Spring Break

Nice is Nice

The South of France was nothing like I imagined. I guess you could say it is almost equivalent to what the Hamptons are for New Yorkers. It is very sophisticated and posh. The area itself is a little retro looking. When you walk around the promenade they have all the restaurants and hotels on one side and a beautiful beach on the other end. The place that my friends and I stayed was right on the water and was absolutely stunning.IMG_8267-2

The view we had from our balcony was breathtaking. In the evenings I sat outside and watched the sunset and in the morning I woke up from the beaming sun that rippled into our apartment.

The first day I was there my friends and I walked around Nice and went to Castle Hill to see the big waterfall. We walked around the area and took in the views of the entire city. Later that night we walked back to our apartment and saw the beautiful sunset along the beach. It was actually the most perfect day. The second day I was there I traveled to Monaco for the day.

There, I went Monte Carlo which is a beautiful casino located in the town. The area was very high end and consisted of so many upscale stores and restaurants with very sophisticated people. I gambled 20 Euros and unfortunately walked out with nothing. At least I can say the first I gambled was at the Monte Carlo.


When in Roma 

As sad I was to leave Sunday, I was really excited to go to Rome for the second time and stay with one of my best friends from Miami. That trip basically consisted of eating, shopping and more eating. Because I was spending a full four days there and had already done a lot of the touristy things with my family in 2011, I felt no obligation to wake up early every day and run around the city. However, I did have a few restaurant recommendations in mind that I wanted to make sure I hit.

IMG_8463-2The first being Dar Poeta, an amazing pizzeria that I was lucky enough to go to twice during the week. They are known for their nutella ricotta calzone. Sounds kind of weird eh? It was possibly the most scrumptious thing I have ever tasted. It is located in a cute area called Trastevere where there are a lot of shops and restaurants.

I was also lucky enough to go to Frigidarium, a very good gelato place that everyone Instagrams when they visit Rome. IMG_8471My first day my friend took me to Campo de Fiori to shop around and see the outdoor markets. I bought a few things for my older sister not only because she has been harassing me to but also because she studied abroad in Rome when she was my age. Later, we went to Piazza Navona, a famous square with a beautiful center. Our third stop was an area called Prati. It was super trendy and reminded me a lot of the Upper West side in New York City. For dinner my friend surprised me by taking me to a kosher restaurant in the Jewish quarter, Ba Ghetto. I was possibly the happiest person in the world.


My second day I went to the Spanish Steps. I remembered a lot of this area because I still have a lot of family pictures that I keep in a Facebook album. For lunch we went to Restaurant 34 and I tried the famous pumpkin gnocchi that everyone raves about. In my opinion… a tad bit overrated. After walking around the streets and listening to the musicians, I went into a few cute stores where I made some purchases. It’s a good thing I’m not abroad in Italy; otherwise I would go completely broke. For dinner, my friend and I went to Da Remo, another pizza place that was probably the best pizza I will ever have in my entire life.

Day three we went to Largo Di Torre Argentina which is a cat sanctuary that has all the roman ruins. I was so excited to see this because I have a sick obsession with cats. I got my sister a cute souvenir knowing that she would absolutely want something from there.

Later we walked by the famous Victor Emmanuel building, and after went shopping in Monti. That area was fun to walk around and had a bunch of vintage shops on every corner—however definitely not a must if you are only visiting Rome for a day or two.   We ended our day at Castel St. Angelo to watch the sunset. To celebrate my roommate’s birthday in Barcelona who happened to be in Rome for the night, we went to infamous Tony’s. It is an American Italian restaurant that all study abroad kids go to just so they can get some chicken parme and unlimited wine. I can see why people hype about it because they give great deals for a lot of food, but again, if you are looking for an authentic Italian meal it probably isn’t the best place to hit.

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My last day I walked around the colosseum and had a relaxing day just enjoying the city. I am so glad I was able to go back to Rome this trip because it was harder to appreciate it when I was younger. It is such an incredible city and I could absolutely see myself studying there if I was not in Barcelona.

Amalfi Coast


Our last stop for our Spring Break journey was Sorrento. I have never been to the Amalfi Coast before but it was absolutely stunning. I would do anything to go back there! We did an organized trip and stayed in Sorrento for three nights but took day trips to other islands. Our first trip was to Positano and we lucked out with the weather because all of my friends and I managed to get a bit of sunburn after lying outside all day long.


Our second day we went to Capri, which was a totally different feel than Positano but still, had a nice vibe. We were lucky enough to take a boat ride around the coast and make it in the Blue Grotto before the bad weather hit. Even though the rest of the day we had to stay inside, I was so happy that the weather held up for a few hours to make it in the water.




We left from Naples the next day to head back to Barcelona. I was sad how fast this trip flew by but I promised myself I would make a trip back there again!


Madrid y Seville

This weekend my two roommates and I traveled to Madrid and Seville.  We left on Thursday evening by taking a train to Madrid.  Upon arrival, we checked into our first Airbnb apartment.  The apartment was located in the center of the City and was in an ideal location for tourists.  Friday, we woke up as the sun was rising so that we could get an early start on the day.   Our first stop was the Botanical Gardens.  Most of the flowers and beautiful gardens have not yet blossomed because of the winter season.  It was still very pleasant to be able to walk around and to imagine what it would look like during the warmer season.  We only stayed for a little while because we still wanted to cover a lot of other sites and we didn’t have too much time to do so.

After the gardens we had some breakfast and chocolate milk, which helped to energize us and provide some warmth before venturing outside again.  After breakfast, we went to the Prado Museum, which is one of the most famous museums in all of Spain.  The museum consisted of collections of European art dating back to the 12th century.  I enjoyed leisurely walking around and seeing some of the Spanish sculptures and paintings because I am more familiar with Italian works but this is the first time I have ever visited Spain or a famous Spanish museum.

As afternoon approached, my friends and I went to Parque del Retiro.  There, we saw musicians playing American music and each turn took us down a different path.  On one side we saw a fountain that got us a little wet as we stopped to take pictures.  After casually roaming around for a bit of time, my friends wanted to go to the Chueca area to shop and see what else it had to offer.


By the time we got there it looked like a lot of the stores and restaurants were closed because it was the siesta.  It was nice to still get a feel for the area.  It reminded me of the area in New York City called Soho.  All the streets were cobblestone, and it was very trendy and young.  If we had an extra day in Madrid I would have enjoyed going back to try one of the restaurants for dinner.  After walking around for an hour we saw a market that was also on our itinerary.  We walked through Mercado de San Antón and looked at all the fresh food.

Late afternoon, we did our last tourist stop of the day and went to the Palacio Real.  This was the famous palace of the royal king.  It was so beautiful and reminded me a lot of other palaces I have visited with my family from previous European trips we have taken.  Every time I visit a place like this I always find it so remarkable that so much gold was used throughout the ceiling and walls of each room.  It is mind boggling to imagine how much time and money was used on each palace.

That evening for dinner we went to a delicious Italian dinner at Grazie Mille.  Our waiter was an adorable man from a beautiful small area in Italy that attracts a lot of tourists during the summer seasons.  I would recommend this restaurant to anyone who travels to Madrid, if only I could go back each week!

On Saturday morning, we woke up to visit our last tourist attraction.  We went to the Center of Spain which is a really busy area surrounded by stores and restaurants.  There we took a few pictures and headed to the train station to go to Seville.

10991194_10152655527591451_314254411342789458_nAfter a three-hour train ride we arrived.  Seville looked exactly how I always pictured it to be; colorful, authentic and quant.  We arrived at another Airbnb apartment and this sweet woman named Barbara greeted us with open arms.  She was the first local person we met in Seville and she left a positive and lasting impression.  She even got my roommates and me a bottle of champagne to celebrate our first night in Seville.  After unpacking some of our things we went to a place that Barbara suggested.  The place is a great looking dock where you can see the entire city and enjoy a remarkable sunset.  We called them “the mushrooms” but it is really called Metropol Parasol.

Sunday was an action packed day to explore the City.  We started at Plaza de España, which was by far my favorite part of the entire trip.  It was a beautiful park where a lot of movies are filmed.  I had never seen a park this beautiful in my entire life.  It was so colorful and full of beautiful Spanish tiles and had a very authentic look to it.  We took a lot of pictures and enjoyed just walking around and up and down the many pedestrian bridges.


Then we went to the Triana, and walked across the bridge and went inside the market at the end.  There, I bought a beautiful hand woven leather bracelet for my older brother.  They had a bunch of food and goods to purchase.  However, the market was not fully open yet so we decided to walk across the bridge to the other side to try the amazing churros that we heard about.  Those were certainly not overrated and were the most delicious pastries coated with chocolate.  I am also a big fan of churros!

Next, we took a visit to Cathedral de Seville.  It was a stunning church that had beautiful stained glass in the inside.  It also had a lot of designs on the exterior, making it one of the most magnificent churches I have ever seen.  I learned while I was there that it is the third largest church in the world!


Because we still had a small amount of time before we had to leave for the airport, we heard that the Alcazar Palace was a nice place to see and happened to be right next to the Church.  We walked around inside and because of how big the palace was it took up a few hours to walk the entire Palace. It was very interesting to see because most of the palaces I have visited were not as old as this one.  It included a beautiful section of Spanish tiles that date back to the time of the Renaissance.


While we were leaving for the airport I could not stop looking out the window to see the rest of the amazing city. I hope to visit both Madrid and Seville again in the future!