Monday, April 29, 2019

Abroad Photo Diary: Sardinia

Happy Monday! This past weekend my friend Addison and I spontaneously booked a trip to a little island called Sardinia (south of Italy and in between Africa and Spain) because we've been in need of some sunshine. We had absolutely no idea what we were getting into, booked our flights and a hotel and went for it! After a little bit of anxiety when we realized we had no idea where we were even going, we ended up being very pleasantly surprised with gorgeous beaches, cute restaurants and a really nice hotel! The prices were insanely reasonable due to the off season (the island was nearly empty but the weather was still beautiful), so we thought it was a no brainer! It has been so fun taking advantage of exploring new places each weekend and I can hardly believe I only have 20 days left before I fly home to the states. 

We had lots of time to unwind (and being in these robes made it extra cozy!)

The view from our hotel balcony... How is this place so underrated?!

We took advantage of being on the coast and ordered salmon pasta and clam pizza for dinner one night 

 Our favorite little spot to tan since the rooftop pool wasn't quite open yet for the season

I don't have a ton of recommendations since a lot of things were still shut down for the spring, but I do have a few suggestions:

+ Hotel Domu Simius
We stayed at this gorgeous hotel in Cagliari that was really nice for how inexpensive it was (due to the off-season). Although it was a bit of a trek to the beach (we ended up calling a taxi one way since it was nearly 2 miles away), there were tons of cute restaurants and shops nearby.

+ Porto Giunco Beach
After walking along a few different beaches this one was definitely our favorite. The most crowded (in a good way) and surrounded by water on both sides. There were also a ton of flamingos which was so cool to see!

Have you heard of Sardinia or Cagliari before?
xoxo

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Abroad Photo Diary: Amsterdam

Prost from Amsterdam! I'm back in Florence for a few more hours before I fly out to my next destination tomorrow morning, but I wanted to share (a few too many) photos from Amsterdam this past weekend. We were so blessed with the most beautiful weather as well as some amazing food (the perfect Easter brunch = a fat avocado toast tbh). This was one of the destinations I wanted to visit the most and it surpassed every expectation! 

Tulip heaven 

Stroop waffels were as delicious as they look

The brunch of our dreams

Kind of wish I could steal this and put it in my apartment


Things to do:

+ Moco Museum
If you do one museum in Amsterdam this one must be it. It seemed really aimed at millennials/ had a lot of art relating to today's pop culture. I'm not the biggest museum girl (oops) but I loved this one. 

+ House of Bols Cocktail Museum
Literally the most random museum ever but for under 20 euro you get to see the history of cocktails and pick which one you want at the end. A fun way to spend an hour in the afternoon!

+ Explore De Pijp
This was the cutest area ever, full of little restaurants, juice bars, and shops. It's also close to the canal which is a really pretty view. 

+ Find Tulips
If you go during peak tulip season (pretty much anytime after February I believe), you will see tulips everywhere. We happened to go during the tulip festival and they were so gorgeous. 

Restaurant Recommendations: 

+ Blond Amsterdam
Probably the most precious restaurant I've ever seen (not even being dramatic). We just stopped in for a coffee and juice while we were waiting for our reservation at the Avocado Show but wow you MUST go see this place. They have a ton of pottery to buy (sounds weird but think mugs, glasses, plates, etc.) that are so adorable. 

+ Avocado Show 
A tiny bit overrated but also how can you not eat here?! We had Easter brunch here and absolutely loved the avocado fries. 

+ Vegan Junk Food Bar
This place was so good we went twice! I wouldn't consider myself someone who tries to eat vegan but their vegan burger was so delish. The coolest atmosphere too. 

+ Corner Bakery
The brunch at Corner Bakery was mouthwatering and did not disappoint. My friend Addison had the red velvet pancakes and I had the brioche french toast and we both highly recommend. 

Have you been to Amsterdam?
xoxo

Monday, April 15, 2019

Abroad Photo Diary: Nice and Monte Carlo

Happy Monday! I'm back from probably the best weekend of my entire time abroad (I say that a lot, oops) and am wishing I could go back to the French Riviera instead of working on projects for class :) 2 of my best friends and I headed to Nice, France this past weekend to visit a few of our other friends who are studying abroad there. We also took the most beautiful trip to Monte Carlo, Monaco for the day and I swear I have never been so happy in my entire life. Perfect weather + 2 of your best friends + sitting by the yacht club in Monaco = a recipe for the most perfect day ever. I am so grateful for the time I've been able to spend in these places and don't want it to ever end! Check out some photos and recommendations of our weekend below. 

My favorite travel companion :)

Monte Carlo you are magical

Waffles by the Mediterranean are a must 


 Things to do: 
+ Picnic by the Beach
The Promenade in Nice, France is right along the water and has one of the most gorgeous views I've ever seen. It's so fun to grab some food, your friends and sit on the rocks and have a little picnic!

+ Climb Castle Hill
A little bit of a trek but so worth it to get a bird's eye view of Nice and the coast. 

+ Yacht Club in Monaco
A friend recommended we go to the Yacht Club in Monaco but I was not prepared for how gorgeous it was going to be. We sat at the restaurant outside with our lunch and drinks and had the best time enjoying the sun and the boats in the water. Literally the best day of the entire semester. 

Restaurant Recommendations:
+ La Shounga
The most delicious (and wallet friendly) mojitos! Loved the strawberry and kiwi ones. Sit outside and enjoy the view of the port. 

+ Illia Pasta
Coming from someone who is literally studying abroad in the land of pasta, let me just tell you this was some of the best pasta I've ever had. The owner makes it fresh for you and puts it in the cutest little pot. Highly recommend! 

+ Ballanger Confiserie Creperie 
You MUST go here for crepes, waffles or a milkshake. Literally the prettiest waffle I've ever laid eyes on. (See photo above!!)

Have you been to Nice or Monaco before? I'm so eager to go back in the summer and explore all of the areas around there!! 
xoxo

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Abroad Photo Diary: SWITZERLAND

Another weekend travel update for you!! Last weekend my friend Maddie and I went to Interlaken, Switzerland for 3 days full of adventure, snow and chocolate. I've been dying to go all semester and we were finally able to squeeze it in at the end of spring break. Typically people say it's best to go during the colder winter months, but we actually really loved that it was a little warmer outside! There was obviously still tons of snow on the Alps so it was the perfect mix of cold weather at the top and light jacket weather in town. Let me tell you, it definitely lived up to the hype! Interlaken is for sure on the more expensive side if you want to do the outdoor activities (paragliding, kayaking, skiing, etc.) but it was such a once in a lifetime experience that I thought it was so worth it. How often do you have the chance to fly over the mountains on a parachute?! I'm typically not the most outgoing when it comes to extreme sports, so this trip was crazy but so fun! 

 I'm honestly terrified of heights but I forced myself to paraglide and ended up loving it!! Soaring across the sky above the mountains and city is so surreal. Definitely a little freaky but I'm so glad I did it. 

We rode a gondola up the Alps and found this cliff walk look out right by a beautiful restaurant and bar (see the photo below). Definitely worth the money! 

The mountain views in Grindelwald were so breathtaking - I recommend doing a day trip by train!  

I will never get sick of this view. How is it even real life?!

Things to do:
+ Paragliding 
A little pricey but so, so worth it. You run off a cliff (not as bad as it sounds!) and are up in the air for about 15 minutes before you land in a park in the middle of Interlaken. One of the coolest experiences ever!! 

+ Kayaking 
We booked all of these activities through our hostel (Balmers - we loved it!) and it was super close by. Kayaking through Lake Brienz is one of my favorite memories and the tour guide (Peter) was the absolute sweetest. 

+ Gondola 
I honestly can't remember the name of the gondola but if you go to Grindelwald (about a 30 minute train ride away from Interlaken), there is a spot to go up to the First mountain. You can ski up there or just explore like we did. It was the prettiest view and literally looked like a green screen.

Restaurant Recommendations: 
+ Tea n TakeAway 
There weren't a ton of restaurant options in Interlaken (a lot of them were super expensive) but in Grindelwald we went to this place for burgers and loved it.

+ Schuh
 We went here for chocolate fondue and it was delicious!! The food was kind of expensive but if you just get the chocolate fondue for a snack (or dinner like we did :) then it's not bad. 

Have you been to Switzerland before? I've heard Zurich is beautiful too!
xoxo

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Abroad Photo Diary: LONDON

Ciao ciao! It has been a minute and I am so excited to share photos from my absolute favorite trip so far this semester. We had a week for spring break and my mom flew across the pond to meet me in London for the best few days. While I am loving my time in Italy, it was a nice change of pace to be somewhere where people speak English and of course see my mom for a week! We are the perfect travel companions and always want to do the same things so it made it the most fun trip. 

We were super lucky to have gorgeous weather the entire time despite London's typical random rainstorms. Light jacket weather is my favorite for walking around so as you can imagine the beautiful weather was the cherry on top of the city's charm! 

The cutest houses in Chelsea. Can I move into a pink one please?!

Although the menu was super strange (we didn't end up eating there), Sketch's Gallery room was the prettiest restaurant I've ever seen. Hot pink walls and seating, the most fun gallery wall and the egg bathrooms made for the coolest dining environment. 

After looking at several restaurant options for high tea (a must in London!!), we decided that the menu in our own hotel was actually the most appealing. My mom and I stayed at the Mayfair Hotel (very close to Bond Street where there is incredible shopping) and could not recommend it enough. 

We stumbled upon Carnaby, the cutest little area of shops and restaurants, a few minutes away from our hotel and kept going back to walk around and explore. Highly recommend! 

The most delicious pancakes and french toast we've both ever had at Cafe Concerto. There are several locations around the city - you have to try it if you visit London! 

Kensington + pink cherry blossoms = absolute heaven. 

Fish and chips were a must (duh) and we loved the Mayfair Chippy! 

I've wanted to see the colorful houses in Notting Hill my entire life and they did not disappoint.

 The most London-esque view from our hotel window. I'm already dying to go back!! 

Things to Do:
+ Harrod's 
The most insane luxury department store you will ever see in your entire life. We spent most of our first full day exploring every floor and still didn't even see everything. Definitely very expensive but worth checking out! 

+ Notting Hill and Chelsea
To see all of the colorful houses and boutiquey shopping, you have to go to Notting Hill and Chelsea. We could have spent so many days exploring each of them but you could definitely do each in a day. 

+ High Tea
There are tons of options for high tea in London - I recommend checking out different menus to know what you're getting into because there were some weird items on the menu at some places! We loved ours at Mayfair Hotel and I've also heard that St. Ermins does a yummy one too. 

+ Buckingham Palace
So so cool to see! The palace is also right next to Hyde Park which is a pretty walk if the weather is nice. 

+ Carnaby 
Amazing shopping and restaurants nestled into the cutest little corner near Mayfair. Think Brandy Melville, Jack Wills, Daniel Wellington, etc. We also ate outside at Kua 'Aina (fish and chips, burgers, fries, etc.) twice to enjoy the cute, casual vibe of this area. 

+ Liberty London
One of my favorite parts of the trip!! The most beautiful department store with tons of flowers right outside the main door. Highly recommend stopping by or (or spending a few hours like we did). 

Restaurant Recommendations: 
+ Cafe Concerto 
Insanely delicious brunch food - we had the fruit pancakes and french toast and were in awe of how incredible they were. Also loved the peach bellinis! There have several locations around London so if you see one you have to grab brunch there :)

+ Mayfair Chippy
We stumbled upon this absolutely adorable restaurant that had sort of a nautical Hamptons vibe. They had the best fish and chips we had all trip!! 

+ Ben's Cookies
My mom and I could not get enough of Ben's Cookies (the chocolate chunk was our fave!). Super close to Carnaby and Liberty London. 

Any other London musts you recommend?
I'm already dying to go back and am trying to think of an excuse to :) 
xoxo