I’m Alive

I’m alive and well.  Living it up and enjoying every moment in the city.

Looking up at Times Square on 7th Ave.

Grand Central Station during rush hour.

Peach bellini’s at Cipriani.

Street food!

Bryant Park during lunch hour.

That’s only a little taste of my vacation.  1 week left until I’m back in London. =(

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Paris On Purpose

This trip was 100% planned unlike my trip to Paris in December.

I met Lauren, Lindsey & Jen (friends from PSU)  in Paris for the weekend.  Lauren lives there so we stayed at her apartment which is located in a great area and so convenient to everything!  Lindsey & Jen flew there from New York for their own EuroTrip (Paris, Berlin & London).

First stop when I got there was crepes for dinner at Creperie de Josselin and drinks at Le Ciel de Paris which is on the top floor of the Tour Montparnasse. The Eiffel Tower sparkles every hour and we were there to catch it so I took a video to share with you all.

The view was magical.  You could see most of Paris on such a clear night.  I don’t think the video does any justice so you’ll just have to go there yourself one day soon!

We headed back to the apartment to rest up for our day of visiting Palace of Versailles and sights in Paris.

Florence, Italy: 6 Years Later – Day 2

If you missed my day 1 post you can read it here.

On Saturday we woke up and had a plan for the day so we wouldn’t miss any of the important stops (did you think I didn’t have a plan…c’mon you know me by now).

The Plan.

1. San Lorenzo Market

Inside the market there are fresh fruit/veggie stands, butchers, fish shops, and that sort of thing.  Outside the market are leather stands and little souvenirs.

2. Accademia Gallery to see The David

We snuck a video of the statue but obviously I’m not putting it up here.  The David was so beautiful and very cool to see in person.

3. Lunch for Jon

Pizza of course.  Fun/sickening Fact: We had pizza with every meal over the weekend.

4. Santa Croce

There was a chocolate market in front of the church so we walked around and tasted everything.

5. Lunch for Ashley

Vegetarian sandwich which was heaven.  Funny story: I was waiting for my sandwich to be made and 5 American girls walk in and start chatting it up with the guy behind the counter.  I was intrigued so I had to talk to the girls.  Turns out they were studying abroad in Florence and eat lunch there everyday.  I was so jealous that they were studying abroad and still in college but it was good to see that Americans still take over Florence every spring and go to the same places.

6. Pitti Palace

7. Piazzale Michelangelo

The most gorgeous view of Florence.

8. Glass of wine outside

9. Nap time

10. Dinner at Il Ghibellini

 

We licked our plates clean!

Our last day in Italy was spent in Pisa so you’ll hear about that next.

 

Florence, Italy: 6 Years Later

I have been putting off this post because there is so much to say I’m not sure how to say it all and not bore my readers. I think I’ve come to the conclusion that this weekend will have to be broken up into several posts.  Hope you enjoy them!

I studied abroad in Florence in 2005 (wow 6 years ago!) so I was very excited to go back to Florence since living there.  I wondered if I would remember the streets, if restaurants would still be there and how much the city had changed over the years.  The minute I stepped off our Ryanair flight (side note: baggage was a perfect carry-on size) it all came back to me (except the Italian unfortunately).

We started our weekend by getting lunch at Osteria dell’Agnolo which was a spot you could find us at all the time 6 years ago. I even ordered the same dish I always did, Ribolitta.

After lunch we wandered around the city. First we walked to the Duomo.

The Uffizi.

The Ponte Vecchio which was full of jewelry shops.

Along the Ponte Vecchio there are padlocks that symbolize the unbreakable bonds of true love. This tradition started many years ago and it actually didn’t have anything to do with love at first.  Men leaving for the service would put the lock there with a promise of coming home. There are so many and each have initials and dates on them.  To be honest, I wanted to put a lock on there but we didn’t know where to find one.  Cheesy or not, I wanted to do it. 

Wandered around a little more.

For dinner we went to one of the best restaurants in the world, Ristorante la Giostra. I didn’t take any photos of the meal but I’m still thinking about the delicious ravioli stuffed with pear and pecorino.  You can tell the pasta was fresh and it melted in your mouth.  For the second dish we shared sea bass cooked in tomatos.  I don’t think this is on the menu but the owner offered it to us after we couldn’t decide (or read b/c the menu is in complete Italian) what to get.  The tomatoes were roasted to perfection and blended with the sea bass perfectly.  Now I want to go back…  If you go to Florence and do not eat at La Giostra then you wasted a trip because you missed out on the best part….for real.

 

That was day 1.  On to day 2…

New Zealand Day In London

Yesterday I left the flat to run errands and was surprised to see a mob of drunk people in costumes.

Just realized there aren’t any people in costumes in this photo but just wait for the other photos. I’m not lying.

I asked one of the people dressed up as a cow what was going on and he screamed “IT’S NEW ZEALAND DAY!!!!” I googled it and this is what Wikipedia has to say about it:

The Treaty of Waitangi was signed on 6 February 1840, in a marquee erected in the grounds of James Busby’s house (now known as the Treaty house) at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands. The Treaty made New Zealand a part of the British Empire, guaranteed Māori rights to their land and gave Māori the rights of British subjects. There are differences between the Māori and English language versions of the Treaty, and virtually since 1840 this has led to debate over exactly what was agreed to at Waitangi. Māori have generally seen the Treaty as a sacred pact, while for many years Pākehā (the Māori word for New Zealanders of predominantly European ancestry) ignored it. By the early twentieth century, however, some Pākehā were beginning to see the Treaty as their nation’s founding document and a symbol of British humanitarianism. Unlike Māori, Pākehā have generally not seen the Treaty as a document with binding power over the country and its inhabitants. In 1877 Chief Justice James Prendergast declared it to be a ‘legal nullity’, and it still has limited standing in New Zealand law.[1]

 

New Zealand Day

In 1971 the Labour shadow minister of Māori AffairsMatiu Rata, introduced a private member’s bill to make Waitangi Day a national holiday, to be called New Zealand Day. This was not passed into law. After the 1972 election of the third Labour government under Norman Kirk, it was announced that from 1974 Waitangi Day would be a national holiday known as New Zealand Day. The New Zealand Day Act 1973 was passed in 1973.

For Norman Kirk, the change was simply an acceptance that New Zealand was ready to move towards a broader concept of nationhood. Diplomatic posts had for some years marked the day, and it seemed timely in view of the country’s increasing role on the international stage that the national day be known as New Zealand Day. At the 1974 celebrations, the Flag of New Zealand was flown for the first time at the top of the flagstaff at Waitangi, rather than the Union Flag, and a replica of the flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand was also flown.

The election of the third National government in 1975 led to the day being renamed Waitangi Day because the new Prime Minister, Robert Muldoon, did not like the name “New Zealand Day” and many Māori felt the new name debased the Treaty of Waitangi.[2] Another Waitangi Day Act was passed in 1976 to change the name of the day back to Waitangi Day.

Sorry too much reading I know.  I’m a visual person myself so here are more photos.  You can drink on the streets in London so there were drunk people everywhere with open bottles.  The police were there to keep them off the streets but couldn’t really do anything else.

This just proves that you never know what you will encounter when you walk outside your door in London.

 

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