- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.TPW7o39F.dpuf Lishy Lishy: April 2013

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


I compiled some of my favorite panoramas from my study abroad experience-
From top: Lugano, Paris, Wimbledon, Barcelona, Siena, Corniglia, Manarola

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Florence - The Grand Finale

Since Florence is so close to Cinque Terre, my dad and I decided to spend a day there.  I definitely did not mind returning to the Italian city of leather goods.  The trip was bittersweet, however, as it was my last time traveling until I fly back to the states.  I will certainly miss Italy.  

I was still in awe of the Duomo the second time around.  I did not not get a chanceto go to the top of the bell tower during my last visit, so I was able to convince my dad that the views would be worth the climb.

I loved seeing the dome from above.

The view from the top was absolutely stunning.

A huge local food market featuring vendors from all over Tuscany was in town for the weekend.  We went stand to stand sampling meats, cheeses, chocolates, and baked goods.  Our favorite find was this homemade  biscotti.  Not only did it taste incredible, but it also had the texture and consistency of a brownie.  

Red pepper and roasted tomato bruschetta.

Since it was the weekend, a huge local vintage market was set up near Pitti Palace.  I snatched up these vintage art deco studs for only five euros.

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre, which translates to "five lands," describes a strip of coastline in Northern Italy in which five fishing villages are carved into cliffs.  The area is considered a national park, and many hiking paths connect the five towns.  I was thrilled at the opportunity to hike and explore the region with my dad.

We stayed at Hotel Colonnina in Monetrosso, the town farthest north. Our hotel was beautiful and had a lovely rooftop terrace.

Even though the hiking trail was closed due to less than ideal conditions, our concierge assured us that the trail was safe enough to hike.  We didn't expect the journey to be so strenuous, but the scenic ocean views more than made up for the effort.

I was amazed to see the village of Vernazza from above.

Cinque Terre is known for fresh foccocia bread and perfect pesto.  I tried trofie pasta with pesto and was completely blown away by the flavor.

We started our second day in Riomaggiore, the town farthest south.  I loved hiking up to see the entire town from a distance.

A bright square was filled with young locals playing soccer.

Riomaggiore's dock area was covered with colorful boats.

The next town we visited was Manarola.  The view of the village from a path along the cliff side was incredible.  I can not stop staring at this picture, and the scenery was even more beautiful in person. 

We had the most amazing lunch at il Porticciolo, a small family-owned restaurant near the water.  The food was spectacular. I had grilled bruschetta with pesto and tomatoes and mussels, and my dad enjoyed grilled swordfish.  I am convinced it was the best meal of my entire study abroad trip.

Corniglia, north of Manarola, was the smallest village, and was perched the highest on a cliff.  

The ultimate Cinque Terre treat - foccocia with pesto

Ending the day in Monterosso.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Athens, Greece

After four relaxing days in Mykonos, we took the ferry to Pireaus, the port of Athens.  Our hotel was near the port, so we simply took a cab into the city to see the major sites.

Our hotel in Pireaus was much safer, cleaner, and cheaper, than other options in Athens.  We were right on the harbor and there were many shops and restaurants nearby.

I was blown away by the Acropolis. I saw some spectacular ruins in Rome, but those didn't have an incredible view.

The Parthenon
Theater of Dionysus

The Plaka neighborhood in Athens was a great area to explore.

I couldn't go to Greece without ordering an authentic gyro.  Quick Pita in the Plaka was a gem, with excellent options that were all around 2 euros.

For our last meal in Pireaus we went to a local hotspot, The Four Brothers. Ordering moussaka, calamari, and dolmades to share was the perfect way to end our trip.  The owners even threw in my all-time favorite Greek dessert, halva

Mykonos, Greece

The beginning of April is most definitely the low season for tourism, especially in Greece.  The low season has some downfalls, such as fewer ferry routes (resulting in our Santorini trip falling through), and fewer shops and restaurants being open, but also some serious perks.  We stayed in Mykonos for four nights and it was quaint and quiet.  I was in awe of the white buildings and overall beauty of the island.  We made sure to capitalize on the fact that we practically had the entire island to ourselves, and we spent a lot of time getting to know the culture through the locals.  

We split time between two hotels in Mykonos. The first, Ledra Apartments, was only a five minute walk to the center of town, and was a perfect place to start our trip. 

Our second two nights were spent at The A Hotel, located a little farther away from town.  I was so incredibly impressed by the pool, hot tub, and breakfast area.  The staff shuttled us into town whenever we needed, and the breakfast spread was incredible.  On our last night, we hung out in the hot tub, hot chocolate in hand. 

I especially loved the A Hotel's colorful chandeliers.

Our favorite hang out spot was the cozy Suisse Cafe, where the owner, George, made excellent crepes and told us all about the history of the island.  

On the warmest day, we took a cab to Paradise Beach.  

Little Venice, the row of shops and restaurants that hangs over the ocean, was my favorite part of the island.

One of my favorite meals was Moussaka at Katerina's, located right on Little Venice.  Our table was on a balcony over the ocean with a perfect view of the island's famous windmills.

The Windmills, the most iconic aspect of the island

Since I am part Greek, I loved being able to recognize all of the food and desserts.  I was surprised to learn that dolmades, or grape leaves, were very different than the ones my yiayia makes. They were served cold, stuffed with only rice, and with a side of plain yogurt.  

The area along the water was lined with restaurants and looked beautiful at sunset. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Lugano Loving

Study abroad involves a lot of trip planning in a little time.  Unfortunately, sometimes the details slip through the cracks.  I am referencing this past weekend where a small little detail like a train reservation, prevented us from traveling to the Amalfi Coast of Italy.  Lesson learned, Easter weekend is unsurprisingly a top travel holiday in Europe too.  Left with no other plan, we ended up having a fabulously relaxing and beautiful weekend appreciating our home base of Lugano, Switzerland.

The beautiful weather on Easter Sunday prompted a spontaneous paddle boat adventure on Lake Lugano.

 I loved seeing new views of the charming lake town that I have called home for the past three months.

It's still amazing to wake up every morning and see the Swiss Alps in the distance.

An authentic Italian Easter dinner was an obvious choice, so we headed to the Spaghetti Store to dine near the lake.