Last Stop: Athens

I realize that I never wrote about my last stop in Europe, which was to Athens, Greece. We flew there from the island of Santorini, which was only about an hour flight away. Warning: If you go to Athens in June, it is crazy hot. Many shops and restaurants close during the hottest hours in the afternoon (between 2 to 5 pm), which our Airbnb host described as a siesta-like period for Greeks.

There are many important historic monuments to check out in Athens, as well as cool flea markets and shops. As the capital of Greece and a major transportation hub, Athens is also a convenient place to do day trips from.

Here are a list of things to do (and around) Athens:

1. Acropolis of Athens

The main feature at the Acropolis is the Parthenon, dedicated by the Athenians to Athena Parthenos, the patron of their city. I highly recommend visiting this site in the morning, as it tends to be less hot since the sun hasn’t reached its full peak yet.


2. Take a ferry to Hydra

Athens is close to many islands, one of them being the island of Hydra, which is located in the Aegean Sea between the Saronic Gulf and the Argolic Gulf. There are short hikes you can do in Hydra to some beautiful beaches, where the water is as blue and clear as the sky. A one-way ferry trip to Hydra from Athens takes less than an hour.


3. Watch the sunset over the water

This is just one of those classic vacation things you must do in Greece. The photo below was taken while we were waiting at the dock in Hydra for our ferry back to Athens.


4. Visit the farmers market in Athens

It’s a little hard to communicate with vendors, who for the most part only speak Greek, but the farmer market in Athens was quite an interesting and fun experience. The produce here is really cheap; for instance, I bought a large bag of plump, juicy cherries (around 3 lbs) for two euros.


5. Explore Monastiraki

This flea market area is always buzzing with tourists and locals alike. There are tons of cool shops, cafes, bars, and souvenir shops to check out. I recommend trying a fish foot massage at Doctor Fish Athens, where you place your feet inside a tank and little fish nibble the dead skin off your feet. The sensation was really ticklish at first, but it soon became soothing and even nice. My feet also did in fact feel softer afterwards.


6. Buy some Greek sesame snacks & honey

We bought a lot of souvenirs, such as snacks and beauty products, to share with our friends back home. Most of the snacks we found in Greece contain either honey and/or sesame seeds. There were also a lot of olive oil products for sale in the markets; we bought cream and shampoo containing this ingredient, as well as some olive wood products.


7. Explore Coffee Shops

During the hottest hours of the afternoon (between two to five), many shops and restaurants are closed and it also tends to get too hot to wander outside – making it the perfect time to explore Athens’ coffee shops. There are tons of really neat ones around the city, my favourite being the cozy Little Tree Books & Coffee.


8. See the Acropolis at night

There are many restaurants with rooftop patios near the Acropolis of Athens, allowing guests to see the beautiful Acropolis light up at night. We visited Kuzina, as recommended to us by our local Airbnb host. This restaurant tends to get quite busy so be sure to make a reservation ahead of time.


9. Daytrip to Delphi

From Athens we took a day trip to Delphi, a famous ancient sanctuary about a two-hour drive away from Athens. The site is on the south-western slope of Mount Parnassus, overlooking the coastal plain to the south and the valley of Phocis. Showcasing monuments built by important ancient Greek city-statess, Delphi embodies Hellenic unity and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.



Must-Try Foods 

Not only is Greece absolutely beautiful, but the country’s cuisine is also phenomenal. From street souvlaki to grilled squid, everything I ate was incredible – and at prices that I know I wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. Here are some dishes you have to try when in Greece:

1. Gyro and Souvlaki

Gyro is a special Greek delicacy consisting of meat, onion, tomato and tzatziki sauce served with pita bread. The gyro meat is cooked slowly on a vertical rotisserie and is served as strips or small slices of meat. Souvlaki is also a Greek dish, but is prepared as small meat cubes and grilled vegetables on a skewer. A great place to try these dishes is at Sfika, a restaurant that serves some of the best grilled meats in the city, according to our local host.


2. Greek Salad

Made with the perfect balance of feta cheese, crisp vegetables, and buttery croutons, the Greek salad at Kuzina Restaurant was absolute perfection.


3. Greek Frappé Coffee

The traditional frappé coffee is a Greek foam-covered iced coffee drink made from instant coffee, water and sugar. The frappé has become a hallmark of Greek coffee culture, and is available in virtually all coffee shops across Athens. I got one at Coffee Island, which sells a real strong traditional Greek frappé for 1.10 euros.


4. Asian Greek Fusion at Mr. Dim

This may sound almost silly, but this Greek Asian fusion shop called Mr. Dim served one of the best bao creations I’ve ever tasted. The tender, juicy gyros meat worked so well with the flavours of the Chinese sesame bao; even my Asian parents adored this fusion dish.


5. Grilled Squid

I highly recommend the grilled squid at Smile Restaurant, a local family-run business. I normally don’t love grilled squid because it tends to be too chewy for my liking, but the texture of this one was amazing and grilled to perfection.


6. Moussaka

This traditional Greek dish is either eggplant- or potato-based, and is layered with ground meat in a fashion similar to that of a lasagna.


7. Koulouria Thessalonikis

These giant sesame bagel-like treats are sold everywhere on the streets in Athens for typically less than one euro. They’re deliciously chewy on the inside, and carry a fragrant toasted sesame taste – perfect for breakfast or an afternoon snack.


Happy traveling!


Dine LA at Erven

I used to love Toronto’s Winterlicious and Summerlicious, two culinary events where restaurants across the city offer a fixed price menu for a limited period of time, with prices ranging from $15-25 for lunch and $25-45 for dinner. I remember back in high school, my friends and I even had lunch at the CN Tower for $25 (lift included) during Winterlicious, an experience typically worth at least double that amount. Over the years, however, I found myself becoming more and more disappointed with these culinary events. Rather than featuring their best dishes from their usual menus, restaurants started creating lower quality menus just for Winterlicious/Summerlicious. Portions seemed smaller and the ingredients of lower quality; my overall excitement for these annual events hence diminished.

That’s why when I heard about Dine LA, a similar event in Los Angeles where restaurants across the city offer fixed price menus for a limit\ed two-week period, I was skeptical. I skimmed Eater’s list of “Best Dine LA Dinner Restaurants” and found one, however, that I was quite interested in trying. Erven Restaurant in Santa Monica used to be a strictly vegan restaurant until just recently, when it added a few meat and dairy products to its menu.

I was also impressed that unlike most restaurants during Toronto’s Summerlicious, Erven’s menu for Dine LA featured items on its regular menu. In fact, the main courses on its Dine LA menu were typically worth more than $20 each – making the three-set course for $29 a great value. I booked a table for the last Friday of this culinary event.

I liked the vibe of Erven. It was a nice restaurant, yet didn’t seem pretentious. The waiter offered us complimentary white sangria upon our arrival, and promptly seated us to our table. The white sangria didn’t taste like typical sangria; it was sweeter yet lighter in the fruit taste. We liked it so much, we ordered a carafe to share ($12).

For starters, we ordered the beets with peas, pistachio, rose and strawberries, as well as the charred California avocado with macadamia tahini, chili-garlic salsa and pomegranate seed. The beet dish played a lot with temperature; there was this green foam that resembled frozen gelato.

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The charred avocado was amazing, and unlike any other avocado dish I had ever tasted. I normally don’t like avocado much, unless it’s in sushi, but the sear on this one was amazing. The tahini and pomegranate seeds paired with the avocado also contrasted well with its rich taste.

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For our mains, we got the salmon with chorizo, corn chowder, basil dumplings and smoky tomato, as well as the vegan Thai-style burrito. The salmon dish was one of the best-cooked fishes I’ve ever eaten, and that’s saying a lot about Erven, considering that it used to be a completely vegan restaurant.

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The Thai-style burrito was quite interesting; it was stuffed with fried rice, tempura sweet potato, lime cream, peanuts and tom yum gravy. My only criticism would be that the wrap itself was a bit too thick, almost overpowering the taste of its stuffing.

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I was already full by the time the two desserts came, but there’s no way I would have left them untouched. We had ordered the cheesecake with roasted plums, corn nut crunch and goat cheese ice cream, as well as the vegan chocolate bread pudding, made with peanut butter, fluff and banana.

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I’m not too big of a fan of savory ice creams, such as goat cheese ice cream, but it was interesting. The chocolate bread pudding contrasted with the rich peanut butter and light marshmallow fluff was absolutely delicious.


I was highly impressed and satisfied with my Dine LA experience, and I would recommend it for those who are in Los Angeles in time for it!

8 LA Things to Do

There are some things in life you can only ever experience in Los Angeles, such as movie screenings inside a cemetery, or a food market where people line up for almost half an hour to eat deep fried shrimps from the inside of a pineapple. Either way, here are some things that I think are worth experiencing while in La La Land.

1. Cinespia

Cinespia is an outdoor movie screening in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery (yes, a cemetery). The shows almost always sell out every week, and people often get to Cinespia right when gates open to reserve a nice spot for the movie. Visitors bring either their lawn chairs or their picnic blankets, as well as some wine and snacks. I even saw some people with a full-out buffet-style picnic spread.

A movie in a cemetery – I really don’t know where else you can find this.


2. Rockin Roe Bowl at The Korean Mkt.

Poke has become a growing trend recently, but only in LA have I ever seen it taken to the extreme – filling rice bowls with colourful fish roe instead of the usual raw fish. I highly recommend this bowl (if you like roe), which is available at The Korean Mkt in Sawtelle. Everything else at this small shop is delicious too.


3. Throwing exploding rocks on the ground in Chinatown

As we were strolling through Chinatown one evening, all we could hear was the sound of tiny explosions. They were too quiet to sound threatening, yet frequent enough to raise mild concern. We realized that a lot of children here had bought popping rocks – tiny bundles that make a small explosion noise when thrown on the ground – and were continuously smashing them on the ground all around the streets. We bought a small pack too ($0.25) to play with, since all the cool kids seemed to be doing it.


4. Smorgasburg

This is basically where people get “instagrammable” food; lineups for the most popular vendors tend to have wait times anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes. To be fair though, the two items that I tried (passion fruit strawberry shaved ice and Hawaiian shrimp pineapple rice) were both really delicious.

The Smorgasburg market is also in NYC, understandably.


5. The Getty Center

Entrance to this stunning garden and museum is free and iPhone audio guides are also free for use. Many gardens that I’ve visited before had an entrance fee, so take advantage of this free opportunity!


8. Buffet at The Dodgers Stadium

For ten more dollars than a regular ticket, you can opt to sit at the Coca Cola Pavillion at the Dodgers Stadium, where there are all-you-can-eat nachos, popcorn, hot dogs, peanuts, and bottomless soft drinks. Although the Dodgers lost the night I went, the buffet made it all worth it.


Other places worth mentioning are the Santa Monica Pier on Thursday evenings for its Twilight Concerts, By Chloe for its amazing vegan “fast food,” Sqirl for its locally-sourced creative brunch dishes, and Fly Wheel, a cycle class that allows participants to compete by keeping track of their progress on a scoreboard at the front of their room.

Happy exploring in Los Angeles!

California Dreamin’

Despite it being my third time going to LA in the span of twelve months, I still love the city so much and am always able to find new things to do or new places to check out. Although I have to study while I’m here (GMAT cramming), it’s also become a good excuse to check out different cafes around the city.

Here are some of the places that I’ve visited over the past week:

On my first day in LA, we went to Melrose Avenue, which starts at Santa Monica Boulevard, at the border between Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, and ends at Lucille Avenue in Silver Lake. There are lots of cool shops, restaurants, and coffee shops all along the street, as well as cool graffiti (and the infamous pink Paul Smith wall). We went to Alfred’s Tea Room to try their Earl Grey boba tea, then settled down at Alfred’s Coffee to study for awhile.


The next day, we went to Malibu Wines, a small park with nice seating area and booths selling wine tastings and bottles. Entrance is free, and visitors are welcome to bring in their own snacks. We tried a white wine flight; it’s always fun trying to decipher the different flavours of various wines. It’s not on the menu, but you can also order mimosas at the central booth in the park.


After church on Sunday, we ate lunch at Smorgasburg, a market that only happens every Sunday in the DTLA area. It features really creative food vendors; we tried the Hawaiian Shrimp and a passion fruit shaved ice. Be prepared to wait in long lines at Smorgasburg!


Afterwards, we studied at Verve Coffee in DTLA. This shop offers juice tasting flights, which is the ideal solution for people like me who can never decide on just one thing to order.


In the evening, we went to the Grand Central Market, and ordered Thai food at Sticky Rice. This unassuming stall makes one of the best Khao Soi dishes I’ve ever had, and their portions are also quite large for the $10 price tag. We strolled around the area afterwards, and came across the majestic Walt Disney Concert Hall. 


The next morning, we went to Santa Monica Beach, and I studied on the beachfront at Perry’s Cafe. It was nice being able to enjoy the hot weather and dig my feet into the warm sand while studying. Afterwards, we strolled down Abbot Kinney Boulevard, a nice street by Venice Beach with neat shops and cute cafes. A great place for ice cream on Abbot Kinney is Salt and Straw, which has really unique flavours, from olive & feta cheese to black tea & coconut stracciatella. The TOMS Flagship Store is also a great studying spot, as the back door of the store leads out into a grand patio with outdoor seating (and free WiFi).


On Tuesday, we checked out Coffee Tomo in Sawtelle, which has the most amazing pretzels in all of LA. They bake them fresh, and the pretzels are so soft they almost resemble like a croissant on the inside. I recommend the sweet potato & cheese flavour, which oozes with sweet cheese and a taste of condensed milk.


Afterwards, we went to Jimmy Kimmel Live in Hollywood. It was my first time attending a live filming of a TV talk show, and it was so exciting to see it all being carried out. The show has a “hype guy” who never actually appears on the show, but he’s in charge of hyping up the audience and making sure that the audience is clapping and shouting as loud as they can. By the end of the taping, my cheeks hurt so much from laughing, and my hands hurt from clapping excessively hard, but it was so much fun, and I’d definitely love to attend another one. We had to book the Jimmy Kimmel tickets a month in advance. Although the tickets are free, they run by a lottery system, so try entering for as many days as possible.


In the evening, we went to the Comedy Store, which featured comedians David Spade, Tiffany Hadish, and Howie Mandel for the night. I didn’t think I could laugh anymore for the day after Jimmy Kimmel, but the comedy store was really, really good. I’d recommend it for a fun night out with some friends.


With its perfect weather and endless list of things to do, Los Angeles is definitely up there on my list of favourite places in the world.

Packing Tips

Packing for LA this time around, I’ve realized that I had become a lot faster at packing and that my suitcase was far less jammed than it had been the last time I went to LA. I guess I did learn a thing or two from my weekend travels around Europe for five months. Here are some of my tips and tricks around packing:

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  • Whenever you stay at a hotel, take the complimentary mini shampoo bottles home. You can use them for your next trip, since the containers are travel size. Even if you don’t like the hotel’s shampoo, keep the containers to refill with your own shampoo for your next trip.
  • Don’t risk bringing any products that are over 100 ml. Even if a 200ml bottle of face cream is half empty, it’s the bottle size that matters, not the actual content. You can buy empty travel-size containers at the dollar store.



  • Opt to do laundry rather than to overpack, especially if you are backpacking. If you plan to stay at an Airbnb, always filter to look for accommodations with a washing (and drying) machine. Otherwise, paying for laundry at the hostel/hotel or even finding a laundry facility outside is better than overpacking, especially if you are backpacking.
  • For girls, pack more skirts than dresses; skirts tend to be more versatile and can be worn in different ways.



  • Keep a list on your phone of the things you must remember to pack. A few days prior to my trip, I’m always randomly remembering to bring certain items, and I always jot it down on my list on my phone so I don’t forget. If you have items that you can’t pack until the morning of (e.g. toothbrush, phone charger), also make a separate list of them to check before you leave the house on the day of your departure.



  • If anything, remember to bring your passport, phone, and wallet.
  • Bring snacks for the airport/airplane so you don’t feel tempted to buy the their overpriced goods.
  • Earplugs are so key, especially if there are any crying babies on the aircraft.
  • Eye masks or Sunglasses are also great for creating your own “nighttime” on the plane if you want to take a nap.

June Favourites

June was a bittersweet month. Although I was sad about it being my last month of traveling in Europe, part of me was also excited to be going home. After spending almost half a year abroad, I found myself really learning to appreciate my home back in Canada, especially the small things.


Here are some of my favourite products that I came across during my last month of traveling in June:


  • A Man Called Ove: I’ve never read a book as heartwarming yet comically written as A Man Called Ove. The main character is so sarcastic yet unforgiveably charming While the book probably made me cry about five times, it is still one of my favourites and I would highly, highly recommend it for a great read.
  • The Widow: I could not put this book down; it was a thrilling read that had me gripped with terror and adrenaline as I learned more and more with every page the secrets and thoughts that ran through the mind of the dead murderer’s wife.


  • Kiko Milano’s Eyebrow Marker: This was my first eyebrow liner ever, and I love it. It’s easy to apply and stays on the entire day.
  • Coconut Oil: After spending a lot of time outdoors in the heat in Greece, both my mum’s and my skin became very dry from prolonged sun exposure. Coconut oil is a natural remedy available in many grocery stores that heals and moisturizes dry skin. Using natural products such as coconut oil also reduce the risk of exposing your skin to any artificial or harsh chemicals.


  • Theobroma Chocolate (60% Dark Chocolate with Raspberry): I normally don’t like raspberry chocolate, but the dark bar made by Theobroma neatly tucks in morsels of dried raspberry (rather than your typical jam flavoring), giving the chocolate a refreshing and fruity textural burst.
  • Terra Carpo’s Sesame Candied Peanuts (Athens): This small coffee shop tucked away on the busy streets of Athens was filled with people when we went in to take a look. In addition to hot and cold beverages, this shop also sell snacks by weight, including different nuts and dried fruits. Their sesame candied peanuts are absolutely amazing (and insanely addictive).


  • Bershka Palazzo pants: These high-waisted pants are soft and flowy, so they’re great even during the summertime. I wore them when I was in Morocco, where females are highly encouraged to wear long pants, and the roominess of the pants ensured that I stayed cool despite the heat. I got the black pair, and they’re versatile in the way that they are able to match with many different tops.

Amalfi Coast

One of the places that I was most excited to see in Italy was the Amalfi Coast region, a 50-kilometer stretch of coastline along the southern edge of Italy, also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. For our trip, my family based ourselves in Sorrento and did day trips to Pompeii, Amalfi, Positano, and Ravello throughout the week.


This region tends to get really hot in the summer; conveniently, around every corner in Sorrento is also a gelato shop. A great one to try is Gelateria Primavera, with over 50 unique flavours to choose from.


The days seemed longer in Southern Italy (in a good way), with the sun fully setting at around 22:00. A good spot to watch the sunset is at the terrace cliff viewpoint in Sant’Angelo, since it offers a spectacular view over the coast and doesn’t get too crowded.


There’s also a small restaurant there, good for dessert.


The first day trip we did from Sorrento was to Pompeii, an ancient Roman town that was mostly destroyed by a volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. This eruption destroyed the city, killing all its inhabitants and burying it under tons of ash.


The site was lost for about 1,500 years, but rediscovered in 1599. Since then, Pompeii has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts over 2.5 million visitors each year.


It’s easy taking day trips from Sorrento, and the trip to Pompeii cost less than 3 euros one-way by local train. However, getting to other regions like Amalfi and Ravello are a bit trickier since the local train doesn’t run there. Alternatives include taking the bus, renting a car, or joining a tour. We opted for a semi-private tour in a van that took us to Amalfi, Positano and Ravello in one day.

All around the Amalfi Coast are lemons – really, really big lemons – and tons of products made with this citrus fruit. Definitely try freshly squeezed lemonade and lemon sorbet when around this area.


Positano was one of my favourite destinations, often referred to as the vertical city, as from afar, it seems as though its buildings are built directly on top of one another.


Amalfi was also gorgeous, and its beaches were very ideal for swimming to cool off from the heat.


I’m really glad I got the chance to explore Southern Italy – it was very different than the norther part the country where I had spent the prior four months.


Heaven on earth is Santorini, a beautiful Greek island filled with white and blue cascading buildings and delicious seafood. Quite bluntly, Santorini is what remains after a large volcanic eruption that destroyed the earliest settlements on a formerly single island, and created the current caldera. The main island slopes downward towards the Aegean Sea, and the capital, Fira, is at the top of the cliff looking down on the lagoon.


A beach that I would recommend visiting in Santorini is the Red Beach – given this name due to the red hue of its rocks from the lava of the volcanic eruption. We were told that from Red Beach, we could take a boat to White and Black Beach (creative names, I know). Just as we were trying to figure out where the docking station was at Red Beach, a small boat suddenly pulled up on shore right in front of us, and the captain started yelling, “White beach! White beach!” Next thing we know, a crowd of people started gathering around the boat, ready to hop on.


It turns out that these small boats pass along the three beaches (Red, White, and Black) every hour, and costs only 5 euros round trip.


My favourite of the three was Black Beach. It was quite big, and swimming in the icy cold water was perfect to beat the the stern heat.

In the evening, we strolled around Pygros Village and watched the sunset from this beautiful restaurant called Pygros Restaurant.


Arrive at the restaurant two hours before the sunset to secure a table by the window. I recommend ordering the fried cod; it was battered and fried to a deep golden perfection, while the inside remained moist and flavorful.


The next day, we hiked an 11-km trail from Fira to Oia. Although it was a little tough since some parts of the hike were rugged and it got quite hot in the afternoon, it was still a lot of fun and the view everywhere you looked all throughout the journey was absolutely gorgeous.


That evening, we watched the sunset in Oia. There were a lot of people gathered on this one particular tall cliff, but we decided to avoid the bustling crowd and settled on a slightly lower cliff instead. Our view was still spectacular; it’s amazing to see just how round and neon pink the sun becomes as it slowly drifts out of sight.

The next morning, we brunched at Cafe Galini, a hotel restaurant with a great panoramic view of the cascading white buildings by the hillside.


Although I had visited coastal cities before, living on an actual island was a completely different experience. The island was also big enough that I never felt trapped or bored.


Whether you’re looking to just relax at the beach or to conquer a challenging hike, Santorini is definitely the place to be (while enjoying some great seafood too).

Pizza in Naples

This post is titled Pizza in Naples because that is more often than not the only reason people go to Naples. In particular, one restaurant that many visitors frequent in Naples is L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, said to be home of the original Italian pizza.


The menu at this joint is simple. There are two options: Margarita (tomato sauce, cheese, and basil) or Marinara (tomato sauce, garlic, herbs). We ordered a large pie of each to share among three people.


The pizza here was without a doubt one of the best things that I had eaten in Europe. I initially thought that I would like the Margarita more because it had cheese, but in the end, I enjoyed both of them equally as much. While the cheese on the Margarita was deliciously milky and almost sweet, the dough became very soft and a little soggy due to the milkiness of the cheese. The base of the Marinara was a lot firmer, and the garlic and herbs along with the fresh tomato sauce was heavenly. I would definitely suggest trying both since they are both delicious, but in different ways.


If you do decide to sit-in at this restaurant, be prepared to wait for about an hour. The good thing is that the restaurant will give you a number and an estimated wait time, so you can leave to walk around town. Takeaway pizza is also a popular option here.


In the end, it was a unanimous agreement among the three of us that the pizza at Da Michele was worth the pit stop in Naples.

Second Time’s the Charm (Rome)

It’s been said that throwing a coin with your right hand over your left shoulder into the Trevi Fountain will ensure your return to Rome one day in the future. I tossed a coin that way during my first time in Rome last February – and lone behold, I revisited Rome this June. (I’m kidding, I don’t really believe in myths. Rome just happened to be the most convenient city for my parents and I to meet up in Europe). Although for the record, the municipality of Rome collects the coins from the Trevi fountain every day to fund a supermarket for the poor with the help of Italy’s Red Cross charity, so toss your change in!

Rome in the summer was very different from my last visit during the winter. It was even more beautiful that I had remembered, now that fragrant flowers had blossomed throughout the city and restaurants had opened their patio seating. The summer market by the river Tiber had also officially opened; it was really nice to walk around in the evening and share a pitcher of sangria by the water.


On our first evening in Rome, I treated my parents to a late-mother’s-day-and-early-father’s-day dinner at Il Fungo, a restaurant at the top of a fungi-shaped tower. From our spot, we were able to enjoy a wonderful panoramic view of all of Rome.


We ordered an 8-course menu, and the food certainly did not disappoint.


My favourite was the fusilli pasta with a rich pistachio pesto sauce, topped with some fresh pieces of raw tuna.

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I would definitely recommend this spot if celebrating a special occasion.

On our second day, we had planned to take the train to Tivoli (about an hour away by local transit from the main train station in Rome) – but it just so happened that public transit was going on strike that day. We decided then to visit the Villa Borghese Gardens instead, a spot close to our Airbnb and that our host had recommended to us.


Borghese turned out to be one of the most beautiful gardens I had seen in Europe, with an excellent viewpoint of one of the main squares in the city. I recommend renting a pedal bike, since it’s much faster (and more fun) than walking.

Another thing I love about summer in Italy is the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables; we bought some goods from Mercati d’Autore to cook at our Airbnb. In fact, we cooked a lot during our time in Rome because the vegetables and seafood at the market were very fresh and inexpensive.


A great spot I’d recommend for breakfast or mid-afternoon snack in Rome is Faro – Luminaries of Coffee; they have amazing stuffed croissants (pistachio, almond, chocolate) and cappuchino.


To be honest, I didn’t think I would enjoy Rome as much the second time around since I thought I had already “seen everything” but the city turned out to be a lot larger than I remembered, and very different in the summer.


Ciao Rome, it’s been amazing.