Ugh, can't believe it's been so long since my last post! Sorry to anyone who has been wondering what happened to me during the last month and a half. Life has been incredibly hectic, and I've had very little time to focus on my blogging.
So what have I been up to lately? Well last month, Jimmy and I took a long-awaited vacation to Europe -- two weeks, six cities, and three countries to be exact, and it was a whirlwind! Definitely one of my favorite trips to date and I already want to do it all over again!
We started off in Rome, which is beautiful and set the bar pretty high for the rest of the vacation. I've been to Little Italy in NYC a million times, and I always thought it was some kind of Americanized cliche, but Rome very much brings to life all of the qualities that people love about Little Italy. The cobblestone streets, the quaint little restaurants, the outdoor dining, and the picturesque atmosphere. It was amazing! We loved it and were so sad to leave.
We hopped on the high speed rail to Florence next. If I was to sum up the city in two words, they would probably be "art" and "leather." We visited the Uffizi Gallery to check out Botticelli's famous "The Birth of Venus" and other Italian Renaissance pieces that I recognized from my art history classes in college. Being there made me wish I had brushed up on all of those historical details so I could appreciate the art even more. A city known for its leather products, we couldn't very well leave without taking advantage of the ridiculously cheap prices. It was shocking to see leather goods being sold at a fraction of the price as they are in the states. While bringing home a new leather jacket was extremely tempting, I settled for a few smaller products instead. We were only in our second city and I was already afraid of running out of luggage space!
Next and last stop in Italy: Venice. There are no words for how beautiful this city is. Even though it rained nearly the entire time we were there, Venice was absolutely picturesque. Wandering -- and consequently getting lost in -- the quaint little alleyways made getting around an adventure in and of itself. It was so relaxing to be in a city that didn't allow cars, motorbikes, or bicycles and not have to risk your life every time you crossed the street. Seriously! So amazing. We loved everything about Venice and hope we have the chance to return one day.
Entering the second week of our Eurotrip, we flew to Paris. After a week of learning very basic Italian, we now had to transition to speaking French, and it was HARD! Not only because we knew close to nothing about the language, but also because it's probably one of the most complicated languages to master. And on top of that, a majority of the French people we encountered didn't seem to appreciate our attempt to speak it. We were lucky enough to have a friend in the city who showed us around and gave us a "true Parisian experience" (and also helped with the language barrier,) so it was great to have her around. But the best part of Paris was definitely GETTING ENGAGED! It came as such a shock for me because I thought that things like that only happen in the movies. Ahhhh! It was amazing, and it's something that I'll always look back on and smile :)
Next, we flew from Paris to Barcelona, and once again had to transition from one foreign language to another. Spanish was much easier for us to pick up again, so we felt a lot more comfortable communicating with people. I was so looking forward to Barcelona because I've heard tons of great things about the city. The architecture is beautiful and the food (if you love seafood) is delicious. I was on a mission to eat as much octopus and croquettes as possible, which wasn't very hard because they were EVERYWHERE. Love it!
Last stop on our whirlwind Eurotrip was Madrid. I have to admit I wasn't expecting much from the city. After having planned five other itineraries, I didn't have a lot of time or energy to focus on Madrid. But wow, this city was great. I loved it way more than Barcelona because it reminded me of the Spanish version of Rome. Overall, Madrid was much easier to navigate on foot (when you don't account for the heat or the sudden hills) and I felt much safer walking around most areas than I did in Barcelona. I loved the city so much and I wish we were able to spend more time there. I could use more octopus, croquettes, and of course cava, in my life!
So that sums up our entire trip. I have so much more to say but this post is already long enough. If you've made it to the end then I applaud your devotion, and thank you! Right now we are back in the routine of normal life (boo) and just trying to enjoy the summer -- the first one that we're engaged! We haven't started much wedding planning yet but there will be enough of that coming in the next two years that I'm savoring this stress-free time now!
Cheers, I'll try to make it back soon so I can start posting recipes and getting back into my groove again!