Thursday, March 29, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving from Milan - Ready to Vogue!


The definition of Italian Men’s Fashion is MILAN! I was very excited to have scored  great tickets at 19.99 Euro one way from Rome on the  Milan’s Malpensa airport they are way better than both and  I purchased the tickets very early.  The train is too long and too expensive to get here compared to this 55 min flight.  Karon came back to visit me for Thanksgiving since its my favorite holiday and we thought that we should have this getaway since we both love fashion and exploring new places.  We stayed at The Hotel Spadari right near the Duomo.  We took advantage of this great location by going out as soon as we arrived in the city.  After marveling over the Duomo’s grand size which was meant to compete with the Vatican and other large signature of major cities it was diffidently a sight to see.  Right next to the Duomo is the Gallery of Vittorio Emmanuelle where the first Prada store is located. This gallery was a retail and restaurant filled glass domed piazza. As we walked around we ran the small city into a very trend bar that just start on of my favorite Italian past time - APPERTIVO!! Its basically Italian Happy Hour but soooo much better. We checked out the bar called NOON, had great cocktails and wine and little bits like small sandwiches, olives, shrimps, bread, cheese etc endless with your one drink.  I know Great, Right!.  

I felt like this city was very different from Rome.  The people felt different than the ones in Rome.  Everyone had on bold clothes, very trendy but still uniform.  Everyone seemed like they can be a designer or artist.  It was weird  and cold feeling to observe.  On our way back to the hotel we decided to walk some more into a local area of the hotel and ended up in a neighbor that seemed more like what I am use to in Rome.  Outside over crowded pubs and wine bars, loud Italians everywhere with either 1 or 2 drinks in hand. We did not know what was going on but it just looked like a large “winter block party”.  Everyone just hanging around drinking cheap 3 Euro Beers and Wine Spritzers.  The Milanese at this location, didn’t seem so well put together as the place we just left. 
On our full day there we visited the main spots of Milan which ended up not being much. Lol  I like learning about the areas I visited so I made sure that I signed up for a tour through We toured the Duomo and I conquered walking all the way to the top just like Florence but not as bad.  Then from here we walked through the city for about 3 hours. Piazza della Scala, La Scala Opera, and the grand Piazza Castello, you know the usual.  After walking around the city and learning about the people, history and the love Milanese have for Leonardo Da Vinci we ended the tour at Cenacolo Vinciano where “The LAST SUPPER” painting resides on a plaster wall.  This room is closed off and you have to obtain special viewing request.  The tour guide was very knowledgeable. Explained what Leonardo Da Vinci decided to do differently in his painting that was particularly different than the recording what was in the Bible.

For dinner we walked along the River and found a good seafood restaurant.  Milan is known for seafood, they are big meat eaters. (Just a heads up for those of you traveling there with dietary restrictions) This area was another town hideaway.  The River seemed very far from the inner city center and was very dirty and had no attractive highlights in the area at all.  You can tell from areas like this and the one we ran into yesterday that places where city  do not spend its funding.  We decided to check out the Bar strip Corso Sempione, where supposedly all the Models and Actors get cocktails.  All the décor for most of these places were very posh and chic.  I didn’t feel as connected to the city even though I thought that my passion for fashion would entice me to. I would not come to Milan to visit again unless I was here for work or heading to somewhere else.  It’s a city that you have to be in the “know” to know what’s going on.  As I was told when I was there, things are just publicized to the general public you have to find out.

While on this trip I was excited for the possibility to be able to visit a new area of Italy.  I didn’t make it there but I think its totally worth a visit if you are in this region of Italy.  The Lakes that border Switzerland and Italy are said to very picture perfect towns with low amount of tourist and little quaint cities.  In Milan you connect to the main towns of the lakes by and the tickets are only around 7 Euro for an 1 hour train ride to this off the beaten path locations (my favorite and bet they have great seafood)  There is the 2 main Italian lakes: Lake Maggiore, this one is closest to the airport (Malpensa) and has 3 islands.  The second is Lake Como which has 3 main cities to visit Bellagio, Varenna, and Menaggio.  There is also a lake near by that is in Switzerland, Lake Lugano.  I think its worth a day at one of these lakes taking a ferry around the towns and relaxing, but that’s just me. 

 One of my professional shots of the Gallery.  


Survived Reverse Culture Shock (I think?)

Hello, Ciao, Hola

I am still alive had to take a moment to get my life situated here in NYC.  Just writing to say that I went on a few Ahhmazing trips as most of you may know from my post on Facebook.  I tried to write something everyday to everyone everywhere since I knew I was visiting many places that my friends and family may never see.  I conducted that trip with my BFF and you will see her throughout my photos as well.  However, I am not here today to talk about my Euro-trip,  I am here to tell you that I am Surviving!

As the title states this is to give you all an outlook of my impression of America as an American who lived abroad and have now returned. You might not think this at first, but returning home was not easy Emotionally (and of course physically - 4 suitcases #killme).  So many of family and friends especially my mother ask WHY?  So here it is, after being home for 3 months I recognize what I felt after my immediate return.  While abroad you train yourself to get accustomed to the lifestyle abroad (or some people do) you never forget what is to be home, but whatever it is that keeps that country in your heart and mind you realize you are no longer have the same understanding or "way of being" as you did before you left.  It is a difficult to understand if you have never been away from where or what you call home longer than about a month. 

Here was my timeline in Italy (living in Europe):
 Departed Januaray 2011
Probably was homesick up until my Bday pasted in March
Then I started to enjoy the differences in what I sought out for entiretainment in Italy vs. Home: For instance wine and cheese, Apertivo in the park, actually traveling, learning a new language, making new friends, beer feast - chocolate feast,  and just simply enjoying some of the best views and food, EVER
(therefore stop complaining about what I would do at home)
 Traveled as much as I can (the most traveling I have done in my whole life happened all in 1 year lol)
Came to US to visit (still knowing that I had a returened to ticket to Italy Kept me statified)
Around Noveember I realize it was going to be ending soon (and began to feel homesick for Italy while there)
Traveled some more
Returned home to the US in January 2012

Simply a lot of time away from what I knew and who I knew and trusted... The monotony of my life was broken by this experience.

When I was abroad I began enjoy and look forward to the common things in Italy as well as the mentality of Italians.  I learned a lot about the differences between "us" and "them" and how we think - whether its about careers, morals, race vs. nationality, family values, religion, Romance, or the joys of food (pizza specifically).  There are things that I can not change the views of all Americans but it is hard when you have returned to your "home" you notice that no one Gets You... And that you are not willing to conform back

So I have survived I have found a way to cope with being an American Foreigner lol (for lack of a better term). I recognized the difference in my beliefs from those people whom I would  consider close to me and realized how seperated I am now,  even though I have returned. 

I have been coping with this reverse culture shock by trying to keep myself engaged with a mixture of like minded people (s/o to The Tribe), and my lovely family and friends.  I signed up for Italian language classes in NYC. I have also taken a hint from others, who have in their own way been in the same position, and started researching ... Where to NEXT! will keep you all posted with that and I will make sure I will fill you in on my wonderful excursion through Western Europe.

Ciao Belli!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Made it to Eastern Europe - Budapest, Hungary

Jo Napot! (Good Day!)

Ladies and Gentlemen I have decided to tackle the unthinkable for most. I went on my 1st vacation ALONE! Some people can’t even go do dinner alone so this idea I thought about backing forth to decide if I was serious and that I plan everything exactly how I would like it!  Since I have not made my way to Eastern Europe I thought that Budapest would be great place to conquer by myself if I planned everything out.  I was right and wrong at the same time.  I did plan every detail out using my all time favorite reviews from and got some great new things that I would not consider to do if I was with someone else, thinking that they would not be too interested. But I was wrong that I would be alone, I mean I slept alone but was constantly invited into conversations and to join groups when they noticed I was by myself.  Techinally I was “working” my research on this country would probably foster the opinions of many people that are in my network about ever visiting Hungary.  I took my job serious. 

First things first, covers must of Eastern Europe and this was my first experience with this budget airlines like it lack the typical amenities of a flight.  The people in Italy and in Hungary that worked for this airlines seem like they all need to go on ‘holiday’ soon.  They all had the worst attitude and after having a difficult time at the ticket counter and being charged for my carry on when others where able to pass with larger bags my lock was  broken.  Anywho, I had some schedule a taxi to come pick me up for the airport for a fixed cost of 15 Euro, this is a must!! Taxi’s  typically jack up the prices for every city you fly into but here since you are using the HUNGRAIN FORINT (HUF) and don’t know how to convert very typically from your Illustrious Euro they take advantage of this opportunity.

Driving into Budapest, to be honest not so much ‘Love at First Sight’ more like Scared at First Sight! Lol Look like a war just ended a few years ago and this was their efforts of rebuilding a city.  After learning more about this recently changed political system of the country from COMMUNIST it all makes sense.  Especially when you realize that very little people here speak English because it was not even taught in schools until after 1980s.  My stop first on my itinerary was the largest Jewish Synagogue  in Europe. I was able to do a tour of the synagogue and marvel over its design and the history of the large population of Jews that resided previously in Hungary before the war.  After hearing stories near the memorial of the Holocaust it brought me to tears.  From here I was off to something that was a little more up beat.  Something that was listed as one of the top things to do in Budapest, Fungarian Lessons, Here I met with Miklos a local who taught me all the words I needed to know to sound official.  As I learned about the language I was able to learn more about the culture of the people.  The language is said to be 3,000 years old and use the original writing from the countries founders still today. 95% of the population is Hungarian and it is bordered by 7 different countries.
Here are a few useful words:
Jo Napot! Good Day!  Koszonom-Thank You    Igen – Yes     Nem-No
Miklos was able to direct me to some good local restaurants that had good Hungarian traditional food and city must dos! 
Now that I was full loaded with the language I was ready, the rest of my trip included seeing all of this small city and uncovering the cities’ gems. 
Later on this evening I had reservations at an wine cellular underneath the Hilton (but not related) in the Buda Castle Area.  Faust Wine Cellar was great! My personal sommelier, Gabor, can to my table and brought me a personalized wine menu he put together for me from our discussions during setting up the reservations.  Hungarian wines were very full and you taste all the essence of each fruit.  My favorite was the Szekszardi Pinot Noir Rose 2011 (from Ferena Takler winery).  I made sure that I also tasted the Hungarian official Palinka, they compare it to brandy, but to me it seemed like a vodka. This was good and I ended enjoying some more of this out side of the tasting.
Next Day Itinerary:
Tour the city on the Tram – The #4,6 tram circles both sides of the city Buda and Pest nice views and local stops. This is considered one of the longest tram tracks in Europe.  Stopped at park that is an island with hotels on it and two spa locations.  Its almost like Central Park but surrounded but water.  It was great to walk through and see Autumn at its best. I do not get to see much of the season change from Rome.
Pest had more going on so I ended near here at night walking around.  This city is perfectly lite and a lot of energy.  One of my favorite things to see while here is the Chain Bridge at night and the views of the Roosevelt Buda Castle.
I rode on the first underground train in Europe. I took the Yellow Line train M1 from Vorosmarty stop to Szechenyi furdo and was able to witness one of the largest out door thermal baths in Hungary in the middle of a park.  From here I walked to Heroes Square and went to the Museum of Fine Arts.  A great buy while in Budapest is the Budapest Card most hotels sell them.  There is a pass for 48 hours and 72 hours and it pays for your local transportation in case you are stopped, all systems run on the “honor” system.  I was only checked once while approach the first stop. You are to get into museums for fess and get discounts on restaurants and other attractions.
Last night their met up with a fellow Nomad-ness Tribe member from Hungary that moved to Budapest.  She was a great hostess of the night life there.  I was able to learn more about Palinka, lol, and experience the night life.  We went to a club name “white angel”.  Very far from everything that I have seen during my stay but was worth visiting.  By time we arrived around 1am the place was packed like New Year’s Eve in NYC.  I was slightly confused that this many people come out to a club on a regular.  It was CRAZY in there.  The décor was very modern and hip. The music was techno/alternative or like fast speed pop. I was happy to have this experience. 
On my last day there it was very fitting for me to visit the SPA!! Yes Hungary is also considered one of the Spa capitals of the world. Ultimate winner for me in my book.  I love to relax as much as I love to tour.  I woke up went to visit the Statue of Liberty since it was near my hotel and straight down for the mountain was Gellert Thermal Bath Spa. This experience was Ahmazzing!  You pay for a pass to get in and you have different services that you can pay individually for or just take your time lounging around in the different out door and indoor pools and thermal baths, saunas, and steam rooms.  So yes I ended staying here all day until it was about an hour before my flight.  Nothing could knock my high after this tranquil experience.  I would diffidently come back to Budapest again, probably during the 1st or 2nd week in September for Castle Zone Wine Festival. 

Beauty of the City of Buda & Pest is separate by these very amazing bridges.

Thermal Bath Time!!!

At the Christmas Market eating a little Hungarian Fast Food


Holocaust Memorial at the Synagogue

Promo for the Club

Yes the Metro looked as if no one every use it.  It has maintained its beauty after all these years.

Just me near the Cable Bridge

Inside the Club!

Xtreme Sports Event called FRIDGE it was crazy

A Week in ESPANA!!! Part 2 Barcelona

Spain, Barcelona

Yes I made it to the place that was the cover of my Spanish texts book in High School.  I started marveling over this imaginary land of people what looked they can be from anywhere in the world since Sophomore Year.  Yes Ladies and Gents Barcelona is my Hawaii.  After flying on the best low budget plane EVER my cousin and I headed for our 1st trip to CATALUNYA!!  Barcelona is considered the capital of Cataluña not Spain and they locals are trying their best to keep separate the history of their culture.  The language is this fused mixture of Spanish and French due to this regions history and location which it was conquered by the near by French.  All signs giving directions were written in Cataluña 1st then Spanish and if you are lucky English.
First the airport was the most tranquil place I have seen. Airports are usually very un organized and loud.  But not here! Gives you that big city yet easy going vibe straight out the gate.  Ok not only was this our first adventure in Barcelona it was also my 1st really experience as well.  If you don’t know about this site, in short, it’s a site that coordinates short term rentals of home owner’s spare rooms or full apartments at a good price and great locations.  We were with two of the most accommodating host. We flew in at 1 am so trying to find their apartment was not going to be good but they offered to come pick us up (for a price of course) but that beats the expensive cost we would have paid for a Taxi.  Our newly build condo was close to the Selva de Mar Metro stop which was walking distance to the beach and the downtown attractions.  One of the first things I do in any city especially if they have a metro/train/underground system is get a MAP.  This helped me weave through the town like I lived there. In during our short time there we tried to get as much as we can  in without any official tour of the city.  Usually at this time I would suggest getting on a hop on hop off bus so I can as much in as I can of a city. 
City attractions that we were able to visit:
Les Rambles was basically a strip filled with cheaper stores  and great fashion as you go up from the beach area to the city center at Plaza de Catalunya.  Didn’t realize how much of a Spain was influenced by fashion just like Rome, Paris, and London.  This is after all the home of ZARA!
On our first day into the city near Plaza de Sant Jaume we notice that tickets were on sale for the soccer match! After leaving in Europe for a year I think there was no way to leave the continent without watching some live FUTBALL! So I realized I didn’t know much about soccer because I thought it was going to be all night since I am use to “American” football and we missed have the game. Lol #smh The stadium was huge and we sat right in front of 2 avid Barcelona fans. 
There is so much to see in this city and there is big mixture of modern and historic architecture. Due to Gaudi’s designs and influence on modern art it was evident just by walking to various places in the city that the city pride its self on this creativity. All of the Gaudi’s sites are a MOST SEE especially the apartment building, la Pedrera and the Sagrada Familia and the Park (my favorite) Parc Guell, take the local city bus #24 north for best city views from this location.
The city was have managed to keep the historical structures still in tact  like the original Roman walls of the where they inhabited when ruling. We also able to visit the Catedral it was very magical and grand within the Roman the walls. The areas along the port are very modern and were mostly built for the past Olympics here.  All in All Barcelona was another place I felt I had to come back.  I love Cities!! Especially if they give me a reason to come back and felt a connection to explore Barcelona during the summer. Can’t wait!

Check out some of my Pics for the trip:

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tips and Tricks for Trip to Roma, Italia

Ciao Bellas,

I am part of a group called Nomad-ness Tribe and family of like minded individuals who love to travel, learn, and explore.  I was asked to put together some tips for the Tribe for visiting Rome and I thought I should share with you as  your Roman Expat Expert.  

My insight to planning your trip to Rome!
Rome the eternal city is known for a lot of things and you can hit most of them in a weekend tops.  Yes I know this seems unbelievable but unlike other areas in Italy – Rome is a walking city that is WALKABLE (given that you have no health conditions already).  Ladies the cobbles are real so keep your stilettos at home. Comfortable sneakers and wedges are a must.  As soon as you get a nice tourist map you will see that all of the city highlights are near each other and if you are walking you might stumble upon some Roman history on your own.  After being here for a year there is no such time as non-tourist season here so feel free to blend in.  Most Italians in the city center are very excited to practice their English (but a good ciao and grazie will only help you).  The city center is considered Piazza Venezia near all the main tourist sites and the big train station - Termini Statonize, I would say any where in this area is good a place to start.
Plane: When flying into Rome look up the different shuttle bus options.  Rome does not have its on airport so they closest two that should consider are Leonardo da Vinci – Fiumincino (FCO)  this one is for mainly international flights from other continents and the other (small and ghetto ) one is Ciampino (CIA) this airport is where most of the ryanair/easyjet flights fly into.  If you have a choice there is no better one as far as convenience they are both FAR from anything. Shuttle options are the way that I reach both airports with two different companies. 
SIT Bus shuttle ( makes 4 stops 1. Via Marsala Termini Station – near the city center 2. Piazza Cavour – Near Vatican area 3. Airport Fiumincino (this is YOUR STOP) 4. Fiumincino City (you have gone too far).  The first shuttle leaves the city at 5 am and the latest is at 20:30 (8:30 pm) and first one from the airport is 8:00 am and last is 23:45 (11:45 pm).  Unlike a lot of things that I found in Rome I think the are very reliable and efficient so I stick with them it cost 8 € for a one way you can buy the ticket on the bus you pick it up at the end of the terminals past Terminal 3 it actually has the SIT logo on it.  They also have a shuttle to the CIA airport but I have used SIT for this one.  Make sure you look for the small SIT sign if you pick up the bus at Cavour on the left street opposite the construction (which will probably still be going on forever lol).
ATRAL I am not going to lie to you I have never been on the website.  An I do see myself as a good traveler and I went on a leap of faith using this one on my first trip out of Rome to CIA airport.  I lived near the Metro line A which you take to the last stop in ANAGNINA direction and at GATE 1 as soon as you come up the escalator walk to GATE 1 there is a schedule right out side Gate with the times.  I usually just plan ahead and get here in advance.  This shuttle is 1.20 €. When I return I usually take whatever shuttle is going directly into the center for cheap.  The most I have paid was 4.00 € to Termini Station for this airport and then I would take a cab from there or a local city bus.
Taxi from the airports: WARNING!!!!!: Only take the WHITE CABS that actually say Taxi on top and most of them have taxi number on the side.  Be sure to tell them where you are going before you enter the cab and have them confirm 40 € again 40 € that is the flat rate from the airports especially FCO that has been set in place by law from the city if they say 41 put your stuff in another TAXI. Do not let them use the METER.  These are all the tricks that do to try to get you once you are in the taxi, so be aware. CIA is a little tricky since there is less cabs there then supply and demand kicks in (but choose wisely).
I have no experience with taking the Train from the airport. Unless you are staying somewhere along one of the Regional lines that stops closer then maybe its worth looking into. If not then stick to the taxi or shuttle bus.
METRO: When getting around Rome its good to know the underground/subway/ METRO system most of the stops are placed near places of interest for tourist. You will know the system in an hour if you are use to train systems.  There are only 2 Metro lines:  METRO line A which is near important sites like the Vatican and the Vatican Museum, Piazza di Spanga, and Trevi Fountain.  The Metro starts at 6 am and typically stops at 12:00 midnight.  However, Line A currently stops running at 9 pm from Sun – Friday so only on Saturday it runs until 12. METRO line B, which is near the Coliseum, Piazza Veneica and Termini.  You can only switch trains underground at Termini. 
It is currently 1.00 € each way.  There is some sort of visitors pass that I have never purchased that might worth looking into (but this is not London) you should be above ground most of your time here.  Purchase at machine or teller if your stop has one. Metro line C is under construction for many years and has no scheduled date of actually running anytime soon.
            TRAIN - EURORAIL: If you plan on visiting other areas of Italy during your stay use TrainItalia website.  There is an English option to change the language.  You will find all schedule and prices for all cities in Italy here.  You can purchase tickets online, at ticket booth or teller.  You catch the trains and purchase tickets at Termini Station. Make sure you look up your cities name in Italian since on the board with the arrivals and departures for the track numbers will NOT be in English.

Autobus:  ATAC (like the MTA from NYC of ROME) they have a website if you want to look it for time schedules but they are often not correct.  The bus works on an honor system. It is the same ticket from the metro at a cost of 1 € which you purchase on the bus.  If a police officer stops you on the bus be sure that he will hand you a 50 € fine or make you pay it immediately (my friend was taken to an atm). The buses run 24/7 and after midnight they turn to a different number usually with the letter N in front of it, representing it’s the night bus and stops are more local and they don’t run the same route. 
  • Taxis are ran on meters they don’t take more than 4 typically unless you called for a special cab to fit everyone.  They typically start around 2.80 € during the day and I have seen any where from 5.50 € to 7.10 € during different times of the night.  Always ask if the number seem to high about the price (this is where your little Italian comes into play).  The like to add on prices person so this is a warning for that.  You main catch taxis at taxi stands, I have flag them down before too but this is not the typical protocol.
  • Italians eat LATE.  Do not be fooled if a place is completely empty at 8pm. Lol  They are on their way. Breakfast don’t really exist here, there is just coffee and croissant. You order breakfast from the BAR.  These places usually have alcohol as well but these bars are for a different kind of shot typically EXPRESSO. 
  • DON’T eat any PIZZA place.  Most places in the center near everything in most countries are typically just traps.  Rome is famous for this, since most people are here for pizza there are pizzerias everywhere.  A lot of them are frozen pizza that you can get better in US’s supermarket.
  • PIZZA rule: There are 2 types of Pizza, there is traditional pizza from Naples that we all know that is round and then there is Roman Pizza which is square and is cut and weighted.  Two places I will tell you about for both types are Dar Poeta (great round pizza in Rome) in the area known as Trastevere and Pizzarium  (very exciting toppings and dough for square pizza) near the Cipro Metro Stop Line A.
  • Just going to note a few other places to eat in Rome.  This is Italy so most good places might not have websites or phones and may be on a cobble stone street in between nowhere. Please know in advance a lot of what you eat or think is traditional Italian food in America is not Italian food in Italy.  For instance chicken alfredo I have only seen on 1 menu and chicken parmagiana is not here so don’t ask and if you see it on a menu that might be a good sign that this place is a tourist trap. 
  • Pasague  - Open late (close at 2 am, great wine menu, great for appetizers, love the food (small food menu) Love the owner.  BTW: They opened a new place that is bigger and around the corner with a different name same menu . Near the Vatican closer to Metro stop for Vatican
  • Mamà’s – Very modern décor, free wifi, great food, love the bruschetta here and the seafood. Near the Vatican closer to Castle San Angelo
  • Old Bear – close to Piazza Navona and the bridge ( recent find love the trimbolle its their  eggplant parmagina)
  • List to be continued (don’t know the names of everywhere) …
  • Vistit an open market if you have never seen one.  Trionfale is big and covered (so a more modern day version than the one in the movies.  Get wine straight for the barrel or bottled, great cheese, and other snacks if you are here for a short stay.  If you have a kitchen then you won’t need to find the supermarket after find fresh everything here. Near two metro stops CIPRO and OTTAVIANO. Can be difficult to stop if you are since its covered but its in between the block not on the main Metro street so be sure to go early. I believe it closes at 2:00pm and closed on Sunday.
  • Campo Di Fiore – Tourist like it here its close to the center and you can find people from anywhere here.  It’s a circle of pubs and local clubs.  Everyone just end up drunk and very friendly.  Avoid Drunken Ship – every study abroad American is here (19 yr and this is their 1st time drinking).  If you do make over here early enjoy Apperativo at Sloppy Sams (they are a little better)
  • Trastevere – This is a site to see. It almost look like the quad of a college campus of people just standing around and drinking after a football game. No music but real SOCIAL NETWORKING offine.  This area has tourist but it’s more or less like the Italian version of Campo Di Fiore more young Italians come and hang here.  They are close to each other just across the Tiber River. You can walk here from Campo.  Be sure to wear comfortable shoes.  Our favorite place here is D-Gee Bar great music, good-looking people (some tourist), great-drinks (make sure you order a THREESOME).
  • Testaccio – This is further out but this is where the clubs are located within Rome.  Its like a village of different music and themes so if you are ready to go out this where you need to be.  This area close after 4am (I believe, never stayed pass this time).  Thursday nights at Alkab or Ahkalb is Hip-Hip and Rap and Top 20 stuff.  Its good to see the mix of people in Rome here singing every word but don’t know English and which
Ciao – Hi and Bye
Grazie – Thank You
Prego – Your welcome
Escuzi – Excuse you
Tu Parle Inglese? – Do you speak English?
Io no parlo italiano – I do not speak Italian
Per Favore – Please
Dove un bango?  – Where is a bathroom?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Week in ESPANA!!! Part 1 Sevilla

Hola Chicas!

Ok so one cannot live in Europe and travel to London, Paris, and Rome without hitting SPAIN! Yes it has taken all these months to finally make but I did make it and had a great week there.  I had a break between quarters at my school so I decided to travel long before I even purchased tickets to Spain.  But something great happened, my cousin and fellow blogger Maya accept a great opportunity to teach English in Spain. This is a win win for me and her! lol She moved to Sevilla, Spain the beginning of October right after returning home from our time together in Morocco.  Two of my best friends study abroad in Spain during undergrad so it was great to be able to get a taste of their experience.

The home of Bullfighting, Flamenco Dancing, Sangria and Paella! Who wouldn't love this place.  Sevilla is considered to be very Spanish, to me this meant nothing since I didn't understand the difference of other places in Spain but I will get into that later with Barcelona.  As soon as I arrive as every typical European airport there is no customs, no check, no nothing  (guess they are on break with the Italians lol).  I find the shuttle bus that has a schedule outside the airport this was very easy to find and navigate by myself.  I needed to kick in my 3 years of high school Spanish classes and that 1 yr relationship with the Puerto Rican boyfriend I had back in college to help a little.  Made it to the main square, Padro San Sebastian where all the trams and bus run to connect to the bus to my cousin's flat.  Sevilla is a small charming city.  There are lot of the same characteristics that I see in Florence, Italy that I loved about Sevilla.  There is less tourist here I am pretty sure due to the time that I visited and that it is pretty South of Spain not close to other major Spanish  'touristy' places like Madrid.  Well if you don't by now I love learning the history of the area that am visiting and being exposed to the culture differences that makes that place that am vising unique.  My cousin and I did the Hop On Hop Off tour which was really good since I am able to see all the areas in 2 hours and knew where I needed to come back to do a little shooting.  Then before she went off to work we had good lunch with a little Flamenco Dancing performance. See below.  It was great.  Didn't know what to expect.  Loved every minute of the passionate music and the dancer.  This is a must see if in Spain.  Later after walking around I did a free tour of an area called the Triana.  This is where a lot of the gypsies lived and worked and the home of FLAMENCO!  It was interesting to hear the story of Moors and the rich mix from Morocco in Spain and it was evident all over the with architecture and symbols and symbols I noticed from my recent trip in to Marrakech.  I enjoyed my long walks around the city.  One of my favorite places there was Plaza de Espana loved the building and felt very connect to the architecture and the colors and essence of the flamboyant culture that you hear about when you think of Spain.

The time with my cousin was great as well. Seeing her with the friends, she have made so far, and in her element with the culture she love was great.  So proud of her for moving out her, I am know I am crazy for doing what I did but its good to see that some people are as crazy as me. lol.  Seeing here speak fluently made me want to take my Italian serious.  She getting her groove in her new Euro life quickly and was able to do a few things together.  We had our Paella at the Festival of the Nations, this was a market place in the middle of a park that was currently the hit of the town while I was there (lucky me) and highlighting different places with large Spanish decent being represented.  They were selling food, dancing, selling their local drinks it was great to experience.  Although the many Spanish people are near and far from Spain they come in a large variety of shapes, colors, and sizes because of their different heritage being so intertwined with many people from native land (indigenous), the Spaniards, and Africans  but the language, food, and music whether you are talking to some from Mexico, Colombia, or Madrid is what connects them and that was beautiful to see.

Next stop BARCELONA!! 

Here are some pics of us:

 Festival of the Nations!

 Cuban Bar trying do a little Salsa!

 OLAY!!! at Plaza de Espana

 Flamenco Dancer

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary
Statute of Liberty - Budapest, Hungary

Florence, Italy

Florence, Italy
The Duomo - Florence, Italy

London, UK

London, UK
Famous Phone Booth

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