After a busy week spent away in Italy and going to Greece on Monday I spent this weekend running errands, which I had to go to Putney for on Sunday. While in Putney I decided to check out this cafe I always pass on my way to Putney Bridge called Social Brew/Social Raw. Which turned out to be this super cute, hip, raw food cafe that sells vegan baked goods, salads, smoothies, and iced coffee (basically all of my favorite things). I was really excited to see that they had acai bowls on their menu, which are a rare find in London! This was actually the first one I found, so of course, I had to get one! It ended up being so yummy and I was super happy I finally found a place that has acai bowls that happens to only be a 5min bus ride from my university. I can’t wait to go back & try another one of their options (or maybe just get another smoothie bowl). But if you’re ever looking to grab a healthy bite to eat around Putney be sure to check out Social Brew!
Month: April 2018
Neal’s Yard & Shopping in Covent Garden
Ever since I arrived in London I have been dying to check out Neal’s Yard, which is this small nook of colorful buildings amongst the busy shopping streets in Covent Garden. However, I wanted to wait until it was warm and sunny to go, which happened to be this past Saturday. After getting back from Italy Friday night London greeted us with some super warm and sunny weather. I actually think it was hotter than it was in Italy. Anyways, I wanted to go shopping and grab a few shirts for the warmer weather to wear in Greece and I guess now London too since Saturday was 77°F so I headed to Covent Garden. Whoever told me London doesn’t even get above 70°F until June lied because it’s still April and almost 80°F … Today was actually my first time shopping in Covent Garden because I usually just go to Oxford Street or order online because honestly, I’m not a fan of how busy Oxford Street gets, but I really loved shopping in Covent Garden! Not being on the main street with cars made it a lot more enjoyable and way less overwhelming. It felt more like an outdoor mall whereas oxford street kinda feels like shopping in New York City where you feel like your walking forever to get from one store to the next (unless your lucky and all the stores you want to go to are right next to each other, but that usually not the case in my experience).After shopping for a little bit in Covent Garden I headed to Neal’s Yard to see the colorful nook and omg it was so cute! It was also very packed because I think everyone all had the same idea to go out shopping since London’s shopping is outdoors and it was a such a nice day (which is rare in London) that you couldn’t stay inside. The nook has 2 cute vegan restaurants along with a pizza shop that looks absolutely amazing but after so much pizza in Italy, I needed to cut back on the carbs so I had to save that for another time. But if your looking for a place to sit and relax and take a break from all the shopping this is the perfect place to go! Therefore, if your ever in London and want a more quaint outdoor shopping scene head to Covent Garden and most certainly don’t forget to stop and check out Neils Garden while you’re at it!
When In Rome
Ever since I saw The Lizzy McGuire Movie as a little girl I had been dying to go to Rome, ride on a Vespa, and explore the beautiful city. So finally my childhood fantasy came true (well unfortunately not the riding a Vespa part) but the exploring Rome part did! For your first time in Rome, it’s almost required to do all the touristy things so that’s exactly what I did. I explored The Vatican City including the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and St.Peters Basilica, threw a coin in the Trevi Fountain, and sat on the Spanish Steps. I also visited the Pantheon, Roman Forum, Colosseum, Palazzo Venezia, and Piazza Navona. My favorite view was from a rooftop inside the Roman Forum. Oh, and of course I ate TONS of gelato, pasta, and pizza. I don’t think I have ever eaten so many carbs and sugar in my life, but I guess when in Rome you’re bound to forgo your diet at least a little bit. Also, we did tons of walking so I didn’t feel too bad about treating myself just for the couple days we were here. I think my favorite gelato and everyone elses, had to be from II Gelato di San Crispino. The shop had unique flavors and the gelato had a perfect consistency. I also discovered that it featured in the movie Eat Pray Love. For dinner most nights we went to the Trastevere area both because it has tons of restaurants to choose from but also because it offers a great nightlife scene. One of my favorite things about Rome besides its stunning architecture and rich history was the Forno Campo de’ Fiori Market. The market offers food for you to sample along with places to shop for some souvenirs. It is also a place to find some healthy fruit amongst all the pizza and pasta. Even though I may not have had my pop star moment like in the movie I still had an unforgettable time. Ciao Roma.
Gondola Ride & Lost In Venice?
Our second day in Venice we pretty much just wandered around all day. Venice isn’t too large and it only takes about a 20min walk to get from one side of the island to the other, so you can’t really get lost. One thing Venice is famous for is its Murano glass and carnival masks, which is no secret because almost every shop you pass is selling one or the other. While wandering we happened upon a small canal and decided to take a gondola ride. The Gondolier took us on a 30min ride through the small canals of Venice and then to the Grand Canal. It actually ended up being reasonably priced when splitting it between the 5 of us and to me was definitely worth the experience and a must do while in Venice! While wondering the streets we kept on passing all these cute bakeries and I finally decided to go in one and grab a couple of treats to sample. I was hesitant at first with all the pasta and gelato I’ve been eating which is why it took me until the second day before I convinced myself to do it but it was totally worth it! After the gondola ride our wondering eventually lead us to St. Marks Basilica which was free to go inside but once you get inside you had to pay to see the little exhibits. Even though Venice isn’t very large all the walking can still get pretty tiring after a while so we ended up sitting down and having a couple of drinks to relax before dinner. The restaurant we choose for dinner was in one of the plazas where we sat and ate outside. Even though eating along the water is beautiful, sitting in one of the plazas was just as nice and a much cheaper option. I ordered spaghetti since I had penne yesterday which definitely lived up to the expectation of Italian pasta. Although despite how good it was I still couldn’t finish it which our waiter joked about. Somehow, despite how stuffed I was I still managed to make room for a small scoop of gelato from II Doge before calling it a night. Overall my time in Venice was a success and I absolutely fell in love with this quaint little town, making it super hard to say goodbye. But I was excited for my next adventure, Rome.
Murano, Burano, Torcello an island adventure
Our first day in Venice Italy we went on a boat tour of Murano, Burano, and Torcello. On the island Murano, we got to see how they make the famous Murano glass. The tour took us inside a warehouse on the island where we witnessed a brief demonstration of glass blowing, which if you have never seen before is really cool to watch! It’s amazing how quickly they can turn a simple piece of glass into a figurine. The next stop on our tour was Torcello which seemed relatively small. We walked along the canal that ran through the center of the island and took pictures on top of a bridge that crossed over it. But overall there wasn’t much on Torcello just 3-4 restaurants and a Park. Our last stop was the highlight of our trip, and the island I had been dying to go to, Burano. I had seen pictures of the beautiful rainbow colored buildings and immediately knew I had to go! I had originally thought that it was only going to be one or two streets that had the colorful buildings but it was actually the entire town. I don’t think a single building wasn’t painted in a vibrant color. I was so intrigued I honestly couldn’t stop myself from taking pictures after each turn we made. The only downside to our trip was that I wish I had more time to explore this beautiful little island!
First day in Venice
Going to Venice/ going to Italy, in general, has always been a dream of mine. With its whimsical gondolas and picturesque canals, how could you not want to explore this magical place? My list goes on and on for reasons why I wanted to visit Venice. We arrived in Venice at around 11am eager to explore the city of bridges and go island hopping. We started the day by wandering the streets to find a place to grab breakfast. Eventually, we found this cute little shop where I got some fresh juice. I was trying to be healthy, preparing myself for all the carbs and gelato I was about to eat. At the restaurant, we had the same problem as we did in Spain with the language barrier but thank goodness for google translate! Also, most of the places on the islands only take cash so make sure you have euros in hand before visiting because ATMs are hard to find. They’re mainly in the more touristy area by the Rialto Bridge, which is where we went next! Walking out along the grand canal was absolutely breathtaking, I was so excited I think my mouth actually dropped as soon as we walked through that archway. There’s absolutely nothing compared to seeing gondolas wade through the water against a backdrop of stunning architecture. After, the Rialto Bridge we quickly headed to Piazzale Roma to meet our guide for our boat tour of Murano, Burano, Torcello. After the tour and fun island hopping, we decided to grab some dinner and dessert which of course was pasta and gelato. To finish off this perfect day we headed to St. Marks Basilica and watched the sunset on the grand canal.
Italian Market in London? Say no more!
One final blog post before my trip to Italy because last night me and the four other people I’m going to Italy with got too excited about Italian food that we had to go to an Italian market the night before our flight. Okay, we didn’t really but we just wanted to go out for a fun night and my friend has been raving about this place and asked us to go here (and I’m super glad we did!). The market was called Mercato Metropolitano which has an atmosphere perfect for a fun but relaxed night. Hidden in south London, the entrance to the market is a small wooden gate off Newington Causeway street so you have to be looking for it. One of my favorite things about this market was that it has a great indoor-outdoor setting, where most of the vendors are indoors but you can choose whether you want to sit inside or outside. What makes the indoor-outdoor setting so great is that the inside is technically just a glass roof so even when you’re inside your still sorta outside. Despite the fact that it was 40°F when we went, we were still warm because it is well heated with heat lamps and calming brick fireplaces. I also loved how the yellow lighting created a very classy vibe even in a market-style setting. So if your looking for a great market in London but don’t want to deal with tourists this is the place to go! It is also great because it is open at night where most of the other markets in London close around 5-6pm. I would say this place tops Camden if it weren’t that this market was a bit pricey.
Another Day Another Brunch
Another day, another blog post of me eating brunch at some random cafe. I think at this point my blog has started to become more of a food blog than a study abroad one. But you know everyone’s gotta eat so I might as well make the most of my meals by eating them at super cute cafes right? Today’s brunch was the usual eggs benedict and to change it up berry ricotta pancakes from Alma Cafe (Lexi and I decided to get both and share). We originally went to this place because they were supposed to have acai bowls but they no longer serve them, it was okay though because you can never go wrong with some eggs. This week I’ve been trying to get my work done because I’ll be traveling for the rest of the month! But still, been trying to have some fun. I went to the mall yesterday win Fran (which was my first time since I got here) and ended up getting this really cute denim jacket that I’m obsessed with. I only brought a winter coat and my north face so this will definitely come in handy for the little bit warmer weather in Italy (in less than 2 days)! So stay tuned for some fun travel posts!
Portobello Road Market
One of my absolute favorite things about London is the street markets! I’ve been to most of the main ones, Greenwich Market, Camden Market, and Borough Market, but before today I still had yet to check Portobello Road Market off my list. Today wasn’t my first time going to Notting Hill but when we first went it was a Wednesday and we didn’t realize that that the market is only on Saturdays. So after about a month later we finally found a Saturday that it wasn’t raining and took a trip back. The market really is no joke the entire street, it felt like it went on forever! I think we spent almost three hours just walking up and down the streets checking out all the cool vintage clothing, antiques, listening to street music, and of course the food! Also, I was pretending I was someplace tropical with my coconut. I absolutely loved Portobello but I think Camden still got it topped.
Richmond Park in the Spring
I’m loving that Spring has finally arrived in London and we’re beginning to have some warm sunny days. Which means I can finally go outside for walks! Today I took a walk around Richmond park which is this huge park just down the road from my school, full of wide open fields, bike paths, and tons of deer. And as a girl living in upstate New York, I see plenty of deer so I mean TONS. Since today was extra warm and sunny there were a lot of people out walking their dogs or biking the trails. I even saw one girl riding her horse through the fields which really makes me miss horseback riding. I can’t believe it will be 6 months of me going without riding. The trail also happened to have a small cafe along it where tons of children were eating ice cream. Which I absolutely loved seeing because it reminded me of when I would go biking with my family and how we would stop for ice cream as a reward after the long bike ride. Also, today marks one week until Italy!