A few weeks ago my sister and I were lucky enough to travel through Europe. We have both been before on various occasions but not ever just the two of us. We started in Vienna, Austria (you can read that here), then flew to Florence, Italy to start our trip with our parents. I love traveling because it always teaches me about other people. If you haven’t been to Europe yet I hope you make it there once in your life to taste the authentic food, people watch, and appreciate the preservation of so much history.
I’ll give you the highlights of the trip. I can’t get it all because we traveled to SO many cities it would take you and hour to read. First up we were in Florence. Not long after landing in Florence, I found my way to some pizza and wine. Our parents unfortunately couldn’t land because the wind was so strong and all the planes that land there are TEENY. They had to fly back to Rome and take a bus down so Kate and I were on our own for dinner and drinks. We found a cute restaurant (you legit can’t go wrong with any restaurant) after stopping for a glass of wine near the Duomo. Pasta a la bolognese with extra parm and grilled veggies to share + sparkling water always.
My favorite place we went for Gelato the whole time was Gelateria Santa Trinita. We went there after dinner and took a gander at the scenery over the water while eating a massive gelato. Did we really feel like eating that entire cone? Nope, my taste buds got tired like 3/4 of the way through. Did it make me feel like I was in Italy living my best life? Yes. Seriously could not have asked for a more perfect moment.
Thankfully our parents got in around 10 pm, gave us hugs, and sprinted for some food that I’m sure they really needed. We got up bright and early to hop on the train to Rimini, Italy to then drive to San Marino, a tiny little country that our Los Angeles neighbors live in for 3-4 months out of the year. They are from there and it was truly an experience to be able to live like the locals! Thank God someone could order in perfect Italian.
We did all the touristy things for a few hours and then were hangry and told Buddy and Marina that we needed food ASAP. The meal we ate after this photo was nothing short of amazing. We had the traditional 5 course Italian meal with a bread starter, then the pasta round (with the most amazing baked lasagna I’ve ever laid tastebuds on), then the meat and veggies round, then the dessert, then the after dessert alcohol, all while drinking wine and enjoying each others company. Here’s a photo of some of the bread starters and the baked lasagna that really looks like a pile of mush but I SWEAR was unbelievable. I can taste it now just writing about it.
I posted the pasta round on instagram. Here’s the meat and veggie round. I told you- A LOT of food. They don’t mess around.
We explored a little more and then hit the hay. Kate and I were already adjusted to Europe time but our parents were hitting the wall. The hotel there was LOUD. It’s a lively place and there was a dance performance going on outside our window so we didn’t get a ton of sleep. The next day was my other favorite day besides day 1 of Florence. We drove down to Rimini on a bus that takes you from the top of San Marino straight to the beach for 5 euro!
Let me tell you all the reasons this day was my favorite.
- No one gives a flying crap what you look like. You could be 95 years old with the saggiest leathery skin and it is the most beautiful thing. You could also be sporting quite a beer belly and a nice little baby speedo and again, no one gives a crap. There were no one pieces. Everyone sits in their skin and just embraces that and WOW, was that refreshing. I felt so empowered to continue on my RD journey that day to teach people how to love themselves.
- People eat a real 2 hour meals at the beach and they let their tummy stick out after they have eaten. No carrot sticks and hummus here. Here’s some of our glorious fish centered meal that was caught from 20 yards away.
We had several fish courses. 1 grilled, 1 fried, 1 cold plate, a GIANT bowl of pasta and clams, the most amazing focaccia bread I have EVER had that of course, was baked right that second and was piping hot +wine wine wine. We finished the meal with something I liked more than gelato and continued to have once a day for the rest of our time in Italy. This is coffee sorbetto with all the creamy goodness that it looks like it has.
3. The relaxation I experienced there was unlike anything I’ve ever had before (until we went to Santa Margherita). The water is so salty that you float without trying so mom, kate, and I spent hours just floating over the waves and just existing.
After that day we had fresh pizza wine in San Marino and a gelato to share. We headed to our neighbors house and enjoyed some traditional San Marino desserts and dessert wine. The next day we headed back to Florence on the train again!
HAD TO take dad to my gelato place and he loved it! My dad and I are the ice cream lovers in the fam. We spent 3 days in Florence as a family and took one full day of tours from there to Sienna and San Geminciano + a vineyard. In previous family vacations we did a lot of tours but we always ended up needing a vacation after the vacation so this time we kept it to one day and it was perfect.
San Geminciano was home to the CUTEST Italian grandma owned bakery with dozens of hand made cookies to offer. She yelled at me in Italian for not getting enough cookies so I got more, wasn’t mad about it. I tried a bite of probably 7 cookies and shared the rest with Kate and Dad as our morning snack. Can I get an amen for quick carbs?!
Next up was Sienna. Here was where I had the best ravioli of the trip outside with wine on a bustling street with the fam. We were there the day before their HUGE horse race so the town was getting ready and they were full of pride with their home district scarfs tied around their necks.
“Weissmuller Family! Assemble!”
Last stop that day was to the Chianti region where they make their famous red wine! We wine tasted and admired the first vineyard Kate and I had ever been to. I’m now determined to visit more. Maybe it’s something about the perfect rows but it felt so calm there.
Another day in Florence after that and then so Santa Margherita we went!
Santa Margherita Ligure would become our next home base for the last 3 days in Italy and it was beautiful. One day we took the train down to the first town in Cinque Terre and explored to then boat over to two more towns before getting so hot and tired we had to come back for a dip in the water.
How stunning is this?! These towns were quaint but also a serious tourist trap. Would recommend but maybe pick 3 towns or split it into 2 days.
I also ate some pretty damn good lasagna while in Cinque Terre that I don’t think I’ll forget!
Santa Margherita was where I found my favorite wine of the trip. Vermentino is a fruity white wine that goes well with all the fishies we ate there and is locally produced. Need to find me some in LA! Santa Margherita is basically a little beach town so there are places you can grab some meatballs or fish on a stick and fruit stands left and right so one day we just ate that. Actually, two days just don’t have the photos of the other day.
Our very last day was truly a dream. We rented these pool chairs at a beautiful hotel on the rocks and over the water that I wish I could re-live. I saved videos so I can look back.
You could hop in the salt water pool or walk over to the ladder down into the open water and again float because it’s so salty! SUCH.A.DREAM.
Always thankful for my parents who still choose to bring Kate and I on these trips when they could totally leave us at home! That was my first legit break since starting grad school a year and half ago and I didn’t realize how much I appreciated it until I came back to school so ready to rock it. Bye bye burn out! (at least for now!) I wish I could explain more and better for you but no matter what I say nothing will to it justice! I hope you got the chance to follow on IG stories with all those videos!