Viareggio/Cinque Terre/Pisa

Our next stop on our European adventure was a cluster of small cities! Originally, we were only supposed to visit Viareggio because it was a small beach town in Italy that Taylor wanted to see. We thought it would be a great halfway point in our journey, and we’d get the chance to chill out for two days. BUT THEN Taylor found out that Cinque Terre was a close train ride and Pisa was right around the corner, and our plans to relax were quickly changed. sigh.

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We arrived in Viareggio late afternoon, checked into our Airbnb and walked across the street to the beach for a few hours. It was a little chilly and the clouds were dark, but thankfully it didn’t rain! Viareggio is a small beach town that a lot of local Italians visit during the year, not so much a tourist destination. There was a fantastic pier that overlooked the sunset and it was so beautiful!

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When we woke up the next morning it was pouring, and Taylor bought train tickets to Cinque Terre. Thankfully, the sun was shining by the time we arrived! Cinque Terre isn’t actually just one destination, it’s a whole cluster of towns within one area. We visited the city of Vernazza, which I believe is one of the most popular. After being there, I can see why.

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You can take a super short “hike” (10 minutes one way) up to the famous view of Vernazza. It looks just like a postcard.

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We arrived in Vernazza around lunchtime, so we searched for a place to eat before swimming. We decided to eat on the top of this mountain that overlooked the water. It wasn’t the best Italian food we ate, but the view was incredible. You should go here for drinks if you’re in the area!

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I wanted to swim really bad, so that’s what we did! 🙂 I can’t stay away from water! I’ll be shocked if we don’t own a home by a body of water in the future.

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Before heading back to Viareggio, we stopped at Manarola, which is just a neighboring small town in Cinque Terre. We didn’t spend much time here because we had a train to catch, but we bought a bottle of wine as a souvenir that we’re planning on opening later in life.

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The last thing we saw this day, was the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. It was about a two hour train ride from Cinque Terre, but in the same direction of Viareggio. There is literally nothing else in the city of Pisa except for this tower, so please don’t book a weeks’s vacation to Pisa. LOL 😉

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I didn’t want to be that person who stuck their hand out to hold the Leaning Tower, but I felt like I’d regret it later on if I didn’t!

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That ended our time on the coast of Italy! I adored Cinque Terre, and I really want to return to spend more time seeing all the towns. I think we could easily spend a few more days there in the future! Our last stop is Rome! Thank’s for following along this far. Please don’t forget to read the beginning of our journey!

Zurich, Lugano, Lake Como, Venice, Florence 

Folly Beach, Charleston SC

Hey ya’ll!

This is another exciting post for me!! Early Friday morning I hopped on a flight from Philadelphia to Charleston, South Carolina. I’ve been coming to Charleston since Taylor and I first started dating back in 2013, because this is where his university was. While I adore the city of Charleston, I love Folly Beach even more. I mean, I LOVE Folly. Of all the places I’ve traveled (and that’s a lot of destinations) Folly Beach is my favorite place in the whole wide world. I truly don’t think another place will ever compare.

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Since Folly Beach is my favorite place in the world, it only makes sense that my favorite restaurant in the world is there too! The Lost Dog Cafe!

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I’m so glad I squeezed in a weekend at Folly Beach. Given it was the cheapest flight I could find, but TOTALLY worth it. I just love the small beach town feel and the ease of life down there. I would love to live in Charleston or own a vacation home of my own in Folly one day.

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We stayed in Folly for two nights and spent most of the time redecorating Grandmas remodeled condo! We shopped, shopped, and shopped some more! I don’t think I’ve ever carried so much furniture up the stairs before in my life. It was a much needed girls weekend and we got a lot accomplished!

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I also got to see my fur baby!! MAYBELLE! I’ve been missing her so badly for the past two months! I soaked up every moment with her while I was in South Carolina. She loves Charleston too, so she’s obviously an extension of me. 🙂

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I mean, how cute is she?! After our two days in Charleston, we packed up and headed to Spartanburg to see the rest of the family. They took me to my favorite restaurants, threw me a sweet birthday party, and took me on a boat ride. These are a few of my favoriteeee thingsssss! 🙂

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I’m off to Switzerland and Italy now! Make sure your subscribed for more updates!

Short Weekend in Key West

Before Taylor and I moved to Northern Florida over a year ago, we dreamed of visiting the Florida Keys. On a good day, it’s at least an 8 hour drive from Gainesville. We aren’t moving any closer to the Keys, so now was the perfect time for us to go! Since we had a free weekend, we left early Friday morning and stopped at a rest station for a quick breakfast from Dunkin’.

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As soon as we crossed over the water and into Key Largo, we were starving! With Hurricane Irma happening not too long ago, we weren’t sure how bad the destruction would be. As we were driving around looking for a place to stop and eat, everything was closed due to destruction. There were piles and piles of debri along the side of the road and it was heartbreaking.

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The damage was worse in some areas than others, and our hearts went out to the people of the Keys. After driving around and trying to find a place to eat that was open, we finally stumbled upon a small place called Boondocks. It wasn’t anything local or fancy, and the food was alright, but it was a nice break from the road.

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As soon as we stepped out of the restaurant, we noticed a line of traffic. What we didn’t know, was that there was a truck overturned 20 miles ahead, which dumped hundreds of gallons of oil all over the road and it was blocking both lanes. We barely crawled through traffic for FIVE HOURS. What was supposed to be an 8 hour drive to Key West, turned into a miserable THIRTEEN HOUR drive.

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The two of us were super bummed, because we were really counting on that night to explore the city. At one point when we were crawling through traffic, we were stopped next to an ice cream shop. Making the most of the situation, I ran inside and got us some yummy ice cream cones. I had enough time to go inside, purchase two ice cream cones, and make it back to the car before it moved again…

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We didn’t end up making it to our hotel until 10:30 that night. The receptionist at the desk was incredible and offered us free drinks upon arrival. He understood the traffic we’d just went through, and was more than sympathetic for us. Apparently, nobody had checked in that night because they were all stuck in that horrific traffic. After squaring things away at the desk, he personally showed us to our room and made sure we were comfortable.

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Our room was small, but very clean and comfortable. It was perfect for our short stay!

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Although we were tired from the drive, we were eager to get out on our feet and find something to munch on. We decided to get a few drinks and some appetizers at the Waterfront Brewery, which was right on the harbor! Thankfully, it was only a few minutes away.

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This place was fantastic!! Our server was amazing and the food and drinks were exactly what we needed. Taylor ordered the pretzels and I had the calamari! If we would’ve been in Key West longer, the two of us would’ve definitely returned.

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The next morning, we woke up early and hit the ground exploring! The great thing about our hotel was that it was within walking distance of everything. Our hotel also offered complimentary tea and coffee all day long, so that was an added bonus in my book! 🙂 The first thing we did, was walk to the most southern point of the United States.

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Typically, there is writing on the Southern Point marker, but they were in the middle of repainting it while we were there.

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Once we were done looking at the view and taking our touristy pictures, we started walking around and looking at all the unique homes! People in Key West really enjoy celebrating Halloween, because almost all of them were decked out in Halloween decorations. Even our hotel was full of decorations! I believe the city was getting ready for a Fantasy Fest in the near future, which sounded huge!?

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After walking down Duval Street for a little bit, we were beginning to get hungry. We stumbled upon a cute place called, Two Friends. The place looked pretty busy, so we took it as a good sign!

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I’m so glad that we chose to eat here, because it was SO YUMMY! Despite being busy, we were sat right away and the service was great.

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I ordered the bacon, mushroom, and swiss omelet, while Taylor ordered their strawberry, banana, french toast. Both were excellent!

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We didn’t have any set plans for the day, so we continued walking around Key West and exploring. Taylor ended up finding a local Rum distillery! If you enjoy rum, you need to check this place out! You can walk around the see them actually making the rum!

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I’m not a rum drinker, but Taylor had a sample and said it was great!

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It was super hot while we were exploring, so we decided to go back to our hotel and relax by the pool. We booked our stay at the Eden House, which we found on booking.com. On our way back, we stopped at a local bakery for some sweet treats!

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We loved staying at the Eden House because it was so peaceful and relaxing. We were within walking distance of everything, and the people were so friendly. Each room was unique and very well kept.

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If we ever find ourselves in Key West again, we will definitely be staying here again. There are a few larger hotels on the island, but I’d recommend staying at a smaller place like a bed and breakfast.

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Every day from 5-7, the Eden House has a free happy hour! We took advantage of that before getting ready and heading out for a night on Duval Street.

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We started our Saturday night out at Sloppy Joe’s! They had live music and fantastic drinks and appetizers!

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We ordered their mozzarella sticks and loaded fries!

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After about an hour or so, we walked to Irish Kevin’s! Here, we split a World Famous Green Alligator! It had blue carjack, limon run, sour mix and orange juice with a 151 rum floater. Not only was it tasty, but it came with the cup!

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As soon as we left Irish Kevin’s, it started to rain. While waiting for it to stop, we went into a nearby ice cream shop for a late night snack! Once the rain gave up and we walked back to our hotel, we grabbed our swimsuits and headed for the hot tub.

The next morning we had to check out and head back to Gainesville. As soon as we packed our bags and said a sad goodbye to the Eden House, we drove to the harbor for a quick breakfast.

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We ordered food at the Cuban Coffee Queen and ate it on a bench beside the water! The food was amazing and it was my first time trying cuban coffee. Now I know why everyone raves about cuban coffee, because it was soooo good! Even Taylor liked it, and he doesn’t even drink coffee! 🙂

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On our way out of Key West, we passed the Mile 0 sign and had to stop for a mini photo shoot!

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Although our trip to Key West was short, we had an amazing time exploring the small city and we hope to be back soon!

 

 

Destin Recap

As said in previous posts, our trip to Destin was filled with relaxation and enjoying time with family. We spent most of our days sitting beside the beach or pool and our nights eating way too much food and laughing until our stomachs hurt.

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One morning, we all decided to sleep in and make a huge breakfast! We had eggs, grits, toast, bacon, sausage, hash browns, and biscuits!

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This may be the only table that can comfortably fit all of us! We spent the rest of the afternoon lounging on the beach and soaking up the sun.

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For dinner that night, we ate at a family favorite, Red Bar!! IT WAS AMAZING! Since we went during the middle of the week, we only had to wait 45 minutes. Honestly, 45 minutes may seem like a long time, but we had a group of 20 people! The restaurant is pretty small and during the summertime it can become very crowded. The fact that we only had to wait 45 minutes was very impressive. While we were waiting, we took some pictures by the beach.

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Look Mom! I found a coconut! 🙂

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Romper: Dottie Couture Boutique

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The best part about Red Bar is that there are only 5/6 items on the menu each night. It makes it easy to decide what you want and your food is delivered a lot quicker. Our waiter did an incredible job taking care of us and everyone really enjoyed their dishes.

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thumbnail_IMG_3201About midway through the week, the boys wanted to spend the morning playing golf. Those of us who weren’t playing, decided to hit the outlets for some shopping and a lunch at McGuires Irish Pub. We decided to split a ton of delicious appetizers! The portion sizes were massive so we had plenty of leftovers to take home to those who played golf all morning. I think we had about 8 boxes total!

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Before we headed out for the night, we swam in the pool!

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Several evenings, we walked around the pier while trying different foods and drinks! That way, everyone got a little of something they really wanted.

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Romper: Dottie Couture Boutique

The ENTIRE time we were in Destin, we would always check to see if the Krispy Kreme Donut “Hot Now” sign was on. (We had to pass it to get back to our house.) To keep an eye on it, I downloaded the Krispy Kreme app, which let me know exactly when the sign was on! The only time it was on was when we were on our way to get ice cream…so we did both!

We ordered a dozen of the Hot Now donuts and 3 cups of milk! Like always, they were divine. After, we chose to get ice cream at Kilwins, which is an amazing place to get anything sweet! I was already extremely full from dinner and donuts, but I can’t turn down ice-cream, so I stuck with one scoop of cookie dough ice-cream. Taylor was half asleep and decided not to get anything.

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Out of the entire week we were visiting, there was only one rainy day and it was our last! We didn’t mind because most of us were burnt anyway! We started the day by eating breakfast together at the Donut Hole. Then, we all split up and spent the day packing and doing last minute activities.

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As everyone continues to get older, it’s nice to spend quality time together without the distractions of life. I’m very thankful to have been given the opportunity to travel along with Tay!

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Thank’s for following along! 🙂

Destin, Florida

On the Saturday that Taylor and Kendall flew back from Thailand, I picked them up at the Charlotte Airport around 8:45pm. Since they were living in a different time zone for the past two weeks, we contemplated driving straight through the night to Destin, Florida. However, they were both pretty exhausted from a full day of traveling so we decided against it. Instead, we ordered food at Chick-fil-A and headed back to their house to get some rest.

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Early the next morning, we started driving at 4. The trip would take us about 8 hours to reach our destination and we didn’t want to hit any traffic, especially around Atlanta. After we had been driving for a few hours, Taylor ordered me Bojangles and Starbucks for breakfast to hold us over until we arrived.

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When we finally arrived in Destin, I was completely in shock at how beautiful it was! Taylor and his family have traveled here several times before, but this was a first for me. I was not expecting the water to be so crystal clear with soft white sand. Destin is located on the gulf and it really felt like we were somewhere tropical.

 

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The house we were renting accommodated the entire family nicely and was super convenient being across the street from the beach and so close to all the best restaurants. Taylor’s family arrived the day before, so the first thing we did was eat some lunch and hop into the pool with everyone!! The weather was gorgeous and we spent all afternoon catching up on sleep and relaxing.

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For dinner, we all decided to eat at Dewey Destin’s, which was a family favorite. They have a great outdoor seating area and amazing food. Taylor ordered the blackened mahi and I ordered the parmesan encrusted grouper. I can easily say it was THE BEST grouper I’ve ever eaten in my life! Everyone else agreed!

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Although the food was great, the service wasn’t. Our server disappeared on several occasions and wouldn’t refill any of our drinks unless we asked. Bummer!

After we paid our bills, we went straight back to the house. Taylor and Kendall were extremely exhausted from their trip and jet lagged. It was a struggle keeping Taylor up so long, but we made him stay awake for as long as possible.

Last Day in Phuket

For our last day in Phuket, we had to check out of our apartment at 12. Before then, I drove into town to pick up some canvas paintings that Kendall and I had ordered a few nights before. We couldn’t pick them up the night they were purchased because they had to dry. Kendall bought a painting of a tiger and I bought one of an elephant.

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Once we checked out, we  went down to the pool until we got hungry. For lunch, we decided to eat at the Only Cheese restaurant that we ate at our very first day since we liked it so much. While at the restaurant, we looked up a good beach to go to so we could soak up our last minutes at the beach before our flight back to Bangkok. We decided on Nai Yang Beach. It was a beautiful day!

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We enjoyed our last day on the beach and stayed to watch the sunset. Of all the beaches we went to this week, this beach was the least crowded. The views were amazing and you could walk everywhere. The sun setting over the water was an incredible sight to see and topped off our trip before heading to the airport.

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IMG_2288The airport was only a five minute drive and you could see the planes landing and taking off from the beach. This was super convenient since we had all of our bags with us at the beach. We got to the airport a little before the check-in counter was open so we grabbed dinner, found wifi, and waited to check in our bags. Once we got our bags checked we made our way to the gate for our short flight back to Bangkok. It only took about an hour.

IMG_2272When we landed in Bangkok, we got an Uber (yep, they have that in Bangkok) and checked into our hotel. We stayed at the Baan Sathorn Riverfront hotel and it was perfect! It was located right on the river, which came with amazing views, easy transportation, and was super close to everything. There was free wifi, an outdoor pool, and airport transportation. We were very satisfied with our stay and would recommend staying here to anyone.