La Dolce Vita: Rome, Day 1

Goodbye Connecticut, hello Rome! Today I’m finally heading to the airport to go on my trip to Italy, and don’t get me wrong, but I am totally freaking out as this will be the first time I’m flying by myself, to another country. I will be in Italy for 12 days and I am planning on eating gelato at least 3 times a day because when in Rome!!!

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Heading to JFK airport and you can faintly see the NYC skyline in the background

I made it to the airport with my parents and I said goodbye to them as I went to wait in line for the baggage scanners, and everything went smoothly until I realized that I only had 30 minutes to spare before I boarded as they pushed up my departure time. Anxiety set it as I rushed through the check-in process and fortunately made it in time to board.

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On the plane I was relieved to find out I was sitting next to a girl around my age with her mother sitting in the seat behind her and we had a pleasant conversation and we realized we are both going on tours and hitting the same locations! What a coincidence! The flight took about 8 hours and I realized how under dressed I was as we headed closer to Iceland, even when I changed into a sweatshirt, sweatpants, a blanket scarf, and fuzzy socks. Luckily I had an eye mask so I was able to sleep through most of the flight so it was a breeze, with no  turbulence, thank god!

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In the cab on the way to the hotel

At this point, I got off the plane and I could not find the taxi service that was supposed to pick me up. I spent a good 2-3 hours at the airport, 1 hour spent waiting forever at baggage claim (and my bag was also opened and resealed by TSA all because I brought wine in my luggage ugh!). Another couple of hours were spent nearly in tears looking for my taxi and being somewhat harassed by other available taxi drivers trying to get me to go in their cab, no thanks! So eventually I paid 40 euros to go in a large cab with other Americans riding in it so at least I felt a little safer, and it was one of the cheaper fares as some other taxi cabs were charging 60 euros! My nerves were calmed as I talked to a couple from Minnesota in the cab ride, but that moment was fleeing as I learned that the taxi drivers like to drive FAST on the highway, like it felt as though we were going 120 mph! A pleasant surprised that I noticed was that it was surprisingly tropical in Rome; there were palm trees everywhere!

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The Polo Hotel, Rome

I arrived in Rome around 7am, and because of all the complications at the airport, I didn’t get to my hotel until around 12pm. About 45 minutes later, I arrived at the hotel and realized I packed way too much, as I was huffing and puffing just to get one large suitcase and one carry-on bag up the stairs at the hotel. I had a couple hours to kill until I had a meeting around 4pm with the other tour members so I ended up taking a nap, and it was probably one of the best naps of my life, hands down.

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La Gattabuia Restaurant

After the meeting, we then headed out to dinner in Rome at a restaurant called La Gattabuia. First, we had some antipasta, which consisted of meat, cheese, and bread, and then our table ordered a white wine which we finished very quickly! Then our main course came out and it was a traditional pasta meal, but they included little bits of bacon on it, yum!! For dessert we ended up having a typical vanilla gelato with some chocolate sauce on top. The experience was definitely worth it as it was a nice transition from American food to Italian food. Then we headed back to the hotel and I slept like a baby again until we had to wake up at 6am to get ready for a day traveling to Pompeii 🙂 Stay tuned for day 2!

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“Even now I miss Italy dearly, I dream about it every night” – Eila Hiltunen

Newport, RI: Day 1

SPRING VACATION!!! Finally! I was so excited that I had a little break from work and was able to take a short vacation with my parents. We decided to go to Newport as we have been there once before, but only for a day as it was a stop-over trip on our way to Cape Cod/Martha’s Vineyard. And of course all we really did that one day was shopping (I blame my mother for my shopping genes). So on this trip we finally decided to go and actually do some activities instead of just shopping. On our first day, it took about 2 1/2 hours to drive to Newport, and we decided to have a more relaxing first day there, since it was only a 3 day trip. We ended up going to Harborside Inn right along the harbor and in the heart of all the shopping and wharfs. It was an excellent hotel and the front desk receptionist was so nice! I highly recommend this hotel if you do stay in Newport and you must try the cookies that they serve in the afternoons all the other cookies you have tried in your life are obsolete! I really enjoyed this hotel because its not like a regular hotel room, it’s a loft style room (for the deluxe rooms) and it was great because my parents could sleep on the main level and I was able to sleep up on the loft so I had my own private space. There was a great big window looking out onto the wharfs and the Newport Bridge, and there was also a nice French door balcony looking out onto the harbor and the boats. There was also a window up on the loft so I could look out onto the water from my bed. After we got settled we decided to go out and explore the area a bit, and there was a Ben and Jerry’s right around the corner from our hotel so of course we had to stop there! We also explored all of the stores near the 2 wharfs, Bannister’s Wharf and Bowen’s Wharf. This area is definitely tourist-centered but there are some great art shops and it’s fun to stroll down the cobblestone streets. We decided to eat at a cute little restaurant/pub for dinner called the Wharf Pub and they had great food (I decided to get a burger and fries) and my mom got a shrimp salad and I snuck a few pieces of shrimp since they were sooo good! After dinner we stopped by a fudge store next to Ben and Jerry’s and bought a 6 piece sampler of fudge and we decided to eat it back on our hotel deck and watch the sunset and it was a perfect end to a perfect day 🙂

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Harborside Inn

 

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Our waterfront room with a loft
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My bed on the loft

 

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View from my bed

 

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Gave my dad some presents for his birthday!

 

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Awesome batman-esque rental sports car

 

 

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Fudge shop right around the corner from the hotel

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Buying some art supplies to sketch the sunset from our hotel

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Little carnival/merry-go-round

 

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Shopping at the wharfs

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Newport Harbor Bridge- view from our hotel

 

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“Can we just skip to the part of my life where I travel the world?” – Anonymous

Wedding Crashers: Bermuda Style

Today I decided to relax at the hotel all day since the trip is winding down and I feel like I’ve been busy all week going to see different areas of Bermuda. I mostly explored the caves under the hotel again, and I also fed the fish by the pagoda and I was finally able to see my first parrotfish!

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Breakfast at the hotel

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If you can tell, his lips are green colored, as all parrotfish do, so it looks like he’s wearing lipstick 🙂

 

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After feeding the fish t I relaxed at the beach for a couple of hours and then I decided to join my parents on a scavenger hunt that was provided by the Breast Cancer Society of Bermuda, and we were able to see different parts of town near the hotel we didn’t get to see before. And the most exciting part was that I was finally able to find the secret Blue Lagoon where you can go cliff jumping!

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You can see almost all the way out to the Royal Naval Dockyard on the other side of the island from this location

As I was running down the stairs from my hotel room to catch up with my parents to go to lunch, I almost crashed right into a bride standing at the bottom of the winding staircase! I was mortified to say the least as the bride, and all her bridesmaids turn around and see me lose my balance a bit to catch myself from falling onto her dress. As her train took up the entire stair with, all I could do is sit on the stairs and wait for her procession to start. The ceremony took place in the back of the hotel, looking out onto the water, and seriously made me consider having a future wedding there. All the groomsmen and some wedding guests, wore the classic Bermuda shorts in different colors, and the bridesmaids wore a beautiful beige colored dress. After the ceremony moved on to the outdoor reception, I managed to take a picture of my parents under the ceremony arch, and they decided to act out like they were getting married again which was hysterical. At the end of the day I relaxed at the beach again, reflecting on my trip, and sad that tomorrow will be my last day in Bermuda.

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“You can’t buy happiness. But you can buy a plane ticket, and that’s kind of the same thing” – Anonymous

 

 

Upcoming Trip to Newport, Rhode Island

Hello everyone! I am planning a trip to Newport, Rhode Island with one of my friends (the birthday girl mentioned in this post). We already booked our hotel and we are staying for 3 days and 2 nights. We will be doing the mansion tour, the Cliff Walk,  some shopping downtown, glassblowing, and checking out some of the beaches. If anyone has any recommendations of where to go and what to see that I haven’t mentioned, let me know. And if you are interested in going someday and really want to know more about an activity or building/restaurant in Newport, let me know and I will try to take pictures and write about that experience for you. 🙂

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Taken a couple of years ago on the 10 mile ocean drive in Newport

Pray For Belgium

Please pray for Belgium on this very hard day. I know it’s not easy to lose a loved one, a friend, a sibling, or a relative, but know that the person will always be with you and that the love they have for you is indefinite. Extending the love with open arms from the Newtown/Sandy Hook community ♥

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Winter Blues on the Second Day of Spring

So it’s March 21st and it snowed! The past few weeks have been a wonderful 55 degrees, and then this happened. I took this picture on my way to work this morning in disbelief, but I guess that should be typical as the weather is usually crazy in Connecticut during March but as the saying says, March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. What’s the weather like in your area?

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7-Day Nature Photo Challenge: Day 3

I was nominated by the lovely Project Relish, who has some amazing photographs of their travels, and is also a fellow food lover. If you are interested in seeing and learning about travel experiences that are off the beaten path, check out their site! 🙂

I took this photo a few years ago in Hastings-on-Hudson in New York when I was visiting my grandma. I went on a walking trail and I saw this gorgeous wooden archway leading up to a house in the woods. It sort of looks enchanting, like it could transport you to another world (maybe Narnia??)

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I nominate Zoel Hernandez, he has great blogs about traveling, everyday life and his food recipes are exquisite. Make sure to check out his post about Oreo cupcakes and salted caramel brownies because those are some of my favorite desserts (plus you can never go wrong with Oreos!)

RULES: Post one nature photo and nominate someone else per day for 7 days 🙂

7-Day Nature Photo Challenge: Day 2

I was nominated by the lovely Project Relish, who has some amazing photographs of their travels, and is also a fellow food lover. If you are interested in seeing and learning about travel experiences that are off the beaten path, check out their site! 🙂

I took this photo from the balcony of my hotel room at Grotto Bay Beach Hotel in Bermuda. The sunsets in Bermuda were so incredible and unlike any sunset I have seen before. I think it makes it extra special with the water right there and the light bouncing off it.

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I nominate Vinneve, they have great posts and amazing pictures from all over the world. They are also an amazing writer so please check out their site 🙂

RULES: Post one nature photo and nominate someone else per day for 7 days