Wednesday, June 18, 2014

{travel} four italian hill towns worthy of your wanderlust list

There's something so magical about small towns in the rolling hills of Italy. These are towns filled with friendly locals who never hesitate to a shout an amiable buongiorno your way. Towns with stunning views from every direction and incredible cathedrals. These are towns with histories filled with tales of mighty rule and incredible decline. Hope beyond all hope that you'll get lucky enough to be in these towns during one of their weekly markets or annual festivals. Take a deep breath of fresh air and wander around the narrow, winding streets without any sort of direction. Taste some local cheese and wine. Explore Umbria.

Civita di Bagnoregio:

Civita di Bagnoregio is one of the most unique places I've ever been. For one thing, you have to walk across a long bridge to get to it because it is literally placed directly on top of a quickly eroding hill. The other interesting thing is that there are only 6 permanent residents in the entire town. I suppose this has to do with the whole quickly eroding thing. This little town was founded over 2500 years ago by the Etruscans, the empire that Tuscany is named after. The most striking feature of Civita di Bagnoregio for me is the view from the modern (and much safer) suburb, Bagnoregio. It's just absolutely stunning. One word of advice: You probably shouldn't go visit Civita di Bagnoregio when it is raining. Trust us. We learned this the hard way. lolz

Monday, June 9, 2014

{food} madrid tapas, taverns, and history

If there's one thing you should know about me it is that I adore food. Obvious right? I also am extremely curious. I love to try new things and new restaurants, and love learning the history behind, well, everything! This is why I have so much fun going on food tours! Although I have lived in Madrid for over a year and half, I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of the culinary delights that await at every corner. Did you know that Madrid has the second highest number of bars per inhabitant in Europe (just behind Cyprus)? Did you also know that each bar serves food as well as drinks? So how do you know which restaurants and bars are the good, local joints and which ones are run solely for tourists? This is where Madrid Food Tour comes in. Run by an American expat turned Spanish entrepreneur, Lauren, Madrid Food Tour offers guests with an unrivaled local experience. Not only do I read their blog regularly for restaurant suggestions and tips on Spanish cuisine, but I also have been working as a social media intern for them! I have been so lucky this year to be able get a behind the scenes look at a company filled with people passionate about exposing the best of what Madrid's culinary scene has to offer. 

Today I'm going to chat about a tour I recently went on with James, a Kiwi expat turned "The Spain Guy," who seems to know just about all there is to know about Madrid's history and the restaurants and bars that make it the incredible city it is today. Get ready to go all in with some tapas, taverns, AND history.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

{travel} two great day trips in sicily

Sicily is filled to the brim with bustling cities, old school markets, and unimaginably beautiful panoramic views. Even though we used Catania as our overnight base in Sicily, we made sure to explore more of what the football at the end of Italy's "boot" had to offer. Today I'll tell you about two day trips we went on from Catania, although both cities are also easily accessible from other parts of the island as well! This is going to be an extremely photo-heavy post because... well, you'll see why!


The views from this little slice of Sicilian paradise are absolutely unreal. Although this small commune is an extremely popular tourist destination, as it is a common stop for many cruises, it is still 100% worth it to go! The historic center of the town might be crazy touristy and filled to the gills with people, but with Mount Etna in the distance, an impressive (and still-functioning) Greek amphitheater to explore, and an elevated view of the Ionian Sea, I can not more highly recommend adding Taormina to your must-see list in Sicily.