New Additions In Florence

So much has changed in Florence since I was there 6 years ago.  Here are a few:

This is te lobby of my old apt.  It never looked so nice!

My old school is now a beautiful hotel.  The school was so run down and rickety that we kept our jackets on in class because the heat did not work. They completely renovated the building and it’s gorgeous!!

Ben & Jerry’s across from the Duomo just seems weird.  The city is so old and historical I don’t think common day eateries like this work there but clearly I’m wrong.

They cleared the locks from years ago and started over.  This was completely full 6 years ago.

The Oil Shoppe is closed?!?!  Turns out its closed on the weekends so I missed out on eating for my sandwich shop in the world. 

H&M was a treat for us when we traveled but now it’s in Florence.

The Coca-Cola cans are tall and thin.

There are multiply tour companies now.  They don’t go into the center of the city but they hit major spots.

We walked by several sushi restaurants which were non existent 6 years ago.

The one company that is still missing from this is Starbucks. They are still not in Florence or anywhere in Italy for that matter.  STAY STRONG FLORENCE!!!

 

Florence, Italy: 6 Years Later – Day 3 in Pisa

In case you missed it:

Day 1

Day 2

We flew out of Pisa airport so we hopped on a train from Santa Maria Novella to Pisa for the day so we could explore the city.

Here’s a video of the view from the train going from Florence to Pisa.

It was raining in Pisa for the first 2 hours we were there so we headed to a restaurant to eat lunch and hoped the rain would stop by the time we were finished.

It stopped raining and we made sure to see all the important sights.

The Cathedral.

The Baptistry

We walked through a flea market as we were on our way back to the airport.

Then it was off to the airport to head back to London.

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…

A & J’s Big Adventure – Part 4/Plan B

Plan B was to book a flight to NY from Paris and spend a couple of days there as well.  The next flight out was on Wednesday so we had 2 days in Paris!

Paris doesn’t need words….only photos.

On Wednesday morning we successfully flew from Paris to New York and enjoyed our time with family and friends.  I don’t have any photos from the rest of our trip because my camera battery was dead and the charger was obviously left in London. 

We are back in London and ready to take on the new year!

Words Cannot Explain

Well we finally made it to the US.  Euro Disney looked like this.

So we were stuck there for an extra day.  Then London looked like this:

 

Click for source

So we couldn’t go back to London so we went to Paris instead.

We made it to NYC via Charles de Gualle airport instead of Heathrow. Stayed in NY/NJ for a couple of days and then headed to Florida to visit more family and it’s freezing here.  Well we are in Florida but there is a huge blizzard in NY so our plans have changed again and we are headed back to NYC earlier than expected.

 

Click for source

Snow has followed us around the world at this point and is out to get us!

2010 was not my year for flights.  I’m hoping 2011 will be a much better year for me in that aspect because we have a lot of traveling planned.

Off to the movies because what else do you do in cold Florida?!?!

 

Soooo Excited!!!

In 4 days my family will be here!  I’ve planned out the week, made reservations for tea and dinners, and made an itinerary for them while I’m in class.  I CAN’T WAIT!!!

We are a crazy family but I’m sure most would consider their family crazy also.  We laugh at the littlest thing and just enjoy our time together.

Most say my mom and I are twins.  Do you agree?

This photo is so ugly but I think it describes my family perfectly…..always blaming Alex for something.

Things Planned:

Abbey Road

Borough Market

Portobello Market

Afternoon Tea

Bumpkin

Belgo

Selfridges

Harrods

Big Ben

Westminster Abbey

A Tour of my School

Winter Wonderland

The Hobgoblin

Buckingham Palace

And many many more!!

I even have an arrival  gift for them. I hope they like it!

St. Pauls Cathedral

I’m going to copy Marie and make this post wordless (well how about limited).  We went to St. Paul’s Cathedral with Marie & Sean.  We walked around the cathedral and then climbed up the Dome.

(CLICK FOR SOURCE)

We were able to go as high as the Stone Gallery.  The Golden Gallery was closed on Saturday.  The views were stunning.

 

They just built a mall across the street from St. Pauls. Tacky.

 

We even saw a guy wearing a PSU jacket!! I couldn't resist taking a photo.

We got a pint after exploring St. Pauls.  The George was your typical British pub.  Can’t wait to go back.

The George was also across the street from the Royal Courts of Justice so we took a couple of pics.

The day was great.  Even though we live here “touristy” days are necessary.

A Day In Bath

Jen’s second day here we decided to head out early and take an hour and 20 minute train ride to Bath.  The town is so cute and perfect to walk around for the day.  We lucked out with the weather and were able to sit on the top of the City Sightseeing Bus. while we toured the city.

Pretty house covered by vines

This house is so dirty but will never be cleaned because of the stone used to build it.

Nicholas Cage bought this townhouse but never lived in it. He eventually sold it and lost £300,000.

The black box is the bathroom which was added on to the house years after it was built.

City streets

City streets

The city of Bath

Are you sick of photos yet??

Too bad…..

Next we headed to the Roman Baths.

This woman would not get out of the photo.

After the baths we hopped back on the City Sightseeing bus towards the University of Bath.

The widest street in Bath.

Jane Austen's house

Before we headed back to London we wanted to check out the oldest house in Bath, Sally lunns, which is a restaurant and museum.

Besides being a one room museum with a plastic figure standing there we had to leave because Jon couldn’t fit in the room.  He was too tall!

 

 

My First Visitor!

Jen’s weekend here flew by!  We had a jam packed 4 days though.

She arrived Thursday morning and next thing I knew it was Sunday afternoon and I was dropping her off at the Heathrow Express.

DAY 1

A little tour around the Westminster Abbey area

A little tour around the Westminster Abbey area

 

Fashionista Tea at The Berkley

Prêt-à-Portea was so much fun.  Each sweet & savory piece was inspired by a piece of fashion.  We tried to take photos but the lighting wasn’t good at all.  You can learn about the afternoon tea here. The only photo that came out was of a pair of Christian Louboutins. I think it’s a sign.

 

Spring/Summer 2008 Shoe

 

After tea we walked around Harrods. and Harvey Nichols then headed to meet Jon and some friends for dinner and drinks at the pub.

Next up…DAY 2 – A day trip to Bath!

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