The Long Way Around: Rookie Car Rental Mistakes To Avoid in Europe

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We picked up our car rental in Rome from a double-parked position. I should have known this was in fact a metaphor for my car rental experience in Europe this summer. Having rented vehicles in Ireland, Italy and Germany before, I figured that I had the process down. Hidden expenses and catastrophes along the way wouldn’t surprise me. As we jumped in our rented wheels in the middle of Rome’s swarming chaos, I knew right from the first seat belt click, we were already making rookie rental car mistakes in Europe. To prevent seasoned pros and also rental car rookies in the truest sense from making Continue Reading

Where Italian Life Goes, The Sweet Habit of Confetti Follows

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Behind large and ominous doors, they are clamoring over candy. A small wooden desk separates the brassy crowd from ladies in matching blue uniforms, judges trying to keep a little order in the court of candy. Arms flail in the air as if they are betting on horses or partaking in an auction. They are all vying for the sweetness of attention to try confetti, a sugarcoated candy so deeply rooted in Italian history, it practically should get a UNESCO stamp of approval. I head a little bit deeper into the building to see what all of the fuss is about amongst the demanding Italians. Little desks Continue Reading

The Rule of 7: How I Am Fashionably Carrying On For Three Months in Europe

Trying to look like a Roman goddness at Ostia Antica outside of Rome

The first time I traveled to Europe for an extensive period of time, I brought two large suitcases, a small duffle bag and a large tote. Since those early days of over-packing, each time I head to Europe for more than a month, I try to pair down how much I carry. Lugging suitcases on trains, planes and across cobbled cities while dodging tour groups is every traveler’s hellish, sweaty nightmare. Those condensed packing lists advising to just pack two T-shirts, one tank top, three dresses and four pairs of underwear aren’t up any sort of alley I want to be on in the first place. Traveling Continue Reading

The Death Defying Ride To Meet a Saint in Gubbio

Gubbio from above

He points to a red dot in the cement, suggesting I stand at its center. A few feet away from my red dot is another where my husband stands. “Do you want to get on first or last?” he asks. Without hesitation and not wanting to be the one left behind at the bottom of the mountain, I scurry to my spot and wait for what looks like a birdcage to come around the corner and pick me up. As quickly as the moving metal basket arrives, I hop on, against all better judgment. We are off, dangling several feet in the air in an instant. It seems most appropriate that in order to meet a saint, you have to Continue Reading

To Cube or Not To Cube? Revelations on Packing Cubes

Packing cubes

When I first used packing cubes, my motives were for one reason and one reason only. I wanted to bring more without taking up the extra space. I would load up packing cubes until they seemed more like packing bowling balls, heavy and cumbersome. At times I worried they would burst open due to the overloading. As these cubes ended up being more of a hindrance, I wrote off packing cubes, concluding they were actually space hoarders and that simple and careful placement of items in a bag could allow you to bring more instead. As I prepare to spend three months in Europe this summer, I am Continue Reading

Heraklion, Crete Wishes You Were Here

The Church of Saint Titus

Crete’s most famous writer, Nikos Kazantzakis, best known for his novel Zorba the Greek, wrote in his work Report to Greco, “Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality.” I arrived to Heraklion as most travelers do, by ferry. What I read about Crete’s capital prior to setting foot on its docks was nothing truly praiseworthy. Most port cities are plagued with the ugliest of realities. The grease and grime of shipping infiltrates every inch of these cities’ characters. As I peered out of my hotel window, I saw the reality of Heraklion. A concrete jumbled mess of Continue Reading

The Root of The Matter: How To Pack For Your Mane

Regular Sized Hair Appliances vs Mini Sized Hair Appliances

For most women, travel can take its toll on our heads of hair. From weird curls that spring up without warning to hair dryers that take down the electricity at your bed and breakfast overseas, traveling and packing for your mane can end up being your main packing problem. At the same time, packing for your hair can take up a great deal of space in your suitcase. From hair appliances to bottles of shampoo, I wanted to get to the root of the matter. For my upcoming three months in Europe, I need to be as compact as possible. This week I’m sharing how I go about packing compactly and smartly for Continue Reading