Monday, December 14, 2015

Venice, Italy

Venice is the most unique place I have ever been. The hundreds of islands connected by bridges make up the cutest towns. While walking around we ran into the most inspiring bookstores ever. During high tide, every building in Venice floods every once in a while. When this happens, most businesses close, but this bookstore never closes. They have boats full of books inside; so when it floods the books will just float. However, some books were damaged in a recent high tide. With these books, the bookstore put them to good use and stacked them into stairs so you can see over the wall into the canal. Walking on these books was one of the coolest experiences. It is really inspiring to see these people to take a tragedy and still make something positive about it. While in Venice we went on a gondola ride (of course)! We got the gondola right in front of the hotel that my parents stayed at 21 years ago for their honeymoon. Unlike the rest of Italy, Venice is known for fish and meats, instead of pasta and pizza. It is fair to say that I ate the best filet minion I have ever had. And if you know me, you know I am very picky about filet minion! Overall, Venice was the perfect place to end my trip and I cannot wait to go back and visit Europe (soon, hopefully)!

Florence, Italy

Florence is somewhere I have always wanted to go because I heard it has some of the best shopping! While Rome offered pretty good shopping, Florence was a little better because it had adorable boutiques and the leather market. The leather market is a (sometimes overwhelming) street of leather purses, wallets, jackets, duffle bags, etc. that include some knock-offs. The reason I say it is overwhelming is because if you look at a purse for the slightest second, the owner will immediately try to bargain with you. My sisters and I ended up all getting purses from the market. I was really happy that I got one because it is a souvenir, but not an “I Love Florence” T-shirt. Florence has a bridge of colorful buildings that looks like a mini town and every store on the bridge is a jewelry store, which was really charming. We found a really good Panini place (that was playing Justin Bieber’s music), where you made your own Panini. For obvious reasons I enjoyed my time there. The best part of Florence was the Christmas decorations and how it looked like I was walking in a dream. It was so beautiful, even at night. We shopped as much as we could, but then made our way to our last stop: Venice!

Rome, Italy

For being the first European city I have ever been to Rome did not disappoint! Being someone who is fascinated by art history, I fell in love every time I turned a corner. The colorful buildings never ended and I felt the need to take pictures of everything. The first photo is the view from the Vatican Museum and though it is hard to believe the view looked even more breathtaking in person. The night we arrived in Rome my sisters and I threw Euro coins in the Trevi Fountain and made a wish. My older sister was studying abroad in Rome for the past three months, so she helped us get around. We went to Eatly, my favorite place to eat in NYC, except this time I got to pair my meal with a glass of wine.  We found secret bakeries that were underground with cookies with the Pope’s face and walked at least ten miles a day. We did not tour a lot which was nice because we got to simply enjoy the city. I drank from a fountain that gives good luck (I hope it kicks in for finals) and we toured the Vatican. Now being in Catholic school my whole life I have always known about “that place in Rome where the Pope lives,” but I have never tried to imagine it. I was blown away by how magnificent it truly is. I cannot use any other word to describe it. There are so many pieces of art that are so ancient and unbelievably stunning. I feel so privileged to be able to tour the Vatican. It was a once in a lifetime experience. After eating and drinking our way through Rome, our next stop was Florence!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Grand Central Market

Grand Central Station reminds me of an indoor Times Square; It is crowded, slightly chaotic, and busy. I expected it to be like this because of the way it is on television, but I did not expect it to have food and shopping! When I first walked in the entrance from the subway I immediately ran into an adorable French bakery and a Vince Camuto store. Who would have known a train station could be like an airport? (Maybe that is common sense, but I had no idea.) I made my way into an adorable market with countless cheeses, yogurts, cookies, flowers, and baguettes. If you were thinking of having a picnic in Central Park, I would shop at this market because it is walking distance from the park, or if you are not looking to have a picnic, but enjoys markets, I would for sure stop by and walk through!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Dominique Ansel Bakery

Let me just say these are the cutest things I have ever eaten! My friend was in New York City during my stay, so I wanted to do something fun and I found out about these cookie shots! They are from DominiqueAnsel Bakery in Soho. (There is a ‘Dominique Ansel Kitchen’ too, so make sure you go to the ‘Bakery.’) Cookie shot sales start at 3:00 pm and the line is outside the bakery. We arrived at about 10 till 3:00 pm and were fifth in line, so it only took about ten minutes. (I heard we got lucky and the line is normally very long.) An employee walks you into the bakery and you purchase the cookie shots as they pour the milk into the cookie “shot glass” right in front of you! It is obvious that they look super cute, but the cookie tastes amazing too! The cookie itself was surprisingly still warm. Also, while the cookie “shot glass” looks small, it is actually a pretty good amount of cookie. This made for the perfect snack between shopping!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Top of the Rock

Being someone who is so scared of heights that I am afraid to go on a Ferris wheel, I do not understand why I was so excited to go up 70 floors to the Top of the Rock, but I was. I have always seen pictures from the Top of the Rock and was so excited that during this trip to New York, I would have the chance to go. The views are absolutely breathtaking and you can see all of Manhattan. I have been to the Empire State Building multiple times, but if I ever had to choose between the two, I would choose the Top of the Rock with no hesitation. At the Top of the Rock, you can see Central Park, the Empire State Building, (which are the two best-known symbols of New York City), and everything in between. Also, the walls are glass to allow you to take better pictures of the view, which I took full advantage of. Also, there are many different decks and windows to take in the view, so even though I was there on a perfect day in the middle of the summer, it seemed to not feel that crowded, which allows you to enjoy your time. Basically, if you are in New York City and want an amazing picture to post or to just have, I highly recommend going to the Top of the Rock.

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