the other ports, so we hopped on this little train that took us through the city to see the tourist sights.  Chugga-chugga choo-choo!!  The other side of the street, for many, many blocks were tons of different restaurants and vendors (flowers, jewelry, paintings, fresh fish, etc.)  Like a farmer's market, so to speak.


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Remember that little train?  It took us all the way to the top where Notre Dame de la Garde sits. WOW! What a view of the city! Had no idea how big it was.

 

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This is only 1 side of the cathedral's view of Marseille.  I took pictures from all 4 sides, but the size of the city was HUGE.

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Each night, our wonderful Stateroom representative, Aruind, would secretly leave behind wonderful gifts from Stampin' Up! (pillow gifts).  He was so friendly and liked to tease.  One night, he tried to convince me that there were no pillow gifts.  He wasn't sure what happened, but there wasn't one for me.  Hahaha!  Lots of good laughs and conversations to remember.


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Here are all of the pillow gifts I received throughout the trip.  I love what I do, and I love working with Stampin' Up!  If you have the desire to dream big and work hard to achieve your goals, come join me and my Stampin' Up family.  We call ourselves "Lori's Dream Team".

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