Easter Weekend

Easter weekend was a four and a half day weekend for me, and it was great.

The weekend started Thursday at noon, when Lis and I left work early and headed to the airport for Ibiza!  This also marked the end of countdown to Ibiza.  Success!  Well, I didn’t gain weight, even lost a kg haha!  Although it didn’t really matter because it was wayyy too cold to be in a bathing suit.

After arriving in Ibiza and spending about an hour looking for our hotel, Lis and I made it!  We had a great 1 bedroom apartment with a view of the sea!

Only 29 Euro per night!  That’s what happens when you go to Ibiza in the low season.  Know what else happens?

It’s cloudy and gross.  But we were still happy!

Know what else happens?  No one is there.  You end up being the only ones at the bar and the only ones on the dance floor.  Good enough for us.

The rest of our time in Ibiza was spent walking around.

Surprisingly, we only ate one meal out:

We shared a hamburger, paella and patatas bravas. We like to mix the Spanish and the American… but really that’s the first time I had seen a burger on a bun since I’ve been in Europe.  Truth be told, I miss veggie burgers.

Sadly, we had to leave Ibiza on Saturday.  Just our luck, the sun decided to visit Ibiza as we were leaving.

On Sunday morning, I woke up bright and early and headed to the Vatican.  I had a ticket for the Papal Mass on Easter Sunday.  Can you really pass that up?

There were tons of people and I really couldn’t see anything.  Luckily they do a good job of projecting sound in St. Peter’s Square.

I had never been to a mass in Latin before.  Kinda nice.

The rest of the weekend I was pretty much a bum.  I think that was needed because Sunday night I fell asleep around 6pm and woke up the next morning at 9:30am.  Let’s just say I was pooped!

Then today I made up for all the chocolate I didn’t eat for Easter when my office mate brought in a huge bag of chocolate eggs.

Definitely needing to hit up that gym I dropped major $$$$ for!

Sunday Dinner

Sunday Dinner last night was the best.

First, because I didn’t cook.

Second, because it was just damn good.

Third, it was meat free, and I miss that.

Nancy made fruit salad and a spinach salad.

Kyla just got back from Ethiopia and brought spices with her.  So she made shiro and a delicious bean stew.

It was to die for.  I’m obsessed with the shiro that Kyla made.  Sooo good and so easy to make (given that you have the shiro spice mix).  It definitely came at a time when I’ve sorta been going crazy regarding Italian food.  Basically I’ve had enough.  I miss spiced food.  I cannot find cumin or cilantro in stores here!  I’m going to the “ethnic markets” in the immigrant neighborhoods this week to scout out spices.   So this dinner definitely helped with my spice cravings.

Spices, beans, grains, fruit, vegetables, friends!  What could be better?

Picnic at Villa Borghese

Yesterday was pretty much amazing.

I slept in.  Had oatmeal for breakfast.

I know that sounds silly but I’ve been getting super tired of Italian food.  Anything tastes remotely like home makes me happy.  Although let me tell you, I’ve only been able to find quick cooking oats here.  Not as tasty as rolled oats or multi-grain hot cereal, but I’ll survive.

Then I met up with some friends for a picnic at Villa Borghese, which is a huge park (actually a garden) in Rome. On my way there, I finally got to take one of the little buses!

Most buses in Rome are normal sized buses, but there are a few that are really small and make me smile every time I see them.  So I finally rode one… But anyway, back to yesterday…

Let me just tell you.  The weather was perfect.  I wore a sleeveless dress with sandals. What could be better?

People trickled in throughout the afternoon.  Everyone brought food to share.

My contribution: PB&J.

The Canadian smiled; the Europeans and Africans weren’t that into it.   Basically most of them hated it haha.

We moved our picnic to follow the sun.

After I had had enough sunshine, I walked home which took a little over half an hour.  The street were ridiculously crowded!  I wish I had remembered to take a picture of it.

The rest of the night I proceeded to be a bum.

Sounds like a pretty great day to me!  Hanging out with friends in the sun was wonderful.  Say yes to Vitamin D!

Apple Mush

At first it was sorta funny and ironic.  Of course I get sick the day I decide to go on a diet.

But today is day 5 of feeling like death.  I’ll spare you the details of my unfortunate symptoms.  Let’s just say I’m tired of it.

Yesterday, I ate two slices of plain toast, a kiwi, and two bottles of powerade.

Today, I made apple mush.  Apple mush is the weak/lazy lady’s version of apple sauce.

I chopped up two apples (with peel, because I have no energy to peel apples), sliced 1 banana and put them in a small pot, sprinkled them with a dash of cinnamon and added 1/2 cup of water.  Then I let it simmer for 25 minutes.  I mixed it around and broke up the pieces a bit and called it apple mush.

My body hasn’t rejected it yet, but I’m reluctant to even write that.

Hopefully these bottles of gatorade/powerade will help.  Italy has strange flavors…

Green Mango?  It just tasted really sweet, not really like mango.

Arancia Rossa is Blood Orange.  Tastes like a stronger orange flavor. Maybe more like real orange than the regular orange gatorade?

It’s been 5 days of illness now.  Cross your fingers that I’ll be better by tomorrow.  I’m tired of my apartment.  I need some human interaction.

The Time We Climbed 1 Million Steps…

Remember that time that decided to take a vacation. We walked, bused, trained, bused again and finally made our way to Amalfi, because let’s be honest, Rome is fantastic but the Amalfi coast is pretty much amazing.

First stop was our hotel.  L’Antico Convitto. 

Then it was time to venture out.  We walked about 200 meters to the Duomo, the main cathedral.

Our vacation ambitions somehow convinced us to shell out 3 Euro to take a tour of the Cloister, Catacombs and Cathedral.

Lovely!   Then of course, we fed ourselves, because Sara’s main goal on her trip to Italy was to gain 10 lbs.

Challenge accepted.

 

For lunch, pizza and gelato on the steps of the Duomo.

After there was no more food to eat (for now), we wandered, because really that’s what we’re good at and that’s what there is to do on the Amalfi coast.   There’s one main street in Amalfi.  We walked up and down it probably 20 times.  After we window shopped enough, we decided to wander through the neighborhoods.

The neighborhoods are not what you would imagine.  First off, Amalfi is built into the side of a mountain.  So the streets are made of tiny corridors full of many, many, many stairs.

After getting lost a few times, we referred to the map to try to get to the neighboring little town, Atrani.  After an hour of stairs, twists, turns, amazing views and a few more stairs, we made it.

Atrani was tiny.  We saw a main square, a bar, some people going to church, a restaurant, and two fisherman.  Then we turned around and headed back to Amalfi.  This time, we walked along the side of the road.  It took about 15 minutes to get back, compared to an hour and a half to get there… Stair free.

A few hours later, our friend Lis joined us!  By this time it was about 10 pm.  Most things were closed but luckily the restaurant we had scoped out in one of the random alleys off the main street was still open.  We then proceeded to have the best meal EVER.

Mussels with lemon and pepper.

Pasta with tomatoes and mussels

Grilled Calamari

Arancini (Risotto balls)

 

Then we proceeded to pass out in a food coma.

Life is good in Italy.

Friends Visiting

I’ve pretty much had the best week ever. As much as I love Rome, it can definitely get lonely.  But this week has been full of friends!

My friend, Ali, visited.  Sadly, while I went to work she wandered around with her brother for a few days.  But we did get a chance to see some sites together!

 

And last weekend, we headed to Napoli and made a side trip to Pompeii.

I had been before, but it was super fun the second time around.

 

Then we went back to Napoli for one reason: Pizza.  Obviously. Because I’m obsessed with food…

Somehow we ended up in the Eat, Pray, Love pizza shop, completely unintentionally.

And yes, we each ate an entire pizza.

 

It was amazing, except they only offered two kinds of pizza: Margherita and without cheese.  Although I discovered a pizza place in Rome that I like more.

Then sadly Ali had to leave, but they day she left, Biscotti Queen (Sara) arrived!

Tomorrow we’re headed to the Amalfi coast!  Stay tuned for our adventures!

Tuscany

They didn’t lie.  Tuscany is beautiful.

This must be why everyone (or at least in the movies) has a midlife crisis and moves to Tuscany.

It might also have to do with the food.  This is probably the best pasta I’ve ever had in my life.

Pici, a hand made pasta, apparently is a Tuscan specialty.  So when we stopped in Pienza for lunch, I figured, why not?   After a delicious lunch, we found all the shops to be closed (as is normal in the middle of the day in Italy).  Sadly we could not get our hands on any of the Pecorino cheese that Pienza is so famous for.  Instead, we had a photoshoot with the great view:

Apparently, I can’t take a normal photo in Italy. Sooooo windy!

After our photoshoot, we headed to San Gimignano where it started to rain pretty soon after we got there.

Lovely medieval town, sadly not so lovely weather.  The next day, the weather was not much better.  The combination of no photos allowed inside museums and rain meant I didn’t take too many pictures.  Only a few at the top of a look out point and the tower.

Amazing view!

I feel like I need to go back to Tuscany when it’s sunny to enjoy the landscapes and out doors.  In the meantime, I’m back in Rome where the weather is warmer but still rainy.

I can’t wait for summer!  I want to wear a dress without tights under it, shoes other than boots and no more jackets!

In the meantime, I’ll survive, especially since I have a friend visiting tomorrow and another next week!