Living in the Lizzie McGuire Movie

Remember when Paolo takes Lizzie on that romantic date through Rome, and they frolic through gardens of fountains and all you ever dreamed of was to be her someday? Well my 9 year old self lived out her dream today. I went on an adventure to Tivoli at Villa D’Este, and although my friend and I managed to get on the wrong train, miss two more trains after that, and get lost in Tivoli making what should have been a 45 minute journey into a 4 hour one, I was not disappointed. Tivoli is gorgeous. 

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Remember these fountains from the movie? Goodbye Lizzie McGuire, Hello Fabulous.

Also I finally had Cacio e Pepe pasta for dinner tonight. It’s an incredible simple dish, with pecorino cheese and pepper. It’s a staple of Rome and it was one of the greatest things I’ve put into my mouth since I’ve been here. In the words of Kate Sanders “I’d eat carbs if an Italian boy bought them for me!” (No Italian boy bought them for me but obviously I’ll still eat it.)

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A rainy night in Rome.

Well I guess the seasons are finally changing. The blistering hot afternoons turned into comfortably warm mornings and chilly nights, and today, it starting raining. Which means tonight was a chance for me to stay in, listen to the new RHODES album, and reminiscence on some sunnier days in Positano.

Also check out RHODES album Wishes. It’s perfect for rainy nights like these.

Guten Tag, München!

I did it! I’m back from Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany! This was my number one stop while going abroad and I had such an amazing weekend, made many new friends, and created memories I will never forget. Oktoberfest is a lot more than just a beer festival; it’s a meeting place for people around the world, and the biggest party of all time. All are welcome to Oktoberfest under the one condition that you want to have a great time with great people. Prost! 

Munich is a beautiful city. This was the first time I’ve been to a country in Europe besides Italy, and it was my first taste of culture shock. I headed to breakfast right after Maria & I landed, and were handed a menu fully in German. It’s a scary feeling to not know anything about the place you’re in, especially the language, but it made me appreciate the value in traveling and being a tourist. Everyone in Germany was so helpful and recommended great choices and options considering we had absolutely no idea. The best part? I had the greatest breakfast ever. With a beer, of course.

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Savannah & I in front of St. Peter’s Church in Munich. It is absolutely stunning!

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My amazing German breakfast.

The food is definitely one of my favorite parts of Germany. I’ve never had so much sausage and pretzels in 48 hours but I have no regrets. Later that night, we made our way to a local beer hall where once again we were challenged with an all German menu. Luckily, 3 older German men were sitting next to our group and realized our struggle, recommending certain beers and pointing out good choices on the menu. Once again, a lot of sausage and pretzels.

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But after exploring some of Munich, buying my dirndl (my favorite thing ever), and having a couple amazing meals, we headed back to the hostel to try and get a decent amount of sleep before the real festivities.

Opening day at Oktoberfest was so much fun. Thousands and thousands of people were making their way into the tents to grab a table. We had to wait a few hours for the first keg to be tapped at noon, but once that happened, it was a party. Here are some pictures of my adventure at Oktoberfest!

Oktoberfest 2015, you were all I could have asked for. I will be back for you someday, München. Until next time.. PROST!

Happy Oktoberfest everyone!

Happy Oktoberfest everyone!

What is life like in Rome, you ask?

I’ve been posting a lot about my little trips, but what about life in Rome? It’s been great so far and I’ve already made some amazing memories. Here are some pictures of my first few weeks!

Innamorata di Amalfi.

I’d like to think I’ve seen some beautiful views in my life. The view of the San Francisco skyline every time you drive into the city, sitting on the beach in San Diego with your best friends watching the sunset, horseback riding through the hills of Montana when all you can see is the sky, even the 360 degree view of New York City from the top of Rockefeller Center. All of those moments were different forms of indescribable beauty that replay in my head each day. This weekend I experienced another one.
My trip to the Amalfi Coast made me realize how unbelievably lucky I am to be exploring Italy. We stayed in Sorrento and started our first day with an island tour of Capri, by boat, around the island.

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That alone was enough for a spectacular weekend. After that we had some granita and made our way up to Anacapri where I had the best seafood thus far in Italy. The views from Anacapri are unreal and literally take your breath away. In Anacapri, there’s a chairlift that will take you to the very top of the island, offering a 360 degree view of the most majestic place in the world. A slow (and quite terrifying) 15 minute solo chair ride up to the top was all I needed to fall in love with the Amalfi coast. And that was only day 1.

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The next day was a complete beach day on Positano. Sitting on the beach with dozens of new friends, eating panini and drinking cold beers, while being surrounded by the most beautiful beach town I can imagine- in that moment I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. IMG_3298We spent hours in the water. It was a dream day in Italy, and considering it was the last beach day we’d be having for a long time, I made the most of it.

On our drive up the mountain of Positano to head back to Sorrento, a few others and I already started talking about our dream to come back. We soaked in the views, that no picture or painting or movie could make look as perfect or surreal, and realized that our dream weekend was coming to an end. Amalfi, I’ll be back for you someday.

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What the hell am I saying?

“Wow, there just aren’t enough weekends this semester to go where we want!”

This phrase has been uttered by most of my friends here in Rome the last few weeks. Most of us study abroad kids are in the process of booking weekend trips to other cities in Europe. Conversations vary from “I found the cheapest roundtrip flight to London!” to “Crap, should we do Barcelona or Budapest that weekend?” Me? I’ll be heading to a few awesome cities in Europe this semester. And yet, I’ve somehow found the audacity to say something as stupid as, “Wow this sucks. I just don’t have enough weekends to travel.” Yes, a semester abroad is a great opportunity to explore new places and see new things. It’s encouraged by most (though in my case, I am very eager to make every second count in Rome- I’m living in one of the greatest cities in the world, and I’m not going to miss out on that). And logistically speaking, it’s pretty cheap to travel around Europe and book accommodations through airbnb or hostels with your friends. It is not a crazy idea to take a weekend adventure somewhere new, while continuing to explore all Rome has to offer during the week. My planner, in fact, is a colorful swirl of arrows and details outlining almost every upcoming travel weekend.

But just a minute ago, as I was filling in my planner with all my new booking information, I realized that I am crazy for saying that phrase. I’ve been in Rome for exactly two weeks, and I’ve already had the opportunity to see Florence, Lucca, and Pisa, three great cities in Italy. I have amazing trips planned, such as the Amalfi Coast in two days, and Oktoberfest in Munich next weekend. I have been given the opportunity to travel and live out a dream of mine that I really didn’t know if I was going to be able to have. The way I see it, I’ll be back to Europe someday (sooner rather than later, I hope). What I don’t cross off my list in the next four months, will be crossed off in the next few years, and I will promise myself that.

So next time I say, “Damn, I just don’t have enough weekends here”, please slap me. 

My weekend in Florence, Lucca, and Pisa. 

About 10 days into my 4 month Roman adventure, I took off with two friends to do some sightseeing in another nearby region in Italy. I’m currently on a train back to Rome from an unforgettable weekend in Tuscany.

Bright and early Friday morning, with my alarm sounding at 5 am, I called a cab to Termini station to catch the bullet train to Florence. Upon arrival, we felt some light mist that eventually turned into a moderate downpour for about half an hour. On our way to find our hostel we found ourselves damp. But by the time we checked into the hostel and changed our clothes, the streets were glistening and we stumbled upon the most beautiful spot in Florence. A glorious view, with perfect natural lighting; the quintessential tourist picture: ponte vecchio right after it rained.

We then spent the day touring Firenze, proudly being tourists in a city we did not know. The Duomo was spectacular, the Statue of David was jawdropping to say the least, and the view from Piazzale Michaelangelo at sunset was a moment I will never forget. Check out my previous post about the gelato I had! It was by far the greatest gelato I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting! Florence is a beautiful city, a bit more modern and cleaner than Rome, more American influence throughout the city, but absolutely breathtaking. And the smell of leather on every corner didn’t hurt either. I will be back for you, Firenze.

On Saturday morning, after surviving our first hostel experience, we hopped on the train to Lucca. We were picked up from the station by a lovely man who had arranged a horseback riding session in the hills for us. It was absolutely magical. My horse, Paco, was a little wild, but I’ll never forget the experience. I like to say Paco is the greatest Italian man I’ve met thus far!

   

Lucca was a real treat. I think it’s so beautiful that the city is surrounded by its original walls. Within the walls, there are 100 churches. The style is incredibly unique compared to any other style I’ve seen in Italy. Our airbnb host, Ana, was an amazing older Italian woman, who lived through massive green doors in the middle of a small piazza right by the city center. Her apartment building was built in the 15th century, with high ceilings and massive windows looking out into the piazza and alleyways surrounding. This is Piazza San Michele, a major hub in the city of Lucca. This church was so beautiful.

On Sunday morning, we took the train from Lucca to Pisa. We were so excited to shamelessly play tourist and take way too many pictures at the Leaning Tower! We relaxed most of the day but not before spending an hour or so getting the perfect picture!  I think Pisa is the one place where it’s totally okay to be a cheesy tourist, and no one will judge you!




Sonia, Kendall, and I had an amazing time this weekend. It was a great first trip outside of Rome and I learned some basics about riding trains and staying in hostels around Italy. Can’t wait for my next adventure, but first I need to get back to Rome and enjoy my temporary home. xoxo