Six months ago, I took my first international trip. I intended to post this shortly after I got back with detailed notes about everywhere we went, but now I have a better idea of what I’d want to document next time. I say that to warn you: this might be one of the least organized travel posts you’ve ever seen.

There’s no Day 1, Day 2, etc. breakdown because I don’t remember all of that. But I have a terrible memory and I wanted to at least remember some things, so I’m thankful this blog exists as a place to record that. Here are my highlights!


Jump to Rome (the second half of this post)

I’d like to take this time to shoutout the melatonin gummies that helped me sleep through some of the long flight. By the time we landed, I was rested enough to survive the first day and get started with our first priority—brunch.

Our first stop was Cambridge Street Kitchen. It was extremely cute. Despite my melatonin gummies, I was at my “need coffee or die” stage by then and wasn’t disappointed. A side of cocktails was also had.

The first London Airbnb we stayed in isn’t listed on the site anymore, but it was in the Elephant Castle area. We could walk to a lot of places, including a random shop down the street to buy scarves since we thought it was going to be A LOT warmer than it was (this was late April).

Being touristy tourists, of course we made stops at Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey. I was really into Westminster. It was breathtaking.

We did a lot of walking around our first couple days in London and saw a lot of sights in a short amount of time. The photo on the left is my friend Breonna on the bridge in front of the London Eye.

Check out Breonna’s post about London for details on many more places we went. It’s because of Breonna’s amazing dedication to geotagging on Instagram that I’m able to get the name and link some of the restaurants.

Turns out the phone booth smelled bad inside, so we got our tourist photos from outside.

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese was hands-down my favorite place we went in all of London. It had this underground pub feel, mostly because it kind of is underground. It wasn’t easy to find. We had a great time. Word is Charles Dickens used to hang out there.

My favorite dinner in London was Côte Brassiere. It wasn’t anything London-exclusive, but I had a great steak here and we were all obsessed with their Rhubarb cocktail. I’m content anywhere with olives and wine, if we’re being honest.

Nothing unique on the breakfast/brunch front either, but we had some good food to fuel all of our walking adventures. The Table Cafe (right photo) was amazing. The left photo is a place that no one remembers and we didn’t plan it (it was spotted after we went to find scarves!) but at least one of us tried a traditional London breakfast there.

Borough Market was fun. So much food and a lot of it was unique and packaged, making me wish I had more room in my suitcase. One of my friends, Breonna, tried oysters there for the first time (right photo).

We made a few other random stops. Hatchards Bookstore so I could get the UK edition of a book I wanted but didn’t like the US cover (peak nerd!), M&M’s World that we passed by randomly and I couldn’t resist, and then Ruby Blue where I ate from my newly acquired bag of assorted M&Ms with my margarita. It was glorious.

We saw Aladdin at the Prince Edward Theatre our last night, which I confess that I wasn’t sure was my thing but turns out it was the best thing. Seriously amazing.

We didn’t want to leave London without having fish and chips, which were less than amazing. But I want to believe it was just because of the place we went (Fish & Chipper).

Overall, London was nice but it felt like a cleaner version of New York or Seattle to me. There’s so much I didn’t see that might’ve made it feel like a more different cultural experience, so I’d love to go back one day. For one, I was dying to go to Foyles Bookstore but we didn’t make it.


Go back to London (the top of this post)

Thanks to some travel mishaps, we ended up staying in Rome longer than we planned. I’m so glad we did. It felt very different from the U.S. and we had the best time.

One of our first stops to plan out our sightseeing and grab a bite was The Loft. I had a very large latte (I was dying again, yes, we were staying up super late) and that huge sandwich. I also had to add that cheese, pear, and honey bruschette pictured because vacation.

Our first Airbnb was very cute but extremely hot and didn’t feel erm, safe. The photo below is outside of it.

The Spanish Steps was our first attraction visit in Rome.

Again, more walking, lots of pretty buildings and tiny cars.

We did a guided Colosseum tour that was really great, despite being rainy and cold that day. I’m pretty sure this is the tour we did.

I spotted that sweet car on our way out of the Colosseum, on our way to find shelter and hot beverages. We will never forget when the cafe gave my friend Chanale melted chocolate in a cup when she asked for hot chocolate (bottom right photo). Never.

One night, we went to Ice Club Roma. It just sounded like a unique experience so we had to try it. They put you in special jackets before you go in that makes the cold a little more bearable. But just barely.

Caffetteria Dei Gracchi was my favorite pizza. This was brunch that day. The interior was beautiful and the coffee was strong.

All of the gorgeous architecture was overwhelming in the best way. I could turn to the left or to the right and see strikingly beautiful buildings everywhere.

Lots of fun and gelato was had by all. La Romana (left photo) was my favorite.

Left photo: the breathtaking Trevi Fountain. Right and bottom photos: the Tiber River.

My best memory of Rome was leaning up against a railing by the Tiber river with a couple playing music softly in the background. It was so peaceful. You can see it a snippet of it in my “Europe” highlight on Instagram.

On the left, I’m sitting on a ledge by the Tiber River as mentioned above. On the right, you might be wondering why there’s a random photo of carbonara. It’s because it was my meal of choice at many of the places we ate. This particular plate of it was from a restaurant near the Pantheon (can’t find the name), where we had lots of fun with waiters who were the good kind of sassy.

Near the Tiber River, Castel Sant’Angelo, and the long line of souvenir stands, we stumbled on this Bibliobar. Of course I loved everything about it.

We started one particularly good meal at the end of a really good night with the plate on the left (again, don’t remember the name of the restaurant). The plate on the right is from the brunch buffet at RED (stands for Read Eat Dream). It was a bookstore/restaurant combo so I was very into it.

Every day we looked forward to apertivo time, but I’ll never forget this day near Piazza Navona. The scenery was beautiful and I could’ve sat there forever. I tried prosciutto with melon for the first time, loved it, will now be enjoying it as a snack at home.

We asked these nice ladies to take a group photo of us. The second photo (right) is when they insisted that we borrow their shopping bags for a shot because my friend’s name, Chanale, was like Chanel. Good times.

Left photo: Porta Del Popolo. Right photo: Piazza San Pietro (St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City).

One place we went in Rome that I don’t have photos of but is worth mentioning: Freni E Frizioni, a bar we went to one day for apertivos that had a buffet and great drinks. I’m sure there are more, which proves that I need to take better notes next time.

In conclusion, the trip was amazing but Rome was especially amazing. Ciao!