Tag Archives: gelato

When In Rome

Standard

Bongiorno (spelling?) my little babinos! So I’m in love with Rome. I mean, if I’m being honest, I fell in love with all of the places I have visited this semester. It’s sad though, because Rome was my last big weekend adventure before I go back to the states :((((^2. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pleased to be going home to see those I miss, but that’s about it. I love Grenoble and I love Europe and the lifestyle they live over here. I’m coming back, in the very near future though, so I won’t try to shed too many tears when the time arrives.

Enough about the downer stuff though, let me tell you about ROMA ROMA ROMA!!

Thursday, November 29th: I was up bright and early in order to get to the Grenoble station at 7h45, because Hannah, Emily, Nina and I had to take the 8h05 bus from Grenoble to Lyon in order to make our flight. The bus ride was quick and painless, and we had no issues (thank heavens!!) so we were on the plane by 11h30 heading to Rome. We landed around 1h, and we took yet another bus from the Rome airport to the center of the city, where Becca was waiting for us at the stop (Nina and I went to Amsterdam with Becca and Lea, the girls whose apartment we were to stay at in Rome).

After taking yet another bus, we finally made it to Lea and Becca’s apartment, dropped off our things, and went to EAT IN ROME. We were beyond excited. First of all, I am very Italian, so Italian cuisine sparks a certain nostalgia deep within me. Secondly, we were in mo-freaking Rome — how could the food not be delicious beyond compare? So of course we had pizza. Mine had buttery potatoes and sausage on it… MMMMM. It was amazing and cheap and I practically licked my plate clean. Yes, I love Italian food. GAH!

Naturally, we needed gelato to finish off the meal. I had DARK CHOCOLATE and hazelnut gelato and I was close to drooling. First pizza, now Italian gelato. That’s the real deal, folks.

Post-gorging, we went back to the apartment to meet up with Lea, since she was now out of class. Becca soon left to go get ready for her art exhibition that her art program was putting on, since its the end of the semester for them (whaaaat). The rest of us just hung out at the apartment for a little to hang and gain energy/sip on some Italian wine, then we made the trip to the center of the city to go and see Becca’s work. It was such a cool expo!! So many beautiful photographs, paintings, sculptures and drawings! I get so envious going to these kinds of events because I have no visual artistic talent, but at the same time I love admiring art, especially in Rome, especially by students. Wine all around.

… Also, there was free, unlimited wine. If you’re wondering, yes we did all get drunk. I think we all had at least 5 glasses, and I know for sure that I was feeling it. The art just kept getting progressively cooler as the night wore on. 😉

We left the expo around 20h30/21 and trekked back to the apartment to munch and unwind after a day of traveling. It turns out, Becca is a phenomenal chef, and treated us to Bruschetta and GNOCCHI’S with pesto and olive oil. In case you weren’t aware, Gnocchi is my favorite pasta on the planet, and it is one of my favorite meals to devour. Now add in the fact that I was drunk, and you’ve got one very happy Azure. 😀 we didn’t do too much else that night; in fact, we were in bed by about 23h – haha, what animals we are. End of our first day in Rome; a very good day at that.

Friday, November 30th: We woke up a bit later than anticipated (~10h30), but that meant we were extremely well rested and ready to fully seize the day – carpe diem, baby. We were ready to leave the house pretty soon after waking up, and we made a quick pit stop at a Il Siciliano, this breakfast place right near the apartment. I didn’t get anything the first day because right when I woke up I went in on a ball of mozzarella and a tomato… When in Rome!

After breakfast, we (minus Becca) took the bus into town and went to the Capital Building and then The Colosseum!!!! Okay, I have an obsession with Roman anything, and the Colosseum is like the apex of crazy Roman beauty, so I was 110% in my element. Don’t miss out on these pictures I’m about to post after this, they’re incredible. Literally everywhere you turn is like looking into the past. It was so surreal.

Capital BuildingBehold It's PowerSo Old!

After the Colosseum, we went to the Trevi Fountain.. The famous fountain where you’re supposed to throw three coins in and make a wish. Of course we did exactly that, then went to indulge on pizza and gelato once again. This time I opted for the classic margarita pizza and then mixed berry and dark chocolate gelato. ‘Twas an incredible, Italian lunch. Oh, fun fact about the fountain: a few weeks ago or so they collected the coins thrown in the fountain for the year, and collected over 500,000 euros!! That’s a crazy amount of money, especially in coins.

Trevi Fountain

Having filled our bellies and made secret wishes, we headed to the Pantheon to see some more breathtaking Roman architecture. It was beautiful, and I am still constantly in awe that the Romans could built all of this, especially without machines or any modern day technology. They make us look like a bunch of pussies.

WahWah

Rome was getting ready for Christmas like the rest of the world, so we were lucky enough to see how beautifully lit up some of the streets were on our way to see the Spanish Steps. Hannah really wanted to see this piece of history, but I didn’t really know anything about them.

Spanish Steps

At this point, the sun was starting to set, so we all put some pep in our step and hustled up a bunch of steps to get an astonishing view of all of Rome right as the sun was going down. We ended up hanging around there for a bit and soaking in the pure magic of Rome; it really is such a flawless city.

View Of The Beautiful RomaThe Crowd

When we finally had our eye-fill, we headed back in the direction of Lea and Becca’s apartment, stopping briefly at the grocery store to purchase the essential items for the night. After arriving at the apartment, we were all pretty exhausted from a full day of walking and site seeing, so we all just kind of lamped and showered before dinner. Becca and Lea once again got gold stars for cooking a delicious Italian meal: salad with Parmesan, peppers, olives and tomatoes (& balsamic vinegar for dressing of course), garlic bread and rigatoni smothered in melted cheese. It most definitely hit the spot, and we washed it all down with Italian wine, which made it that much better. Nomnomnom.

Once dinner was finished, it was time to shift into night mode. Hannah and I per usual split a bottle of Jack, mixing it with Coke at the apartment for Pregaming. Umm… All of us got messed up, and collectively we are able to piece together most of the night. Mostly because we met up with Emily’s friend, Kelsey, and her sister Amelia we know what we all did, because they were mostly sober. Apparently I was kicking bottles, and kicked a stool down in a pizza place… I also skipped down the road with pizza in my hand, holding it by the crust, so of course the cheese and toppings flew everywhere. Hannah decided she was in love with a bartender, Nina chased a dog down the road, and Emily went HAM in a canoli (of course there was a 24 hour bakery in Rome). Basically, we were 50 shades of messed up, but in the best way. We all had fun, and that’s what is important, yay Roma! The best part is that we were back at the apartment by 1h30… So we didn’t even have that late of a night. Rage on.

Saturday, DECEMBER 1st: …. Um, it’s already DECEMBER?!? Wasn’t it just October like, yesterday? Nooooo. Anyway, we woke up about the same time as Friday (10h30), so we were all well rested and surprisingly I wasn’t even hungover. Holler, though I can’t say the same for Hannah.

Brekkie

We started the day off right with some freshly squeezed Orange Juice and Cappuccino at the same breakfast place, then Hannah, Emily and I went to St. Peters Basilica and hung around in the square for a little to soak in the sites while waiting for Kelsey.

Bascilia Square Ureal Skies

We also walked through an Italian farmers market, and I was happy as a clown eating free samples of cheese and bread soaked in homemade olive oil… Yum. Emily and I also bought Maroon Glaces, which are caramelized chestnuts; I’m not sure I was that big of a fan, though.

Olives For Days

At 14h30 we met up with Kelsey, then the four of us went to The Vatican— eeeee!

Vatican Walls

We spent a few hours roaming through the expansive museum and ogling all the impressive artwork, as well as admiring the Sistine Chapel. So amazing I can’t even put words to it. There were also a few Salvador Dali pieces, so I was tickled pink at that.

Dali, My Love

Eventually, we had enough of the museum and realized we were starving, so we went to a restaurant outside the Basilica to munch. I went with chicken Parmesan, and was not disappointed.

Yes.

By the time we finished eating, Lea, Becca, Nina and some other girl found us… Face deep in gelato. Haha. Once everyone was done gorging, we went to a Christmas market/carnival somewhere in the center of the city to enjoy the sites, sounds, smells, etc. It wasn’t anything in comparison to Strasbourg, but there was this dude who could break-dance like a boss.

This day was extra special because it happened to be be Lea’s 21st birthday! After the carnival, we went to her favorite restaurant for a delicious dinner. We had free Bruschetta in addition to our dinner, which was cool. A bottle of red and white were also split between the nine of us, and Hannah and I shared an order of Gnocchi since we were still pretty full from our late lunch. It was a good time with good food and good people.

The Danks

After dinner, the group of us meandered back to the apartment to get ready to pre-game and such. We ended up not leaving the apartment because the weather was not agreeing with us. Actually, this was the first spurt of bad weather so I wasn’t that upset. The original forecast for the weekend in Rome was all rain and yuckiness, but we ended up having beautiful days all Friday and Saturday; so a little rain on Saturday night was nothing to complain about. It was a really fun night though, but that information is going to be withheld… When in Rome. We went to bed around 2, if my memory serves me correctly.

Sunday, December 2nd: Our stay in Rome was over much too quickly. We all woke up at 10h, packed our bags, and were out the door by 10h30 in order to have a final breakfast at IL SICIALANO before a day of travel. Post-breakfast, we waited for what seemed like forever at the bus step in order to take the bus back into the city center. We were nervous for a little because the bus came really late, and we didn’t think we were going to catch the 11h55 bus to the airport, but lady luck was smiling on us! Of course though, when we checked in we were informed that our plane was going to be 1.5 hours late… Seriously, screw you easyJet!!

On the bright side, I had a tasty lunch of pizza with artichokes, sliced ham, mozzarella, olives and mushrooms and then these fried rice ball things — I desperately need to start running more often, I’ve been slacking. Oh, I also had a cannoli for dessert, yuuuup. I heart Italian cuisine.

Love These Puppies

I Just Wanna Liiiive

Standard

Hullo, friends. I’m a bit behind on my blogging grind (per usual), but I mean… you can’t blame me. When in France. Anyway, here’s an update up until Friday night. I’ll get caught up eventually, I promise. To make up for it, I’ve got a plethora of pictures for y’all to look at.

Wednesday, October 3rd: After class, Nina and I went to our café for a bit (peep the most amazing coffee/cookie hybrids),

and eventually Mike and Emily met up with us, so we headed out to find some good grub for lunch – yay for not having to eat on campus! We walked by a sign that said falafel, so of course that’s where we had to go for lunch. It was a cute place called Neroli Hammam, and the proprietor was a really nice guy who took the time to explain what all the different dishes were – and in slow French so we could actually understand everything, huzzahhh. It may be the apocalypse, guys, because I forced myself to get something other than falafel. I figured no time like the present to step out of my comfort zone. The winner was something called Chawarma, which was essentially a beef wrap with veggies and yummy seasonings/sauces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t say I regretted the decision. Of course, being a bunch of sweet/ice cream addicts, we had to stop at Punto Gusto for the dank-a-lank gelato. We made the awesome discovery that you can get two flavors in a small (which isn’t really even that small by French standards), so today’s victims were vanilla bean and nutella, nomnomnom.

After we were finished eating ourselves into a food coma, we parted ways to get ready for the API Aperitif, which was that night. I walked there with Emily and Nina, and we got to meet all of our fellow peeps host families, plus eat some saussison/fromage/bonbons. Not too shabby. I had every intention of going to a free concert that night, but I got distracted and too sleepy to do anything of merit, thus concluding my “hump day”.

Some nice graffiti on the walk

Thursday, October 4th: KEBAB THURSDAY/WEEKEND! Woooo. I had my one class from 10h40-12h30 (aaaand I actually went for a short run in the morning beforehand, gold star for me) and then headed to Centre Ville for the weekly kebab feast. I want to try as many different kebabs as possible while I’m here, so I tried Nabab Kebabs this week; however, I must say it was inferior to Batman – except the one bonus was that the bread was cheesy na’an bread, quoiii. During lunch I attempted to Skype with Aly… attempted being the operative word. Epic fail.

I was still in my running clothes, so I decided to be an extra-motivated human and go on another run. I was only planning for ~45 minutes, but of course I managed to get lost and it turned into 1h15. Needless to say my legs were NOT happy by the end, and taking a shower was practically a religious experience. Afterwards I just relaxed, read some Game Of Thrones, ate dinner with the host mom and then before I knew it… the night arrived.

Of course, we started off in the ever-famous Victor Hugo, where wine and beer was consumed (I can’t remember who I was with, but I know there was Karen, Emily, Nina, Max, Ian, Carl, Preston and Lars, a solid grouping). We had every intention of going to Vertigo, which is a bar that was having their own Oktoberfest, but from what I remember there was a really long line, and we were not sober enough for patience, so we went to a different bar. Honestly, I don’t remember the name of it, but I remember that Ian, Lars and Carl all ordered these freaking gigantic beer mugs and that Ian was souped on having it (we were under the impression that he bought the mug), but due to shit luck he was forced to give it back. Carl and Lars on the other hand, boosted down the street and got to keep theirs – except Carl broke his on the walk home. Fail. I also remember that I got a glowstick and was pretty freaking excited about it.

After the beer mug debacle, we headed to La Vieux Manoir, which is the disco/bar/club/what-have-you that we often find ourselves at (it’s open until 7am, Grenoble goes hard). I don’t exactly know how long we were there for, but around 2am I couldn’t find the majority of my friends – turns out they were dancing it up, but cell phones don’t work inside so my calls were futile – so Max and I just ended up walking home, where I promptly fell asleep. Solid.

Friday, October 5th: I successfully slept in a little bit (like, 10h), and a little before 12h Nina and I met up to go get ourselves some burritos at Burger & Cie, which is that awesome place I’ve been to before with the stamp card, chyeah. I went with the boeuf this time and was once again not let down. Emily met us there, and after lunch we took the tram to the bus stop to go to Les Caves de la Grande Chartreuse a Voiron. Basically, in Voiron (which is about an hour or so away from Grenoble up in the mountains), there is a distillery for this alcohol called Chartreuse.

The Chartreuse of the World

The two main strains are green and yellow, and in all honesty I think it tastes terrible, but the rest of the world seems to disagree with me. Anyway, these monks make it, and it’s some crazy big secret involving 130 different herbs, and we got to learn all about it, plus go down into the caves where the Chartreuse is stored in gigantic wooden barrel things.

I took more pictures, so feel free to peep them once I put up the gallery. The tour started off with a movie, then we saw the distillery, then another movie (this time in 3D), followed by a tour of the “caves”, and it ended with a tasting of your choice of Chartreuse. I opted for the yellow one, since I’ve tried the green before, and it was disgusting. I took one sip and claimed defeat. One of my friends had a raspberry liquor though and it was delicious, so of course I bought myself a bottle in the gift shop – along with a bottle of the green “nectar” for my parental units.

Gift Shop Goodies

Once the tour was complete, we piled back onto the bus (us cool kids sat in the back and played with a cootie catcher that was pretty much a truth or dare game, yeahh…) and headed even further up into the mountains. The drive was breathtaking (and extremely windy, my stomach had moments of near rebellion), and our destination was some museum and the monastery where the monks who make the Chartreuse habitent. The museum was a church and pretty sub-par (sorry I’m not sorry), so we kind of boosted through it in order to get outside into the beautiful sunshine. We walked by a gigantic field of cows, and after a short hike got to the monastery. I can’t say I would enjoy the life of a monk, but seriously, if I was forced into living in one place for the remainder of my life, this would not be a terrible location – it was amazing.

To my despair I didn’t see a monk, but some other kids in my group got to talk to one, so at least we know they’re not a myth. Mike, Max, Ryan and I came across this creepy-ass tunnel on the way back from the monastery; seriously, this thing was petrifying. Stephen King would have loved it.

Stephen King’s Pad

The picture doesn’t quite do it justice, so you just gotta take my word for it. On the walk back to the bus, the four of us came to the conclusion that the excursion as a whole would make a pretty solid horror movie. I’ll spare you the details, though.

Let’s see… eventually we got back onto the bus and had a hilarious drive back where we blasted outrageous throwback music and probably scarred the newbies for eternity. Whatevski. Once back in Grenoble, Nina, Richard, Emily and I had some Mezzo di Pasta (I went with 4 fromage tortellini with a Indian Curry sauce. Super awesome) and then I went home to eat some more – fat girl problems – with my host mom and her daughter and friend who were in town. Thank goodness I stuffed face on pasta before because dinner was a “picnic”, aka lots of wine and pita bread with random things to put on the pita.

After three cups of rose I called it quits and got headed out for the night. Of course, it began in Victor Hugo (you’d think I live here or something), where I met up with Max, Preston, Richard, Heather, Evelyn, Roman and Roman’s friend whose name I don’t remember. After a little under an hour, we made our way to London Pub because Preston’s friend Brandon was there, so he had plans to meet up with him and we tagged along.

This kid is hilarious, and his Swedish and Korean friends were pretty cool as well. The Swedish boy (I should probably try and learn his name) bought a gigantic dispenser of beer, and I was handed a cup and told to help myself – yuup. We all just danced around and had a good time until it got late and we needed a change of scenery. Somehow we lost Heather, Evelyn, Roman and friend, so it ended up being me, Preston, Max and Brandon. Brandon’s host family was out of town, so of course his pad became our destination. Brandon was a good (and drunk) host, and as soon as we got there he set out wine, Chartreuse and some cups, along with a hookah. I haven’t smoked a hookah in a long time, and since I don’t smoke cigs like the rest of the world (poo on you if you do), my head was buzzing before long; but in the fun kind of way, especially after I found out they had a pet bunny (!!!!!). Needless to say, I was beyond stoked about having an animal to cuddle, so the bunny — his name was Speedy, I think — and I had a nice bonding session. Mostly I think he was just using me for his warmth, but I’m okay with it. Once the hookah was done I had reached my limit of being awake, so Preston, Max and I left and I was pretty excited to crawl into bed.

 

… Well, I have more stuff written, but I’m currently at MacDo stealing their wifi and it’s being slow as a slug with uploading pictures, so I’m just going to wait until I get to my coffeeshop later today for the rest. In the meantime, this can be your petit morceau. A tout a l’heure.