During my time in the WWE I was fortunate enough to visit Europe a couple of times, but in all the times that I was able to go, I never felt like I truly got the full experience. When all you get to see is hotels, airports, and arenas, it leaves so much to be desired, and going back to explore Europe properly has been something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time!
Two of my favorite countries that I wrestled in were Spain and Italy, so for this reason both were top of my list of dream vacation destinations!
Well, this year I finally took my dream vacation, and introduced Rener to Europe for the first time. We started in Barcelona, where we saw Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, House Batllo, and went down to the beautiful Costa Brava to kayak and jump off cliffs. What a breathtaking and beautiful city. But by far, our favorite part of Barcelona was the food! The tapas, paella, and fresh fruit from the Boqueria market had us in food heaven!
After spending a few days in Barcelona, we shot off to the UK where Rener taught his first ever UK Jiu-Jitsu seminar, and it was a great success. Four 2 hour seminars in one day… only someone with true ‘Renergy’ can pull that off. There were over 100 participants for each seminar! Such a fantastic day.
From the UK, we went on to Rome, where we met up with my best friend from college Ashanti for a delicious fresh italian lunch, after which we rushed off to the Colosseum to get some pretty epic photos. The Colosseum absolutely blew me away… so much culture and ancient history within the walls. Built of concrete and stones, it was the largest amphitheatre of the Roman Empire, and in the world!
Day 2 in Rome we made our way around all the other must-sees… The Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain to make a wish, the Vatican Museum where we saw the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. These were some of the most breathtaking sights I’ve seen in my life, truly magnificent in every meaning of the word.
From Rome we took the train to Florence, which was by far, the most romantic city of the trip. We walked around, ate fresh food from the markets… and did a little shopping. We went to both the Uffizi Museum, and the Academia Gallery, where we saw countless famous artworks and the stunning 17ft high statue of David by Michelangelo. I couldn’t keep my jaw from dropping when I went to see The David, it was truly remarkable.
After another amazing meal in Florence, we ended our trip with a quick stop in London, another city I’ve been wanting to explore for a while. We ate at a fabulous restaurant in central London, stayed by the beautiful Hyde Park, and went to the famous Harrod’s department store (if you can even call it that, it’s literally insane).
It was overall a wonderful vacation, and I’m so grateful for all the lifelong memories that were created! Check out some of the photos!