Before this trip, when I thought of Florence, I imagined a quiet Italian town on a hill surrounded by vineyards and filled with art and cafes. I was so wrong. It was crowded, dirty, and beside the cathedral and certain monuments, I found it to be kind of ugly. I’m happy to have seen it once, but I have no intention of returning. Though I did buy a sick leather jacket since this is the leather capital of the world.

Here’s some of the pretty parts:

Side story: there’s a traditional Florentine sandwich called lampredotto. It was recommended to me by more than one local, so I got one. Little did I know it’s marinated cow stomach. I took two bites and then googled it because the texture was so odd. I made it about two more bites before I just couldn’t anymore. Surprise stomach sandwich. Thanks Florence.

The main cathedral is amazing. The natural pink and green stone made it so incredibly beautiful. And of course, there was amazing statues everywhere. The crowds just detracted from the beauty so much. Walking through the streets was torture. The best part was meeting a guy named Darrien with whom I would spend time in Rome exploring. Because seriously, look at this river: 

I guess the bottom was treated with a material that makes it look like this, but it still looks gross.

Enough of that. LETS TALK ABOUT ROME!!!

I would move there tomorrow. 

Are you not entertained?! This was the first thing I did when I got there. It was as amazing as I hoped. We all kept commenting on how much we wanted to be able to travel back in time and see Rome in her prime. Everything was alive with history. Monuments of the old empire lay everywhere. I’d be walking down a winding street and suddenly round a corner and have my breath taken by some new amazing thing.

Rome only has two metro lines and they’re crowded. They’ve been trying to build a third line, but they keep finding new ruins and artifacts when they dig. Fun fact.

Kick ass ruins everywhere. 

Then there was the Vatican. I had tears in my eyes for so much of the Sistine Chapel. It was overwhelming. I wish I could have taken photos for you, but they’re forbidden as flash can damage the paint.

But these above are all mosaics! I couldn’t believe it! That’s not a painting. It’s tiny tiles arranged masterfully. Incredible.

I didn’t sleep much in Rome as I was there on a weekend and the hostel always had parties for us. It was so much fun meeting people from all over the world. I also didn’t workout in Rome as the gyms were pretty far from the city center, and I had a mild hangover most of the time when I was completely enraptured in sightseeing. I even got to meet up with a friend from my trip 9 years ago! It was such great coincidence we were both in Rome! Late night Italian dinners wit friends could never get old.

Now for a section called Funny Signs.

God yes, I love language.

This concludes Italy. Next post will be Barcelona ❤️



Here’s the first of two Italian posts. Italy was my first foreign love, and that has not changed.While I was there I made new friends and reconnected with old, ate delicious pasta and drank amazing wine. I learned an impressive amount of Italian in a short time spending time with people who hardly speak any English. All in all, and unsurprisingly, I love Italy. 

I left off in Zurich. My final day there, I went to a really cool gym called Balboa. It’s not a CrossFit affiliate, but the do similar classes. They also do yoga, martial arts, weightlifting, and other classes. What I loved most was the vibe. Upstairs is a full cafe and bar:

There’s a glass portion of the floor through which you can see the gym downstairs. Everything was immaculately clean and modern. The instructors were professional, and the classes were well run and organized. The whole atmosphere of the place was so pleasing to me. 

After Zurich came Milan. The fashion capital. It was a beautiful, metropolitan city with good transportation and plenty to do. I stayed in a hostel that was located near a metro station, and made getting around very easy. On my second day there, I met two American guys who were on the same kind of trip as me. They were really nice guys with lots of stories to tell. We spent most of my time in Milan together. The first night, we went to the apartment of their Italian friends. We had pizza and wine, guitar sing alongs, and lots of laughs. There was a guy there who was more American than some Americans I know, yet he’s never set foot on American soil. He’s Indian. His accent was American. His sense of humor and music taste? American. His explanation was simple: “I’ve been watching American movies and television all my life. I consider English my first language, I even think in English.” I’m so happy to have met him!

This was a really disturbing art installation drawing attention to domestic abuse.

These guys. So great. ?
The next day, we went to Lake Como. A one hour train ride brought us into absolutely gorgeous mountain country around the pants shaped lake. Varenna is located in the right pocket of the “pants.” We spent the day sun basking, eating, exploring, and taking photos. We couldn’t have wished for a better day!

The Europeans do hot chocolate so much better than us. 
The city of Milan is situated around Il Duomo. The giant church. Breathtaking.

There’s also the old castle that marked the entrance to the ancient walled city that was Milan wayyyy back in war time Italy. Only a few remnants of the wall remain now.


Happiness is coffee, cookies, and kitties. 

Then I hopped at BlaBlaCar to Venice. 

Miriam, me, Anna in 2007

When I was a junior in high school, my family hosted a Venetian girl for a year through foreign exchange. It was one of the best years of my life! Anna became the sister I never had, and we still keep in touch. The summer after my senior year, I went and stayed with her family for 5 weeks. Her father picked me up, and it all felt like just yesterday.

I spent a nice long weekend with her parents. They treated me like a daughter, and we had a really lovely time. Their home is about 20 minutes from Venice in a country-like setting. It felt like home.

I even got to see Anna’s cousin and her baby!

Anna’s mom, Giuli, brought me to the lovely little town of Treviso to just snoop around. It was a crappy, misty day, but we had fun anyway. She’s a really happy, positive person. I got to really spend quality time with her this trip.

That fountain exists. 

She took me to Venice too. Gloriously sunny weather guided us through the winding streets and throngs of people.

It was exactly has I remember. Timeless, vibrant, salty.

Miriam and I got to reconnect. We spent a day exploring some caves an hour north of Venice.

It was really fun just walking around surrounded by such beauty. 

I learned how to walk on stilts! Just adding to my list of odd talents. Anna’s father made them for her years ago.

The only thing that could have made the Venice trip better is if Anna could have been there! Sadly, she now lives in Mexico. 

Florence and Rome in the next post…
I’m going to catch you up to current times over the next two days. Sorry for the absence! Stay tuned!