El Camino – Part III

Welp…it’s a new year and I’ve officially been back in the United States for two months. What a total rush the holidays were. And things really haven’t slowed down much as I’ve been searching for a job and driving down to Chicago or up to Minneapolis every chance I get. If someone a year ago had told me I’d be living in Wisconsin right now I would have scoffed and rolled my eyes at them. Life, man. I tell ya. So anyways, as winter in the midwest is generally pretty dark, dingy, and cold, I have lots of time to daydream. And what am I daydreaming about? Ditching the States again and jetting off to someplace new…preferably warm. So I thought I’d put my daydreaming to good use by reminiscing on my European adventure some more and writing a new travel post. I last left you somewhere in the middle of my trek through France. I had parted with my beloved Éric and Laurent and found myself in a really good and happy place despite the fact that my pals had left me. But you know what’s great about a hike like this? People are constantly starting and stopping their […]

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El Camino – Part II

Since I last posted I have made many wonderful memories, as well as a few not so great ones. Let’s get the negative out of the way first. Last year I decided against buying hiking shoes and wore a pair of super light Nike sneakers. Although I dealt with severe blisters for a couple of days at the beginning of my hike, they calloused over quickly and I was totally fine. Blisters are kind of inevitable on a hike like this so I didn’t think much of it and decided to wear the same shoes this year. I experienced the same blister situation, only this time, they were worse and additional foot pain and tendinitis followed. Other pilgrims along the way consistently asked if my feet were ok, pointing to my shoes with wide eyes. My stubbornness got the best of me for a while and I would shrug and say, “of course, I’m fine!” But eventually I admitted to myself and my fellow hikers that my choice of footwear was stupid. Anyways, the unexpected upside to my shoes was that I met some wonderful friends, in part, thanks to them. One night a little over a week into my […]

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El Camino – Part I

Hey guys! I’m going to try and do some blog updates about my Camino journey from time to time over the next month. Keep in mind that I’m posting from my phone so sorry if the formatting is weird! I’ll try and fix any issues when I’m back to having a computer to use. On Monday I took the train from Paris to Le Puy-en-Velay to begin my second round of El Camino de Santiago de Compostela. (Last year I hiked 3 weeks of it with my family.) My train got in at 8 p.m. and I somehow found a gite, aka a hostel for pilgrims, that had space for me. Unfortunately, restaurants and grocery stores in town were closed so I went without dinner, but ya know, such is the life of a pilgrim. I departed Tuesday at 7:30 and hiked the 24 kilometers to a small town called Saint-Privat-d’Allier. It was a pretty good first day. I only saw maybe five other pilgrims on the trail all day, which is way fewer than last year. So mostly I just walked alone with my thoughts and some cows and the occasional pony or goat. Oh, the French countryside. The […]

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Rome: Veni, Vidi, Vici

A little over two years after studying abroad in Rome for a semester, I made it back to the city that stole my heart. Ryan and I spent our final three days in Europe venturing from attraction to attraction and taking in as much of the historic city as we could (and of course eating plenty of gelato along the way.) Our first night was spent in a beautiful large apartment in the Jewish Ghetto. We kept things low key and decided to make dinner in since we had a kitchen. I have to say, I really appreciate being able to cook on long vacations. I get tired of eating out every night and it can be so expensive. We made a lovely spread, including gnocchi with pesto, caprese salad, and a charcuterie platter. Ryan went to bed early because he was feeling under the weather and I ended up going for a midnight walk around my old stomping grounds. Rome by moonlight is magical. The following day we relocated to an Airbnb in a different part of town. Again, we had a private room in someones home. This was probably my favorite of the Airbnb’s we stayed in because […]

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Florence, Pisa, Positano

Hello everyone! It’s hard to believe that this trip to Europe was almost half a year ago already. It’s been a treat to reminisce on all of the fantastic memories that were made while putting together this post. As I believe I’ve mentioned before, Italy is an extra special place for me because I studied in Rome for a semester of college and fell head over heels in love with not only the city, but the rest of the country as well. Being back in Italy felt oddly comforting and familiar. After leaving Venice, Ryan and I took the train to Florence for a couple nights. On the first day we enjoyed a leisurely afternoon of walking around the old piazzas and gazing up at the Duomo. At night, we ended up meeting up at a brewery with friends from Hawaii who were coincidentally honeymooning in Europe and had an absolutely fantastic time drinking beer and wine and chatting until the wee hours of morning. Ryan and I were also thrilled to find a Mexican restaurant that was actually open only two blocks from our Airbnb around 3 a.m. The next day we stupidly bought train tickets to Pisa to see the tower. […]

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A Weekend in Venice

Ciao, amici! Today I’m bringing you with me on an adventure around the unique city of Venice. Following our last few days in Paris, Ryan and I jetted off to Italy to explore the city of cannoli and canals. We used AirBnB again and this time found a private room in the home of a Venetian couple named Emiliano and Anna. (If you find them on AirBnb, don’t hesitate to book a room at their Bed&Breakfast. They are so delightful!) Our room was comfortable and had a beautiful view over an old piazza. It was also centrally located  and within walking distance from everything we wanted to do, but in a more residential area versus in the middle of all of the main attractions. A major perk of staying with locals was that they gave us a list of recommendations for restaurants to try. Venice is such a tourist hub that there are just hundreds of tourist trap restaurants waiting to rip you off. We learned to generally avoid any restaurants that had waiters standing outside trying to get you come in, very large menus with tons of options, or that were bordering major piazzas. Instead, we went to a delicious restaurant called A […]

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