Paris, Je t’aime

Last weekend I went to the gorgeous Paris and all I want to do is just go back. I visited Paris ten years ago, so I don’t remember much. I was able to experience everything all over again and it was wonderful. The first day we walked around to get a feel from the city and we did a night boat tour. We also went to the Eiffel Tower to see the lights sparkle at the top of the hour.

The second day we were very lucky and were graced with perfect weather. We started off with a tour bus and then walked up Champs- Elyseese, a famous shopping street in Paris. After we stopped for lunch and then grabbed some delicious macaroons from Laduree. I couldn’t help myself and I also got a raspberry ice-cream sandwich like pastry; it did not disappoint.  We then took our tasty treats to Montmartre where we ate them while sitting on the grass looking over the city. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day.


On the third day we only had the morning because we had to catch our plane. We went to Notre Dame and then we had lunch at the Latin Quarter. We got a delicious three-course meal for only 15 euro! I desperately want to go back; 2 and a half days is not nearly enough to see everything in Paris.

Churches and Sandwiches

Second week of classes is over and so far so good! In my Lost Symbolisms and Secret Codes of Art class we went to San Miniato Church and it was absolutely amazing, The church is located on top of a hill so you get a beautiful view of Florence. It was really breathtaking and I highly recommend it for anyone visiting Florence. When the weather is warmer I want to go up there and have a picnic.

A couple of days ago my roommate and I stumbled on a delicious sandwich shop. Nerbone is located in the Mercato Centrale and it can easily be missed, but by the looks of the line when we arrived, it’s a hidden gem in Florence. The Mercato Centrale is a big warehouse space with hundreds of vendors that sell fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, and cheese. I got a simple turkey sandwich (turkey is actually rare in Italy!) on white bread with a delicious sauce. It was simply but mouth-watering! The sandwich only cost 4 euros so I will definitely become a frequent customer. It was also a lot of fun walking around the market and seeing all the wares people were selling. Everything was so fresh and colorful, though  I don’t recommend going there on an empty stomach.

Venice Carnevale

Yesterday I was lucky enough to go to Venice to attend the world-renowned carnevale. It was unlike anything I have ever experience. It was basically adult Halloween, minus the skimpy outfits. Venice was absolutely packed but I still managed to have a great time. I was also very fortunate because, although it as very cold, it wasn’t raining. My friends and I went with a travel company by bus.

We arrived to Venice around noon where we then took the water taxi to the heart of this floating city. Everything about the boat ride was surreal. How many places have boat taxis to begin with?? As the boat neared the city, I began to see the gorgeous houses on the water, each one unique, and the ever so famous gondolas that I had only seen in travel brochures and movies. As a typical tourist, I couldn’t put down my camera; I just had to get a picture of every single thing. We got off at Piazza San Marco, one of the main plazas in Venice and the heart of the carnevale festivities.

We began walking through the small side streets with no real aim, we just wanted to explore the city. Lunchtime rolled around and we settled on a small Italian restaurant called Trattoria Sempione. Venice is known to have excellent seafood so I ordered calamari to start and then spaghetti with king crab as a main dish (it was one of the most delicious meals I have ever had!).

Afterwards we continued to walk around and take pictures with magnificently dressed people. Everyone seemed to have walked straight off of a movie set with their detailed and majestic costumes. Even the children were meticulously dressed as kings, queens, Mickey Mouses, supermans, and cowboys. We made it back to Florence at 1am, covered in confetti and glitter, exhausted, and incredibly happy. It was definitely and experience I will always remember. Later this semester I want to return to Venice and experience the city with less masked individuals, more walking space, and less layers of clothing.

 

When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do

Life in Rome is amazing! The food is excellent and shopping is great. You just have to know where to look and go where the Romans go. When you’re in Rome try to go to local bars for coffee, pizzerias, and restaurants. Stay away from restaurants near tourist attractions. They are overpriced and the food isn’t as great. If you want to have great food like the Romans do, eat in the neighborhood of Trastevere which is near the Tiber River. When shopping always ask for a lower price. You can negotiate with vendors here and get great deals. The photo here is a view of Rome a couple of blocks from the American University of Rome. Ciao for now!