Thursday, 22 September 2016

Summer '16

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♪ Drake- Summer 16♪

When Drake dropped "Summer 16" I suddenly had a good feeling about this summer! I couldn't be more right, this summer flew by and there's so many places I saw and so many things I've learned! Besides going to the UNTOLD festival and seeing Rihanna live, I'll never forget how much I've loved Sicily, especially Taormina. I'm currently packing for my last trip before university starts again, but I felt like sharing these photos my cousin Ioana took while we visited Taormina for the third time. I'm wearing the most comfy skirt from Primark which my aunt got me from the UK and my favorite sandals ever (bought from Sicily actually), which are from Bata.

I've also included in this post photos of the BEST cannoli made in Sicily, from Da Cristina (find them in Taormina). It's where I also discovered how a true gnocchi sorrentina should taste like and the pleasure of having almonds, chocolate and so many other things in your cannoli filling!

Summer of 2016, you've been my absolute favorite!

Monday, 12 September 2016

Sicily Day 5: Villa Romana del Casale & Ragusa

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The hottest day we had in Sicily turned out to be the day we had to travel most, because Villa Romana del Casale and Ragusa are far away from Taormina. The heat was also the reason I don't have many outfit photos from that day, absolutely none would look ok in that much amount of sun! Still, I have plenty of food photos and the beautiful places we visited that day.

It took us about 2 hours and a half to get to Villa Romana Del Casale - which is a Roman villa built back in the 4th century- what's incredible about it is the fact that after a big earthquake most of it colapsed. Yet, hundred of years after that, archaeologists discovered some breathtaking Roman mosaics, in perfect condition - it is, to date, the richest collection of Roman mosaics in the world, which is why it was made an UNESCO World Heritage Site. I couldn't take any photos because they were very strict, but believe me, it's totally worth the visit ( just Google it). As beautiful as it was, we still struggled with the heat, so we stopped at the famous Trattoria La Ruota nearby for some refreshments. There, we had the best cannoli in Sicily (okay, it's a tie with Taormina's Da Cristina, but more on that in a future post!).

After this, we headed to Ragusa (once again a long ride). One very important thing you must know about Ragusa: there is the new town (on a hill) and the old one (the historical and charming part). We kept going down with our cars and then we came to a point we couldn't get any further with our cars (you can see the main photo of this post how much there was still to go down) and then we had to go down the stairs- hundreds and hundreds of them! Ragusa Ibla (the old town) is so charming and unique, it wasn't like any old town I've visited before and it was the best cardio workout I got in Sicily ( I imagine people living there are so fit!). It was about 4PM and we were looking for a place to have lunch, but as you know, Italians have their siesta at that time, so there was almost no restaurant open! We weren't just starving after the cardio workout, but also couldn't cope with the heat anymore. We were lucky enough to find Biancomangiare , which is like a bistro, so there we found ourselves eating- burgers and fries in Italy! If you told me I would go to Sicily and have a burger I would have told you- never in a million years! But you know what? They're on the 2nd place in my life list for burgers (the 1st places belongs to Vivo in Iasi, obviously!).  I guess you never know what's in store for you! Now, about our hike back to the cars after having such a rich meal...it's safe to say we burned all calories that burger had haha!

Monday, 29 August 2016

Sicilian adventures: Day 4 - Messina, Milazzo, Novara di Sicilia

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Back to my Sicilian adventures, the fourth day is something I'll never forget. We started the day with a long drive to Messina. Messina is a beautiful city, I particularly loved the fountain in the Central Square, I couldn't stop taking photos there haha. There was also a really cool souvenir shop nearby.

Next stop was at the lighthouse which is closest to Italian shore, you can literally see Italy right across the sea. Then Milazzo followed. It's a magical city, such a pleasure to walk on the seafront on a Sunday afternoon, the breeze was everything. We stopped at the Washington Bar, which seemed like a really pro pastry & bakery shop, it was so hard for us to choose from the variety of desserts, both traditional and international! I chose a Tartufo and I was so happy about it, such a divine flavour!

After Milazzo, came the real adventure. We went to Novara di Sicilia, a village up in the mountains, famous for the view- you could see both the sea and the Mount Etna from above. We thought we'd never arrive there, there was this crazy serpent road. Little did we know about what was about to follow. As we entered the village the roads were getting narrower and steep and the GPS failed for the first time on our vacation. We got to the point where a street was at an angle of over 45 degrees, my mom and aunt refused to go by car out of fear, that's how crazy everything was! I was just praying the engine won't die on us, and it nearly did at some point, talk about something I'll always remember! Naturally, when you climb something you also have to go down, and we were to scared to choose the same road we came from. We listened to the locals and took another way down, which was even crazier! The street was so narrow it could barely fit the car and the mirrors (now I get why everyone has the Fiat 500 there) and at the end of it- an even narrower serpent road! Can you imagine the amount of manoeuvres it took to make a double U turn when your car can barely fit? Especially when the car is a rental and there are buildings everywhere, left and right? I still wonder if that street really was meant to be for cars, but we just listened to the locals! We were absolutely terrified so we stopped when the road of horror was done. And what do you know, we ended up at the place with the best panoramic view of Novara di Sicilia! (all the photos on Google are taken there actually). It was truly an unexpected reward which made us recover from the shock . Looking back it's the panoramic views that come to my mind first about Novara di Sicilia, which is an amazing thing!

I wore a Primark dress that is very close to my heart because it's that one dress which looks good on you regardless of your weight fluctuation. I swear I sometimes believe this dress is magical, I've had some days after too much pasta and cannoli which were saved by this pretty dress! I have my aunt to be thankful for this, she got it for me from the UK and it truly made my summer!

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Bday no. 21

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♪ Blessings - Big Sean, Drake & Kanye West ♪

Every year I like to do a photoshoot on my birthday and post it on my blog so I can remember it. I always get emotional, because after I post it I start searching my old birthdays on the blog and see how much I've grown up. This one's a little late, my birthday was on the 12th of August, but due to the fact it was between the Untold Festival and the Rihanna concert in Bucharest I attended, I did a small celebration this year, surrounded by two of my best friends and family. Still, from something meant to be low key it turned into one of my favorite birthdays ever! It was a day full of surprises. I woke up to a giant bouquet of roses and an Iphone SE (I had no clue or need for a new phone). It's the perfect iphone for me because it's basically an Iphone 6S in a body of an Iphone 5 => it has a 12 MP camera instead of 8! It really makes a huge difference, looking back of all the photos I took at the Untold festival with my old phone vs. the Rihanna concert with the SE I still can't believe how lucky I am to have it! 

The roses were my dad's work of art, he got the idea when I got a day earlier from my birthday a small bouquet of roses- he went and got seven of those in different colors and arranged them together in a box - it's my favorite flower arrangement ever (may I add he has no idea about the box of roses trend that's been going on lately? haha). I also had the best cake, it's from the same bakery I got it two years ago, but this year they put more forest fruit cream between the layers, divine! I was finally able to wear this Zara lace skirt on my birthday! I say "finally" because I've been looking for the right top for it for four years now and this summer I found it in the Mango summer sales.
All the other gifts I included in the post from my cousins and my best friends made me so emotional and grateful, I honestly don't know where I would be right now if I wasn't so blessed to have so many beautiful people in my life! As I grow older, I come to the conclusion that birthdays aren't really about gifts for me, they're about celebrating with the people most close to my heart, the ones that are always there to support me, make me laugh and hold me down. I just want to say a big "I LOVE YOU" to mom, dad, my sister, my cousins, my aunt&uncle, my best friends & you, my dear readers, who chose to follow my journey from time to time!

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Sicilian Adventures: Day 3 - Taormina & Savoca

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♪ Paradise - Big Sean ♪

I know I still got many posts to write about Sicily, but the reason I'm behind schedule is the Untold Festival which I attended in Cluj Napoca (I can't wait to also write a post about it, it was an incredible experience!!).

Tomorrow I'll be 21 (Where does the time fly?? I remember being 15 when I wrote my first post for this blog!) and I'm glad I'm sharing my favorite day on my Sicilian trip on this occasion!  Whenever you ask someone about their favorite spot in Sicilia, they instantly reply: Taormina! Naturally, it ended up being our favorite place as well, we went on three different days there and I would still love to visit it few more times in my lifetime.

I loved the streets just as much as I loved the streets in Florence and Paris 
(therefore, they made it into my top 3 list) probably because of the multitude of colorful flowers and beautiful buildings. The Botanical Garden is also breathtaking, but what really stands out is the Ancient Theatre of Taormina. It's a view I'll never forget, we just really couldn't bring ourselves to leave it!! You had the magical theatre, with the sea and the Mount Etna in the background. I just felt infinite staying there and contemplating. At some point, we stopped to get some refreshments and I finally tried the famous cassata Siciliana - I took it as personal challenge because it's told to be the sweetest dessert in Sicilia, and I'm never one to back down haha! It's actually a sponge cake moistened with fruits juices and with ricotta cream between the layers (the same recipe for the canolli filling cream) and covered in marzipan (green usually). Everyone found it to be too sweet, but I went crazy for it! In Taormina I also found the wallet of my dreams, at Furla, on a sale, which I got for myself as a birthday present.

After Taormina, we went to Savoca, a mountain village where scenes from Godfather Part 1 were filmed ( Michael's wedding was not actually shot in Corleone, as it's stated in the movie) and we actually had a delicious lunch at Bar Vitelli , the famous bar where Michael meets Apollonia's father (who owns bar Vitelli in the movie). I've never heard of crostone before, and I love it! I didn't find it in other parts of Sicily and Bar Vitelli also had the best strawberry granita I've ever had in Italy. Aside from Bar Vitelli, it was also beautiful to walk on the roads Michael and Apollonia would walk (with the horde of aunts behind them haha). I chose a light blue dress from Zara for that day, which was a birthday gift from my best friend last year, which made the heat bearable!