Donuts & Croatia

IMG_7372{ our main food staple of the weekend…donuts! }

last weekend we made one last final group trip to Split, Croatia. it was never a place i ever thought about going to but i am really glad that i did.

FUN FACT: Croatians are really really tall!

thursday: we landed pretty late so the only thing we did this day was get dinner. we went to a place down the street from where we were staying. Croatian money to ours is about an exchange rate of 7 to 1. when we looked at the menu we realized since everything was SO cheap we were going to order a bunch of stuff. big mistake….we ended up ordering twice as much food as we really needed. as soon as we were done with calamari, the fries came out, then the chicken came out, as soon as we were done with that the paella came out!! (i think you get the picture) basically we were stuffed beyond belief and had lost all capabilities to move. somehow we managed to try to find somewhere to go out to that night. however, it ended up being a 3.1 mile hike to a place that happened to be closed #offseasonprobs

friday: after breakfast we got on a bus to head to our activity for the day…white water rafting!!! not going to lie i was really freaked out on the bus ride there. but once we got all wet-suited-up i was really feeling the adrenaline and was ready to go. we lucked out and got the head instructor named Marco. basically he was the definition of perfect haha. anyways..rafting was really cool and i definitely will be doing it again (maybe a little more extreme next time??) afterwards we went to a riverside restaurant and that is where we started our donut binge of the weekend (see above pic). guess what we did on our walk home after the bus dropped us off? got more donuts of course!! haha i will not be eating donuts for a very long time…

saturday: we set out on a mission to find a breakfast place that was somewhere in the middle of the city. we only got mildly lost before we ended up at this cute hotel with the nicest server. it was a multiple course breakfast, think: bread, spreads, fruit, coffee, tea, orange juice, omelettes, yogurt, cereal, etc. SO yummy. honestly, anytime i get breakfast while abroad i am usually a very happy camper. our activity for this day was island hopping. so we boarded the boat and headed off to our first location. we stopped at three different stops throughout the day but the best part was being out on the water. it made me so excited for boating this summer! that night for dinner we decided to check out a pizza place called Adriatic Graso that Marco suggested. he failed to mention that it was not close AT ALL. we walked all the way around the port and then up a hill to get to it (it was also pouring so yay for that). it was definitely worth it though because they brought us out METER long pizzas..yes meter! as a group we managed to scarf down four haha. for those of you that are curious that is a little more than 13 feet. our plan was to go out after but at dinner everyone was still “on the boat”. aka we all still felt like we were riding waves from being on the boat earlier in the day. we didn’t end up getting “off the boat” until the next morning sadly.

sunday: we got up early to try out a new breakfast spot and shop along The Riva before we headed back to the airport. i had the world’s most amazing breakfast. it was called the ‘tier breakfast’ because it came out on two tiers! talk about the greatest gift for an indecisive person like me.IMG_1078{ island hopping with the best }IMG_1085{ hi boat! }IMG_1134 { great crew }IMG_1208{ crabby pants }IMG_7379 { our wonderful transportation }
IMG_7450 { how much kuna??? }IMG_7480 { fell in love with Marco this day (see man holding up paddle) }IMG_7496 { two-tier brunch!! }IMG_7508{ view from where we stayed }

Spring Break Photo Diary

IMG_7242{ can a view get much better? }

i spent my Spring Break this year in Cascais, Portugal and Mallorca, Spain. we spent most of it relaxing, eating, watching sunsets, and getting some much needed vitamin D! OH! and i learned how to surf. i can finally check that off my bucket list!
IMG_7115{ strolls to the beach}IMG_7196

{ sunsets in Cascais }Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset { view from our morning run }IMG_7276{ feeding twenty college students is not easy }IMG_7295{ cliffs in Mallorca }

‘Nice’ was Nice

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset{ beach side dining }

my best friend, since i was five years old, and i decided to do a solo trip together to Nice, France. we wanted to go somewhere warm and beautiful and Nice topped our list. most of the weekend was spent window shopping (although i admit i bought a few things..oops), laying on the beach, exploring the cascade and eating LOTS of crepes! it was fun not having any plans so we could just walk around and relax. all in all, Nice is definitely a place i want to come back to!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset { Le Hussard }Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset { lunch by the port in Monte Carlo }Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset { my mom’s favorite }Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset { flower market in Nice }image3 2 { overlooking beautiful Nice }Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset  { that time we were lost in Eze }Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset { yachts & coconuts are all I need }Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset  { seaside lunch }Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset{ cool idea for a statement wall }Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset  { goal is to stay here some day }IMG_0528 { the beaches in Nice are all rock }IMG_0577 { trespassing our way through Eze }IMG_0660{ THE Monte Carlo Casino }

Mom & Auntie Come to Visit

image5 2 copy{ tea time (but really coffee) at Ladurée }

a few weekends back my mom and aunt came to visit me! we spent the first few days of their visit exploring Rome together. We did a food tasting, toured the Vatican, saw a lot of historic sites and stopped for cheese and wine whenever possible. After our time in Rome we went to Cinque Terre and explored the five villages. Most of the hiking trails were closed but we did end up hiking from Monterosso to Vernazza which was an incredible hike. The 1.5 hour hike took my mom, aunt & i 2.5 hours…

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset{ && some macaroons too 🙂 }Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset{ food tasting in Trastevere, Italy–baked goodies! }Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset { food tasting in Trastevere, Italy–meats & cheeses }Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset{ church of The Great Bambino }
Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset { homemade gnocchi }Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset { mom’s pizza from Insalata Rica }IMG_0049{ climbing to the top of the Vatican }IMG_0035{ we made it! }IMG_9782{ lower level of the Colosseum } IMG_9819{ Piazza Navona–my favorite piazza in Rome}IMG_0053{ calm waters in Monterosso }IMG_0149{ ocean front bar with the best piña coladas }IMG_0184{ hiking from Monterosso to Vernazza }IMG_0266 { hanging out on our hike }

P.S. I Love Dublin

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset{ showing off the new scarf }

thursday: within minutes of arriving at the hostel we booked for the weekend we were already calling hotels to see if they had any last minute openings. the hostel was jam packed of visitors from all over (mainly intoxicated older men) and security didn’t seem to be on the hostels priority list. the girls i was staying with and i were all uncomfortable with not only the men sleeping in our room but also the fact that there was no place to lock up our belongings. in the end it worked out though because we found an opening at a boutique hostel that was near everything. since it was so last minute we ended up getting the pent house for a really good price (score!). by the time we had our living situation figured out we were starving. we went to O’Neills pub (recommended by our cab driver) to try some authentic Irish food. i got my childhood favorite dish, shepards pie! i might be coming back to Ireland just to eat it again.

friday: we woke up early to go take a day trip to the Cliffs of Howth. we decided against the Cliffs of Moher because it would have been an all day trip and we were pressed for time. Cliffs of Howth was just a 6 euro train ride away and only took about 30-40 minutes. when we got to the seaside town we started the 90 minute hike up the cliffs. once we reached the top we had an incredible view of the Irish ocean (and lots of wind to go along with it). at the top, the wind made it really cold so when we got back down to town we stopped at a restaurant to warm up and grab some food. i opted for the fish & chips because my waiter said the fish had been caught that morning (can you get much fresher than that??). and hands down…they were the best fish & chips i have ever had. from what i can remember, they were even better than the ones i had in Hawaii a few years ago. when we returned to Dublin we took a tour of the Guinness museum and got to see how the beer was made. the tour ended with a 360-degree view of the entire city and a glass of Guinness of course. it was a great way to end the day.

saturday: we started the day with breakfast at San Lorenzo’s. it was so delicious and i highly recommend it to anyone visiting Dublin. the rest of the day was spent hanging around Temple Bar area with all the other study abroad students who were celebrating St.Patricks day. since it wasn’t actually St.Patrick’s Day, there weren’t any locals celebrating the holiday with us. however, i was told that americans actually celebrate St.Patrick’s Day wayyy more than the Irish do. so weird?

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset { the hostel that never was }Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset { shepards pie-my childhood favorite }Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset { Temple Bar }Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset { the hallway at our hotel }Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset { *insert nervous mom saying here* }Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset { side streets in the city }image10 3{ Guinness Museum }Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset { postin’ up } Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset { Temple Bar at night }Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset{ avocado toast from San Lorenzo’s }

Barcelona

image6 2{ fresh fruit and juice from La Boqueria }

thursday: we landed in Barcelona around lunchtime and were starving so we decided to go to the most raved about brunch place, Brunch & Cake. Somehow we managed to find both Cup & Cake and Travel & Cake instead. we decided to just stay at Travel & Cake because we thought it was close enough (I later learned it’s not). afterwards we went to go pick up our festival tickets. the place we got them from was next to the beach so we headed down to a beach club called Carpe Diem. we spent the rest of the afternoon/early night there lounging on beds and drinking sangria (amazing!). when it came time for dinner we went to the best Mexican place called Rosa Negra. i have been craving Mexican food for months so this really hit the spot. later that night we went to Razzmatazz for the festival/concert thingy hah.

friday: instead of breakfast we decided to wait it out and get Bo De B for an early lunch. Bo De B is famous in Barcelona for really good sandwiches that are filled with a bunch of different stuff. our next destination was Las Ramblas. there was supposed to be street vendors there but that day there wasn’t any. thankfully, we still had La Boqueria market to look forward to. La Boqueria was full of fresh juices, fruits and candies (and meats but nobody got time for that). I got a strawberry coconut juice that i will definitely be trying to remake when i get home. as if we didn’t have enough sweets at the market, we went to the Happy Pills candy store. this was a cute little place where you filled up pink and white pill bottles full of candy. our last stop of the day was Park Güell. we explored the grounds before going to see the colorful benches. from the park we were able to see a lot of Barcelona, including my favorite..the ocean!!

saturday: we skipped breakfast again and instead got an early lunch at a typical Spanish restaurant. Colleen insisted on ordering paella (rice and veggie dish), pan con tomate (bread with mashed tomatoes on too), and potatos bravas (diced potatoes with mayo and a spicy red sauce). of all three dishes I have to say the potatos braves were very yummy. after lunch we headed to the beach to hang out with everyone from abroadfest. the whole day consisted of going back and forth from beach club to beach club (and the beach itself of course). after a long day at the clubs we ended it with dinner at Wok to Walk which was a really good stir-fry chain.

image3 2 { Travel & Cake }Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset { lounging at Carpe Diem }image5 2{ La Boqueria Market }image7 2 { strawberry coconut }image9 2 { Park Güell }image13{ la paella }

Friends in Firenze

IMG_9286{ three girls and the Ponte Vecchio }

last weekend i took the train up to Florence for a second time this semester. i have to say this city never gets old.

thursday: after Paige and i got off the train we went to Lindsey’s apartment to drop off our stuff. from there we went to her parents hotel to pick them and her sister Kelly up before lunch. luckily for me, we went back to my favorite pizza place—Gusta! it is hands down my favorite place in Italy. once lunch was over we went to visit the Boboli gardens that were located just behind the Pitti Palace. the gardens were absolutely gorgeous and i later found out that no one outside of the Medici family (famous family in Florence) was even allowed access to them. after the gardens we walked the Ponte Vecchio and picked up some gelato at Venchi on the way. Lindsey, Paige and I made one last stop at the David on the way home. it was really cool! i have always heard so much about it so it was fun to actually be able to see it! Dinner was at Trattoria Gargani (not to be confused with La Cucina Del Garga—we accidentally went here instead). Gargani had amazing food and fun decor. i would highly recommend the cacio e pepe or the citrus pasta! oh..and don’t forget to order the cheesecake for desert (it is to die for!). having dinner with Lindsey’s parents was like getting a little slice of home. i am so grateful i was in Florence the same weekend they were.

friday: we started our day with breakfast at Lindsey’s parent’s hotel (think the yummiest croissants and fresh fruit). then we decided to hike to Piazzale Michelangelo to see the skyline of the city. although it was a slight struggle to reach the top, once we got there the views were spectacular. you could see the Duomo and a view of the entire city from the top. by the time we were done with the hike it was lunchtime so we stopped at a place called Osteria Santo Spirito. the bruschetta and tortellacci were the best things I have ever tasted in my life. i would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone who plan on visiting Florence. afterwards, we walked around for a little after lunch before Paige and i had to catch our train back to Rome.

IMG_9262{ il Duomo!!! }IMG_9295 { making the amazingness that is Gusta Pizza }IMG_9324 { part of the Boboli Gardens }IMG_9371 { ill take five }IMG_9373 { crema gelato from Venchi }IMG_9423 { views from Piazzale Michelangelo }Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset{ David }