Playing in Paradise

This past weekend I went on a guided trip with a tour company Bus2Alps, I spent the entire weekend in Paradise, otherwise known as The Amalfi Coast (in Italy). Beaches, sun, fruity drinks and jumping off cliffs, what more could I ask for?

Thursday April 26th: I started off my trip by going to my friend Lauren’s (Geisser) for dinner. We made a delicious meal of whole wheat fusilli pasta, eggplant and peppers with pecorino cheese on top. Then Lauren, her roommate Kelly, and I all taxied to Termini train station to catch our 10:30pm bus to Sorrento, our first stop on our Amalfi Coast extravaganza. We arrived at our hostel at 3:30am. Not a person was in site. We checked into our room and soon found out the other 8 people were sound asleep and we were left with zero blankets. So, I ran downstairs met a nice Bangladesh man and had him take me on a hunt for blankets. First stop: back to our room, named “Sweet”, he told me to check the cupboards for blankets, I found one. He then took me to our next stop, a random girls room at the end of the hall. He looked at me, laughed and said “Shh” and told me to go in and look for blankets while a rando girl was sleeping. Awkward. Boy, did I feel safe. Regardless, I found blankets for Lauren, Kelly and I and we all went to sleep since our wake up call was at 6:30am to start our day.

Friday April 27th: Waking up at the crack of dawn was quite a challenge after our 2 hours of sleep, but we made it. Breakfast in our hostel consisted of cocoa puffs, crossiants and tea, fancy. We headed off on our day to take the ferry to the island of Capri. Hundred of us study abroad students piled onto the ferry. Once we arrived in Capri we were all split up to take another boat tour of the island. First stop on the tour was the Blue Grotto, one of the seven natural wonders of the world or Europe, who really knows. We got on tiny little boats with tour guides and went into the blue grotto in groups of four. In order to get in to the tiny opening in the cave we had to lay down in the boat. The color of the water was crazy, SO blue, almost as if it was dyed with food coloring. We spent approximately 2 minutes inside the Blue Grotto and then continued our tour. The 80 degree weather was absolutely perfect and it was amazing being on a boat. On our tour we passed the white grotto, green grotto, tunnel of love and amazing houses on Marina Picolo. After our boat tour we stopped in the center of Capri to take a hike from Marina Grande, the port, up to the city center. We had a very nice hike up to AnaCapri where we had limonchello tasting, chocolate tasting and were able to design our own custom sandals made by a little old man. We all indulged in amazing fruity drinks called Granitas, I had a lemon/orange one which was to die for, basically a natural fruit slushie, way better than 711. After our samples, Kelly, Lauren and I took a chairlift (single rider) up to the top of Monte Solare, where we saw breathtaking views of all of Italy (even the boot!), Sorrento, Sicily and Mt. Vesuvius. We then took the chairlift down to arrive back in Anacapri and take a “topless taxi” otherwise known as a convertible taxi down to Marina Picolo to tan and grab some lunch. The taxis were incredible, so comfy, great leg room and so fun. The sun was shining, our hair was blowing and we were in Capri, seriously, a dream come true. We arrived in Marina Picolo and sat down at a beautiful table looking over the Mediterranean Sea and the Tunnel of Love. We sat in the sun and I had a very refreshing lunch of Proscuitto and Melon. After lunch the three of us rented chairs overlooking the sea to tan and relax for a few hours before heading back to Sorrento. We took another topless taxi back to Marina Grande to get gelato and meet our ferry and group to head back to the Hostel. We all relaxed and chilled before going to a group dinner organized by the trip at a nearby restaurant. It was a crazy dinner with tons of people and horrible service. I mean we ordered margaritas at the beginning of the meal and received two margarita pizzas at the end… awkward. We had a really fun dinner and then just went back to our hostel/club which basically is a party every night. A live DJ and tons of people filled the lobby of the Hostel and there was music blasting till after 2am, party.

Saturday April 28th: We were able to sleep in till after 9 today and again had a fancy breakfast in our hostel before taking the bus to Positano. We arrived in breathtaking Positano and walked down thousands of stairs (no exaggeration) to get to the black sand beaches. Once we finally made it down, I grabbed a bacardi breezer, ruby grapefruit flavored, laid out my towel and ran to the water. After relaxing on the beach for a little we all decided to take a boat tour to go cliff jumping and cave swimming. So 8 of us hopped on to a little boat with our nice driver Pepe and got driven to the cliff jumping area. Pepe dropped us off and we all ran to climb the cliff and jump off. It was absolutely incredible. So much fun and so much salt in my nose and ears. But, well worth it. Obviously the child I am loved jumping off the cliff that I had to do it again… and again. After swimming in the water and jumping over and over again, another boat picked the 8 of us up and took us to a cave nearby. A few of us jumped off the boat into the freezing cold water and went for a swim in the clear water. It was so fun, especially when we all fought to stand on top of a rock and waited for Lauren to take our picture from the boat, typical. Soon after we boated back to the main beach in Positano and grabbed paninis at vino e panini. Turkey, tomato, mozzarella and pesto, the usual. We all sat on our towels at the beach, ate our sandwiches and tanned for a while before shopping and heading back to the hostel after 7pm. We relaxed and got ready for dinner and drinks in the hostel where a live band was playing that night.

Sunday April 29th: Again, we got to sleep in and have a nice breakfast in the hostel before packing up and heading off to Pompeii. I have already been to Pompeii so when we arrived I went off to lunch with some other friends that had already been and spent the day laying in the sun and walking around the shops in the area. We spent a few hours in Pompeii and around 3:00pm boarded the buses to head back to Roma. Arriving in Roma a little after 5:30pm and taxiing home. Later than night Ilyse and I did our usual Sunday night ritual of Insalata ricca and gelato. Delicious. A great way to end an absolutely incredible weekend.

Arrivederci!

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Ilana

And the sun begins to SHINE

Monday April 23rd: A beautiful day in lovely Roma! Ilyse and I slept in and woke up and headed to Italian and English class. Just another casual day in class. A nothing special day, but the start of another week in Rome. Steph and Ilyse made a fancy dinner for dinner but I opted out and just made some plain pasta to settle my stomach after a long weekend of drinking and eating hotdogs in Munich!

Tuesday April 24th: Ilyse and I had to wake up extra early to meet our class by Circus Maximus for Art of Rome. We ended up metroing to some random place in Rome a million and one metro stops away. It was a “modern” area of ancient Rome than Mussolini comissioned. There were buildings modeled after the pantheon and colosseum, it was very interesting. The area was originally built for a World Fair that never actual happened due to World War II that was happening at around the same time. Class ended really early, 10:45am instead of 12pm.. So Ilyse and I and our friends Amanda and Katie walked towards Campo Di Fiori and shopped around and went into a bunch of stores before going to Insalata Ricca for dinner. Ilyse and I both had greek salads with avocado and chicken, yummy. After lunch Katie left but Amanda, Ilyse and I all decided to go shopping. We went to tons of boutiques on Via del Corso including Brandy Melville. We left that area of Rome with armfuls and I went home with 4 new shirts, a new skirt and a new pair of boots. SUCCESS. On the way home, Steph told us that we were having a guest for dinner (Justine), so Ilyse and I went to the grocery store and picked up tons of groceries for dinner. In the midst of grocery shopping I asked a woman if she spoke English for some help with the meat department, while she was answering my question, her little 3 year old daughter ran away in the store. She started shouting “Mariana!, Mariana!” I then saw a little girl in a pink coat scurrying through every aisle so I chased her down and caught her right before she ran out the door. Her mom found me at the same time, and no she did not say thank you or grazie, she just took her daughter and started walking away. Quite an eventful shopping trip. So Ilyse and I returned home and Justine came over shortly after. We prepared a fancy dinner of pasta bolognese (with homemade meat sauce), broccoli, and a fresh salad with tomatoes, cucumbers and mozzarella, all topped off with a bottle of wine. A fabulous night with fabulous friends.

Wednesday April 25th: NO SCHOOL! Due to Italian Independence day we had no school today. So I slept in past noon and then went to pamper myself with a pedicure down the street. Ilyse and Steph went on a walk and I decided to do some exercises (for once) in the apartment. Soon after they came home we all started getting ready for dinner with Sarah. We met up and went towards this restaurant Bafetto 2. An amazing restaurant that was on our to-go list. I had a pizza with zucchini flowers and sausage. We then all shared gelato and crepes for dessert before I returned back home for an early night.

Thursday April 26th: We all slept in and then Steph and I caught up on Revenge from the night before. I painted my nails a rockin blue color and then Steph and I went to school to print some stuff out and have sandwiches for lunch. We had our yummy sandwiches (turkey, tomato, brie and pesto) and then sat in the park for about an hour talking and soaking up the sun before walking home. We stopped at Pizza Boom for a fruit cup of pineapple, kiwi and strawberries and then hung out at home for the rest of the day. I have dinner plans with Geisser before we leave to go to Amalfi late tonight! The next post will be all about my amazing weekend in Amalfi (77 and sunny, lets hope I get tan!).

Arrivederci!

Ilana

Munchin in Munich

Thursday April 19th: The trip to Munich started off the with a bang, literally, as the doors to the train closed. I was on one side and Geisser and Ilyse were the other. My heart started beating fast and I was freaking out about how Geisser and Ilyse would get to the airport in time and how lonely my 40 minute train ride would be. But Ilyse and Geisser found a way on the train and we all lived happily ever after. We got to the airport and checked in to our flight with Lufthansa, classy ladies. We boarded our small baby plane first, even though we weren’t priority and found room for our bags and settled in. I ended up having a whole row to myself and I watched others struggle to NOT fit their bags on the plane and need to put large carry on luggage under their seats, sucker. We landed safely after eating a complementary cheese sandwich on the flight and met Steph in baggage claim. Of course Starbucks at the aiport was a must before we took the Lufthansa airport bus to the train station to then take a quick walk to our hotel, all after 10pm. Our hotel had a nice spacious room, comfy beds and a large bathroom. Very satisfied we freshened up and went to meet some friends at Hofbrahaus a huge beer hall. Of course the hall was filled with millions of people we knew. SO we socialized before it was closing at 11:30pm and then went to go find some food. For some reason everything in Germany is closed at 12am for food, even Hard Rock so we got in a cab, showed him our hotel address and signaled with our hands for a food place near by. We ended up at a Doner kebab place and we all munched on some delicious kebabs filled with all the cravings for only 3.50 euro. We got back to our hotel with full bellies and went to sleeeep.

Friday April 20th: Hitler’s Birthday, National Marijuana Day, and time for SPRINGFEST. We woke up in our lovely hotel and went downstairs for some nommy breakfast at around 10am. Filled our bellies and relaxed a bit before going over to Sophies hotel to pregame before Spring fest. We met up with tons of other Wisco friends at Sophies and hung out, then we wandered back to Hofbrahaus to drink some liter beers before the real party. After our beers we all snuck out our mugs underneath our jackets like real thieves. Only, I got beer all over my jacket, guess I didn’t clean it out enough. Oops. We went to Spring Fest and immediately Ilyse and I had footlong hot dogs, of course and then went into the tents to dance and drink the night away. Spring fest is basically a huge carnival with ferris wheel, slides, rides and carnival foods, however instead of carnies there are germans in traditional garb and leesenhausers. Hilarious. In the middle of the day, I went back to the hotel to pick up Meghan who had just arrived and then we continued to drink, of course. Afterwards, all of us plus Sophie decided to get some dinner. Choosing a sports bar, we all ordered and a few people went to the bathroom. Immediately after Steph returned from the bathroom, the owner of the restaurant and two workers came over questioning us for our passports. Obviously Steph in her drunken state had decided to steal some dessert while catching up with some old pals at some sort of private party in back. We were escorted out and had to wait for Meghan outside, while Sophie was freaking out about the great salad she had ordered. Ilyse and I were just laughing and found another restaurant in no time, even though the owner watched us go outside to make sure we didn’t try any surrounding places. After our better dinner than just some average sports bar we went back to the hotel for any early night to prepare for the next day.

Saturday April 21st: We woke up late and Ilyse and I decided to sleep while everyone else went to get breakfast and brought us a full plate of apples, bananas and bread. We then went to the train station and had some Starbucks before taking a train to Olympic park. We walked around there, looked at the olymic sCHwimming pool and saw the BMW museum and “test drove” some cool motorcycles. We ended up taking a subway to another cool suburban area in search of the beer garden, which we didn’t find, but we did find lunch. We each had a great lunch and then went back to the hotel to relax before going to spring fest. We ended up heading over there a little later, filling up with carny food and hanging in the crazy tents for a little. The beer tents were packed and the crazy security guards were being insane. American girls were being carried out, fights were started, glass was everywhere and mosh pits were happening. We had enough and went out to walk around the park for a while and watch people on rides. Eventually, we returned back to the hotel for an early and nice night.

Sunday April 22nd: Time to go home and definitely needed. We relaxed in the hotel for a while and we had different times for flights home. We returned back to Rome and walked to the train to get back to Trastevere. Of course there was a transportation strike in Rome and the train wouldn’t come for an hour, so we hopped in a cab and called it a day. Returning back to Rome to start yet another fabulous week in Italy.

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Arrivederci!

Ilana

Another week in Roma!

Monday April 16th: Having class in the morning was definitely a doozy. But after a long weekend and a short day of classes it was definitely nice to relax. Ilyse and I made a delicious dinner of chicken, broccoli and potatoes and we called it an early night.

Tuesday April 17th: Ilyse and I had early morning class with our Art of Rome class and we had to meet at Santa Susanna church. With help from our good friend google maps and some man on the street we found our way there and had a great and short class. After class Ilyse and I hit up Istanbul Kebab for a 3.50 euro falafel sandwich, yum. We then wandered back to the apartment to hang out and work on our Art of Rome 8 page paper due the following week. Dinner included burgers (with fried eggs on top) with lettuce buns and potato fries. yummy.

Wednesday April 18th: I didn’t have class in the morning so slept in and did some household chores, laundry, homework, etc. I then went to class and had a nice 3 hours of boring class before Ilyse and I wandered to get some lunch. We grabbed turkey salads at a delicious restaurant and then some dessert. Later that night 9 Wisco girls and Ilyse met up to celebrate Justine’s 21st Birthday which is this saturday the 21st, golden birthday woo! Steph and I picked her up a ring for her birthday present and wrote her a poem that highlights some memories of the past few years. Dinner was at Mama Eat a gluten free restaurant in Rome and it was sooo good. We had called ahead to order a gluten free cake too that was absolutely delicious with white chocolate and lemon (sounds gross but not at all) and nutella frosting that said happy birthday with sugar flowers. It was beautiful. After dinner we came home and went to bed early since we all had work to do before leaving for Munich.

Thursday April 19th: I am currently sitting on my bed blogging before I leave for Munich (still in my pajamas.. its 3pm) This morning I had cereal for breakfast while painting my nails and watching revenge/modern family with steph, yes I am a great multi-tasker. Shortly I will be leaving to catch a flight to Munich to celebrate Spring Fest (beer fest like ocktoberfest but in Spring..) with all of Abroad and all of Wisconsin. WOO! Can’t wait. I’ll drink beer for all of you, no worries.

Arriverderci!

Ilana

Praha..ha..ha..ha

Well after spending 12 days with my parents I ran off to Prague to celebrate the one and only Allison Weisman’s 21st birthday! A bunch of us met up in Prague for the festivities of a lifetime.

Wednesday April 11th: We all landed and checked into the Best Western hotel. A fabulous hotel with a beautiful suite and a comfy bed. Couldn’t be happier. Allison, Jamie, Liz and Ilyse’s friend Sloan came to the hotel to pregame with us before going out. We all caught up, hung out and then went to the bar James Dean. We saw a ton of people from Wisco and then came back to the hotel when Chloe attempted to order room service (there was none…) and call pizza delivery places in Prague, success.

Thursday April 12th: Chloe and I woke up at 9:15am so we could make it in time for the complementary breakfast in the hotel. We went downstairs in our pajamas and had a great spread of food, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggs, pastries, orange juice, bacon, etc and then we went back upstairs to go back to sleep for a few hours. We finally woke up for the day and everyone met us at the hotel and we went to Cafe Savoy for lunch. I had scrambled eggs and bacon and everyone had some random pea soup or carrot soup thing, not my thaaang. We then walked around and went to the fair, saw some children dancing, the astronomical clock and had some chocolate covered waffles for a snack. We went to Allison’s to hang out before having an early dinner at Artisan. We went back to Allison’s to pregmae before going out and then went to Karlovy a 5 story club and danced the night away.

Friday April 13th: Friday the 13th, lucky or unlucky? We woke up early again (Sophie and Emily joined today) for complimentary breakfast in the hotel, so delicious. We went back to sleep until 2 and then went to Bohemia Bagel for lunch. Allison and I split a hummus plate and then got a chicken caesar salad on a bagel. We then went to get some exciting boxed iced coffee (who knew it was going to be so good) and then we went to the Lennon wall. We took ton of pictures at Lennon Wall and signed our names and quotes on the wall. We stopped at Starbucks and relaxed for a while before going to see the castle and another early dinner at Wigwam. After dinner we napped at the hotel for a few hours before going to beer factory for drinks and Lucerna a club with all 80’s and 90’s jams. Yep, we danced all night, the YMCA, cotton eyed joe, Spice girls, Backstreet boys, and more. Bat Mitzvah 2.0.

Saturday April 14th: We woke up really late, a nice 2pm and went to Allison’s apartment before going to stalk the bachelorette which was being filmed in Prague. We found Emily Maynard and one of the top 5 at the Lennon wall and watched them talk awkwardly with no chemistry and paint a sailboat on the lennon wall, however Emily is absolutely stunning and was rocking a very cute outfit. We hung out with the crew before getting lunch at Bohemia Bagel (again), this time a tuna melt on a bagel and then to pick up a birthday cake for Allison at Bake Shop. We picked out a very cute chocolate sprinkle funfetti cake and then went back to Allison’s before a birthday dinner. We ended up going to Italian for dinner (obvi not as good as the real deal) and I opted for soup and salad instead of pasta since I knew I would be disappointed. We went back to the hotel and then back to Allison’s for birthday festivities and to celebrate.

Sunday April 15th: Allison’s 21st Birthday (and Alex’s 27th!!). We woke up and again had breakfast at the hotel before packing up and checking out all dying from the night before. We chilled in the lobby of our hotel for over an hour before going to the airport and getting some delicious subway. The Subway sandwich maker was pissed at Chloe for taking too long to choose her toppings and proceeded to yell at her and mumble under his breath about it for about 10 minutes. Crazy. Oh Czech people, this would never happen in America. We boarded the plane to head back to Roma and finally made it. However, I was stuck in the window seat with an Italian next to me who wouldn’t stop annoying me and reading over my shoulder and pointing at the magazine I was reading. Mid-flight he got up and started clapping with his friends and never came back to the seat, okaay? Him and his school trip that he was on all clapped and sang when the flight landed for a good 10 minutes, I wanted to kill them all. We had ordered a car back to our apartment since there was 7 of us and when we finally made it back Ilyse and I had our normal Sunday night routine of Insalata Ricca and fro-yo, perfection.

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That’s all for now!

Arriverderci!

Ilana

Last Few Days in Roma with Mom and Dad!

Monday April 9th: We arrived back in Roma and I headed to my apartment before heading to my parent’s hotel. My dad hit the sack right away and Tammy, Ilyse, mom and I had some pizza from pizza boom and talked before heading to sleep for an early night!

Tuesday April 10th: Rise and Shine time for class! Ilyse and Tammy met us for breakfast in the hotel and then we all headed off to Piazza Navona to meet our class. We walked and toured palaces and after class the four of us went to get some gelato at Gioletti, cinnamon and banana new favorite combo. After gelato we all went shopping and hung out before meeting my dad at the Trevi Fountain. It was Tammys big 5-0 so we all made a birthday wish and then went to Insalata ricca for lunch. After lunch we split ways and mom and I went shopping and dad went back to the hotel to rest. Later that night we had a nice dinner at Tonys which could not have been more fun! Tons of food, laughs and so so many jokes. Look out for us on the wall, coming soon. After dinner we had chocolate shots in honor of Tammy’s birthday and then headed back to the hotel to relax.

Wednesday April 11th: My last day with mom and dad, should be filled with school work for me and a nice lunch later on. Maybe heading to the Jewish quarter, but will be on a 9:55pm flight to Prague for Allison’s 21st birthday! Cannot wait!

Arrivederci!

Ilana

p.s. I had an amazing 12 days with mom and dad and could not have asked for a better time! Love you!!!

Passover, French and Skydiving…SWITZERLAND!

Saturday April 7th: We arrived in Lausanne, Switzerland ready to celebrate Pesach with the family. Our cousins Rosine and Michele picked us up from the train station and took us to our beautiful hotel with a view of the Swiss Alps. We settled in for a bit before I mapquested my way to starbucks (duh) for a drink and then we headed to their house for sedar. We arrived at their house, caught up on the past.. 20 years…before the other cousins and their kids arrived. Well out of the about 15 people at seder approximately 5 spoke english, so the conversation was limited to pointed and hand movements which made it even better. I made friends with my little cousins and we spoke in short sentences and taught each other words like fork, knife, spoon and nose. I sang “head, shoulders, knees and toes” with one of the little girls and she did french and I did english, so precious. We had a great night with a french/hebrew seder and then returned to our hotel.

Sunday April 8th: Waking up to the Swiss Alps! Beautiful! Easter sunday in Switzerland means one thing, everything is closed, all that was open was Mcdonalds, Starbucks and a little cafe. Grand. We had breakfast in the hotel and walked around the dead Lausanne before heading back to relax. Later on the family came to the hotel and we all had a great lunch  (3 hours). We shared stories and looked at adorable old pictures of my mom’s side of the family, while my dad built houses out of crackers with the kids, no surprise there. After we ate lunch I found that The Hunger Games was playing in the original version, meaning english and I had to go see it. So me, mom and dad went to go see the movie which obviously made my day. After the movie we got picked up by the cousins and went to one of the other cousins house to play and eat dinner. A long and fun day filled with french and movies and eating!

Monday April 9th: Yes! Time to go skydiving! Mom and I woke up at an obscene hour and hopped on a train to Interlaken. We arrived in Interlaken early and waited for our skydive team to pick us up! I obviously had to pee for fear of peeing in my pants midair and ended up getting locked in the basement bathroom of this cafe for a good 15 minutes, scary. Finally, we were picked up by the skydive crew and took a gorgeous and scenic drive to the site. We got all geared up, signed our lives away and took off on a little plane with 10 other people, mostly instructors and students learning to be professional. I was last to jump and my mom was before me (YES SHE DID IT!). It was crazy! We were attached to our instructors and ready to soar over the swiss alps, the 50 second free fall was insane, an attempt to catch my breath, smile and wave while my videographer was skydiving right in front of me, INSANE! I loved every second of it. When we slowed down to relax and soar through the sky it was amazing to see all the views and turn around and look at the Swiss Alps. Definitely an experience. After we casually jumped out of a plane we took a train to Geneva Airport to fly back to Rome!

Arrivederci!

Ilana

A Crazy Land…Venice! And Lake Como!

After our trip to Florence we headed off to Venice for about 24 hours. Arriving on Thursday and leaving early Friday.

Thursday April 5th: What people do not realize is that Venice is all water, you have to go everywhere by water, it is insane. We arrived in Venice and were immediately stunned by the grand canal and mode of transportation, so fascinating. We all hopped in a water taxi (crazy expensive) and went to our hotel…by boat. We arrived at our hotel and checked in. Underneath our hotel is a gondola route so we kept hearing the men serenading the visitors on the gondola. We wandered around St. Mark’s square and stopped somewhere for lunch where we all split pizza, pasta and salad. We walked around and grabbed some gelato before taking a fancy gondola ride to the Jewish Ghetto. When we arrived at the ghetto there were tons of Jews but also goys as well. We couldn’t tour anything but then heard that it is called the Jewish Ghetto because “getto” in Italian stands for hard working. We saw a chabad and we all stopped in. My dad ended up laying tefilin with a boy there and we all got free matza that is super important on Pesach. We then found Gam Gam where we had some chicken soup and hamentaschen and found our way back to our hotel via boat bus.

Friday April 6th: We woke up and headed downstairs for breakfast and walked towards St. Mark’s square to look around. I ended up finding a cool mask that I really wanted. After walking around for a while we sat down for a cappucino right outside our hotel and then caught a water taxi to the train to head to Lake Como. Our train stopped in Milan, where we grabbed some lunch, and then finished our trip to Lake Como. Lake Como is absolutely breathtaking. Once we got there we took a 40 minute cab ride to our crazy hotel. Brittania Excelsior had beautiful views but I felt like I was on “Senior (citizen) spring break”. So, we took a ferry across the lake and went to Bellagio for dinner. Mom and I went into a cute shop and found some beautiful cameo rings and then we joined my dad for a drink outside the bar. We sat down for dinner before it started raining at a restaurant called Far Out. We had to run to catch the ferry back to our part of the lake. Once we returned to our hotel, there was a ton of women and men celebrating so I had no idea what was going on. It was a Turkish woman’s 50th party but everyone was dancing and it felt like a scene out of Big Fat Greek Wedding. So we watched the fun people dance before heading up for an early night in.

Saturday April 7th: We woke up early so we could have early breakfast. Breakfast was disgusting so when we picked up our bus tickets we grabbed some fresh fruit and snacks. We hopped on our coach bus and took a train to Milan before taking another long train to Lausanne, Switzerland. On the train to Switzerland there were creepy people and weird drug sniffer dogs, quite the experience. We finally arrived and our cousins picked us up! More about Switzerland in the next post!

Arrivederci (Pictures to folllow)

Ilana

Fun in Firenze with Momsicle and Popsicle!

Tuesday April 3rd: We arrived safely in Firenze after a long day and decided to relax in our cute hotel, Hotel Roma, in Piazza Santa Maria Novella, before having dinner with Emily Fishman. We met up with her at Acqua al Due and had so much delicious food. A pasta sampler, salad sampler and steak sampler with blueberry steak and balsamic steak, unreal. After dinner, we all said bye to Em and went back to the hotel to relax.

Wednesday April 4th: We woke up at a reasonable hour and walked towards the Duomo. We sat down at a cute restaurant looking at the Duomo and mom and dad had some breakfast while I snuck out and found my way to Antico Noe to indulge in a delicious panini. Then, dad and I stood in line to climb the Duomo for an hour and a half while Mom went inside the church. Emily and her friends met us in line and we all climbed to the top of the Duomo together, beautiful views. After our hike we went to the Ponte Vecchio bridge and had a waffle with nutella that I shared with mom. We walked into every jewelry store and then went to the leather market for a quick 3 hours. Some highlights of our leather market experience include:

1. Running into Becca Bloch

2. Mom and Dad buying adorable leather coats.

3. Buying 3 purses…for myself.

4. Losing Mom but finding Lauren Intrater

5. Comparing store owner’s son to cousin Brian, obviously Dad’s doing.

After our experiences here we went back to the hotel to get ready for dinner at the one and only, La Giostra with Ilana Wolstein. We obviously had the entire menu and more and everything was absolutely delicious. After our full bellies we had to sleep it off and went back to the hotel to relax.

Thursday April 5th: Dad and I decided to sleep in when mom went off to find the David. We had a nice daddy-daughter breakfast before heading off to catch an early train to Venice!

Arrivederci!

Ilana

Parent Time In Roma!

Well this post is way over due as mom and dad arrived on March 31st, but with all the traveling I had no time to catch up! So this post is all about the first few days of famjam time in Roma!

March 31st: Mom and Dad arrived in Roma and I hiked to Piazza de Spagna to meet them! Finding my mom and dad sitting on the bottom of the Spanish Steps could not have been more exciting! When I found them we decided to take a walk so I could show them a little bit around Rome, we ended up making our way waaay out of the way to Castle San Angel but it was fine. We then walked into Piazza Navona where we sat down for lunch and of course my dad made best friends with our waiter. When he then proceeded to ask the waiter if he would work for him as a translator, no surprise there. After lunch we walked to the Pantheon, but it was closed for mass so we weren’t able to go in. So we decided to grab some gelato instead! We tried Grom, a famous gelato place by the Pantheon and all indulged in different flavors. So delicious. After walking around, we went back to the hotel to rest before everyone came back to my apartment for the grand tour. It was a big reunion of all my friends and parents and we all went to Tre Scalini in Piazza Navona for dinner. Jessie Faus, Emily Fishman, Lauren Geisser, Steph, Ilyse’s cousin Brittany and then Ilyse and I and our parents all had an amazing first dinner together in Rome! A long and delicious dinner ended with patron shots (obviously ordered by papa Lerms). As we were leaving the restaurant I had to spend 20 minutes convincing my dad NOT to buy a laser from a man on the street.. oy men. We made our way to Scholars in hopes of watching the final four games but since it was so crowded we left early and went to sleep so we could have an eventful day Sunday!

Sunday April 1st: We all slept in and had an amazing breakfast on the rooftop garden of our hotel, Hotel Madrid. We started to walk around and ended up at the Trevi Fountain where we found the Schwartz family and their tour guide Cecilia. We made our wishes and then went to meet my friend Mikey by Piazza Venezia. We walked around Mussolini’s building before I gave everyone a grand tour of the Imperial forum and Roman forum. We walked through the Roman Forum and the Arch of Titus towards the colosseum before catching a cab to Dar Poeta for lunch in Trastevere. Mom had to make a pit stop for gelato afterwards at Fior di Luna and Mikey and my dad casually smoked their cigars. We hopped in a cab back towards the Colosseum but since it was Sunday the streets were blocked and we decided to take a horse buggy to the colosseum. Our Jewish “friend” ended up being our horse “jockey” and the entire ride my mom was making comments about him, of course. He obviously gave us a cheap price (Jews..) and told us all about the 750 churches and 15 synagogues in Rome. We walked into the Colosseum and found Jessie and Carol Faus in line! After looking around the inside of the Colosseum we went back to the hotel before going to La Scala for dinner. Let’s just say this dinner was delicious, starting off with Calamari and caprese and then sharing sausage, mushroom and, parmesan risotto, black truffle gnocci and cacio e pepe followed by some rosemary potatoes. WHAT A MEAL. We obviously needed some dessert so hit up my favorite crepe place and devoured a nutella and banana crepe.

Monday April 2nd: Again we had a delicious breakfast on the rooftop and then I took mom and dad to the Campo Di Fiore market. Mom was IN LOVE with everything there. The fruit, veggies, etc were so fun to see and to look around. After the market we went to Trastevere to go to the oranges cafe and have some blood orange juice while looking into Piazza Santa Maria. Mom took a walk and lit a candle in the church in the Piazza. I took them to campus after Trastevere and showed them my school and the area, I had class so I sent them off to explore. They did a pretty good job, found Giancolo hill and loved the view as much as I do! We then met up and had a quick bite to eat before cabbing to the Vatican. We made it to the Vatican and toured St. Peter’s Basilica and then climbed 320 stairs to make it to the top of the Basilica and have a beautiful view of Roma. We went back towards my apartment after our afternoon at the Vatican, had some snacks: a supli from Pizza Boom and cappucino and pastries from my favorite coffee shop. We returned to the hotel and then met up with the Faus’s, Schwartzs and Steph at Taverna Trilussa for a really fun dinner!

Tuesday April 3rd: We all woke up early for class and again had breakfast at the hotel. We then went to meet my class at St. Peter’s Basilica to go to the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museum. Both my parents and the Schwartz’s came to class. We each had to give presentations in the chapel of different painting master pieces done by Michael Angelo on the ceiling. Mine was the Delphic Sibyl. After our presentations, Tammy, mom and I lost Mike and Dad and Ilyse had to follow our teacher to say goodbye. Obviously, my dad had to say bye to my professor with a kiss on the cheek and a quick “I love you”, typical. Mike and Dad didn’t make it out the same way and we ended up waiting for them for 20 minutes. Of course they had to make jokes such as the “pope panini”, “bible bites” and “MichaelAngelo Mozzarella”, since we were waiting for them to eat lunch. We all went to Duecento gradi for lunch and then we had to go catch a train to Florence!

Pictures for all of “Parent time” will be posted later!

Arrivederci!

Ilana