Travel Diary: Nosara, Costa Rica

Travel Diary: Nosara, Costa Rica

As I mentioned in my New Year’s Resolutions post, one of my goals for 2018 is to travel to at least three new places, and I am happy to say I can now check one off the list! If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I went to Costa Rica for a week with my mom. We went for a One Yoga Global yoga retreat, and stayed at the beautiful Blue Spirit Retreat Center in Nosara.

This vacation was the first time I’d taken a full week off from work since I started my new job in October, and it was exactly what I needed. It was the perfect blend of relaxation, sunshine, fun excursions, and of course yoga. Instead of walking you through what we did every single day, I’m going to just share the top highlights from the trip.

The Location/Accommodations

As I mentioned, we stayed at Blue Spirit. We had a great experience there, and I would highly recommend it if you ever get the chance to stay there. One thing to note is that it is for yoga retreats specifically, so if you practice yoga you should definitely try to go on a retreat there. We stayed in a Nature Suite room, which looked like a little cottage with trees all around it which made it feel like a tree house!

There was a swimming pool at the resort, and a peaceful area with a koi pond that was nice to go to when you wanted some privacy. The beach was only a short walk away, so most days we would go for a swim in the ocean, and then go to the pool to cool off.

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Our room for the week
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My mom and I enjoying the ocean view

Besides the beautiful views, the best part of the accommodations was all of the delicious food! We got breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day, buffet style. It was almost exclusively vegetarian, with fish being the only meat served. The chefs actually made a cook book, and my mom and I bought it so we can try to recreate some of our favorite meals back in Austin now! Stay tuned for some cooking posts in the future, where I’ll share some of those recipes.

We also became obsessed with drinking coconut water, which we drank out of real coconuts!

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One of the breakfasts. The plantains were delicious!
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Posing with my coconut water

The Yoga/Gong Practice

As you can probably assume from the fact that it was a yoga retreat, yoga was a big part of the trip. We woke up every morning bright and early for a sunrise yoga class, then had some free time before returning for a sunset yoga class, followed by a meditation after dinner. For those of you who are familiar with different types of yoga, we were practicing Kundalini yoga.

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Meditating during a sunset yoga class

Another big aspect of this trip was the gong instruments. During almost every yoga class the teachers would play the gong while we relaxed. If you’ve never heard a gong played before, you’re missing out! It is a very calming, yet transformative experience to lay and listen to the sounds. Our brain actually can’t fully understand all of the tones and sounds the gong makes, because it is so different than any other instrument.

Besides listening to the gong, my mom and I also attended a training course a couple of days out of the week, where we learned all about the gong and how to play it, as well as how to connect it to Ayurvedic beliefs and practices. Despite the fact I had only ever played the gong once before this trip, I actually got multiple compliments about how well I played. I will definitely consider learning more about how to play, and possibly even get my own gong someday!

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Meditating and listening to the gongs
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Gong virtuoso right here!

Zip lining adventure

One of the highlights of the trip was when we went zip lining with Miss Sky Canopy Tours. It is the longest zip line tour in the world, with 21 different runs! If you read my Colorado travel post last summer, you know I tried zip lining for the first time then. This one was actually less scary, but much more fun. Unlike in Crested Butte, we didn’t have to jump off any platforms. Instead, we started on the solid ground each time and went off of the mountains. The views were incredible, and it was actually really relaxing to just lay back and fly through the air!

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The view from the top of one of the lines
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Right before going down upside down!

Refuge for Wildlife

Our last excursion of the trip was a visit to the Refuge for Wildlife, which is an awesome rehabilitation center for injured, displaced and orphaned wildlife such as howler monkeys that have been injured on electrical wires or bitten by dogs. The purpose of the center is to rescue, rehabilitate, and then release the animals back into their natural habitat after they are better.

We got to tour the facility and see some of the different animals that are being helped right now. They specialize in the howler monkey, but they help all types of animals from birds to raccoons. They don’t want us to share any photos publicly, but you can see a gallery on the website here.

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If you look closely you can see monkeys playing in the trees at Blue Spirit

 

Those were the main highlights of my trip! I hope you enjoyed hearing about it and seeing some photos. Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever traveled to Costa Rica, and which places are on your travel bucket list. Also, enjoy my travel diary video below!

 

First Quarter Check-In: New Year’s Resolutions

First Quarter Check-In: New Year’s Resolutions

The first quarter of 2018 has flown by! I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about how to stay motivated and accountable for my goals. I want 2018 to be the year I accomplish a lot, so I thought I would take this time to share an update on how my New Year’s Resolutions are going so far, and talk about what I could improve.

The Successes

Travel to at least 3 new places

I’m on my way to success in this resolution. A week from today, I will be arriving in Costa Rica! My mom and I are going on vacation for a week, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve never been to Costa Rica, so this will mark #1 on my goal of 3 new places this year. I don’t have the other two trips booked or planned, but I will keep you all posted.

Try new restaurants in Austin

I have a list of restaurants I still want to try, but so far I would say this has been a success. I tried Picnik the other night, which is a restaurant I’ve wanted to try for a while now. I actually went alone, which is something I’m always nervous to do, but it was a great experience and the food and drink were delicious!

I posted about the idea of being nervous to go to dinner alone on my Instagram and Twitter, and it was really interesting to see what people had to say! Let me know in the comments your thoughts on going to dinner alone.

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Berry Basil Smash Cocktail
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Orange Chicken & Broccoli

Learn an instrument

This was honestly one of the resolutions I wasn’t sure I would succeed at, so shoutout to my parents for helping it come to fruition! For my birthday in March, my parents got me a piano keyboard, and I’ve loved playing around on it and teaching myself some songs. It’s harder than it seems to learn even simple songs, but YouTube tutorials really help. Plus, it’s fun to have a musical outlet! If I get brave enough I might share some videos in the future of me playing the piano and even singing…

Needs Improvement

Write the first draft of my book

This resolution was possibly the tallest order, so I suppose I shouldn’t be too hard on myself for failing so far. I’m going to be honest – I have not written a single sentence of my book. I’m going to need to be more determined to write in the next 9 months if I’m going to complete this goal.

My plan is to write something every single day, whether that is a sentence, a paragraph, or an entire chapter. I think making small steps like that will really help to get started.

Find a workout routine

This one hasn’t been a total failure, but has also not been a total success, so I’m categorizing it under “needs improvement.” My mom and I try to go on walks 3-4 times a week before I go to work, which is a good start. I also enjoy taking yoga classes, but I have not been very consistent about it. I would like to start doing more cardio, but I still just need to figure out a good schedule and motivate myself to actually work out!

Find a blogging/YouTube routine

Although I would love to be able to report back that I have been uploading YouTube videos and posting on my blog consistently, that is unfortunately not the case. However, I do want to acknowledge the strides I’ve made. I FINALLY uploaded a YouTube video yesterday, and I think just uploading a new video has helped boost my confidence and makes me more likely to continue uploading. Just need to find that steady cadence! I actually touched on the topic of staying motivated in my video, so check it out and leave me a comment with your suggestions if you get the chance.

 

Thanks for reading (and watching)! Let me know in the comments how your resolutions/goals have been going so far this year. I think it’s important to keep ourselves accountable, and also to help encourage others to do the same.

Cook With Me: Blue Apron’s Potato and Pepper Shakshuka

Cook With Me: Blue Apron’s Potato and Pepper Shakshuka

I’m excited to start a new series on my blog all about cooking! Those of you who know me know I have never been much of a cook, sometimes out of laziness and sometimes out of pure lack of knowledge. I’ve always wanted to make more of an effort to start cooking and learning new recipes, and I was finally given the perfect opportunity when my mom asked if I would want to share a Blue Apron subscription with her.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, Blue Apron is a meal delivery service that sends you all of the ingredients, as well as the recipes, for healthy meals. We tried two of the recipes last week, and I was pleasantly surprised by how simple and delicious they both were! Blue Apron sends you everything you need, and the instructions were easy to follow (even for a novice like myself).

In today’s post I’m going to share photos and the recipe from the first meal we prepared: Potato and Pepper Shakshuka with Harissa and Pita Chips. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cage-free farm eggs
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 pocketless pitas
  • 3/4 lb golden potatoes
  • 6 oz carrots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 oz sweet peppers
  • 1 tbsp red harissa paste
  • 1 1/2 oz feta cheese
  • 2 tbsps tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp za’atar seasoning

Recipe

You can find the full recipe on Blue Apron’s website, but here is a sneak peak at the steps:

  1. Dice the potatoes, and cook in a pot of boiling water for 8 to 9 minutes.
  2. Peel and chop the carrots, onion and peppers, and chop the garlic.
  3. Cut each pita into 8 equal-sized wedges.
  4. Cook the veggies for 6 to 7 minutes in a large pan, seasoning with salt and pepper
  5. Add the tomato paste and harissa paste to the pan; season with salt and pepper.
  6. Add the cooked potatoes and 1 cup of water. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes
  7. Create two wells in the shakshuka, and add the eggs, then bake in oven for 5 to 6 minutes.
  8. Drizzle olive oil and za’atar seasoning on the pita chips, coating on each side, then toast in the oven for 7 to 9 minutes.

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Full disclosure, I had never heard of shakshuka before, but I think it turned out really delicious! I think the only part I could have done better was the pita chips, which were slightly too crispy. Other than that, I think I managed to prepare a great first Blue Apron meal, with the help of my mom of course.

Have you ever eaten, or cooked, shakshuka before? Have you tried Blue Apron, or another meal delivery? Let me know in the comments!

My 2018 New Year’s Resolutions

My 2018 New Year’s Resolutions

As I mentioned in my 2017 Reflection post, I accomplished a lot last year. But in true perfectionist fashion, I am determined to accomplish even more this year. I’ve never been one for setting strict resolutions, but I do like to set goals for myself to have an idea of what I’m working towards. So here are some of the things I would love to do in 2018….

Write the first draft of my book

Perhaps my most hefty goal, I would love to get started and hopefully write a first draft of a book. I’ve had the idea for it for years now, and have written parts of it on and off for a while now, but I want 2018 to be the year I actually take it seriously. I don’t want to give too many details about it yet, but I will definitely keep you all posted on my progress!

Travel to at least 3 new places

Like I mentioned in my 2017 Reflections, I was lucky to be able to travel quite a bit last year. However, it only made me want to travel even more this year! There are a few places in Texas I still haven’t visited, along with a few other states and countries that are on my wish list. Honorable mentions go to San Francisco, New Orleans, and anywhere in South America. Fingers crossed I’ll be able to make it to at least three new places!

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In Crested Butte Colorado during my vacation in July
Find a workout routine

Working out and I have a strained relationship. I tend to go through periods of time where I exercise on a regular basis, and then periods where I don’t so much as go on a walk. I’m hoping to make 2018 the year I finally get consistent. I haven’t decided on a specific schedule yet, but I just want to get on a routine that I feel comfortable with. As I’ve mentioned in past blog posts, exercise makes me feel happier as a whole. Happy body, happy mind!

Find a blogging/YouTube routine

Like exercise, I tend to go through slumps in my blogging and, more recently, my YouTube channel. I guess everyone experiences that with resolutions to a certain extent, but I would like to get into a routine with uploading YouTube videos consistently, and writing new blog posts consistently. Again, I haven’t decided on the schedule, but I would just like to stay consistent and have a goal to work towards every week/month.

Try new restaurants in Austin

Despite the fact that I was born and raised in Austin, I sometimes feel woefully ignorant to where the best restaurants are in the city. I always enjoy exploring new places (hence the travel resolution above), so why not explore within my own city? This year I’m hoping to discover some new favorite places to eat. And I will definitely capture them on this blog!

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At Elizabeth Street Cafe for my birthday last year
Learn an instrument

Last but certainly not least, possibly the most fun and exciting resolution I have is to pick up an instrument! I played piano and violin in grade school, and I was in choir in high school. I’ve always loved music, and the past couple of years I have had the urge to start playing an instrument and/or singing again. My dad recently got a ukulele, and I’ve been thinking about getting one myself! Either that or a cheap keyboard to learn how to play piano again. Like my other resolutions, I will keep you all posted on what I decide.

 

I’m pleased to say I’m feeling very optimistic about the coming year. I know I said this last year, but I am determined to make 2018 MY YEAR! What are some of your 2018 resolutions? And what are your tips for sticking to them all year round? Let me know in the comments!

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Explore With Me: Las Vegas, Nevada

Explore With Me: Las Vegas, Nevada

Last month I visited Las Vegas for the first time with two of my friends, so I wanted to share some photos and talk about my experience. Vegas is somewhere I knew I wanted to visit at least once in my life, and I’m glad I finally did it!

Day One
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The MGM Grand lobby

We arrived in Las Vegas on Thursday, June 1 around 11 in the morning. My friend Rachel and I flew together, and Lisa flew separately and got in later in the afternoon. We stayed at the MGM Grand, which we later learned is one of the biggest hotels in Vegas. It definitely seemed huge, and we kept getting lost on our way to the room even after we’d been there a few days.

After we’d settled into our room, Rachel and I set out to walk around The Strip (the main street in Vegas where you can find lots of casinos, hotels, and restaurants). We walked pretty far that afternoon, going into a bunch of different hotels to see what they looked like, and spending some time watching the Fountains of Bellagio. All of the hotels have a different theme, and the architecture and decorations in each are amazing!

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Day Two

Our second day was arguably the most fun. We started the day at our hotel’s brunch buffet, which included plenty of food and bottomless mimosas. The buffet had every kind of food you can imagine, from sushi to typical breakfast to chips and queso. After our stomachs were happy, we headed to the hotel pool, where we somehow ended up being handed free passes to get into an exclusive party at MGM’s second pool, Wet Republic.

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I personally liked the regular pool the best, because Wet Republic was really crowded and you could barely find space to even get in the pool, while the regular hotel pool had plenty of room and there was also a relaxing lazy river! But, if you are someone who likes big parties with great music and plenty of people to meet, I would definitely suggest you check out Wet Republic next time you’re in Vegas.

After our pool day came to a close, we headed to dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant I would highly recommend called LAVO. We all ordered cocktails which were very tasty, and the pasta and salads were delicious as well. We also got to sit outside on the patio and have a great view of The Strip which was really nice.

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Standing on the Palazzo hotel steps after dinner at LAVO

Remember how I said this was probably the best day of the trip? The fun didn’t end there! After dinner we walked over to The Mirage to see The Beatles LOVE Cirque du Soleil show! The show was just as awesome as I hoped it would be, from the fantastic acrobatics to the actual recordings of The Beatles talking and singing, this is a show I would recommend everyone see during their time in Las Vegas.

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Day Three

By the third day we were all pretty exhausted (I think that tends to happen in Las Vegas), so we walked around on The Strip for a bit and then hung out at the pool again. That night we had another amazing dinner at a restaurant called Beauty and Essex in The Cosmopolitan Hotel. The food and drinks were delicious, just like LAVO. The two restaurants are actually owned by the same restaurant group, TAO Group.

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My friends and I enjoying our drinks at Beauty & Essex

The Cosmopolitan was one of my favorite hotels we visited, mostly because of the awesome Chandelier bar, which has purple beaded chandeliers hanging from three different stories, creating a really beautiful atmosphere. We hung out at the bar and took lots of fun pictures after dinner, before heading the hotel’s club, Marquee.

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Lisa and I at the Chandelier bar

On Sunday we had to head to the airport fairly early, so our last day was uneventful. Overall it was a great trip, and I’m glad I was able to experience Las Vegas for the first time. We definitely took the more relaxed, sight-seeing route compared to how most people do Vegas, but that was exactly what I wanted. There’s no “right” way to do Las Vegas, after all! Great food, an amazing show, plenty of pool time, and I am a happy girl.

If you’ve been to Vegas before, let me know what your experience was like in the comments! I’d love to hear where you stayed, as well as some of the bars and restaurants you visited.

My next vacation is coming up at the end of the month, so stay tuned for a post about that in August, and be sure to follow me on Instagram to stay up-to-date on what I’m up to!

October Favorites

November has been a great month so far! I started my new job last Monday and I am loving it already. I am definitely looking forward to everything this month will bring, especially Thanksgiving. But before we get too far into November I thought I’d take a quick look back at some of my favorite things from October.

Food

Recently I’ve started making it a habit to actually eat breakfast every morning. That is something that I have always been bad at, because a lot of the time I don’t feel very hungry in the morning. But especially now that I have a full time job, I know it is important to get a good breakfast. My go-to has been making my own yogurt parfait with vanilla yogurt, granola, blueberries, blackberries and some honey. It is really delicious! (The picture below is not one I made, I just found a pretty picture so you’ll get the idea).

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Drink

I have been in a hot tea phase this past month, and I’ve found that I enjoy it much more than coffee. There’s something very calming about sipping on some hot tea while watching TV or writing a blog, for example. Yes, I am currently drinking the cup of tea pictured below.

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Music

I have been obsessed with Pentatonix for over a year now, and they just came out with a new album that is almost entirely original music, and it is amazing! If you’ve never heard of them, they are an acapela band and were in the movie Pitch Perfect 2. They do a lot of great covers of popular songs, but I think this new album with original songs is so cool because it shows they really have what it takes to create their own original music. And I am listening to their album on Spotify as I type.

Pentatonix

iPhone App

My mom introduced me to a really cool app this month called Headspace, which is a meditation app that takes you through 10 minute instructed meditations that basically help relax you and teach you how to clear your mind. I know I personally have a hard time not staying up at night thinking about random things, so I like to use it right before I fall asleep to just get my mind in a more peaceful place.

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TV Show

My mom also got me into my favorite TV show in October: Jane the Virgin. I had seen advertisements for the show but honestly thought it looked kind of stupid. But what I didn’t get from the ads was how hilarious and clever this show is. I love how it embraces the idea of Spanish soap operas, while adding an element of humor and even a bit of parody. I also really enjoy all of the Spanish that is spoken in the show. It makes me feel like I am somewhat using my Spanish minor haha. The first season is on Netflix and I would highly recommend it!

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Book

The most recent book I read and one of my favorites for October is ‘The Girl on the Train‘ by Paula Hawkins. I loved the format of the book because you get to read from the perspective of three different characters, and it also jumps around in time between the characters, so you are trying to piece together the story after reading each perspective. I will definitely write a full book review about it soon!

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Memory

A few weeks ago I visited my boyfriend for the weekend (we’re long distance) and we wanted to do something fun and new, so we decided to go roller skating! I had actually never been before, unless you count roller skating on our driveway when I was little, so it was definitely a fun experience. I’ve been ice skating many times and let me tell you, it is not the same at all. I held on to his hand for dear life and unfortunately did not make it through the day without falling. But I only fell once, so I consider that a victory! 10/10, would roller skate again.

I thought this was amusing for some reason. We obviously looked just as graceful as they do!
We obviously looked just as graceful as they do!

I hope you enjoyed my October favorites! Let me know what some of your favorites have been lately.

Spring Break ’14: A Week in Italy

¡Hola amigos! Happy belated Easter! Though I may have been slightly jealous when the rest of you were on Spring Break a month ago, this past week definitely made all of the waiting worthwhile. In Spain, and most of the rest of Europe, they don’t really have a “Spring Break” like we do in the U.S. Instead, they have Easter Break, which falls, you guessed it, around Easter time. As I mentioned in my last post, I got a week off from class for our break, and Rowan and I decided to spend it together in Italy! We went to Venice for 4 days, and Florence for 4 days.

Venice was really cool and unlike any other city I’ve been to before. The city is on a group of islands, separated by canals and linked by a bunch of bridges. The streets are all really narrow because there are no cars on the island, and all of the streets kind of look the same (narrow, going along a canal with a bridge) so navigating around the city proved to be a difficult task. For example, it took us an extremely long time to get to our hostel because the map we had was tiny and the street we were supposed to turn on looked more like a sketchy alleyway to us (we actually called it “The Sketchy Alleyway” for the rest of our time there).

We decided to explore on our own for a while on Sunday, before we went on a walking tour. We stumbled across Teatro La Fenice, one of the most famous opera houses in Italy and all of Europe. We got to walk through the theatre and see all of the different rooms, and got free audio guides to hear about all of the history behind each room. We also got lucky enough to watch a few minutes of a rehearsal that was going on onstage. We think it was La Boheme. I wish I could have taken pictures or videos of the rehearsal, but that wasn’t allowed. But it was really cool to watch since I have never been to the opera before. 

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Teatro La Fenice

Later we went on our walking tour of the city, which was really nice because we got to hear a lot of things about the history of the city, including facts about how it is slowly sinking. The second part of our tour was on a boat, which was really fun, but apparently did not satisfy our urge to ride boats. We were really determined to go on a gondola ride down the canal, but when we asked for the price it was 80 euros per ride, which seemed way too expensive for just one ride. So we decided to try to get a group of people to go with us so we could all split the amount and it would be cheaper. This didn’t end up working out unfortunately, but we watched a lot of gondola rides and even got our picture taken by a random man who was going by on the boat, so I think we basically got the full experience.

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The gondola ride we should have been on

We spent our second full day there exploring some of the nearby islands. The first is called Burano, and is a really cute little town with canals like Venice. What makes it special is that all of the houses and buildings are painted really colorfully. It has become a bit touristy, and I couldn’t help wondering what the locals think of all of these people walking by and taking pictures of their brightly painted houses, which to them must just seem normal. Next we went to Torcello, which was even tinier, and only really had one church that we went inside, and a few cafes. We stopped at one cafe to have crepes, which were delicious. We then made our way back to Venice, which proved to be more difficult than it should have been because we got on the wrong water bus and had to get off and wait for the right one to take us back.

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The island of Burano

Venice was a lot of fun, and when it was time to leave on Tuesday we definitely felt that we could have stayed and seen more even though the city is fairly small. One of the highlights was definitely our hostel owner, Amran, who shared a bunch of funny stories with us about Venice and people who have stayed in the hostel, and let us sit and talk to him for hours! When two guys from New York started giving us a hard time and making fun of Texas, Amran agreed that he would rather visit Texas than New York, which kind of made our night. We were obviously not alone in our appreciation for Amran, because behind his desk the entire wall was filled with thank you notes written by people who had stayed in the hostel. We decided to make ours have a Texas theme, and poke a little fun at the New York boys.

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My thank you sign
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Rowan’s thank you sign

Tuesday afternoon we got on a train and headed to Florence, where we would stay until Friday night. The couple sitting next to us on the train were pretty friendly, and Rowan and I both agreed the husband was definitely not quite ready to leave behind his youth. He talked about his trip to Amsterdam with a bit too much enthusiasm, right before showing us pictures of his two young children.

Florence was definitely an easier city to navigate in comparison to Venice. There are a couple of big landmarks that, if you can find them, you can pretty much find anything. The first night we just wandered a bit and ended up stumbling upon a lot of the famous sights including the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, Santa Maria Novella and Santa Crocce. But we waited until the next day to explore them more.

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In front of Santa Maria Novella

We had a list of things we wanted to do and see in Florence, and I think we did a pretty good job accomplishing all of them. We woke up bright and early Wednesday morning to go to the Uffizi Gallery, which is one of the oldest and most famous art museums in the world, and one of the top tourist attractions in the city. It took us hours to go through the whole thing, and it was definitely worth it. It has a huge collection of Renaissance art, including a lot of sculptures. Me and Rowan’s favorite part was laughing at all of the bizarre faces of the babies in paintings. Next time you go to a museum, pay special attention to the fact that all babies during the Renaissance period have the faces of adults. They don’t look like baby faces at all. It’s quite strange.

After the gallery we met up with our designated tour guide, Nathan, who I met in Barcelona and basically forced into being our tour guide for the week. He was nice enough to show us around and put up with listening to our incessant gossiping about people and places he didn’t know. First he took us to go inside the Basilica of Santa Crocce, the main church and another big tourist attraction in the city. The church happens to be the burial place of many well-known Italians, including Michelangelo, Galileo and Dante. It was really beautiful inside, with a lot of stained glass windows and really detailed wall paintings. We went back inside Thursday night, because all of the churches were free at night as part of Semana Santa (Holy Week) before Easter.

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Santa Crocce
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Galileo’s tomb
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Michaelangelo’s tomb

We also visited the Bobili Gardens, a big park with a lot of Roman sculptures, and Ponte Vecchio, a bridge over the Arno River, which was built back in Roman times. It is the oldest bridge in Florence, and one of the top tourist attractions. In Medieval times, Ponte Vecchio was a top place for jewelry shopping, and today the bridge is still lined with shops selling gold and jewelry as well as tourist souvenirs. We also went to Piazza Michelangelo which is on top of a hill and has an amazing view of the entire city, as well as a very pretty rose garden. 

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Me and Rowan at Ponte Vecchio

And of course I have to mention the food we ate, since this was a week in Italy and all. Rowan and I stumbled upon a couple of little cafes, one with really good pasta, and the other with salads. We were both really craving a salad, which I know sounds stupid since we were in the land of pasta, pizza, gelato, and other carb-stuffed things. But the salads we had were amazing! Nathan also took us to two different sandwich shops, which were both delicious, as well as a gelato place that serves organic flavors such as kiwi, pistachio, cinnamon and even a wine flavor. We also went to Secret Bakery, a bakery that really is secret unless you know where to find it. It is in a random alleyway, in a tiny room that I definitely would never have noticed on my own. They bake the pastries fresh, and they were delicious!

Overall my Spring Break was a week I will never forget. Italy was such a fun country to visit, and I feel like I actually learned a lot about the history from the tour in Venice (be proud mom and dad!) From the food, to the art, to the beautiful landmarks, I would definitely recommend both Venice and Florence. I hope I can go back someday and maybe explore Rome and other parts of Italy as well!

This Thursday I am traveling again, on my last trip before I return home. The semester has really flown by! I will be going to London for the weekend, then heading to Aberdeen, Scotland to visit Rowan! (Hopefully she didn’t get sick of me during our week together..)

Ciao for now,

Shelly