Monday, March 11, 2019

Abroad Photo Diary: VENICE

Ciao from Florence! I'm back from a short (but beautiful) weekend in Venice and have so many pretty photos to share. We have 4 excursions through my abroad program and this was the second one (and my favorite so far!). I didn't realize before going but you have to take a ferry to get to Venice as well as the other Venetian islands nearby. Aka I'm very glad our school organized it so we didn't have to! It was such a relaxing two days exploring colorful buildings, riding on a gondola and of course eating lots of Italian food. 

One of my favorite snaps from my whole abroad experience so far. 

The most beautiful margherita and clam pizzas from Naranzaria (right on the water in Venice). 

Matching with our gondolier! 

Can you tell I'm obsessed with these bright buildings?!

Things to do: 
+ Gondola Ride
Each Gondola is 80 euros to rent for 30 minutes, so it's ideal to have 6 people (the maximum number) so it's the least expensive per person. I've been wanting to ride in a gondola my entire life so finally being able to on a beautiful sunny day was a dream!!

+ Lunch on the water
The water views with the colorful buildings and boats cruising by is one of the most gorgeous things I've ever seen. We found a cute restaurant right along the water and loved enjoying the view while we ate. 

+ Glass Blowing 
On one of the Venetian Islands (Murano!) we visited a glass blowing factory and saw a demonstration on how they create these incredible glass decorations (ornaments, vases, bowls, jewelry, etc.). It was insanely cool to see how fast they pop them in the fire, shape them and let them dry. A really fun experience if you explore beyond Venice! 

Restaurant Recommendations: 
+ Naranzaria 
This was the only restaurant worth recommending in the heart of Venice - it is right on the water and had delicious, fresh pizza. I got the margherita with fresh tomatoes and loved it! 

My favorite thing to do on these weekend trips is to literally just walk around, explore, pop into little shops and try as much food as I can. Even though there weren't a ton of landmarks or activities to do in Venice, I love just having a relaxed time seeing what the cities have to offer. 

Have you been to Venice before? 
It was definitely one of my favorites!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Abroad Photo Diary: Budapest, Vienna and Salzburg

3 cities in 3 days and over 25 hours on a bus later... you could say it was a busy weekend! My friend and I went to Budapest, Vienna and Salzburg this weekend not really knowing much about any of the cities, and wow were they beautiful. Never having been to Europe before, I made sure to plan trips to popular places like Paris and London, but it wasn't until recently that I decided to venture out to less talked about destinations like Austria and Hungary. It is so fun seeing these places without knowing much about them because you are always pleasantly surprised with their beauty (Salzburg especially!). From tasting Wiener Schnitzel to swimming in the infamous Budapest baths, we had quite the weekend! 

Such a pretty view of Budapest (even in the rain)

Goulash was actually super delicious! 

Vienna had the prettiest gold architecture around every corner 

Pretzels for days in Salzburg

Took 200+ photos of these stunning pastel buildings because how can you not?!

One of my favorite views of the weekend - the hills are alive ;)

Things to do: 
+ Thermal Baths (Budapest)
If we're being real these were a little dirty but honestly worth it for the experience (and pix of course). It would be so pretty to go at sunset! Be sure to bring your own towel and flip flops. 

+ Fisherman's Bastion (Budapest)
The most gorgeous view of Budapest (and the castle they claim inspired the Disney logo?!). An easy walk right across the river. 

+ Exploring Vienna
We didn't think there were a ton of activities to do in Vienna so walking around and exploring ended up being our favorite part! There are beautiful castles, gardens and government buildings that were really cool to see. 

+ Hohensalzburg Fortress (Salzburg) 
We took this tram up a cliff and thought this castle (and the view!!) were the absolute highlight of Salzburg. So much interesting history and a very pretty photo opp :) 

Food Recommendations:

+ Fisherman's Bastion Cafe (Budapest)
Not sure the name of this restaurant but its at the top of the castle and had the most delicious goulash and rosé!  

+ Wiener Schnitzel
We didn't love the restaurant we got this at, but you must try! Kind of like European chicken nuggets :) 

+ Pastries 
In both Vienna and Salzburg there were amazing pastries like apple strudel and apricot sugar donuts. Highly recommend stopping for breakfast or as a snack during the day! 

Have you been to any of these places before? What were your thoughts?

Monday, February 25, 2019

Abroad Photo Diary: MILAN

This weekend was one of my absolute favorites I've ever had. Going to Milan has been on my bucket list my entire life, so being able to visit during fashion week was an absolute dream come true.  It was the most special way to celebrate the last few days of being 20! I went with a few other girls who are also studying apparel, so as you can imagine, we were pretty much in awe of every outfit, store window and building we passed by. Our goal was to try to make it into a show, and even though we didn't make it inside a major show (we stood outside the Armani one but it was really strict, sadly), we did somehow manage to get into the Jimmy Choo 2019 Presentation! And as if that wasn't the best moment of our trip, we bumped into Olivia Palermo (my style icon for as long as I can remember) on her way into the event! (Scroll down for a photo!) Literally the most "pinch me" hour of my life. We got so lucky with our timing and honestly still can't believe it!! Milan far surpassed all of our expectations - it is seriously the most incredible place from the architecture to the restaurants to the shopping and even just people watching. 

I will forever be obsessed with the Milan Galleria - is it not the most incredible architecture you've ever seen?! 

We found the most chic navy, pink and gold themed restaurant right inside the Galleria - highly recommend their prosciutto pizza! 

Pink + orange buildings (insert heart eye emoji here!).

There are no words to even describe the Starbucks Reserve... a must for a snack and a drink. 

Thank you for making our trip the most memorable ever, Olivia!! 

Things to Do:
+ Duomo 
The big castle looking building in the photos above - you must stop by. It's at the heart of the city and even though there are way too many people (and pigeons, ugh) everywhere, it is so cool to see. 

+ Galleria 
As you can tell, I am slightly obsessed with the Galleria (the beautiful mall right next to the Duomo). Think Prada, Louis Vuitton, etc. all in this gorgeous, open building with restaurants, gelatarias and amazing people watching. There were even some photo shoots going on when we were looking around! 

+ Exploring
Literally just walking around and exploring Milan was our favorite part of the trip. The city is full of the most stylish people I've ever seen, and there's cool stuff around every corner. To me, the best part of the weekend cost no money at all - just seeing everything in real life is the most memorable thing! 

Restaurant Recommendations:
+ Motta Milano 1928 
The most chic pink, navy and gold restaurant right inside the Galleria! The lunch was incredible and honestly a great deal for how ideal the location was. Order the prosciutto pizza! 

+ Temakinho
I'm not going to lie, this was probably some of the worst service I've had in a while, and it was much more overpriced than it should have been, but the food and vibe of this restaurant were so pretty (see the pink restaurant above!). 7 of us got poke bowls, chips and guac and mango smoothies for lunch the first day and aside from all of the bad service, it was still such a pretty meal. Super close to the Duomo and almost reminded me of the Italian version of the Beverly Hills Hotel! 

+ Starbucks Reserve
No trip to Milan is complete without a stop at the Starbucks Reserve! I wouldn't consider myself the biggest Starbucks super fan, but seeing this place was insane. They had incredible desserts (the strawberry cake was 10/10), drinks and overall environment. 

I am so grateful to have been able to spend such a fun weekend in Milan - if you ever have the chance to go (even for a day), I could not suggest it enough. 

Have you been to Milan before? 

Monday, February 18, 2019

Abroad Photo Diary: ROME

After a long bus ride through Italy, I am back from Rome for the weekend! The program I am studying abroad through has four excursions planned for us and the first one was Rome this past weekend. Although I would usually prefer to travel alone with my friends, it was super nice having tours set up for all of the must-see things in Rome (the Colosseum, the Vatican, Roman Forum, etc.). I got some much needed sunshine and loved exploring a new city in Italy. Plus, seeing the infamous places from the Lizzie McGuire movie didn't hurt either :) 

The sweetest dog I've ever seen!!

Fresh gnocchi with tomato and basil.

There was an Andy Warhol exhibit open when we were there which was incredible!!

 Trying all of the pizza and paninis is a must :)

My favorite view (pink + orange!) from this whole semester so far. 

Things to do (other than all of the historical spots):
+ Bershka
An amazing store that they have in a few different countries in Europe. Similar to H&M, Forever 21 and Zara! You must go if you're in a city with one - I got a pair of jeans, a scarf for my ponytail and a snakeskin belt for 13 euro total!

+ Art Museums
Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock exhibits were open at the Vittoriano museum and were really cool to see! 

Restaurant Recommendations:
+ Osteria de Fortunata 
There was literally a woman making the pasta right in the restaurant (aka the most fresh pasta you will ever have in your life!). This place was super highly recommended from tons of people we know and it did not disappoint! 

+ Tonarello 
Can't go wrong with any of their pasta but I got the pesto and loved it! They had huge portion sizes so go if you're really hungry!

+ Aromaticus
We went to this vegan restaurant on our last day because we needed something lighter after consuming so much pasta and pizza. It was so fresh and delicious if you're in the mood for something super healthy!