Venice, Verona, Cremona, Florence, Sardinia, Rome, Milan & Amalifi.
My first stop was Venice. I stumbled wearily out of the cab and began to wander. Making my way through bustling, winding streets over little canals, I felt my heart beat with new energy. I was entranced.
I've been thinking about how it's only natural to become so accustomed to our surroundings that they stop wooing us. It's something we slip into without trying. So easily, the mesmerizing becomes mundane.
One of the most refreshing effects of travel is the way it recalibrates our vision, expanding our sight to see ourselves and our environments with more clarity and depth.
I want to recalibrate often. I want to see through the eyes of a child, a student, an artist. There's beauty all around us and I don't want to miss any of it.
Gnocchi Recipe :)
Thank you to my host family for sharing!
Place cooked, peeled potatoes in spiralizer.
Combine potato spirals, one or two eggs, and flour as needed in a bowl. Make dough with hands.
Transfer dough to a floured surface and roll.
Slice with a sharp knife and press with a fork or small grater to shape each gnocchi.
Drop into boiling water for two minutes or so. Careful not to overlook.
Top with melted butter, cinnamon and salt. Enjoy quickly!
Venice is one of the loveliest cities I've ever seen. Even the trash cans are prettier. My first day, I wandered around without a map or itinerary, just soaking it all in. I picked up some cherries and dates from a fruit stand and walked along bridges over canals until the sidewalk ended and I came to the water’s edge. I found a little pier and sunbathed for hours. After a cappuccino, I wandered until I found the grand canal. And at sunset I sat by the gondola-lined water with a slice of pizza.
I've been thinking a lot lately about consumer culture and how it's infiltrated parts of life that aren't meant to be consumed, like relationships experiences. Seeing Venice in all of her romance covered with so many tourists, I felt a sense of protection. I wanted everyone to stop for a second and just marvel at her beauty.
I never want to be the kind of traveler who shows up to consume. To “do it for the ‘gram.” I want to be the kind who shows up ready to experience a new way of doing life. To peel off the lenses through which I view the world and swap them out for new ones. To realize that my default way of thinking, what's “normal” to me, isn't objectively normal. There are other lenses to see through and there is always something new to be learned.
As I wandered around my second day in the city, I stopped for coffee and tried a mint slush with a shot of espresso (it was surprisingly delicious and super refreshing.) After chatting for a few minutes, my barista recommended I visit La Biennale. I saw a fantastic exhibit about human belonging and migration. It was really impactful. I left feeling reflective and hopeful. I also loved seeing so much thought provoking, meaningful art all around the city.
Venice is the most romantic place I've ever been. Last year I had the opportunity to visit during Carnival, which was especially fun!
A couple of my friends and I took a weekend trip stayed in the most beautiful home. Bruce, our cheerful and welcoming host, greeted us at the train station fully decked out in costume for Carnival. His wife even made fresh fruitcake for us to enjoy.
We spent the weekend wandering aimlessly along the streets, eating homemade pasta, throwing confetti around, enjoying happy hour at a cute little wine bar. I love being spontaneous when I travel. We found so many hidden gems in Venice, like the beautiful outdoor bookstore pictured above.
Saturday morning, we planned to visit Murano to watch some glass blowing artisans and shop in the little glass boutiques. It was freezing and raining, but we braved the weather and took the ferry over to the island. Even in the rain, Murano was gorgeous.
By nighttime, the weather cleared up, so we celebrated with confetti... and dessert. (I had a pink meringue!)
Such a perfect weekend. Arrivederci, Venice! Until next time.
Besides Venice, Cinque Terre is probably my favorite place in the whole world. Made up of five charming little towns along the Italian Riviera, Cinque Terre feels like stepping into a fairytale. Colorful houses sit along rugged terraces, their rich colors contrasting against the crystal blue water.
Each of the towns, Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore, has its own distinct personality. The towns are close to each other, so it’s possible to hike between them. Cinque Terre has the most breathtaking views of the vineyards, the sea, and some of the prettiest sunsets imaginable.
I visited Cinque Terre in late March, and spent a long weekend there. I spent my days hiking through the vineyards, sipping Sciacchetrà (Cinque Terre’s famous wine) and eating pesto. My only regret is that I didn’t have more time. (Just another excuse to visit again!)
Where to stay: If you’re a budget traveler like me, Cinque Terre has lots of good options to choose from, including hostels and home rentals. Depending on your budget, there are also some more upscale hotels in the area.
How to get there: Taking the train is really the best way to get to Cinque Terre. Try to avoid driving, because cars can be a bit difficult to maneuver through the narrow, winding streets, and you won’t need a car once you arrive.
How to get around: If the weather’s nice, hiking is a great way to explore. Each of the five towns also has a train station!
What to eat: Cinque Terre is famous for its pesto and gnocchi. To drink, you have to try Sciacchetrà, a sweet white wine made from white raisins.
What to expect: The time of your life! Cinque Terre is a little slice of paradise.
In March, a friend and I spent the weekend exploring Rome. and the Vatican City. I have to say, it was much different than I expected! I had always envisioned Rome as historic and slow paced, almost like stepping back in time. It was much more modern than I had anticipated. Right next to the ancient Coliseum was an expressway packed with cars during rush hour. The juxtaposition of modern and ancient was very interesting and unexpected. It's like half of the city developed into a modern metropolis while the other half stood still in history.
Thanks for stopping by. A little about me — I have a latte each morning and drink about 7 cups of tea a day (I'm not exaggerating.) I live in Atlanta where I'm going to law school. I like long distance running and I love my city and I love exploring our beautiful earth. I believe in being vulnerable, following our passions & being free.
I started this blog to document and share my favorite moments while traveling. This is a place where I process my ideas, share the aches and joys of my heart, speak truth, and shine light on the beauty I see in the world.
I've realized that what I probably love most about traveling is the same thing I love about writing — the way it connects me to myself and other people. I hope as you read my words, you feel connected to our shared humanity.
Thank you for reading. :)
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