I love birthdays in general (and especially my own!) which is why I was really surprised and excited when I came home from work the week before I turned 22 and my sister and mom were looking up tickets to see a Broadway show for the occasion. We ended up seeing Cinderella and for the whole week I could hardly wait. My aunt and cousin were in town and also came with my sister and parents. The show was extremely cute and made me laugh too. A little bit different from the Disney movie version, and now I really want to rewatch that version too since I haven’t seen it in so long.
Isn’t my cousin adorable?
Also, I am a big fan of “birthday week” so the celebrations continue, but that’s for another blog post…
Continuing the Italy series even though it’s now been three months since we got back… oh well, this is what med school does to me. Looking back on Italy makes me want to go on vacation so badly! I seriously hope there’s some way I can go back to Europe again next year - there’s so much of Italy we didn’t get to see, or Paris would also be amazing…
Saturday morning of our trip, after three days in Rome, we got up early and departed for Florence! This was our first experience with Rome’s public transportation and it was actually fine and not at all confusing as I thought it might be. (I think once you can handle the NYC subway system, you can do anything…) We took the subway to Roma Termini, then a 3 hour train ride to Florence. We apparently passed by the beautiful Italian countryside the whole way… I wouldn’t know because I fell asleep the entire ride. Since we only had two nights in Florence, we wanted to get started right away with all the must-sees, starting with the Duomo, the main church. One problem: J and I forgot to wear scarves and sweaters to cover our shoulders and knees, which is required for most of the churches in Italy. We had to go all the way back to the Florence train station and get clothes from our bags, but luckily we still had time to climb both the Duomo and Giotto’s Bell Tower. I tied a sweater around my legs which counted as a “skirt” to the ticket office.
The Duomo is beautiful inside, and really striking on the outside. The view from the top is spectacular, and the 400-step climb makes it even better. Every single building in Florence has a red roof, and then beyond are the mountains and countryside. Giotto’s Bell Tower is about the same height, and you get a great view of the top of the Duomo.
As lunchtime is the only time during the day I had to walk around and get some fresh air, I usually went straight to the park nearby. But after hearing all about the new World Financial Center steps from the office, I had to walk over there one day and check it out for myself. There’s a sign at the World Trade Center Path station leading the way, and you know you’re headed in the right direction when you come upon this all white, very futuristic looking passage:
The World Financial Center aka Brookfield Place looks a bit like the Time Warner Center, with its all glass front. Upstairs is an entire food court, full of not-your-average-McDonald’s fast lunchtime eats. The place is really high end for a food court, and there’s options for whatever you’re in the mood to eat, whether it’s Sprinkles Cupcakes or sushi or tacos. I can’t remember what I got, but it was from Dig Inn Seasonal Market. Outside, is a really nice patio overlooking the water. After some wandering, it was back through the white tunnel and to the office I went.
I was thinking about how my blog is called 5th and 59th yet I haven’t been above 15th Street in what feels like forever. My office is all the way down in the Financial District, and sometimes I’ve had dinner with friends afterwards, but there’s so many good places downtown and they tend to be more quaint than those in Midtown. A couple weeks ago, L and I got dinner at Buvette, a French café in the West Village. The place is so cute and makes me feel like I’m right in Paris (not that I’ve ever been, but I’m using my imagination ok?). I’m really in love with their business cards, which are really decorative and super thick (I’ve started collecting restaurant cards and have since become more attentive to cool-looking ones).
The food menu is absolutely tiny (literally – the paper it was on was maybe a quarter the size of a normal piece of paper). The drinks menu, on the other hand, comes in this whole entire booklet. All of the options looked good, but we both went for prosecco cocktails and shared a couple dishes.
Here are some pictures from the Vittoriano monument, Trajan’s column, Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and Roman Forum, which we did all in one day. The last three are all ruins from the “ancient city.” Again, a lot of walking, probably at least seven miles throughout the day. No wonder we were able to eat pizza, pasta, and gelato every day without getting fat! The pizza in Italy is good, but I like NJ/NY style pizza better. The pasta here, though, was really good. So was the wine, although maybe I didn’t appreciate it enough until I went on a wine tour in Tuscany (more on that later!) Our last night in Rome, we went to a nicer restaurant that our apartment host recommended. It was very good, and the owner came out and gave us grappa shots on the house.
Without even meaning to, H and I have started an annual summer tradition of a sister date in New York CIty. It all started when she came to visit when I lived up near Columbia, then again last year, running out of the Met Museum and trying to find a place to eat, stumbled into this really cozy and beautiful restaurant on the Upper East Side. So last week, I met up with H after work and after some shopping we walked around Union Square to find a place to grab dinner. H’s one request was that we had to eat outside, since it was such a nice day out. Luckily, we soon found Da Andrea, a cute Italian restaurant that had an open table for two outside in the front. Normally I hate eating outside (in theory a wonderful idea, romantic eating al fresco as the sun sets, etc etc., but in reality I tend to get bitten alive by mosquitos) but fortunately it was a perfect day out and I didn’t get any bug bites!