Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Travel Tuesday

Now that I'm back at college in rural Pennsylvania, where Red Robin is considered gourmet and local style has not evolved past 1998 (I'm looking at you, floor length red and yellow checkered jumper on display in the window of the store across from my house), I find myself missing the pick-up-and-go feeling of living abroad in Italy. My friends and I experienced some of the most amazing places and people during our travels in Italy, and there was nothing more liberating than packing up for the weekend and jetting off to Prague, London, Morocco, Spain, Belgium, Paris, Florence, Sicily, Milan, etc. The phrase "jetting off" sounds glam but Ryanair is anything but (think three hour hungover flights with constant PA announcements for scratchcards, and first time Italian fliers taking selfies all over the place). But no matter how annoying the journey got, the destinations were pretty much always amazing. Undoubtedly, this blog will probably feature places I visited alot, including tips for traveling on a student budget. While we tried to stay frugal most of the time, we treated ourselves to splurging when it was the best way to experience a place. Tuscany in particular. You can't really "do" wine tasting, amazing countryside views, and out of this world eating on a student budget in Tuscany. It just ain't right. We stayed at an amazing refurbished monastery about two hours from Siena, and it was the perfect relaxing, traditional Italian experience.

 The next day, we did an incredible wine tasting at a nearby vineyard. Lucky for us, our study abroad program took the bill for that, but we enjoyed fancying ourselves wine connoisseurs, and were pleased to drink something other than wine in a bag. This pic was taken pre-vino to show the yummy food pairings they offered. Tuscany was truly decadent, and we all felt like divas, which is the only way to feel.

While Tuscany was a dish definitely best served on the $$ side to truly experience the amazing pleasures of food, wine, and comfort, I did muster up some frugal tips as pointers for anyone considering a trip there!

  • Go with a group. I can't imagine how expensive it would be to travel Tuscany with just one friend or a couple friends. Lodging in a villa is usually easier if you split costs, and it's more fun to travel around the gorgeous countryside with a big group anyways!
  • At a vineyard, do the wine tasting instead of buying a bottle or case of wine! It's cheaper, you get a bit of food with it so you don't have to buy lunch, and let's be honest: we college students don't REALLY need to begin our wine collections just yet. Write down the names of the wines you love and keep them in the back of your mind for when you can start a collection.
  • Recreate a wine tasting with your friends! Sure, you won't be gazing out upon rolling fields or hearing regional Italian spoken by hott vineyard farmhands, but getting some friends together for a couple bottles of your favorite wine (the $13 bottle, not the $65....cheers to Yellowtail always) and some cheese is always fun no matter what the setting.

Enjoy these pics and join me in my intense wanderlust today. What are your favorite places to recall on this Travel Tuesday? I would love to hear your thoughts!

1 comment:

  1. this looks so beautiful!
    My favorite place would have to be cottage country where everything was so peaceful & simple

    xx Alicia