1) London has a lot of palaces. And is really ridiculously expensive. And the only place that I can go on a search for Henry VIII's old haunts and buy silly Tudors memorabilia and not feel like a total fool. I also got a bit carried away in Oxford and thought I was on a JCrew photo shoot apparently.
Local food highlights: fish and chips, and indian food. The english really aren't known for their food...
2) Paris has a lot of gold. Everything seemed to be gilded in gold leaf. Versailles is gorgeous. Somehow my parents got into a beer chugging contest at the Eiffel Tower bar. Papa Shay won, but Mama Shay was a feisty one!
Local food highlights: escargot, duck pate, and steak tartare... yes, that is entirely cold, rare ground up sirloin. Erika, I think I finally beat you for eating rarer meat.
3) Italy has a lot of churches. Can't say that they didn't all start blending together. Bernini is a sculptural genius. My time at the Vatican was incredible. And I couldn't wait to re-watch Angels and Demons. Chianti wine is yummy.
Local food highlights: Enough pasta and pizza for a lifetime. Food in Tuscany and Bologna is ridiculous. I gained like 10 pounds via carb loading. And Marissa, I'm jealous that your mother is Italian and makes this delicious food.
4) Two quotes from Italian men I met while traveling which stand out amongst the various whistles and typically greasy come-ons...
Man at the Florentine street market: "Miss, beautiful lady, you dropped something back there"
Me: "What? Where?"
Man: "My heart"
Man in St. Mark's Square, Venice (running after me from a bar across the way): "Buona Notte, miss. My name is Giusseppe. Can I give you a kiss?"