It makes sense to see the French Pyrenees with the Spanish Pyrenees at the same time. I do not know how to cross into those bordering countries, while in the mountains. I am unaware of any toll point.
Spanish and French Pyrenees:
It make sense to see the Spanish and French Pyrenees at the same time, then delve into Spain. Andalusia fascinates me more than the rest of Spain; it’s the hanging gardens and Middle Eastern motifs.
There are many places in France that fascinate me, besides the remote Pyrenees. Paris is the most famous city in the world and one of the most expensive. I have never been and have been stubborn and reluctant to go in the past. I have changed tremendously over time and now want to go there and other places in France.
The Med Sea is one of the most stunning and famous seas in the world. It brings a certain magic to it other seas fail to deliver on. France has several cities on the Med, my favorite being Marseille. I, like all artists, also find the town of Arles charming. Saint Paul du Vence and Gorges du Verdon are lesser-known beauties:
Hotel Nord Pinus in Arles:
St. Paul du Vence and Marseille:
Gorge du Verdon:
The island of Corsica is off-the-beaten path and few ever tread there. It has a reputation for being Sardinia’s ugly mountainous sister. I think one has to know where to go in order to enjoy Corsica. Murtoli is the only residence that stuck me as being a must-see in Corsica. There may be other areas, but I do not know of them:
Murtoli in Corsica:
Italy is also like France in which there is more than one destination that inspires awe in a visitor. Italy is so full of fame and wonder, that is difficult to narrow down, and to afford, a place to go without feeling like you missed out somehow. Italy is not a one-hit wonder and is probably better seen on more than one trip, in more than one location.
Italian things, especially pertaining to the Renaissance, are all memes. Memes are people and sayings and thing that keep popping up over and over again and never truly disappear and that outlive the life of their creator. Machiavelli, Da Vinci’s Anatomy of Man and Mona Lisa, Michealengo’s David , Botticle’s Venus, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Colosseum of Rome are examples of memes. These are images and people that will never truly disappear from the human consciousness and will continue to reappear, even after I am dead. I will not show pics of such memes, but will show pics of some of my desired destinations, Milan, Tuscany, Capri, Sardinia, Dolomites:
Capri and Dolomites:
Sardinia and Tuscany:
I picked all of these places together because they are in such close proximity to one another that it makes sense to do a Spain-France-Italy loop and to embark upon this route more than once.
It is easier to plan a schedule when viewing the maps and appreciating both the closeness of the destinations and the magnitude of the countries they are in:
These maps show that it makes sense to begin in Granada, Seville, Cordoba, then move up to Madrid, the Spanish Pyrenees, cross into the French Pyrenees, see the South of France, move into Med France, cross into North Italy, see Central Italy, then Southern Italy, Sicily, fly into Sardinia, fly or sail into Corsica, fly into Paris and end there.
This was take a minimum of 3 months of travel. I do not have the time nor the money for that. This is obviously for a wealthy retired person.
Additionally, I have a strong interested in the Adriatic coastal countries of Croatia and Montenegro, that can be easily accessed from any major European city.
Most people settle for Paris and Milan because it is too expensive and difficult to infiltrate the other area, esp. the more rural and maritime ones. I have no clue as to how to get into small Sicilian islands. I assume you pay some tour company a pretty penny when you get there.
I also do not know if it is possible to sail from Corsica to Sardinia. It would make sense. Additionally, navigating those turfs intimidate me a bit. I am sure it is an adventure and a worthwhile trip for anyone bold enough to do it.
The Adriatic Coastal countries of Montenegro and Croatia fascinate me. They seem to be more stable and developed for tourism and have better reputations than neighboring Bosnia, Serbia and Albania. For some reasons, these countries became noteworthy and popular for vacation tourism, but never powerful or influential. Croatia is now known internationally as Italy’s gorgeous and cheeper cousin. Croatia’s close proximity to Italy, remains of a once semi-powerful monarchy and its long Med coast have created a sought-over tourist destination. Montenegro has developed as its up-market more exclusive competitor.
Malta is another cluster of islands in the Med Sea that has been developed for tourism. Malta has a rich and important history, but it still unsung and unknown somehow. The Italian islands, such as Ponza, pale in comparison with the reputation of the world famous Greek islands.
A country’s reputation is almost as important as its economy. Merely being known, sought-over and famous or iconic for something gives a level of prestige and status that creates the demand for tourism and industry. France is the most obvious example of a country with the reputation for being the best on earth.
I do not know why the Balkan countries never rose to any world dominance and always somehow became subservient to other European powers. I also do not know why Italy was so powerful once, lost preeminence, became evil under Mussolini, then bounced back as being a premier world destination known for refinement, art and culture, when their reputation is that the men there are filthy and sleazy.
Below are Ponza island in Italy, Croatia and Montenegro: