A Journey's Essence

Adventures Abroad

A Little New York: Part 2

If you’re from the tri-state area, then most likely you’ve heard of Smorgasburg. If not, I’ll enlighten you: It’s a food festival open in various New York locations on weekends during the summer. Vendors of all different kinds of delicious food. I took the liberty to pay a visit a few days ago to the Williamsburg location.

If you have the chance to come around the area, please do yourself a favor and try the Ramen burger. No regrets.

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The famous ramen burger

The famous ramen burger

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Next to the festival area, there is a little “beach” area where people sit, relax, eat, and take pictures of this view right here. As much as I loved Europe, I realize sometimes I don’t appreciate the places around me.

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A Little New York: Part 1

I’ll be honest with everyone: ever since my return from the great adventures of Europe, I have not put an effort in going out, besides attending my Italian classes and going to the gym. Even with the insatiable spirit to explore that I returned home with, I have not been able to engage in exploring (New York). Not to mention, I do not live there, so I have to make a bit of a commute. However, I’ve managed to brave out that commute a few times to meet up with friends, and I have thankfully done a little exploring. It was my first time in Lower East Side: I had lunch at a small Puerto Rican “Mom&Pop” restaurant (It’s called Casa Adela if anyone is curious, Rate: ****) and then did some exploring.

I found a great little eco-friendly spot close to the restaurant. It was an open garden, and it had benches, tables, and chairs for the comfort of the public. It was hand-decorated from recycled items and it had great artwork too! I think it’s a great spot to sit, relax, and perhaps take a good read with you. I feel it is best enjoyed in weather that is under 80 degrees F (to avoid those pesky mosquitos!)

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I love this artwork

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After spending some time here, my friend and I went on a search for a Starbucks to cool off from the heat, but I found a much better alternative. If you’re from New York, you may have heard about a cafe called The Bean. I’m pretty sure every item on the menu was vegan, and it all sounded so delicious, I had a hard time choosing. The ambient was pleasant, and the smoothies were delicious. It is a little pricey, but I think it is worthy of a visit every once in a while.

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That little Brown figure in indeed a chicken

That little Brown figure in indeed a chicken

Step up New York

I wandered through the streets of Paris with my friends slowly making my way to the metro when I stopped to take a good look at the spot which I was about to enter. It was then that I saw this.

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I don’t know about everyone else, but I have never seen such an art on a mode of transportation. Anytime I had to use the metro, there was some sort of unique design to every stop. This one here is my favorite; it looks like a crown, and it’s so colorful. Near my cousin’s home where I stayed there was a stop that looked like this:

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Had to google this one. I take no credit for this photo.

I always felt like I was entering a haunted house at that stop. I love the Paris metro, and the 7 euro day pass that I used on it (2 zones, but that covers a great deal of the city).

I also cannot refrain from appreciating that metro signs that tell me when the next train is arriving (Paris, Rome, and other places).

Waiting for the Rome Metro

Waiting for the Rome Metro

I have to give it some credit because most of the time, it was accurate, not to mention some signs would also list the time, weather, and if any lines were delayed.

With this I honestly have to say that New York has to step up its game. As convenient as the MTA is, no unlimited day passes, uncleanliness (mild but existing), and not knowing when the next train arrives is somewhat of a lack of progression in my opinion. I guess it makes up for that with buskers worth listening to and by running 24/7..

Buttes at attention

Pursuit of Life

rock2-2896 Monument Valley, AZ

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Highlights of Seoul

Pursuit of Life

seoul1 (1 of 1)     seoul2 (1 of 1)

seoul4 (1 of 1)     seoul8 (1 of 1)

seoul9 (1 of 1)     seoul10 (1 of 1)

seoul5 (1 of 1)     seoul3 (1 of 1)

korea (1 of 1)     korea1-2-33915

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10 Italian Hilltop Towns You Must See to Believe

Travel Tales of Life

A trip to Italy is not just about the amazing wine. Not that wine isn’t a fabulous reason for visiting the Italian towns of Tuscany and neighboring Umbria but there is far more to see. Choosing the best hilltop towns when planning a vacation to Italy can be a daunting task.

Last fall we cycled through this magical setting. Below you will find our top 10 list of Italian towns that we would love to call home for a month, or possibly forever. Want to join us?

10 Unbelievable Italian Hilltop Towns

1) Civita di Bagnoregio

Straight out of a fairy tale book, Civita sits on it’s volcanic tuft of rock where the Etruscans founded the town more than 2500 years ago. Known as the dying village as earthquakes and erosion caused the edges to give way, the population declined to just 6 residents. Recently a resurgence of tourism is bringing Civita back to life. It is also…

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Il mio cuore rimane in Italia..

The last few days were a stressful time (thanks finals). When I wasn’t studying or packing, I was out exploring the last I could. I could not go without spending those last nights with my friends (and enjoying the benefits of open container laws and legality in Italia). I couldn’t go without seeing Piazza della Repubblica. I just couldn’t go without taking it all in one last time. Also, I must confess; I did have a chance at an Italian fling, and I did take it. Going out with an Italian man is surely an interesting experience. As much as we wished to continue, we both knew that it was unrealistic to push our little fling further. We went out a few times very late during my stay in Italy, yet still, he grew on me a little. But, like all my lovely heart matters, this one too shall pass.

All in all, I am so happy and grateful that I had the opportunity to live in such a beautiful country filled with so much culture, and of course, to visit all the amazing cities that I did in Europe (and out of Europe ;]). I’ll miss my morning cappuccinos (there is nothing like an Italian cappuccino), the aperitivo, the €1 tacos at Abbeys (yes, that’s not Italian, but it is one of kind), taking my walks around the town…

Seeing these lovelies everywhere…

Kitties at the Sanctuary

Kitties at the Sanctuary

Being able to capture great photos literally at any corner..

Streets of Rome

Streets of Rome

The “Esperanza” (Hope), which is hands down the greatest drink I have ever tasted…

"Esperanza"

“Esperanza”

And these awesome human beings that my school did right in hiring…

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Arrivederci Europa, Ci vediamo presto Italia. I will return soon, this I know it.

Last few days in Rome..

Hey Followers! So this post might become a bit emotional for me. My time in Europe has come to an end, and here I will give a little taste of what my last days in Rome were like. Since I have recuperated from my accident, I began taking small walks around my area. I wrote in my travel journal one day while relaxing in Piazza del Popolo. I discovered the ruins in Largo di Torre Argentina (said to be where Julius Caesar was murdered) on one of my taxi rides back from physical therapy: today it is home to a colony of gatti (cats). I went and visited because I’m a huge cat lover (It’s a beautiful place honestly). Considering I had visited the Piazze della Repubblica in Florence and Milan, I could not go on without seeing the one in Rome. Personally, I think it’s the most beautiful..

Revisiting Piazza Del Popolo

Revisiting Piazza Del Popolo

Ruins in Torre Argentina

Ruins in Torre Argentina

Piazza Della Repubblica in Rome

Piazza Della Repubblica in Rome

Everyone Loves Food Part Two!

As I continued my journey in Europe, I kept trying all that was strange to me. While in Paris, I took a day to treat myself to all the typical French food that one thinks of when one hears of French cuisine: Escargot, Fois Gras, and Soupe à l’oignon. Let it be known that snail texture creeps me out (I have issues with food texture: a funky texture is usually enough for me to not like a certain food, even if it has good taste), and I highly dislike onions. However, I must say– everything I ate was absolutely delicious!

Escargot

Escargot

Fois Gras

Fois Gras

Soupe à l'oignon (Onion Soup)

Soupe à l’oignon (Onion Soup)

Had Udon for the first time in Paris! Not French, but still new!

Had Udon for the first time in Paris! Not French, but still new!

Greece threw in some surprises for me too! Tried authentic gyros, and a lasagna-like dish called Boushaka, made with potatoes, eggplant, ground beef, cream, and goat cheese.

Boushaka

Boushaka

Athens

My last taste of Greece was my day in the capital, the beautiful city of Athens. I visited the Acropolis museum, as well as the actual acropolis, and I stopped by the arena of the first modern olympic games. Quite different from the west, but so beautiful..

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The Acropolis

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Inside the Acropolis Museum

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Athens

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Parthenon

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