Buon Natale in Italy!

Hey World,

As you know, I take off in a few short days for my whirlwind 36 hours in Istanbul, Turkey. I have a lot on my to-do list, but not much organized -- I think I'll do a lot of my plotting on route or in the moment!

What I have been trying to make arrangements for is the second leg of the trip: Italy!

I'll be meeting Mother Dearest in the Rome airport on the 20th, and then we've got 9 days to travel to 4 cities around the country, celebrate Christmas, and see some of the highlights of what Italy has got to offer (and by highlights, I mainly mean wine).

The Itinerary:

Dec 20: Rome
Dec 21-22: Naples + Pompeii
Dec 23-24: Florence
Dec 25-26: Siena
Dec 27-28: Rome

Much like Istanbul, we will rarely have more than 36 hours to spend in any one place -- meaning that we'll see only the things that interest us the most, and fill up on as much delicious Italian cooking as we can get our hands on. 

We'll be moving between cities by train (!) and thanks to a few GREAT Airbnb apartments, we'll be right in the thick of it all in Naples, Florence and Siena -- meaning a lot of points of interest are mere minutes away from our doorstep!

I'll be making a concerted effort to over-document this trip, and the first week of January, relay our adventures over this blog. However if you're looking for live updates, I'll be posting to my instagram where you can follow the hashtag #ParmesanOnEverything :)

If I don't catch you before Christmas:

Happy Holidays
Krismasi Njema
Buon Natale!


Two Weeks Until Turkey!

Hey World,

In exactly 14 days, I'll be heading to Istanbul, Turkey for 36 hours of exploration before continuing on to my final destination, Italia. 

Both of these countries have been on my travel bucket list for such a long time, and I cannot wait to cross them both off before the end of the year!

Istanbul has a wealth of things to do all across the city, and it's going to be my mission to cross off as many sites and experiences as I can in a limited amount of time (and money).

Here are some of the things I have my eye on:

--> Taste kumpir (loaded baked potato) and doner (kebab)
--> Check out the Valens Aqueducts
--> Buy some glass lanterns for Casa Iringa (home)

--> Ferry down the Bosphorus and see Istanbul from the water
--> Get lost in the Grand Bazaar (without breaking the bank)
--> Buy a variety of spices from the Spice Bazaar

--> Purchase a God's eye bracelet, and one to protect my home
--> Listen to the Blue Mosque's call to prayer
--> Visit the Hagia Sophia

--> Soak in the views from Galata Tower
--> Drink Turkish tea!
--> Wander through Topkapi Palace

--> Eat dinner at Hamdi, a restaurant with 180 degree views
--> Take a soak and get scrubbed at a hamam
--> Cross the bridge into Asia, and then wander back

Can I do it all?! I hope so! I'm planning on going to sleep early and waking up early to maximize my daylight hours and get it all in. 

If you've been to Istanbul before and have any suggestions for not-to-be-missed places, restaurants or experiences, let me know!


Note: All images are from http://commons.wikimedia.org/a database of 23,989,542 freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute.