jc travels


I had originally planned on making a day trip out to the Almafi Coast and the island of Capri on my last day here in Italy. I knew I had quite an ambitious itinerary coming in and was prepared for it–but I had a last minute change of heart and decided that if I were ever to visit the Almafi Coast, I’d want to give it more than a day. I’m sure I would be able to enjoy it so much more.

So I spent my last day in Italy in Rome. By this time, I’ve already explored everything that I wanted to see and do in Rome, really. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to have a more laid-back day with no real agenda.

I looked up some markets to go to and found one called Testaccio Market–it looked pretty interesting. When I was trying to pinpoint the location on Google maps, I saw a little landmark labeled “Eataly Roma”. Google maps has never been more helpful than at that moment right there.

It intrigued my interest so I googled it, and found out that’s it’s pretty much an IKEA for foodies. Now there was no way I could say no to coming here. All else can wait!

I felt like a such a geek walking up to the building because I don’t think anyone gets this excited to go to a supermarket. Eataly lived up to all of my expectations and then some. It really was an IKEA for foodies (and I’ll admit I’m a sucker for IKEA too).


It had everything food you could ever dream of, and in the finest quality. Pasta, bread, cheese, fresh produce, beer, wine, seafood, meat, culinary literature, kitchenware, jams and jellies, snacks, and more. 4 floors of pure food heaven.


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I don’t know what it is, but for some reason all the restaurants in Italy that I’ve been recommended or restaurants that I personally wanted to try seem to be closed when we go. They are either closed for the holidays, closed for the day, or closed for other unknown reasons. I cannot describe the amount of disappointment you feel when restaurant after restaurant is closed on you (especially after the long hunt for it with nothing more than a paper map). And the places that we do end up? They turn out to be disappointing as well.

1. La Cartoccio – supposed to serve some of the best fritti (fried finger foods) in Rome. Closed.

2. Gelateria Valentino – supposed to be one of the best gelaterias in all of Rome. Ranked #3 in the whole city. I was greatly disappointed with the flavors here. We got coffee, ferrero rocher, tiramisu, melon, banana, and passion fruit. Tasted like the ice cream you can buy in pints at the grocery store to be honest. Gelateria Santa Trinita in Florence still is the best place I’ve tried in all of Italy.


3. Les Affiches – supposedly one of the best places to get aperitivo (Italian tradition where you order an alcoholic beverage and eat from an all-you-can-eat Italian tapas buffet) in Italy. Closed.

4. We were wandering around the Piazza di Spagna area, and came across a cute little road (Via Delle Carrozze) lined with restaurants. Bad mistake. Should have known all these restaurants were tourist traps, and should have known that the food would have been nothing more than mediocre! I ordered the chef of the house’s daily special: tonnarelli al pesto di rucola romana con gamberetti e pinoli (pesto arugula, shrimp, and pine nuts). I found the pesto to be oversalted, the shrimp overcooked, and the pine nuts rather flavorless. We also had the Napoli Pizza–all you could really taste was the anchovies because the fishiness and saltiness of it was crazy overwhelming. I mean, I guess if you like anchovies, this is really anchovie-y for ya. (Also don’t choose terrace seating–you get a limited version of the menu and the prices for drinks hike up. Even though it’s the same restaurant!)


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These past two days in Rome have been two of the most exhausting days of this whole trip. Rome is such a huge city, and there is so much history within it that it seems like there are an endless amount of things to see. Trying to see everything in 3 days really takes a lot out of you! I am falling asleep as I am writing this, so forgive me if I sound a little bit incoherent in this post haha.

Here’s a recap of my experiences these past two days:

Campo de’ Fiori – Outdoor Market
Campo de’ Fiori is a square south of the Piazza Navona, where there is a farmer’s market every Monday-Saturday morning. It’s supposed to be a fish market as well, but when we visited, there weren’t any fish to my disappointment! I was looking to buy some of the fresh local catches to make dinner that night. However, I did come up on some fresh, homemade basil cream and pepper jelly. I’m excited to bring these home!


Tevere River (Tiber River)
Right by Campo de’ Fiori is the Tiber River. It’s pretty nice walking along side the river during the day. The area of the river by Campo de’ Fiori doesn’t even seem like a part of Rome–it’s a quiet area where the view of the river is framed by overhanging tree branches. You can cross the bridge to get over to the Trastevere rione (subdivision of Rome).


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Didn’t get back home from Venice until almost 7am, and also didn’t have time to sleep because our host’s mom was making us breakfast at 8am, and we had a train to catch at 10am.

Had our very last breakfast at our place in Florence (will miss all the homecooked meals!) before rushing over to Santa Maria Novella to catch our train.

Arrived in Rome a little past noon on Friday. It wasn’t that bad of a train ride, only about an hour and a half long with the high-speed train.


For the first time, our host let us move into their flat right when we arrived. Usually the check-in time is sometime in the late afternoon, so we have to lug our backpacks around the city until then. I was really appreciative because I was simply too tired to do anything just yet.

The flat is really cozy with a lot of vibrant, quirky decorations. Our host is really nice too–he sat us down in the living room, gave us a map, and went over everything Rome. He’s been living here for the past 22 years so he knows what’s up. He also recommended a couple of restaurants that serve authentic Roman cuisine and his favorite craft beer place. He likes beer so much that he brews his own, so I’m trusting him on this one!


Because Rome is such a big city, there was no time to waste. Rested for only a little before heading out into town. We live really close to the metro station though, so it makes traveling really easy. The train system here is similar to that of the S/U-bahn in Germany, so it took no time at all to figure it out. They have two lines running here, A and B–so it might actually be easier than the system in Germany.

First stop: Piazza Venezia, where two major streets intersect (Via dei Fori Imperiali and Via del Corso). Here, the main attraction is the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio. This building was built to honor Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy. We arrived just in time to catch the changing of the guards!


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After our late night scavenger hunt for a fresh Italian pastries, it was more on the difficult side waking up the next morning. We had to wake up early because we were going to make a day trip to Venezia (Venice).

I slept for most of the train ride there, until the very last 5 minutes as we were pulling into the Venezia Santa Lucia station. They built a railway over the water connecting Venezia Mestre (the part of Venice that is still on the mainland of Italy) to the island portion of Venezia. As we were pulling into the island, I fell speechless. The city stood so regally upon the water, and it looked like an oasis constructed in the middle of no where. There were jet skiers and sailers enjoying the ocean right along the outlines of the island, and the weather was beautiful.

When we got off the train, you look right out and you can see the Grand Canal. Venice is a city that is built entirely upon water, so the main mode of the transportation is by boat. They have “water buses” and “water taxis” which is pretty awesome. The city is relatively quiet, being that you’re away from all the loud noises of cars and mopeds of your usual city streets. In some areas it’s so quiet that you can hear the gondolas rowing along the river. Really serene.


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