It’s all Greek to me…

Soo here I am. Celebrating my first official day of summer with my last full day in Barcelona! So completely bittersweet.

Even though I was out late last night, I’ve somehow woken up earlier than my sleepy roommates and am using this downtime to post about Greece! Very necessary since I’ve been back for a week now and all.

Last week, a group of five girls and I traveled to Athens, Santorini and Mykonos all over the span of 9 days. Although the weather was less than desirable, we made it work and had the best time. The perfect cap-off to such an amazing semester abroad.

We spent Thursday and Friday in Athens: exploring the city, dining on fresh greek food, receiving free shots with dinner (only in Greece!), and visiting the Acropolis. After previously learning so much about Ancient Greece in an elective course of mine, I really loved seeing it all sort of… come to life! The Acropolis in itself may have even been my favorite sight of the whole semester.

the Parthenon

Every 2-3 days, we took a ferry ride from one port to the next, usually lasting about 3-6 hours. Let me just say, I am not a boat person. The first and last ferrys were spacious and comfortable, but that second one, “The Flying Cat”, may have been the rockiest boat/ferry ride any of us has ever been on! So that was really fun. Ha. Luckily, no one got sick. It was a close call though.

In Santorini (the most beautiful place you may ever visit), we shopped in Oia and watched the sunset, laid out by our faab hotel’s pool, went wine-tasting on a rainy day, rode donkeys up the hill, stalked the “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” house (just admit you know what I’m talking about!), ate more delicious greek salad, bread and fava dip (basically mashed up split peas with herbs, capers and olive oil– so yum), and laid out by the pool whenever the sun decided to come out to play for those few brief moments.

the town of Oia

sisterhood house!

pinkies out

After our relaxing stay in Santorini, a few late nights out in Mykonos was exactly what our Spring break called for. The official season hadn’t started just yet, so the bars were always packed without being too squished, and the drinks were cheap! All very good things.

Of course, we also shopped around, rode ATVS (slightly more frightening than that donkey ride, but equally as fun), visited “Paradise Beach”, made friends with cute California boys (who were also coincidentally living in Barcelona), got our nails done, encountered some very persistent french men, and were served free appetizers, drinks and dessert at one of Mykonos’ fanciest restaurants. A splurge night that ended up being not so expensive!

oh those french men...

did NOT see that one coming

our last greek meal! with mama bonnie

My week in Greece only solidified the fact that I absolutely have to return in the future–with friends or family, for my honeymoon, whatever!

It hasn’t quite hit me that my semester abroad is coming to an end. While I can’t wait to get back to the states, I also never want to leave this semester behind! It’s all so bittersweet. To anyone even considering studying abroad–I recommend that you jump on that opportunity asap. I have nothing negative to say about it! You may miss your family, your home, american food, etc…but you’ll be back soon enough, all while wishing that the semester didn’t fly by as quickly as it did. Promise.

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Czech this out

So let’s talk Prague.

Simply put, it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. It has these medieval buildings on every corner, gorgeous trees all around, and this laid-back vibe that I just adore. My roommates and I only had a little over 2 days to explore, but felt completely satisfied with the amount of activities we crammed into such a short amount of time.

We stayed in a small-ish hostel in the perfect location, walked just about everywhere, ate delicious food, found ourselves at a 20+ room bar, toured Prague’s old and new parts of town, visited the Castle, and truly had the greatest time traveling through yet another new city.

Friday night was spent at a burger bar, a bar bar and later an 80s/90s club! Once they started playing the classics from Grease and Dirty Dancing, we were set.

(Jama Restaurant & Bar)

cider beer! my fave

Saturday, we started off at a brunch place recommended to us by many. It was filled with a variety of freshly made bagels, creative dishes and a cozy atmosphere. While the girls each had their own dishes (a standard onion bagel breakfast sandwich and, get this–cinnamon raisin bagel french toast), I went with a loaded spicy omelet that came with a side of delicious hash browns and mini bagel. We later toured the entire city by foot, drank girly drinks, ate delicious food and then, drank more girly drinks. Typical.

crossing the Charles Bridge

(Bohemia Bagel)

The Castle

John Lennon Wall

(Radost Fx)

Done dealin’. There’s so much more I could say (and post pictures of), but I gotta run! Must. get. packing.

T minus two days till spring break in GREECE!

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Tuscany, in pictures

Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa:

Couldn’t have asked for a better trip with my mama!

We may have bickered a little (okay, a lot)…but we also shared more laughs and memories over amazing food and gorgeous scenery that I will never forget. So presh.

Up next: Prague baby (tomorrow) !

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Madrid, Spain

Where did I leave off? Oh that’s right, with a London recap and promises to blog more. About that…

Well! Let’s start with pictures from Madrid (the city and people were great, by the way):

About 2 hours into the train ride, we ended up driving through a legitimate snow storm– after that, I could not get “White Christmas” music out of my head! Who loves that movie as much as I do?

But after not eating for over six hours, we were all starved and ready to eat just about anything. I quickly learned that Madrid’s idea of a vegetarian meal always involves tuna or pork. Ha! After an hour of searching, we decided upon a more upscale place with at least several veggie options. I ordered a salad with a deliciously sweet mango dressing and side of eggs.

After exploring a bit in the pouring rain, we took naps, showered and ate some more! Followed that with “Cave Bar” festivities. So so fun. Their signature drink has milk in it (milk and liquor? -1), but drops from the ceiling every time someone orders it (+2).

When in Spain, I literally turn to sauteed vegetables, white wine (learning to love it…up next, tackle red), eggs, and/or lentils at almost every meal. I know I’ve hit it big when lentils are on the menu! Sarcasm?

We spent Saturday taking a bus tour through town, touring the Royal Palace (unbelievingly detailed and gorgeous), and exploring the Prado Museum. If you ever make it to Madrid, I highly recommend paying the extra 4 euro for an inside tour of the Palace!

Royal Palace

Prado Museum

Saturday night’s events involved more food, more wine, and more bar-hopping. Typical :) I may or may not have practiced karate moves with some older Spanish man, totally normal.

For dinner, we found this adorable restaurant with fresh whole wheat bread, baba ganoush, roasted vegetable salads…and organic wine.

And on Sunday, we took a stroll through Parque Retiro, grabbed cappuccinos, and rested during our three hour train ride back home (to Barcelona).

Though before leaving, I spotted one of Madrid’s finest delicacies….

ruffles with ham ??!

NOT. Spain would!

Now that my mom is here (!!), we’ve been visiting Barcelona’s best sights and museums…all before flying off to Florence, Italy this Friday! We plan on eating our weight in Italian pizza and gelato. Seriously, Icannotfreakingwait.

Ciao!

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London + Updates

Hi guys! So what happened to this blog?! I completely intended on blogging at least once a week, but here I am almost two months in with little actually shared! I’m sorry :(

Although I would love to write about my everyday experiences on a weekly basis, there just isn’t enough time! I am simply enjoying myself way too much.

Plus, midterms are this week. Which means, I actually have to study?? What a concept…

Recently, I’ve toured more of Barcelona (with my visiting older bro):

Olympic Stadium

Traveled to London:

It rained…a lot, a lot, a lot

such a ham

Buckingham Palace

Feasted at Hummus Bros (aka the best hummus restaurant of your life) 

Explored some more, as it rained on and off

St. James Park

Big Ben

Tower of London

And hit up Indian food on Brick Lane

We had so much fun! I’m such a cheese ball.

I’ll admit, London was far from what I expected…it was so beautiful, so white, so clean, but it was also very rainy and the bars closed at midnight. Um Londres, what’s that all about? Though I could not have been happier walking all around with those adorable English men by my side (with scarves and dress coats to match! I die).

Some recent highlights:

-I’ve found my signature drink! Vodka tonic + soda

-I’ve found an American boy to occupy the little free time I have

-I’ve become quite the chef over here–(vegetarian) Barcelona food is no bueno/very limited, so I practically cook all of my meals. Would love to share some soon!

And low(?)lights:

-I miss my family. My dog. Trader Joe’s. Extra spending money (ha!). Good customer service. And the lack of cigarette smoke.

-One of my roommates got her purse stolen this past weekend. Luckily, the pickpocketer was only able to snag her purse, notebook, credit cards, and about 30 euros. She’s fine though and everything has now been taken care of/replaced!

Besides those few negatives, I am having the most amazing time. I absolutely adore my roommates, my new friends, the city, our apartment location, the traveling, the list goes on…

I really, truly want to post on a more weekly basis, but of course–here is what I have coming up in March & April:

-Madrid

-The madre’s visiting!

-Florence

-San Sebastian

-Prague

-Greece aka SPRING BREAK

-Finals

-April 29th: Fly back to the states… cannot. believe. this.

Talk soon (I hope) !! Xo.


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Dublin, Ireland

This past weekend, the roommates and I headed out to Dublin for a weekend of sight-seeing, food, drinks, Irish men (those accents!), and exploring. The city exceeded each and every one of my expectations.

Although the temperatures were fa-reezing (low 30′s, which is freezing for this California girl), my roommates and I truly had the best time! The city was green (expected), populated (expected), and very quaint (not expected)–which I adored! Everyone was extremely friendly, and couldn’t get enough of us American girls and our sparkling white teeth (ha!).

We arrived late Thursday night, checked into our 6-person hostel room and crashed out. On Friday, we toured the beautiful city by foot, visited the famous Trinity College, drove past the great Phoenix Park, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and the old Guinness Factory–just to name a few. Friday night was spent feasting on typical Irish fare (the roommates ordered “bangers and mash”, while I had the most delicious, spicy chili over potatoes!), drinking traditional Irish cider beer, and mingling with hilarious Irish men. We loved it.

We woke up on Saturday feeling refreshed… enough, and spent the day at our new favorite cafe (“Queen of Tarts”), touring the Jameson Whiskey Distillery, shopping, and later taking warmth and refuge in a local Starbucks (ha, we would!). After dinner at this cozy Thai restaurant, we went out with our Brazilian hostel roommates and lived it up at another Irish pub–dancing to The Black Eyed Peas and Rihanna with our new Irish bff’s, while sipping lots and lots of Long Island Iced Tea (best drink everrr).

I would definitely return to Dublin in a heartbeat, but instead my roommates and I are visiting London, Prague, Madrid, and Greece in the coming months. Is this real life??!

(The sights)

Grafton Street

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Trinity College

(The food)

yummy oatmeal with apple compote & maple syrup

crepes! mine (to the right) with guacamole, cheddar cheese, veggies and spicy salsa

breakfast scones, hot chocolate, mint water & coffee

salad, hummus and fresh bread...does it get any better?

cous-cous stuffed bell peppers

(The night life)

We’ll miss you Dubz!

T-anks (as the Irish would say) for reading :)

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Weekend

A weekend of firsts:

First trip outside of Barcelona.

First experience with “purple red haze”.

First 30+ minute metro ride.

First Barca fútbol game.

First really, really cold weekend in Spain.

So Sitges is this adorable little beach town, just 20 minutes outside of Barcelona. Early Friday morning, my roommates and I headed out and spent our day touring the adorable Sitges shops, sampling pastries, drinking fresh coffee and orange juice, and taking many, many pictures of the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.

I may not be able to state the ingredients of the above drinks, but I do know that they tasted like licorice. Hmmm. And as expected, the FC Barcelona game was crazy. Although the fans definitely made the experience–their singing, smoking (of weed, I kid you not), and dancing on the metro was equally as entertaining as disturbing. I don’t think I’ve ever been so cold in my life. I guess leggings, jeans, boots, a cashmere sweater, pea coat, and scarf just won’t cut it here. Someone teach this California girl how to layer.

Happy weekend! I’ll be spending my Sunday afternoon watching Laguna Beach with the roomies, eating, resting and homework-ing. XO!

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