Follow Your Nose

*Sniff, sniff* A sense of deja vu overcame me as I looked for the source of the sweet scent wafting down the street. Not overly sweet, the smell instead epitomized the familiar scent that wafts out of the oven as a cake finds its form. Or, to me, the somehow distinct scent of powdered sugar on beignets. The last time I smelled such a heavenly baking scent, I found a bread festival right across the street.

Today, though, I couldn’t figure out the source of this mysterious smell. I saw an open door down the street, and took off for…a residential building. Slightly embarrassed, but now even more determined, I continued down the street, walked quickly past a small doorway, then immediately stopped. And reversed. I definitely would’ve missed the shop had it not been for the intensity of that most lovely scent, along with the line of people streaming in like ants to an ant mound. Peering inside, I saw one of the best sights in the world: Cases and cases of delectable looking pastries.

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I See Rome, I See France, It’s Hard to Launder Underpants

Have you ever run out of clean underwear and worn a pair inside-out? Hey, it’s just a question. And no, of course I haven’t done it. In fact, in order to ensure that such a terrible situation would not arise, my dad and I, geniuses that we are, decided to do a load of laundry in the bathtub last night. This in itself wouldn’t be so bad…until you add the fact that it is apparently too humid here for clothes to dry quickly. Meaning, we are currently ironing our clothing in hopes of speed-drying. And as I type this, the iron has just singed a hole in a pair of underwear. Such are the joys of travel.

I’m really not complaining, though, because another joy of travel is seeing…this!

Yes, today we visited the Roman Colosseum – a historical location of bloodlust, mob mentality, and death – and, also, an absolutely magnificent structure epitomizing the warrior culture of Rome.

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What Kind of Traveler are You?

Everyone’s got one – a traveling style, that is. Maybe you’re all museums, all the time. Or, one museum until boredom strikes, then onward to more exciting ventures. Perhaps, you tend towards beaches and sun, or crave the big city lights. Or, hey, maybe you’re about to stop reading this, because you hate traveling – but that’s a style too.

I never really thought about how I prefer to travel before this trip. I’ve always traveled with a group, and most of the time, my activities are already decided, or recommendations made, upon arrival. When given options, I usually choose to shop or eat (my two main talents). By this point, you’re probably wondering why I’m babbling on about this subject. Continue reading

Running after Trains in Italy

Picture this: A twenty-one year old girl in Florence, Italy, wind blowing through her hair as she…

…frantically runs through the train station, weighed down by an enormous handbag and backpack, lugging a 50-pound suitcase behind her, sweating rivers down her forehead and back.

Fast forward 2 hours.

The same girl, now in La Spezia train station…again runs (really, struggles would be a more accurate term) up and down staircases, swearing that she will never again pack more than 20 pounds…or perhaps 10. Oh yes, that girl was me, sprinting to make trains today on 2 separate occasions after our first train was delayed 85 minutes in Bologna, Italy.

Unfortunately, the source of the delay was a tragic earthquake in Bologna, one in an ongoing series set off by a large earthquake 10 days ago. My thoughts and prayers go out to those affected.

I feel really blessed that I wasn’t in the region yesterday, since I was actually there just last week. And, frankly, all the delays in the world would’ve been worth it to see this slice of paradise.

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Of Canals and Cars

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You may be wondering why I’m posting a picture of birdseed.

But, it’s not birdseed, it’s actually…Choc-X!

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And I realize I just sounded like an infomercial lady. My apologies. I just love finding dessert masquerading as a meal. See? “The crisp roasted Swiss muesli with chocolate” – or, in other (my) words, chocolate with a few granola pieces thrown in. Love it. I found it at my hotel breakfast this morning, and tossed it in my bag to eat while waiting for my train (to Venice!!!). I just wish I had found it sooner. Guess my hotel caught a lucky break there.

Anyway, as stated earlier, today I arrived in Venice…and so did my dad! Continue reading