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Help me with my European Trip

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I am taking a cruise, here are a list of destinations:

 

barcelona, spain

nice, france

provence, france

naples/capri, italy

rome, italy

florence, italy

 

So, my first question, is of course, anyone know of any absinthe bars, or stores, in these towns. I most likely will not be able to get bottles on the cruise ship, but I can probably buy some in Spain before I fly home???

 

Does customs get excited when they see someone taking home some absinthe?

 

 

Next, does anyone have any general advice, suggestions, recomendations? This is my first time going to Europe.

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OK, you've opened pandora's box here. I could write a book on things to do, see, prepare for, etc.

 

Are you flying in to Barcelona, or flying in to Madrid, then transferring to Barcelona? Either way, there are lots of places. If you're going to Madrid, I'll give you some more info on that later. If you can, it's a city that really shouldn't be missed. It's worlds away from Barcelona. Much cleaner, more traditional Spanish, and much more beautiful.

 

FSC is located in Barcelona - Plaza Universidad, nº 5. Lots of goodies there. Also, several absinthe bars in the bohemian section off of the east side of Las Ramblas. You won't find much good absinthe though. Mostly Czech stuff.

 

In Barcelona, along with all of the normal sites to see, don't miss a stroll through the market. Mercat San Josep, or more popularly known as La Boqueria. The entrance is located on Las Ramblas on the east side of the street, in the Raval District. It's tough to miss while you're walking along that Paseo. It truly is one of the most amazing markets I've EVER seen. Try to make your way through the whole thing. The seafood and fruit sections are the best, but there's also some good cafes on the back side where you can get a lot of really good spanish classics.

 

In Rome, you'll be able to find Absente and Lemercier Amer. There's a lot of other crappy brands, but Lemercier is about as good as you'll find. Lots of bars/cafes in the US Embassy district carry it. There's one right on Via Vittorio Venetto. From Plaza Tritone, head up Via Venetto for about 100 yards. Cafe is on the left hand side of the street, right before the big set of steps.

 

I'd recommend continuing of Via Venetto as well. There's a bunch of swanky hotels where a lot of celebs hang out. When we were there this year, we saw Linda Evangelista sitting there. There's also a very nice gourmet shop a little further up, where ou can buy some great liquors and wines. It's called Peluso gourmet. From Via Venetto, take a right on Via Sardegna. It's on the corner about 3 blocks up.

 

Several other shops near the Trevi fountain, on V.S. Vincenzo and Via Lucchesi carry some other brands like Xenta. Not very good stuff.

 

I also recommend getting some MapEasy maps. They are probably the easiest to use, and point out a lot of good bars, restaurants and sights, along with being waterproof. They're cheap, small, and indispensible. You can get them at Barnes and Noble, or their website. Ge them for each city you go to, if they are available. I'd also recommend getting a Let's Go Europe book. They are written by college students, and are much more down to earth and honest about everything they review. Much moreso than any other travel book I've read.

 

Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions, so I can spare everyone else from reading my ramblings. ;)

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B) Don't drink the tap water.

Actually, the tap water both in Spain as a whole, and in Rome is quite good. In Rome, you'll see many people drinking from the fresh water flowing into the fountains.

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............. so I can spare everyone else from reading my ramblings. ;)

 

Ramblings??? I don't think so.......I like reading them.

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Wow, thanks for that reply! It will be fun finding all these places, I've seen those maps you're talking about, I'll definitely pick them up.

 

Yeah I expected to have my best absinthe selection in Spain. But how about the bars in Nice, think they'll carry some better French/Swiss brands?

 

In France, we are docking at Villefranche (Nice) and Marseilles.

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A German friend of mine acted as a mule and brought my first absinthe shipment in. Naturally he actually declared the absinthe, afterall he is German, and it was a rule.

 

Anyway, the customs agent did, in fact, open the package and looked at the bottles. He didn't confiscate the bottles or do anything else, just let him through.

 

HTH.

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In France, we are docking at Villefranche (Nice) and Marseilles.

I was hoping you'd stop near Marseille. Boy, have I got the answer for you.

Maison du Pastis

 

1505767737_dc03953ce3.jpg

 

This place was worth a forty minute taxi ride from Cassis when our boat landed there this summer. If you're landing in Marseille, you'll be right there, Maison du Pastis is right on the quai in the old port, the first business you'll see when you step onto land. ( but be sure to write down their adress, just in case your launch lands on the other side of the quai )

 

They have virtually every absinthe and pastis on the commercial market, ( but no Czech stuff ) as well as having several interesting products that they've commisioned just for their own shop, such as the Verte de la Maison du Pastis made for them by the Devoillle distillery, who make the Verte de Fougerolles, as well as making the Absinthe La Bonne Mère, also for Maison du Pastis.

 

You might wind up spending an hour or two here having your mind blown by seeing all the amazing absinthe on store shelves, and tasting the frequently-offered free samples of the products, usually artisanal pastis, they have had made recently, seen in the above picture sitting in the large steel "kegs" behind the counter on the right.

 

Also in Marseille, in the old port, don't fail to visit the Château d' If, the prison-island fortress portrayed in the Count of Monte Cristo. Spectacular, spectacular, like an ancient Alcatraz! I also love the french accent of Marseille. All in all it's a lovely, warm city with friendly people.

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But how about the bars in Nice, think they'll carry some better French/Swiss brands?

Not the bars we stopped in in Nice. Pastis only.

But the "Flower Market", one of the main tourist activities in Nice, has flavored soaps at almost every third stall, a local specialty, and there is a pastis flavored soap that a lot of them sell that will make your whole bathroom smell like absinthe.

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Flavored soaps? Don't you mean scented? Flavored gives the connotation of eating. However, after spending some time with you, I often thought you needed a bar of soap in your mouth. :twitchsmile:

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You've selected some wonderful places to visit. How long are you travelling around Europe for?

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Thank you for a great response Wild Bill. I am definitely getting to that store. Do they give samples?

 

 

And to whoever asked how long I am going...

haha....

 

well....

 

I am going for my mom's 50th birthday, we wanted to go longer, but I had to move at the end of september, and this is just how things worked out. Plus I have a very important engagement on the 23rd of October.

 

So we are just doing a one week Mediterranean cruise, on a Royal Carribean. I know, I know. Trust me, I wanted it to be something more. I will take my dream 2 month long trip next year hopefully.

 

But hey, this is free for me, so I can't complain. First class both ways, staying at the Arts Barcelona (Ritz) while in Barcelona. Balcony room on the cruise.

 

Gives me plenty of time to relax, drink absinthe, and debate several of life's conflicts.

 

I am going to focus on experiencing the different cultures, rather than sightsee. We only get one day at each location (except for Barcelona). There isn't enough time hit everything. So if anything, this whole trip is more of a tease.

 

And of course, I can't wait to try some authentic cooking.

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