One Month in Europe: Part 7, Athens


We had one day to spend in Athens before catching our flight to Santorini, and I was incredibly impressed! For some reason I thought of Athens as dark, dingy and kinda blah - but it turned out to be bright, beautiful and totally interesting. Since time wasn’t on our side, we asked our cab driver what we should do on our way to our Airbnb from the airport. We decided to hit the major landmarks and do light research on places to eat. Our first destination was the Acropolis, which contains several historical buildings - most notably the Parthenon. We were lucky to get a bright, sunny day which made it all the more enjoyable.


One of the first landmarks we laid our eyes on was the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, built in 161 AD and was originally a concert venue. It’s enormous and impressive and the patterns are gorgeous.


One of the more impressive architectural remains was the Erechtheum, an Ancient Greek temple dedicated to Athena and Poseiden. The famous "Porch of the Maidens" features six female statues as columns which drew me in immediately (see key photo). It’s absolutely breathtaking and the detail is worth every second of the time you spend gazing at it in admiration.

Sorry about the semi glamour shot.

Sorry about the semi glamour shot.

The main event at the Acropolis is the Parthenon, which has been going through a restoration since 1975 (woah!), hence the scaffolding. Regardless, it’s still a marvel and a famous symbol of ancient Greece, well worth the visit.


We also haphazardly stumbled upon the changing of the guard at the Parliament Building, which was fun to observe in real time. The dedication of these guys I tell ya!


Despite our short stay, we were also lucky enough to catch the Temple of Olympian Zeus - yet another mind blowing landmark from ancient Greece.


We didn’t do much else other than stroll and check out as much as we could in 24 hours, but if I had the option I would have stayed longer! Greece in general is an amazing place and I’ll get into the culture and food more in my next post about our final destination, Santorini. Thanks for staying with me!


My Greatest Journey Yet


On January 29, 2019 our sweet Oliver was born at 10:05 am weighing 8lbs 1oz and 22 inches. Our lives haven’t been the same since. Tomorrow he will be 11 weeks old and the photo above seems like a distant memory. It’s really hard to express the love that I have for him in words that do it justice, because (no offense to words, but..) they can’t accurately get there.

I’m someone who was never even sure if I wanted kids. Despite how hard it’s been (people tell you it’s hard, they just don’t tell you HOW hard it is) I wouldn’t trade it for anything. He’s a light and love that is now the center of my life. A different life. A life I’m learning to cherish every day with it’s ups and downs. The oh so humbling experiences mixed with the heartfelt moments. It’s all so worth it.

I wanted to share something I wrote that just poured out of me one day when I was coming home from the gym and feeling a bit emotional. Sometimes I reread it on the hard days. Being pregnant, giving birth, and caring for a child has been the hardest and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. It’s important to remember how strong we are. How capable we are. How loving we are. So here it is.

We are Incredible

On my drive home from the gym yesterday, (I managed to get out for an hour ) I got to thinking about how incredible we are. Not that I didn’t already know, but I reminded myself of it. We went through 9 months of pregnancy and endured back aches, nausea, sleepless nights, complications, hormonal ups and downs. We did all of this and some of us worked full time jobs. Some of us were raising other children. We did our best to keep up with our homes, our relationships, our bodies. We created a baby registry (not easy!) and thought long and hard about the needs of our future child. We gave birth which is as emotionally draining as it is physically taxing, and then we got right back up again and cared for our little ones while in pain and discomfort from the delivery.

We went through (are going through) postpartum, which is no joke. We’ve bled for weeks after and watched every part of our bodies change in ways we are uncomfortable with. Some of us suffered from extreme tearing other physically and emotionally traumatizing scenarios. We feed our child constantly which demands all of our time, negating our prior hobbies and routines. For some of us, it’s milk that we produce from our own body. For others, it’s formula that we’ve researched and know is the best choice for our little ones. We listen to our newborn cry nonstop and wonder what we’re doing wrong even though we’re doing everything right. Sometimes, it inflicts so much agony in us we cry ourselves, often while we are alone and afraid. We battle emotional highs and lows, we get depressed, we start to absorb and try to understand this new life we’ve been given. We’ve tried to get others to understand which is often a fruitless effort.

We don’t sleep, period. We’ve learned that sleep deprivation is now a part of our routine. We protect our children from the unsolicited advice of those who don’t know the reality of their needs. Because they aren’t with them every second of every day. We do our best to research answers and engage with our child so that he or she has had a good start in life. We make silly faces and sounds for them and we make mistakes.

We reach out to each other for answers because we care deeply about the way we raise our child. We get lonely. We get scared. We wonder if we’ll ever be our “old selves” again while we journey into and slowly understand our “new selves.” But we don’t stray away from this new job, we don’t give up and we do it day in, day out for our children despite the hardships. Because we love them, because it’s worth it, and because we are incredible.


One Month in Europe: Part 6, Amalfi Coast


We departed from Rome and began making the journey to the Amalfi coast, which is not the easiest place to get to. From Rome, we took a train to Naples where we stayed in an Airbnb overnight before hopping on another train to Sorrento. Naples is not the safest place, in my opinion. Perhaps it was the neighborhood, but it was definitely sketchy and luckily we were in safe hands at our Airbnb hosts, who picked us up from the train and also drove us to the Sorrento train in the morning. We barely stepped foot on Naples ground. From Sorrento, we took a bus to the Amalfi coast - something we booked last minute (yes - this is the part of the trip we were winging). Gah. A bit exhausting, and if I were to do it again I’d just cough up the $ for a private car to drive us, at least part of the way, and not deal with the logistics of it all.

When we arrived we nestled into our cozy Airbnb, which was high up on a hill in Praiano. Praiano is nice, but it lacks the energy that Positano has, so I would highly recommend staying in Positano because it’s just an easier central base to get around. We found ourselves taking the bus to and from Positano almost every day, and it wasn’t the most convenient thing in the world. However, we did find some gems in Praiano, particularly the restaurant Costa Diva that was absolutely stunning and the food was amazing. Just for that experience alone I don’t fully regret our location!


In Positano we mostly strolled leisurely, stopping in at local places to eat. We also spent time at the beach, kicking back and enjoying some champagne as a newly married couple should. I also learned that there are three main beaches in Positano, but the main beach, the Marina Grand Beach, (the one with the orange umbrellas) is the best, most glamorous and busiest. Unless you are looking for something super laid back, that’s where you want to be. It’s also surrounded by restaurants, shops, and it’s full of great people watching.


As part of our honeymoon, we decided to book a fancy dinner. We arrived at the Champagne and Oyster bar at Le Sirenuse Hotel for some relaxing and indulging before heading up to our dinner reservations at La Sponda inside the hotel. Good news and bad news here: The hotel itself is charming and magnificent in every way possible, it’s an absolute dream. I highly recommend (if it’s in your budget) to sip on champagne and eat some oysters at the Champagne and Oyster bar if nothing else. It overlooks the beauty of Positano and it’s just so chill and enamoring. The bad news: This place is pricey. We did it to ourselves, we realized, when we decided to do the tasting menu at La Sponda. And while the atmosphere is stunning and the service is superior, the food didn’t quite live up to expectations. My recommendation if you go would to just be to get an entrée, skip the tasting menu, and be there for the luxury of the surroundings. It’s incredibly romantic.

La Sponda

La Sponda

Another gem we stumbled upon in Positano was Casa E Bottega for a super fresh and delicious lunch. This place hit the spot so much that we went here twice, and I’ve been dreaming of it ever since. The food is healthy, interesting, and just plain good. The interior is also beautiful yet casual - and acts as a partial home decor store, so you might pick up something for yourself after lunch. The only downside here is that they only have inside seating, but who cares? It was just as nice.

Inside Casa E Bottega

Inside Casa E Bottega

On another one of our days spent in the Amalfi coast, we took a day trip to Capri island and stopped in at the blue grotto along the way. The blue grotto isn’t always accessible, since it depends on the tide - but we were lucky enough to be the last crew of folks that they let in before it was a no go for later arriving tourists. Basically how it works is they put two people in teeny tiny little row boats with a man who rows you through (ducking all the while) a very tiny entrance into the grotto, where you spend under 5 minutes witnessing the beauty of the ultra bright blue water. I believe it costs around 10 euro, but I can’t remember. During our 5 minute adventure, Chris sparked his inner adventurous spirit and asked if he could jump in! I of course stayed put, and snapped some pics of his silhouette swimming in the deep blue, wondering when he would get back into the tiny boat safely. We exited as the last tourists, and the guide charged Chris 50 euro for his dip. Scammed, I tell you! Worth it? Still not really sure, but Chris would say yes.


Capri island, to me, wasn’t super eventful. Granted, we didn’t do much research prior to arriving, but it just seemed like another place to walk around, check out tourist shops, and have lunch. There was really nothing particularly interesting about the island to me. What was more beneficial about the trip was the boat ride in and eyeing the rock formations on the way, checking out the surroundings of the island, and actually exploring some of the nooks and crevices of the rock formations along the shore. Note that we did zero research, so there might be something worthwhile that I’m not aware of!


Overall Amalfi was a great place to relax, take in some sunshine, and get away from big cities. We enjoyed the downtime but were even more excited for our final destination - Greece!

One Month in Europe: Part 5, Rome


From Florence, we made our way to Rome. In my early twenties, I visited Rome for three days and it was my favorite part of a much longer European itinerary. It was a much different experience then, as there was no Tripadvisor or blogs telling you what’s what and where to go. We had to go into a creepy basement in our hostels and pay to get a phone call with calling cards to communicate with our family so far, far away. It was also a different time in my life, so a Rome bar crawl was appealing as well as many things I don’t have interest in now. However, I did go back and pay my respects to the landmarks I once witnessed, and Chris had never experienced Rome so we checked the boxes. Our weather wasn’t great, and admittedly one day we stayed in and watched Netflix when it was pouring outside. When in rainy Rome, Netflix.

We stayed in the Trastevere area which was ridiculously charming, full of ivy walls everywhere you look, cobblestone streets, and adorable doorways.


Near our Airbnb, we stumbled upon a sandwich shop called Donkey Punch which had one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had. They also had a pretty great beer selection. Super casual, simple and near our Airbnb, so obviously we ate there more than once.


On one of the most beautiful days, we toured the Pantheon and had lunch at a touristy place outside, because location. I’d say the Pantheon is worth a visit for anyone who hasn’t been to Rome. The columns and interior dome are stunning – plus and it’s a classic Rome landmark.


We also made our way to the Colosseum, mostly because Chris hadn’t been. My first time visiting I wasn’t overly in awe, but most people are, so don’t take my word for it. Weather wasn’t on our side this day, so we did a quick tour and then off we went.


What’s a visit to Rome without a stop at the Trevi fountain? We were sure to get some gelato and linger for a bit and then made sure to toss our three coins into the fountain. There are legends/rituals that go along with the coin tossing, so make sure to follow them :) The first legend says to throw the coin from the right hand over the left shoulder so that you’ll make it back to Rome one day. Another legend states that you should toss three coins into the fountain. The first coin guarantees that you’ll return to Rome, the second is for a new romance, and the third will ensure a good marriage.


One of the last main things we did in Rome was visit the Vatican, and though it was different this time around I will never not be in awe by its magic. When I was 22, I remember making my way into the Sistine Chapel. You could hear a pin drop, the room felt sacred and untouched, and goosebumps were abundant. It was surreal in my mind, and my heart dropped just being in the midst of this wonder. The majesty of that moment burns in my mind until this day. Fast forward 12 years later, and it’s very different. People are taking selfies of themselves and the art, violating the no talking rule, and concentrating more on the photos and uploads than the beauty of the moment. It was hard for me to witness that, and I wanted to erase it from my memory and hold true to an older time when it felt so sacred. Regardless, it was still absolutely beautiful, and I hold on tight to my time in 2006.

As far as where we dined, Chris and I sort of winged this part. We did go to L'Arcangelo (the BEST gnocchi I’ve ever had - though I wouldn’t recommend the atmosphere and location) as well as another boutique restaurant that was very high in demand with lines out the door. I’m forgetting the name, but it ended up not being anything that great and we sat next to two tourists and quickly realized we’d been trapped. I wanted to make it to Roscioli, but we didn’t have time.

That’s mostly it for Rome! The next part of our trip is the part we were very excited for - the Amalfi coast.