When In Rome!

Food directly to our beds. *sighs...this is the life.

Food directly to our beds. *sighs…this is the life.

The title is fitting don’t you think?

If there’s anything that my friend Andrea knows how to do best, it’s living the posh life. It’s our last leg of our trip so we decided to splurge a little. Ok, she had to do a little convincing on her part, but I’m glad I caved in. It’s a nice way to end my nearly one month long trip in pure relaxation at the Westin Hotel.

As soon as we arrived at the hotel, Andrea immediately got on the phone and ordered room service. Pastas, burgers and bubblies to celebrate our arrival in Rome. I like her style. We laid in our heavenly beds until 10pm and decided that we had to get out before we waste away in our luxurious room.

So at 10 we dragged our butts out of bed and got ready for a night out in the town, which resulted into me winning this:

When in Rome!

I’ll wear this shirt proudly mom.

Andrea and I went to some pub by the Spanish Steps where we met a group of bar hoppers and decided to join in on the party. They were super young and we felt completely out of place, but we can either stand there awkwardly or…just get in on the fun and pretend that we’re in college all over again. And that is exactly what we did. At one point in the night, the organizer convinced Andrea and I do to a beer chugging contest with 5 other girls. Free beer? Sure, why not. I took one last look at Andrea and said, well….this night took an unexpected turn and we both chugged down our beers. To be fair, it was a tie between Andrea and I. Apparently, San Franciscans are alcoholics and pretty good at chugging down beers. They wanted us to do a tie breaker, but at that point Andrea could tell that I was at my max so she gave me the winning title. Did I mention that I’m too old for this? It was a fun night nonetheless.

The Rome nightlife here starts super late. People have dinner at around 9 or 10 and then head to the bars/clubs after that. I don’t think I can hang for more than a weekend here.

Andrea is so camera shy!

Andrea is so camera shy!

Timing Is Everything

One last look at Lake Como before we head over to Venice.

Our last day in Lake Como.

In life.

In relationships.

In careers.

And in our case, in transportation.

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

The train union workers decided go on strike, which happens to fall on the day that we were suppose to leave Lake Como and head on over to Venice (I know…there are far worst places to be stuck at). We arrived at the train station only to find that our train time had been canceled. The next train out to Milan was at 8:30pm which meant that we were going to miss our last available transfer train to Venice. It was either a night in Milan or a night in Lake Como and we would have to take the earliest train out the next day to Venice. We opted to head to Milan and figure it out from there. So with no real plans, we hoped on the 8:30pm train and headed to Milan. When we arrived at the Milan train station, we were all so tired that we just sat there for a good 5 minutes before Melanie realized that we were at our final destination. Andrea was sitting in her seat reading her book, I was just staring out into space and Melanie was completely knocked out.

Finally Melanie jumps up and says…’Guys! We’re in Milan!’

‘Fuck! You’re right!’

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

We all quickly grabbed our backpacks and ran towards the nearest exit. I nearly lost my shoe and Andrea was running so fast that her backpack was getting caught along the aisles. We were a mess. Off the train and feeling a bit disoriented, we quickly scanned the platforms and saw that number 6 was leaving to Venice at 9:05pm. I looked down at my watch…it was already 9:40pm.

‘Shit, we missed it.’

‘Wait! It says it has been delayed by 40 minutes!’

We quickly ran to the platform and asked the woman standing in front of the train if this was the train that was heading to Venice. She quickly ushered us to get onto the train.

The door closes behind us and within seconds we were off to Venice.

Timing.

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

So here we are…we made it to Venice all in one piece! Tonight we celebrate with Grappa. My stomach hurt a little as I typed Grappa, but….when in Italy!

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

View from the infamous Rialto Bridge

View from the infamous Rialto Bridge

Boats along the Venice canals

Boats along the Venice canals

More boats and even more tourists

More boats and even more tourists

Oh, Hi Georgie

Lenno, Lake Como

Lenno, Lake Como

Because George Clooney and I are besties like that.

Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve officially landed in heaven. And by heaven, I mean Lake Como. I only know Lake Como from Ocean’s 12 where they shot the ending at George Clooney’s house. This place is beautiful beyond belief. That’s it…I can now die a happy person.

If you thought Paris was romantic, this place screams romance all over the place. Even the ducks are coupled up.

Amazing view from our balcony.

Amazing view from our balcony.

Evening walk through the gardens of Varenna

Evening walk through the gardens of Varenna

Varenna, Lake Como - Our apartment balcony

Varenna, Lake Como – Our apartment balcony

Varenna, Lake Como

Varenna, Lake Como

PS – This one is for all the Star Wars fans out there…

Villa del Balbianello - Lenno, Lake Como

Villa del Balbianello – Lenno, Lake Como

 

Paris We Meet Again

Spotted: the Eiffle Tower

Spotted: the Eiffle Tower

I fall in love with Paris every time I come here.

Charming, romantic, and full of beautiful architecture everywhere you go. Paris came and went too fast. Perhaps next year I will stay a little longer.

My good friend from London flew out for the weekend and he met up with us in Paris. I am completely in awe with his life and love living vicariously through him. It’s amazing all of the traveling that he does and quite frankly, I’m a bit envious. Paris is really only a 2 hour train ride away from London. I think if I lived in Europe, I would be off to somewhere new every weekend. I’d be completely broke, but it would be so worth it. My best friend from San Francisco also flew into Paris so Saturday night was a full house with lots of laughter and spirits to say the least. I did not survive too well that night, but Paris views makes up for the terrible hangovers the next day.

 

Sunday morning stroll

Sunday morning stroll

I decided to take an early morning stroll Sunday morning by myself down to the Louvre before meeting up with the girls for some shopping. The Louvre always manages to steal my heart no matter how many times I’ve seen it. It’s even much more beautiful early in the morning when it’s not filled with hoards of tourists.

Louvre Paris

Louvre Paris

Locks of love bridge - Paris

Locks of love bridge – Paris

From Paris, we’re ditching the boys and heading on over to Italy! 3 girls, 3 cities for the next 8 days.

Marrakesh Is The Morocco I Imagined It To Be

 

Jemaa EL Fnaa Plaza - Marrakesh

Jemaa EL Fna Plaza – Food stalls – Marrakesh

Snake charmers, belly dancers and story tellers scattered across the Jemaa El Fna plaza. This is the Morocco that I imagined it to be. The experience of Marrakesh is a lot different from Fez. People are not as aggressive. The atmosphere is really relaxing and inviting to tourists.

We walked through the medina because we wanted to do a little shopping. The fun and challenging part of shopping? Bargaining. It’s all a part of the culture. You’ll be surprise at how much lower you can go from the initial quoted price. 550 dirham for a tea set you say? How about 250? No? It’s ok then, thank you. Then you pretend to walk away slowly and 99.9% of the time they’ll call you back.

On a side note, I don’t know why, but when I go into bargaining mode, I suddenly have a Vietnamese accent. I blame my mom for this one. My English suddenly becomes broken and I throw in ‘my friend’ at the end of every sentence.

Yup, that's a goat's head you see there.

Yup, that’s a goat’s head you see there.

“Come and eat here.”

“No thank you, we just ate, but maybe tomorrow.”

“Ok, you promise? Where are you from?”

“California.”

“Chillax my friend, you know what? It’s really all the same shit here…just different vendors.”

Did he just say chillax and shit in the same sentence? I laughed.

“No really.”

“I like your style my friend, but maybe tomorrow” I said.

And he was right. Navigating through the rows and rows of food stalls was a challenging one, but then you realize it’s all the same food just different vendors competing for the same customers. Marrakesh has Moroccan street food at its best. Finally…some food that I can chow down to.

Beef stew - Eat like the Moroccans do. With your hands!

Beef stew

Eat like the Moroccans do. With your hands! And that I did. Meanwhile, Jimmy had to go all high maintenance and asked for a fork. Rookie move.

A great view to chow down to.

A great view to chow down to.

Stall No. 1

Stall No. 1

The grilled shrimp here was so good that Melanie and I ordered 2 orders each. I inhaled both plates in under 10 minutes.

Aaaand….I just saw a giant cockroach run across our living room floor. I jumped on my seat and yelled ‘OMG’ as I grabbed my shoe to smack at it. Jimmy stands up on top of the couch and hides behind a cushion pillow. Good to know he’s got my back if anything were to happen. Haha…

PS – I give Jimmy a hard time, but I consider him to be one of my best friends and a really cool and awesome guy to travel with.

PPS – He paid me to say that.