My first trip to New Orleans was for Mardi Gras during my senior year of college, so you can imagine my most recent trip down South was a very different experience! The Today’s Dietitian conference was the perfect excuse to reacquaint myself with this historic town, and to eat and drink my way through the Big Easy.
Ever heard of some place being called a “queen city”? Well, for those of you know don’t know, the term “queen city” is used to describe a city which is the largest in a state , but is not the capital. I have been lucky enough to live in two of the, in my opinion, best Queen Cities in the country; Burlington, Vermont and Cincinnati, Ohio. A Midwestern girl at heart, Cincinnati will always be my home and I cherish going back for the holidays to be surrounded by my favorite familiar sights, but to also explore this every-changing city.
At different points throughout our Hawaiian getaway we would ask each other, “Would you feel okay if we had to go home tomorrow? Do you think we’ve seen and done enough to make our trip worthwhile?” And our answer to that question after one week adventuring in Kauai was a resounding “No!” because we knew there were so many more mountains to climb, more poke bowls to eat, and much more relaxing to be done on the island of Maui.
At first I thought, “Let’s go somewhere different, everyone goes to Hawaii for their honeymoon.” Boy is it a good thing I didn’t listen to myself- honeymooners go to Hawaii because it is, in a word, AMAZING, and I feel so lucky to have spent 12 days exploring two incredibly unique Hawaiian Islands, Kauai and Maui. Now, my husband loves to plan trips, and so even though this was our honeymoon and we would be coming from wedding craziness and a year-long absence of real vacation time from work, our trip was going to be chock full of day-trips, adventuring, and, of course, lots of eating.
We started on the island of Kauai and I’d love to share our top 6 experiences from this beautiful faraway piece of paradise.
It’s been five years of dating the most wonderful man, three years of studying macronutrient metabolism and designing lesson plans for nutrition and gardening programs, and one year spent working (for free) at a hospital, clinic, and community nutrition sites, but I wouldn’t trade that journey for anything because today I can happily introduce myself as Mrs. Casey Luber (almost Seiden), MS RDN!
I couldn’t help myself with the alliteration in this post’s title, but there are no two words that better describe our time in Sorrento. Every night we witnessed incredible sunsets, whether that was from the terrace of our “slice of heaven” hotel or table side during a dinner of delicious seafood, pasta, and wine. If you’re looking to relax and be awestruck by the coastal beauty of Italy, you must visit and, we think, stay, in Sorrento.
And you, Rome? What do you have to offer us for the next two and a half days? Very quickly we found out that Rome would be giving us history, heat, and a few headaches! Being the capital city, Rome is filled with bustling commuters, eager tourists, and what felt like 100,000 Vespas zipping around every corner and alleyway, but we were excited to join the masses and explore the city on foot, just like we do at home in NYC. With complimentary water from our amazing Airbnb, Domus Alberti in the hip Monti district, we set out to see the sights!
Let’s hit the road! After two and a half whirlwind days in Venice, we were indeed ready to relax during the next part of our trip in beautiful Tuscany. We had about an hour and a half drive from Florence (where we retrieved our automatic (!) Fiat) to our small agriturismo (working farm + b&b) located outside of Siena, Tuscany. The rolling hills and roadside poppies are just as breathtaking as you’d imagine and I could have gotten lost in them for days had I not needed to pay attention to the curving roads. Tuscany is a wine-lovers paradise and the food…I never could have imagined the richness and uniqueness of Tuscan cuisine. If you’re looking to slow down, truly “do as the Italians do”, and engage all of your senses, you better head to Toscana.
For us we couldn’t not go to Venice. To see this city made up of dozens of tiny islands that may one day be consumed by its own waterways was not a question in our minds. Yes, it has a considerable tourist presence- mostly drawn by the promises of eternal love as you ride a gondola under the Bridge of Sighs- and it may have been difficult to truly sense what life is like for the small population of native Venetians, but our time in Venice was incredible and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a visit to this unique and special corner of Italy.
For the past two weeks I have indeed been living “the sweet life” while traveling around Italy with Danny. From Venice to Sorrento, with Tuscany and Rome in between, we embraced all that this magnificent country had to offer us and did not leave disappointed, or hungry! Now that we are back home, I finally have some time to digest- literally and figuratively- all that we saw, sipped, and savored on our journey.
My grandmother was a voracious traveller and kept impressive notes during her trips, which not only made for cherished keepsakes, but served as a reminder to remember every detail of such special experiences. So, I scribbled down names and notes at the end of every day for the sake of my memory and hers. Over the next few posts I’ll translate my notes into a mini travel guide for what we think is worth seeing, skipping, and savoring in Italy should you plan to visit (and you should!). And even if you’re not planning your own Italian adventure you can still enjoy the photos and journaling of our scenic and scrumptious journey.
One last thing! When I think of Italy, eating, and enjoyment I often think of the first section of the book Eat, Pray, Love and so thought I’d leave you with this clip from the movie. While not every meal blew us away, so so many of them did feel like this scene, with a happy, lively aria playing in the background as we indulged without guilt. Allora, andiamo! So, let’s go!