This Thanksgiving was the fourth Thanksgiving I’ve spent living abroad, far away from my family and the traditions I grew up with. Far away from Turkey trots, canned cranberry sauce and anything resembling a pumpkin pie. Every year abroad I’ve made some kind of lackluster attempt at replicating Thanksgiving – a turkey burger one year, a cranberry cocktail at a conference last year, a sad attempt at a pumpkin pie in which I forgot the sugar (mmm let’s not talk about that one). It’s not that I’m not grateful to live abroad (because I am so so grateful), but it can be difficult to spend most major holidays feeling like you are missing out. However, this year was different. This year I celebrated American Thanksgiving in Germany, with my childhood best friend who flew all the way from Michigan! It was one I will never forget.
What to do in Little Venice London is a good question, but the first question for most people is probably what IS Little Venice London? It took me years of living in England before I’d ever heard of Little Venice, and when I finally did I couldn’t believe that this unique area existed and me, a travel blogger, London lover, and frequenter of the city countless times, had never happened upon it! I suppose that is partly the magic of London: It is so vast and fascinating, that you can spend hours – a lifetime – exploring it and you’ll still happen upon new places to fall in love with.
It has now been, wow, over two months since Dan and I spent a weekend in Budapest. Budapest was our last city before we slowed down and spent two leisurely weeks road tripping and hiking Slovenia, and we were facing sight seeing exhaustion. It was the middle of an August heat wave and our Airbnb lacked A/C, but mostly made up for that with its espresso machine. At the time, I jotted down some impressions of Budapest, which made their way to the back of my notebook and the back of my mind. A couple months, a few countries, and seemingly a world away now, I thought I would share what Budapest is for me.
Prior to our trip to Cinque Terre, Italy, I was thrilled to see the famous coastal villages, but was expecting to go hungry as my Google searches showed that gluten free Cinque Terre options were spotty at best. I figured that there are worse things than living off gelato and limoncello…maybe my stomach wouldn’t feel so empty if I distracted myself with the colorful villages around me. WELL. After our five-day stay in Cinque Terre, I am here with an updated list for all of my gluten free traveling friends out there. This really is the ultimate guide to gluten free Cinque Terre, Italy: below you can read my restaurant recommendations village by village, as well as some general tips such as what village to stay in, traditional foods, and more. I have also included a downloadable map at the bottom of the post! Enjoy and happy gluten free traveling.
This post is the final installment (although I will continue to write about this topic in many forms – your feedback is welcome in the survey at the bottom of this post!) in my diary posts on volunteering in a refugee camp in Northern France with the Roland Levinsky Memorial scholarship. You can read the first three posts here: 1, 2, 3.
I’m sitting in the backseat of a dirt-covered truck, pressed between my 6 foot tall boyfriend and a very large Slovenian man. In the front seat, our driver (another large Slovenian man) and the passenger (yet another large Slovenian man) indistinguishably yell to each other over the loud crunch of rocks beneath tires. I stare straight ahead. To my right, the cliff edge and a sheer fall down the mountains. To my left, sharp bend after sharp bend of mountain road, the not-knowing of whether another car will be hurtling toward us at each corner. Our driver bangs the dashboard of the dusty truck with his fist, and my attention is drawn through the window. Briefly, I see a small figure whip by, at least a hundred meters above us, on a thin wire. “That’ll be you” our driver yells, this time in English. I can feel my stomach clench. It’s early morning, and we are driving up a mountain in order to throw ourselves off it. We are heading to the largest zipline park in Europe to go ziplining with Aktivni Planet, and I’m questioning my sanity.
It’s 2am. My eyes are open, adjusted to the grey light and the odd flash of headlights that whoosh by, reflected through the window onto the high vaulted ceiling. The room smells of Oil of Olay, my Mother’s beloved nightly moisturizer, mixed with the faint smell of plumbing to be expected of a centuries’ old Italian mansion. And there it is. My Dad’s snore. Again.
It didn’t take much for me to fall in love with Ljubljana, Slovenia: a hug of mountains circling the city, an expansive farmers market, the purest tap water, even vending machines lined with locally produced milk, yogurt, and juices. It would be hard not to feel your heart flutter as you take in the blue canal peppered with paddleboarders, the skyline of red roofs, and inhale the smell of clean, crisp air so unfamiliar in a European capitol.
In Ljubljana, we spent the night behind bars, locked into the cell of a political prisoner.
As the sun sank, there was no view of the night sky, but rather just the navy-painted ceiling and my imagination. In the darkness, I could hear the distant clangs of other barred doors locking. Hours later, through one small square window chiseled in a meter of stone, the sun rose.