Emily Lisa

Joined May 2018
  • Day68

    Venice Part 2

    August 5, 2018 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 31 °C

    Buongiorno! We begun the day with a quick cappuccino at the hostel since it was before 11 and still socially acceptable to drink! We then attempted to go to brunch because apparently brunch is popular on Sundays in Venice. We think we may have gotten to the restaurant a little late because they were no longer serving breakfast food when we got there. This did not upset us though because the food was still great and we ate at a table right next to a canal! I had the salmon pasta with an aperol spritz! Yum! Afterwards we got our first daily gelato! Yum again! We then walked around and shopped a bit which was nice being able to add some Italian pieces to my capsule wardrobe that I am pretty sick of at this point. Next we took a boat to Murano to see glass blowing! We were a little worried that we would have trouble seeing glass blowing since we didn’t do much research or planning and since many places tend to be closed on Sundays. Luckily we had no issues at all! This was a huge relief after all the difficulties we had visiting Terezín a few days prior. The boat ride to Murano was very short and there was a boat stop only 2 minutes away from our hostel. Once we got there it was really easy to find a glass blowing presentation. We watched a demonstration of both glass blowing and glass molding which was very impressive and fascinating. The whole presentation was extremely efficient with showing us two WOW demos in under 5 minutes. I bought a pair of earrings at this glass makers shop after realizing that all the earrings I owned were from Claire’s. We then walked around and looked at the glass items from the windows of other shops. We bought Grant an early birthday gift of a glass piece with two fish that are supposed to represent our suite’s married fish, Timothee and Rolodex II. But shhhh don’t tell Grant about the gift, it’s going to be a surprise! We then walked around and hung out a bit before dinner. At our hostel in Prague one of the workers highly recommended a take-away pizza place when we told her we were going to Venice. We decided to buy pizzas there and have a canal side picnic pizza party! The pizza wasn’t bad but definitely wasn’t the best pizza I’ve ever had. We need to get that poor girl to Naples if that was the best pizza she’s ever had! During our picnic there were many weird birds that hung out with us making weird squeaking noises. They surprisingly never made any real attempts at our food which was nice, but it still freaked us out so we ate our pizza pretty quick and left the area. Afterwards we had our second gelato of the day. Double yum! All the gelatos in Italy were very creamy and will be missed greatly once I leave. We finished our night by enjoying lemon sodas while lounging at the hangout area of our hostel. The next morning we woke up early for hostel breakfast and then to go back to the airport for our flight to Barcelona. I am sad to leave Italy and private rooms but knowing that I will be seeing Grant soon makes it okay! It’s always hard to say bye to Italy but I know it isn’t a goodbye but a see you later! I also plan on bringing pieces of Italy with me to Seattle by trying to learn Italian as well as pasta making! So with that in mind I lovingly say arrivederci to Italy!Read more

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  • Day66


    August 3, 2018 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

    Buona notte! It feels great to be back in the most beautiful country in the world! We landed late in Venice after our flight was delayed due to bad weather. When we got our bags at the airport we took a boat directly to the part of Venice our hostel was in which was pretty cool since I’d never gotten on a boat directly at an airport before. Checking into our hostel was a magical experience. Our hostel, we_crociferi, is an old monastery that has been repurposed throughout the years and is now a hostel/student housing. The building was absolutely beautiful and it felt like we were staying in a museum from the Roman Empire era! There is a really nice hangout area outside of reception with pretty lights at night. And the best part was that our room was private and had air conditioning! It felt like paradise! Luckily there was a late night restaurant just two minutes by the hostel so we had a late dinner and then called it a night! We slept in the next day and started our day at a venetian restaurant popular amongst the locals. I had squid ink pasta which was delicious. Afterwards we did the must do daily activity in Italy and got gelato! It felt amazing to have real Italian food again! We then walked around for a bit and then decided to splurge and do a 30 minute gondola ride. Our ride was in the small canal which was nice and relaxing and away from the crowds. We also didn’t have to wait in any kind of line to board the gondola, we just saw a nice area and walked on which was great and stress free. Even though it was a bit pricey it was really nice and a great way to see the city. Plus I’m sure we would have felt some FOMO if we didn’t do this typical Venice “must do” activity. Afterwards we walked around and made our way to St.Marks square. It was late enough in the afternoon that most of the cruise ships left for the day so the square wasn’t too crowded. This was great because it allowed us to actually enjoy the beauty of the area. After this we walked around a bit more. When reading what to do in Venice every website said one of the best things to do was get lost walking around. Usually I find this a bit annoying for travel blogs to include but for Venice it makes sense. There are so many tiny alleys with no street signs that you pretty much have no choice but to get lost! However getting lost in Venice isn’t bad at all because every part of the city looks like pictures straight out of a travel book. Even the ugliest parts of the city were pretty enough to likely be my favorite part if it were in another city! For dinner we treated ourselves to a meal at La Caravella. I had the ravioli which was very tasty. Naomi and I wanted to split a desert and were torn between the tiramisu and lemon notes. We went with the lemon notes which was absolutely delicious. However after we finished our dessert we saw the tiramisu brought to another table we got jealous because it also looked amazing so we decided to order it as well! The wait staff joked around with us about it and they were hilarious throughout our entire meal. During our meal we noticed an adorable couple at a table near us. We thought they were so cute that we went up to them when we were leaving to tell them that we thought the were adorable and to wish them happiness. They seemed to really appreciate this and told us that they were currently on their honeymoon! We think that they may tell their kids this story one day which makes us happy :). The dinner itself was pretty fancy and was candlelit and I realized after the meal that the only candlelit dinners I’ve ever had have been with my Dad and Naomi. Who needs romance when you can enjoy a great dinner with your buddies! After dinner we walked around for a while and had a nice heart to heart and then went to bed in our hostel in paradise!Read more

  • Day39


    July 7, 2018 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    When we got to Milan we went straight to the famous duomo and got a full pass. We first went up to the terraces. It was an unbelievably cool experience! I felt like Quasimodo from hunchback of Notre Dame walking along the gargoyles. I realize I probably shouldn’t say that because that movie took place in France not Italy but hey it’s what it reminded me of! After walking around the very intricate rooftop we went down into the cathedral. The cathedral was massive and much different than the other churches I’ve visited so far since it’s architecture was much more gothic. We then went directly below the church to the archeological site that was recently excavated and saw things such as the old baptistery and funeraries. After that we went to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuel II which is the high end shopping mall in Milan. We didn’t bother to walk into any of the stores since all the designer stuff is well outside our budget especially after this trip. We did however enjoy seeing the beautiful arches and buildings. We also each did the good luck ritual there which is to put your left heel on the balls of the bull mosaic on the ground and spin three times counterclockwise. Dad had a very ...umm interesting technique as seen in the video. But hey he did it so it doesn’t matter how it’s done, all that matters is that you get the good luck! We then did a quick gelato shop on the way to see the last supper painting. Seeing the last supper painting is a very regulated experience. We had to get our tickets weeks in advance and we were given a 15 minute time slot to see it with a small group of people. The painting itself shows a decent amount of signs of aging and deterioration, yet was still amazing especially with how well Da Vinci did at capturing a different emotion on each of the faces. When our 15 minutes were up we went back to the duomo to enjoy an afternoon aperol spritz with a view. The bar we went to was definitely a tourist trap since it was right outside the duomo, however the view was great and it was nice to people watch. After that we made our way to the grand canal in the hipster Navigli district. When we got there the streets were alive with many people! We saw a huge group of people all dressed as Luigi which was hilarious! We went to dinner in the area at a place called Taglio. We had fried buffalo mozzarella as an appetizer which was basically a fancy mozzarella stick. I had a Milanese risotto which was tasty. At the end of the meal we ended our last supper in Italy right, with limoncello! I view limoncello as a better version of how in the states we give mints at the end of a meal. America needs to step up its game, limoncello definitely has it beat! We then spent the rest of the night walking around the beautiful grand canal and made another gelato stop. I was sad to have to say arrivederci to Italy, especially the food! But it is not a goodbye, it is a see you later!Read more

  • Day37

    Lake Como

    July 5, 2018 in Italy ⋅ 🌧 22 °C

    We met up with Mom in Milan and tried to quickly catch her up with the Italian lifestyle by having a lunch of cured meats, cheeses, pasta, pizza, and gelato! After this excellent orientation to Italy we took the train then ferry to Bellagio. This part of our travels were a bit messy with Dads phone running out of battery and my phone not receiving text messages. However with time both of these issues were fixed and all was good! When we checked into our B&B we had Mom enjoy the last essential Italian delicacy, wine! We brought a bottle from one of the vineyards we visited in Chianti and enjoyed drinking it together as a destressor after our travels. We then went to dinner at Silvia which had an absolutely amazing view of the mountains. For dinner we had a 5 fish appetizer with aperol Spritz to drink. For the main course we had a rice and local fish dish as well as a fish covered in green sauce with a local sparkling wine to accompany it. Apparently people from all over Italy travel to have the fish and rice dish,and I can’t blame them, it was cooked to absolute perfection! We started the next day with a boat tour. We rode on a beautiful wooden boat to Villa Balbianello. The villa was owned by a famous Italian explorer who gave the villa to the Italian government when he died. Both the inside of the building and the gardens were stunning. My favorite part was a huge tree shaped like an umbrella that apparently takes weeks to trim every year. After boating back to Bellagio we ate at a restaurant at the point of Bellagio called La Punta. This restaurant also had an incredible view of the mountain and I enjoyed some dried fish egg pasta. After enjoying our lunch with a view we strolled around the city of Bellagio and went to the Melzi gardens. We then enjoyed one of our daily gelatos and took a ferry to Varenna for dinner. For dinner we ate at La Vista restaurant which (surprise surprise) also had an amazing view! I had a shrimp and scallops ravioli that was very tasty! Dad found the blue hour to be “uninspired” which mom and I found blasphemous since the view was incredible. We also aren’t the biggest fan of blue hour since it means sitting around while dad takes pictures so I guess that makes sense. While waiting for the ferry back to Bellagio there was live music playing in a park nearby with a cute couple dancing with their young daughter. It made the wait for the ferry much more fun! Overall Lake Como had stunning views. Everywhere you would go would look amazing in every direction with being surrounded by mountains, gardens, and be lake. Next time I hang out with my good friend George Clooney I’ll suggest we spend time at his house here since it really is beautiful!Read more

  • Day36


    July 4, 2018 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    We started our trip in Verona with a free walking tour of the city. Our guide did an excellent job showing us all the major sites of the cities in just under 3 hours. We saw sites such as the Verona arena, Castelvecchio, piazza della Erbe, and fossils that are in the stones along the streets. During the tour we learned that Romeo and Juliet is not the only tragic love story of Verona. There was a rich girl in Verona named Isabella and a man who said he loved her. Her family warned her that he only wanted her for her money. To prove his love for her she asked him to jump down a well. He then did so without hesitation. Isabella realized that she will never find someone who loves her that purely again so then she jumped afterwards. It was at that well that we learned the story. Seems like Verona is the place for young star crossed lovers who commit suicide, what a dark theme for a town. The tour surprisingly didn’t take us to the largest tourist attraction of the city, Juliette balcony, so we did that after the tour. We were really tired after walking around all day in the heat so we then went back to the B&B for a siesta. When we woke up we grabbed some quick pasta then walked up to Castel st Pietro to see the sunset. There was a bar up there where we got a Spritz to enjoy while looking at the view. The bar had terrible service but an amazing view! I was happy to have a drink to enjoy while dad embarked on his multi hour photo fest. The photo fest spilled over into the walk back to the B&B at night and by the end of the walk I was pretty ready to ditch Dad :). However I can’t blame I’m too much for wanting to capture a city as beautiful as fair Verona.Read more

  • Day35


    July 3, 2018 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    We started the day by touring the balsamic vinegar production at Acetaia di Giorgio. This is a family owned company and has been in the family for generations. We learned how traditionally a new batch of balsamic vinegar would begin at the birth of a girl in the family. The vinegar starts in a large barrel and over the years moves to smaller and smaller barrels. About 10% of vinegar in each barrel evaporates every year so vinegar from the larger barrels are added to the next smallest barrel in succession, and new vinegar is only ever added to the largest barrel. Traditionally, when the girl came of marrying age the vinegar from the smallest barely would be used as her dowry. While the use of vinegar as a dowry no longer occurs, the same barreling process occurs to this day. There are two classifications of balsamic vinegar in Modena. A traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena which must be aged for at least 12 years, and a vintage traditional Balsamic vinegar of Modena which must be aged for at least 25 years. We sampled 5 of their vinegars with variations of them being 12 vs 25 years as being aged in uniform oak barrels vs different types of wood for each barrel the vinegar moves between. My favorite types were of the vintage variety and mixed wood. I decided to splurge and ship one of these bottles to the US with the intention of opening it on my 25th birthday when I will be as old S. Vintage traditional balsamic vinegar of modena! It was impressive to see how much patience goes into the production of balsamic vinegar. It makes sense for it to be a family business, it has to be since there can only be a few batches of vinegar made in a lifetime! We then drove to the city to have lunch. Modena is the city where the first two episodes of season 2 of Master if None take place so we decided to stop by some of the places in the show! We walked around Mercato Albinelli, the market the Dev and Arny walked around and tried different cheeses. We then had lunch at bar M.Schiavdni which is the sandwich shop that Dev and Arny are at and took kiss and wave videos of themselves at. I made a video of myself doing the same thing there! The sausage sandwiches there were delicious! After lunch we drove out of Modena to make our way to Carpigiani Gelato Univeristy and museum! We started our trip with a cup of gelato each which was absolutely amazing. We later realized this was unnecessary since we had 3 more cups of gelato on our tour, but hey the more the merrier! This was the best gelato we have had in Italy so it was essential to enjoy it as much as possible! Our tour began with a tour of the museum were we learned about the history of gelato starting from simple ice desserts for the elite to hand spun machines to modern day technologies that do the difficult spinning for you! After the tour we went into this shop where we took the gelato master class and learned how to make gelato! In the class we actually made a sorbet instead of gelato since it is easier for a beginner as it doesn’t involve cream and milk, just water. At first they planned on having us make a banana flavor which we were luckily able to switch to apricot. I would say we did a great job making our sorbet and are on our way to becoming gelato experts! Who knows Dad may even take their 4 week long course at some point! After we were done with gelato university we went back to modena and walked around for a bit before dinner. We had dinner at the sister restaurant of the best restaurant in the world, Osteria Francesca. The sister restaurant was called Franceschetta 58 and it was amazing! We had a delicious cheese welcoming dish, a fancy burger appetizer, and then I had a squid ink pasta for my man course. Throughout my day in Modena and Gelato University I’ve realized that I agree with Devs jingle in Master of None. Eating in Italy is my favorite thing, eating in Italy is my favorite thing!Read more

  • Day34


    July 2, 2018 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    We started our day early for a full day private food tour with our guide Giorgia! The tour stared at a place that makes Parmesan cheese. We were walked through the entire cheese making process. She explained to us how the milk and whey are mixed as placed in these large containers. We then got to see the workers remove the cheese from the containers, cut them in half, stamp them with a QR code to identify them, and then place them in a mold. The cheese then moves to a room where boards are placed on top of the cheese to drown out the excess whey. During this step an imprinting mold with identification information is wrapped around the cheese so that way it will be imprinted on the wheel as it dries. Next the cheese is moved to another room to soak in salt water for multiple months. After this the cheese is moved to a huge storage room where all the cheese stays to age for at least a year. There is a machine that cleans and turns the cheese every few months. Before the cheese can be sold it must be tested by an expert at the consortium. The tester hits the cheese wheel at different points with a hammer and listens to hear that it is uniform with no air holes. Giorgia demonstrated this on a younger and older cheese wheel for us and the difference was striking! After our tour we got to taste 3 parmesan cheeses. One that was a year old, one that was two years old, and one that was three years. The difference between the years was really big with the older cheeses being harder and having stronger flavors. Both Dad and I liked the three year old cheese the best. The next stop on our tour was a families private balsamic vinegar cellar. The cellar smelled amazing and it was nice learning about the families side hobby as their main trade was wine. We got to taste 3 balsamic vinegar a increasing in age up to over 25 years. I liked the youngest and the oldest vinegars best. The youngest was nice and acidic and the oldest was smooth and sweet. Our next stop on the tour was lunch at a local restaurant. The owners of the restaurant only spoke Italian so Giorgia translated everything for us, it was a very authentic feeling experience. For an appetizer we got a platter of cured meats of the region. For wine we got a Lambrusco which is a sparkling red wine in the region. Dads parents used to drink that wine so he shared that it reminded him of his childhood. Sadly I spilled some of the wine on my white shirt so I went to the bathroom to attempt to clean it. I wound up having to just turn my shirt around so I wore the back of the shirt as the front which I surprisingly was able to almost pass of as the front of the shirt! For lunch we got two popular dishes among the locals recommended by Giorgia. We got a traditional tortellini pasta stuffed with spinach and ricotta cheese as well as roast beef which was made of horse meat. It was a interesting experience trying horse meat, it actually tasted quite similar to beef. After lunch we went to the Torrechiara Castle. It is a beautiful castle outside of Parma. The castle is home to Parma’s own “Romeo and Juliet” story with the star crossed lovers of Count Pier Maria II de ‘Rossi and his mistress, Bianca Pellegrini of Arluno. The count was forced at a young age to marry a women twice his age for political reasons. It was common back in the day for people like the count to have many mistresses, but he only had one that he loved dearly. He had the castle made to be with Bianca, so this was the meeting point of the star crossed lovers. After this we went to our last stop which was a prosciutto factory. We saw the steps of making prosciutto starting from receiving the pigs leg to selling it. It was interesting to see and the process similar to the vinegar and cheese involved the meat sitting for many months at a time. The factory was definitely our creepiest looking spot with many rooms looking like something straight out of a horror movie. Our tour with Giorgia then concluded and we went to stroll the streets of Parma for an hour with an obligatory gelato stop! When we returned to our B&B in Bologna we realized that we desperately needed to do laundry. The closest laundromat was a 20 minute walk away so we walked all over the streets of Bologna with our dirty clothes! By the time we were done with laundry it was very late and not many restaurants were open. We were luckily able to find one open late that made pretty good pasta with bolognese sauce which allowed us to check off that must do task while in Bologna.Read more

  • Day33


    July 1, 2018 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    We started our trip in Bologna with lunch at La Baita Vecchia Malga. This is a restaurant located in the marketplace “Quadrilatero” where many locals go to get charcuterie boards. We got two charcuterie boards, one called Emilia and one called Romania which we found to be perfect since we were in the Emilia-Romana region. We got to try many meats and cheeses of the area including mortadella which is what Americans refer to as Bologna. It was a near perfect lunch other than having the couple sitting next to us smoking and having the smoke blow in or face due to the wind. After lunch we went to get gelato! I got gelato in a brioche which is apparently popular in this region of Italy. It was tasty and very filling! I think the ratio if brioche to gelato was a bit skewed to having too much brioche, but that may be just because I love gelato so much! After gelato we decided to follow a self guided walking tour laid out by the free map our B&B owner gave us. When walking around we noticed that the city seemed to shut down on Sundays. It felt a bit eerie being in a bigger city with almost no traffic. During our walking tour we saw sites such as Piazza Maggiore, San Petronio Basilica,Fountain of Neptune, and the archeology museum. We also saw the two towers of Bologna and climbed up to the top of Asinelli tower. This was probably the highest building climb we’ve done on our trip so far with over 480 winding steps to the top.the view at the top was great and it was nice being up high where air circulation was better since it was very hot and humid on the ground. The other tower next to this tower is leaning and actually leans more than the leaning tower of Pisa! After this we went to see the hidden canals of Bologna. The coolest vantage point of the canals are through a small window along a street that when closed looks like part of the wall, and when opened you can see the canals that run through the city. After walking around and watching some of the world cup at the B&B we went to pick up our rental car at the airport. Due to the timing of picking up the car being at 8:30 and most of the restaurants in the city closing early on Sundays we had to scramble to find something for dinner. We wound up getting the worst meal we have had in Italy which was disappointing pasta. This was a bit of a shame since Bologna is known for its food but at least it was something! Through this visit I have decided that my advice for anyone visiting Bologna would be to not go on a Sunday and to do a food tour or cooking class to see this food town.Read more

  • Day32

    Cinque Terre

    June 30, 2018 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    During our trip to Cinque Terre we actually stayed in a B&B in the train station at La Spezia and just took the train into the different towns. This wound up being a great place to stay since trains ran regularly to the 5 towns and there was surprisingly little noise! We started our trip in Cinque Terre by eating some pesto pasta since the dish originated from this area. We then spent the day at the beach in the furthest town, Monterosso al Mare. The beach was nice since the water was clear and it was a sand beach instead of a rock beach like Positano. We then took the train to the closest town, Riomaggiore and watched the sunset from the rocks then had seafood risotto for dinner. We started the next day briefly in Riomaggiore since Dad wanted to get pictures of the town with morning sun. We then took the train to Corniglia so that we could hike from Corniglia to Vernazza along the famous blue path. The views were incredible on the hike but we made two huge mistakes. First of all we started our hike at noon right during the heat of the day. Secondly, I read only to hike in pants to avoid bug bites so I wore jeans for the hike. The hike got to be so unbearably hot that halfway through I decided to change from jeans to a pair of shorts I had in my bag right in the middle of the trail. At that point I couldn’t care less about privacy, I didn’t even look to see if anyone was nearby on either side. All I wanted was the sweet relief of breeze between my legs which felt amazing after hiking in jeans for half the trail. Luckily nobody walked by while I was changing! When we got to Vernazza we went to lunch at a place called Belforte which was an old fortress turned into a restaurant that overlooks the water. It was nice being able to sit down and have a nice long lunch after our tiring hike and the food was amazing! I got the squid ink pasta and for dessert dad and I shared the pan fryed strawberries with a side of vanilla gelato. Tasty tasty! Next, we set out on a mission to see where the best gelato was in Cinque Terre by trying the two best rated places. Our first stop was at Gelateria Vernazza. I got the lemon and sweet wine and Dad got the chocolate and lemon. It was so good that when Dad spilled some on his camera he decided to lick it off! The next stop was back in Corniglia at Alberto Gelateria. I got the local honey, and ricotta with chocolate chip and pistachio flavors. It was also really tasty! Dad preferred Gelateria Vernazza but I had trouble decided which place I liked more. After that we went back to Riomaggiore for a sunset cruiser that we booked on a whim earlier that morning. The actual cruise itself was nothing too exceptional. It stopped outside each of the five towns which was nice getting to see them from the water. However the people in our group were absolutely amazing and made the cruise one of the biggest highlights of our trip so far! Four of the women were all breast cancer survivors from Wisconsin who are part of a dragon boat team together. They compete in a league composed entirely of teams of breast cancer survivors. Every four years there is a huge international competition which moves locations similar to the Olympics. This time around it is in Florence so they are traveling in Italy before the competition. There was also a couple from London who started dating when they were 15 and have now been dating for 15 years. They spent three years traveling the world together and their favorite place that the guy Matt has been was surprisingly America because he fell in love with county music! They were the only non-Americans on our cruise so we called them honorary Americans and he sang lots of country songs while we sailed. The couple was actually in Cinque Terre on accident. A year ago they were at a wedding in Italy and they were up late drinking and partying and missed their flight. The girl, Kayleigh tried to book a flight out of Pisa and accidentally booked one for the next year. Since it wasn’t refundable they decided to just make a mini vacation out of it a year later! Also on our cruise we’re two solo women travelers, one who is between jobs and traveling for two months and the other who is from Overland Park. We all had a blast taking with each other on the boat! Towards the end of the ride our boat driver asked if anyone wanted to swim as mostly a joke. I had to pee really badly and I have my swimsuit on so I got dad to jump in with me. We inspired two of the cancer survivors to also jump in even though they weren’t wearing swimsuits! One of them before jumping in was warned to make sure she had nothing in her pockets and her response was “I don’t have pockets I have grandchildren!” and then she promptly dived in. During our brief swim, our boat driver started blasting music from Jaws to try and scare us which didn’t really work but was hilarious. There was unlimited wine included in the cruise and after it was over we asked our driver how much wine we had. We apparently went through 10 bottles during our 2 hour cruise. There were 10 of us so we went through a bottle a person which we viewed as an accomplishment! We all had so much fun together and didn’t want to say bye yet so our entire cruise decided to go to a bar together afterwards for more drinks and food. It was great being able to continue the fun with everyone and such a unique and memorable experience! I didn’t drink much on the boat since I had to pee badly during most of it so Dad got more drunk than I did which I teased him about :). We never made it to the town of Manarola but it was worth it to get to spend time with such a fun group of people!Read more

  • Day29


    June 27, 2018 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    We decided to start off our trip to Lucca the best way possible, with gelato! Upon the recommendation of our B&B host we went to a place called I Gelato Di Piero and it was one of the best gelatos we’ve had so far! Their ricotta and fig flavor was my favorite, and I also really liked their cookies and cheesecake flavors. We then decided to orient ourselves to the city by walking the walls of Lucca. During the Medieval and Renaissance times, fortress walls were built surrounding the entire city for defense. Since Lucca has not been under attack for a long time, the walls have been repurposed as a park with a wide path perfect for activities such as walking, running, and biking. The walls span about 4K which is pretty crazy since the outer loop around Rice is 5K, so Lucca is smaller than Rice! The path is absolutely beautiful with great views of the city on the inside and of mountains on the outside. For dinner we went to really funky place called Trattoria Da Ubaldo. The place is covered with creepy decorations. Some of my favorites were a coffin surrounded with Christmas lights, four armed baby dolls, skeleton bones on the backs of each of the chairs, and a picture of the owner and his family dressed as vampires while his wife breastfeeds their child. The place was a lot of fun and I’ve never been somewhere quite like it before! After dinner we went to see the Piazza dell’ Anfiteatro which is a cute medieval plaza. On the way home we got another round of gelato then called it a night to prepare for our big day of cooking the next day! The next day we spent most of the day at Lucca’s Extra Virgin cooking school. The day started with us going to various markets and shops to pick up fresh ingredients for the day. We then worked together to cook a three course meal. What was on the menu for the day was zucchini blossom timbale with baby greens and heirloom tomatoes, Florentine gnudi with spring spinach and fresh ricotta simple tomato sauce with basil, carnatolli risotto with Tuscan leeks ad white truffle butter, and Lucchese “buccellato” with lemon vanilla custard and fresh berries. All of the food was absolutely amazing! My favorite was the leek and truffle ricotta, it was so good that I want to learn how to perfect it at home! I also really liked the zucchini blossoms. They were beautiful looking and delicious! The class was tons of fun and the whole thing felt like I was in an Italian cooking show for a day. After the cooking class we went to the top of guinigi tower. The tower is really unique because it has trees growing at the top of it! It had a great view of the city and we could hear the opera singers practicing for their performances while up there which was really cool. After that we went to the botanical gardens which were a bit small and would have been more exciting if I knew more about different types of plants. Next we rented bikes! Dad and I biked on the city walls for an hour. After that Dad went to take pictures for two hours while I continued to bike more. I biked on the city walls as well as in the city itself. The city is know as the city of 100 churches, so I saw many churches along my ride. One cool aspect of the town is there would often be modern art in front of the old churches which created an interesting mix of young and old. Lucca is a very bikeable city since there are practically no cars which made biking a blast! After my bike ride and Dads photo fest we went to get gelato at a place our cooking instructor recommended. The place was called la bottega del gelato and it somehow managed to be even better than the other amazing gelato place in Lucca! They let me sample many flavors which was really nice. I decided on the salty pistachio and the milk and eggs with were both crazy good! For dinner we also went to a place recommended by our cooking instructor called La Buca di Sant’Antonio. We had truffle pasta (okay I may be a little obsessed), baby goat, and dark chocolate mousse for dessert. It was all delicious! I felt a little bad eating baby goat, but I guess not enough not to try it. We then walked around the city more and had another round of gelato. Lucca was such a lovely and quaint city! If I were to choose a city to live in out of the ones I’ve visited on this trip so far, I would pick Lucca!Read more

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