Carnival Cruise to Mexico

Hey Hey Everyone!

If you have been keeping up with my blog posts, you know that this spring 2017 I went backpacking through Europe. I’ve been posting about the different cities I was staying in, the hostels I was staying at, and the day trip that were taken! I’ve also been posting some pics! If you’re interested in these, you should check them out! I’ve only posted about a couple cities so far, so be on the lookout for some new posts of my European adventure!

For now, however, I just got back from a family vacation, so I thought I would give you all the low-down on how it went!

One of my brothers and his girlfriend just took the California State Bar to become licensed attorneys. They had been studying for like 3 months straight. My mom decided around Thanksgiving last year that we should all go on a cruise to celebrate them taking the bar and have time for them to have fun and relax without having to worry about hotels and food and everything!

So my mom booked a 4 night cruise through Carnival! The cruise started on a Monday, and we got off the boat on Friday! The cruise ship departed from Long Beach, California and stopped at Catalina the second day and Ensenada, Mexico the third day! The fourth day was just a day at sea getting back to Long Beach!

The Sunday before the cruise, my parents, my brother and sister-in-law and I stayed at the Hotel Current in Long Beach. They have this deal called the snooze-n-cruise where if you stay the night the day before your cruise, you get to park a the hotel for free for the rest of the week until the cruise is over and a shuttle will take you to the port and pick you up at the end of the cruise! My other brother and his girlfriend live in Los Angeles, and we ended up paying $25.00 for his car to be parked there at the hotel for the duration of the cruise! This was a good deal because the parking at the port was $20/day! So we saved a good amount of money!

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Also, when my mom booked the cruise, she paid some extra money for a kind of pass called “Faster to the Fun”. I think that this was worthwhile! We were the first to board the ship at about 11:30am, while most people had to wait until later in the afternoon. We skipped all the long lines to get onboard! Once we were on the ship, lunch was being served on the lido deck, and we were the first to eat! When the ship stopped at Catalina, people with the “Faster to the Fun” pass, had priority to take a boat over to Catalina. So we could just show up and get a boat. The people who didn’t have the pass had to get a number and wait until a boat was ready to take them, which took several hours! In Ensenada, Mexico, we were docked at the port so there was no lines to leave, which was nice! For leaving the cruise ship on Friday, we were given the option to be the first to leave, and we were off by 7:15! Everyone else had to wait. The ship was organized that only one floor at a time could leave, which would take quite a long time, depending on where your cabin was! One of the best perks, in my opinion, was that the pass gave us the opportunity to have dinner at their restaurant at a reserved time! We had the same table all week at 6:00pm, There was also an option to have dinner at 8:00, but we would’ve been too hungry to wait for that time slot! The menu was amazing! It included appetizers, entrees, and dessert. The dinner came included in the price for the “Faster to the Fun” so we didn’t have to worry about any prices. Everyone at our table ordered at least 2 appetizers, an entree and at least 2 desserts per person. (The appetizers were kind of small, so it’s wise to order more than one!) It was hard to choose just one appetizer and one dessert because there were so many yummy and interesting choices. For appetizers there were options like frog legs, escargo, prosciutto and melon, shrimp cocktail, crab cakes, duck, fried calamari, and soooo much more! I could go on forever, but I think you get the gist of it. Overall, I’m so glad that we picked the “Faster to the Fun” pass. Our family got a lot of good use out of it!

Okay so since we’re talking about food already, I’m going to give you the lowdown on the food situation! (Honestly, I think I was most excited about eating the food than anything else ahaha) Sooooo on the lido deck by the pool, there was a rum bar and a tequila bar. If you order shots of tequila, you can make it a double for a couple of bucks extra. (I think it turned out to be $8, and a mixed drink, like a margarita, was like $9.50) We also ordered a beer tube, and I think it had over 100 ounces. It was $30, but the deal of the day took off a few bucks, so it came out to be like $27. We split it between the family, and it worked out very well! Also by the pool were a burger place that served burgers and fries. They had a self-serve bar with ketchup, mustard, mayo, and chipotle mayo. It also had fresh produce and cooked mushrooms, bacon, and grilled onions to top the burgers! I’m a huge burger fan. I could eat one everyday and never get tired of them, so believe me when I say that those burgers were DAMN GOOD! It took some serious self-control not to eat like two a day. I tried to limit myself to just one a day. Next to the burger place was a Mexican food bar. They served burritos and tacos. They also had a salsa bar that was superb. There were at least 8 different fresh salsas, plus fresh produce to add. The meats were fish, chicken, and pork. The tacos were so good there, that I never made it to the burritos! I would recommend the tacos for sure! If you go into the dining area behind the burger and Mexican food place, you will enter the buffet area! They have Italian food, meats and cheeses, desserts, fruits, a salad bar, a deli, and a pizzeria! The pizzeria was open 24/7. You could also always get ice cream and froyo 24/7. The buffet also had free water, juices, ice tea, and lemonade! The buffet area in the morning was filled with so much good food! They had an omelette bar, fruit, meats, cheeses, cottage cheese, eggs, bacon, pancakes, hash browns, oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, and I think breakfast burritos. There was always coffee and tea all day! I was very happy with all of the food!

So now that I’ve covered the food, I’ll tell you about the actual cruise itself!

When we first boarded the ship, we went and got lunch and checked out all of the food options! I went for the tacos! From there, we explored the ship! They had mini golf, shuffleboard, ping pong tables, a giant chess set, water slides, an arcade, a library, a type of daycare/camp for the children on the ship, pools, jacuzzis, a casino, lots of bars, and different lounges! I hung out by the water slides most of the day! The slides were surprisingly big and so much fun!! They weren’t just for kids, either! For awhile, it was mostly adults going on them! A lot of fries got eaten by me in between going on water slides!

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Before I knew it, it was time for dinner! I went to my cabin to change, and my luggage had already been brought to the room! The family and I met at 6:00 for dinner, and had a wonderful meal. We were all so stuffed! Then, we decided what we were going to do for the night! Carnival has an app that gives you a schedule of what’s going on throughout the ship and when and where it is taking place! So after looking at the schedule, my brothers, their partners, and I checked out Bingo (actually, some of us went and had double shots of tequila first). It was $20 for a basic three card game. Each of the three sheets had three cards on them per game! In an exciting turn of events, my brother’s girlfriend ended up winning $150.00! It was a lot more fun than what I was expecting! From there, my brother’s girlfriend and I went to check out ladies night at a club they had on the ship, while my sister-in-law headed to bed and my brothers went out for drinks! Ladies night was poppin! The music was in point: Beyoncé, Snoop, Nelly, Ciara, Lady Gaga, etc! We only left when we went to meet up with my brothers for a comedy show at 11:30. The show was R-rated so it was only adults. We weren’t the biggest fans so we left early, and I went to bed!

The next day I slept in late and went and got breakfast. I decided not to go to Catalina, but a brother and my sis-in-law went off early to check it out! I ended up spending the day playing mini golf, eating tacos and fries, and going on water slides!! When my brother and his wife came back from Catalina, they went to go play a game show at one of the lounges, but no one else showed up to play, so they won all the prizes by default! They received two bottles of champagne and trophies! When dinner rolled around, we all dressed up for the formal night at dinner! Everyone looked so lovely on the ship! There was a group of people from Taiwan that totaled over 600 people! It was amazing! They were all dressed up, and they were taking a big group photo in the atrium! It was amazing to see, and they all looked so beautiful in their formal outfits! After dinner we took a walk around the ship and took in the cool weather! When 9:15 rolled around we headed over to the largest lounge area (the Paris Lounge) and got seats for a show called “Motor City” that had all Motown music! The costumes were so colorful and pretty, and the performers were great! It was a thirty minute show, but they packed in as many musical numbers as they could! It was fun to watch! After the show, my brother and his wife headed off to the casino, my mom and dad went off to walk around the ship some more, and my brother, his girlfriend and I went to go to karaoke! Ten minutes into karaoke, my brother left to go join the group in the casino! He ended up winning around $100! When it hit 12:00am I was exhausted and went off to bed!

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This was my brother’s girlfriend and I at karaoke, after we changed from our formal attire.

The next day we were up and at ’em with a quick breakfast, and then we went off the boat to Ensenada! It was so much fun, and the weather was beautiful! It was a sunny day with a nice breeze to cool us down! My brother and his girlfriend rented an ATV for the day and went to see the blow hole called La Bufadora and the beaches! They said that they had the best time! They also said that the roads were pretty narrow and winding! So if you go there and rent one, just be careful driving!

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The rest of us roamed around the streets for awhile! We started in the touristy areas and then branched out some. The difference was quite obvious. I had been told by just about everybody not to stray from the tourist area, but I felt completely safe while I was there. I never once had to think about my safety, but I always keep my guard up when traveling no matter what type of area I’m in! When it was 11:00, we went to Hussong’s Cantina! We had margaritas and more margaritas and more margaritas…. and then a mariachi band came and played for us!

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After all those margaritas we decided that we should probably eat something to get something in our stomach. Luckily there were so many places to choose from! We just went to the closest intersection of the streets and picked the closest restaurant! We ordered nachos and tacos with margaritas, of course.

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We were all satisfied with the food, and I was starting to get tired. Those margaritas can really wear you down ahaha. As we were heading back to the ship, we stopped and bought some souvenirs at the shops! I bought a turquoise ring, and it actually fit my finger, which is odd because I have surprisingly large fingers. To end the day trip, I had to stop and get churro rellenos at a small food cart. As soon as I mentioned buying one, everyone else wanted to join in and get one. We all ended up getting them stuffed with caramel!

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I simply cannot pass up churros, especially stuffed ones, and they were delicious!

Once back on the ship, I took a nap and then headed out for the pool! I ate some fries. That’s a given. They had BINGO in the late afternoon, so I definitely joined in on that! This time, we weren’t winners but it was still fun! We all changed and then headed out to dinner! I went and took a walk to get some fresh air, and then met to watch a show called “Love and Marriage” They had 3 couples on stage and asked questions to only the women when the men weren’t there and then asked questions to only men when the women weren’t there. Then when they were all together again they had to guess each other’s answers! It got pretty juicy! AND absolutely hilarious! I ended the night with some sibling bonding time over drinks and eventually hitting up the casino! I was a square and went to bed around 12:00, but I think everyone stayed out pretty late at the casino!

For the last day, we basically just ate, drank, went on water slides, played miniature golf, played BINGO, drank, ate some more, went inn the pool, drank, ate even more, watched a Hairy Chest Competition, drank, ate, took a Beyonce Single Ladies dance class, drank, and squeezed in a round of Harry Potter Trivia. Our final meal was amazing, and we were so stuffed full of food! We basically waddled our way out of the dining room. It was so worth it. We ended the night with a musical show called “Studio VIPs”. It was just a cute little show filled with lots of disco music! The costumes were so so so so beautiful. It was a fun time! We went for drinks after and went to bed.

At 7:00am we met at a certain point on the ship, and then the crew took us down to disembark. We were off by 7:15. I called the hotel, and they sent a shuttle to come pick us up! Once back at the hotel, we all parted ways! It was a lovely vacation! If you’re looking for a vacation without a lot of hassle and planning, I would recommend trying this out!

If you want to hear and see more of my adventures, follow me on here, and on my Instagram.

Thanks for reading! XOXO

Capri: Day Trip From Naples

Hey Hey Everyone!

So as I was traveling through Europe, I ended up staying in Naples for three nights. The first day I saw some of the city and went to the ballet at the Teatro San Carlo (to read more about that check out my blog post, "Backpacking Through Europe: Naples"), and the second day I took a day trip to Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius (to read more about that day trip, look for my upcoming post, "Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius: Day Trip From Naples" to check it out). For my last day staying in Naples, I wasn't quite sure about what to do. Naples is in a great location because you can easily reach a lot of awesome places. The Almafi Coast is just a train ride away, and the island of Capri is just a boat ride away!

Soooooooooooooooo I decided to go to Capri! That night before, I bought my boat ticket online and had it downloaded on my phone. I bought the ticket through OkFerry. I booked a ticket for 8:05 from Napoli Beverello to Capri (NACA). For round trip tickets, it cost me 38.70 Euro. Then, I looked up some cool things to do when I got there!

That morning I got up early because I did not want to miss my boat, but when I got there, I was so confused as to where I should be. I went to the dock where I figured the boat was, but they told me that I needed to go to the box office and get my ticket printed out. Luckily for me, they had all the lines open at the box office and were letting people who had tickets for the 8:05 boat go in front of those who had a later time. I got my ticket printed out, and then I boarded the boat.

Unluckily for me, sometimes I get motion sickness on boats, and it was a rough boat ride to say the least. It was absolutely worth it, though. The view as I stepped off the boat was breathtaking.

First things first, I wanted to take a tour of the Blue Grotto. So I went over to where they were selling tickets for boat tours, but everyone said that the conditions were preventing them from taking anyone over to see the Blue Grotto. I was so bummed out about it, but as I was walking away, a man who was selling tickets for boat tours said that he was just about to take a private group on a boat tour of the White Grotto and for 10 Euro I could go, too! So off I went on the tour! SERIOUSLY GUYS, YOU HAVE TO TAKE A BOAT RIDE AROUND THE ISLAND!! IT'S A CAN'T MISS FOR SURE! WHITE GROTTO? BLUE GROTTO? I THINK ANY TOUR WOULD BE AMAZING!

After I got back from the boat ride, I went and bought a bus ticket to take me to a different part of the island. I was trying to find this chairlift that takes you to the top of the island. So I waited for the bus, and by the time it came, the line was pretty long. I ended up getting a spot standing by the window. OMG. The roads there are SO NARROW. Having a spot by the window with a good view outside made me SO nervous. The little road slowing wound its way up with tight hairpin turns. It was crazy. I ended up getting off at the Anacapri bus stop. From there, I scoped out the area. I walked all over the place and ended up finding a ton of super cute cats!

Then, I finally got back to business to find the chairlift (apparently the official name is the Monte Solaro Chairlift btw). It was relatively easy to find. I just kind of went the other way when I first got off the bus. I went up some stairs and found the place. It was a little odd. I think I was expecting it to be bigger than it was, or more of a bigger deal than it looked. If I hadn't known already that it was around there, I probably wouldn't have found it or known what it was from the outside. Oh well! It's a good thing I did look it up! I bought a round trip ticket for 11 Euro and a one-way ticket costs 8 Euro. Once I had the ticket, I went up the stairs to where the chairlift was operating. Honestly, I had serious doubts about getting on there. I almost turned around and left. The seats were tiny. They were a single seat with this little metal bar that you pull down. It was hokey to say the least. I am a pretty small person in that I'm pretty physically fit body and am relatively skinny, but I am 5'10". Seeing those chairs, I didn't think I would fit. I had a small backpack with me, and I was worried about it fitting with me on the chair. However, I just sucked it up and went over to get on. The guy put positioned me in the right spot, and the chair swooped me up, and he hurriedly put the metal bar down as I was leaving. I was holding onto my backpack real tight in front of me. The view was enough to distract me my nervousness. It was so gorgeous!!!

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I must say, the view at the top was just about as amazing as the view going up. There was a small cafe at the top with tables and seats to sit at with a view. This is definitely a must-see! There were so many different views, and I was lucky that the weather was so nice that day. I had perfect views from every angle.

I spent a long time there admiring the view, drinking a cappuccino and taking pictures (obviously). It was such an amazing experience.

I thought that going back down the chairlift would be less nerve-racking. Hahaha silly me. I just tried to focus on the view, and that was again a great distraction.

When I got back down to Anacapri, I spent some more time looking at the stores and shopping a little. They have a perfumery on the island, and a store there was selling some of it. My mom loves perfume. For gifts, she always ask for it. I tried, I think, about six different scents. I ended up choosing..

After exhausting myself from all that shopping I decided to get something to eat! There were a ton of different places to choose from. I knew that I wanted to eat seafood, but that's about it. After scoping at a lot of places, I settled on Ristorante Barbarossa. To get inside, you need to go up some stairs! So up I went, and even though the restaurant was extremely crowded, the place was huge so I got a great table by the window! Their menu was extensive, especially in terms of seafood! I ended up sticking with the frutti di mare with homemade pasta so that I could try all different kinds of seafood! Also, homemade pasta is always so yummy!!! I hate passing it up! It was definitely a worthy choice!

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After I ate, I was pretty sure that I'd seen just about all there is to see of Anacapri s so I decided to catch a bus back to where I had first started off at the Marina Grande. Once again, the line was long and the bus ride was rather scary. From there I roamed around the area, checking out the shops and the area where the homes were close to the port. They were so cute. Some of the fences were pretty thick, so you couldn't see into the yard, but some were, so I got a good peek about the outside of the houses! Every one of them were so cute!

Finally, as my time was starting to get slim, I went and got an Aperol Spritz with Caprese Toast, potato chips, and some little bread snacks (I'm not sure what they were, but those and the chips came free, and I'm always a big fan of free food). The cafe was right on the water, and I had a gorgeous view.

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My boat ride back to Naples left at 6:10, so I arrived early to get a good seat. I got motion sickness on the way back, but the Italian lady next to me could tell I was having a rough time so she gave me a candy to suck on to try to help. I don't know if it did or not, but it was pretty tasty!

Overall, I had an amazing time, and I saw some beautiful views and scenery that I don't know can ever be beat anywhere else. If you are in the area, I would definitely recommend coming to Capri for at least a day (longer would absolutely be ideal).

To hear and see more of my adventures, follow me on here and on my Instagram

Thanks for reading! XOXO

Backpacking Through Europe: Naples

Hello Everyone!

Welcome back! Today, I'm going to share about my next leg of my journey backpacking through Europe by myself. In case you haven't read any of my previous posts, I'll fill you in. To start the trip off, I traveled to Rome, Italy. I stayed there for 5 days. I did all the basic tourist stuff like see the Colosseum and Vatican City, but I also took a more unconventional day trip to a place called Terme dei Papi, which is a kind of spa that has thermal baths. After these five days, I took a train to Naples, Italy!

I stayed in Naples for three days at a hostel called Giovanni's Home. Like how the name sounds, it is actually the home of a man named Giovanni! (If you want to hear about the hostel and how I liked staying there, check out my post Review of Giovanni's Home: A Hostel in Naples, Italy.)

My first day in Naples I was traveling by train from Rome to Naples. From the train station in Naples I took the metro to the closest stop from my hostel. Right when I came out of the metro station, I didn't have the best first impression. I can't exactly say what it was about the city, but I just wasn't a fan. I thought it seemed dirty and had a weird vibe about it. It almost felt like when I was walking around it was just dark, even when the sky was bright, and it made me claustrophobic, which is weird because I'm not the type of person who gets claustrophobic. I was happy when I found my hostel and got to go inside. After getting myself settled in the hostel and eating lunch there I checked out the website for the Teatro San Carlo. Giovanni told me that the ballet was performing Cinderella, which in Italian translates to Cenerentola. I bought a ticket for that night at the cheapest price possible, and it was 30 Euro. It started at 4:00 pm, so I changed into something nicer and walked to the Teatro San Carlo in about 20 minutes.  When I got there, they told me that my seat was at the highest level, which I think was the seventh or eighth floor. I was located at seat 056, and my seat was in a small room with two chairs. The room was beautiful. The theater was absolutely gorgeous. I couldn't believe it. I had a view right into the orchestra pit, and the ceiling was ornately painted. It was simply magnificent.

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The ballet performance was beautiful. The only problem with the night was that since I was at the top of the theater, it got really hot. I was sweating the entire time. Even when I was leaving through the lower floors, it was extremely warm. However, it was a magical experience overall, and I'm so glad that I decided to go!

The next day, I had arranged for a tour of Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius. I booked through Viator, and the trip was called Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii Day Trip from Naples. For this tour, they pick you up at your lodgings, but my hostel wasn't easily accessible, so I went to a nearby museum about five minutes away. A tour bus came, picked me up, and drove me off to start the tour! It was a fun-filled day, and I was absolutely exhausted by the end of it. I'll be posting a blog post about the details of the tours soon, so be on the lookout if you want to hear about it!

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I wasn't sure what to do for my last day in Naples. I narrowed it down to checking out the city and all the sites I had circled on my map or I could take a boat over to the island of Capri. Guess which option won? Yepppp, I picked Capri! I wasn't a huge fan of Naples to begin with, and I heard that Capri is one of the best places to go in Italy. I bought my boat ride ticket online that night before and had it downloaded on my phone. I looked up some can't-miss spots to check out. I was ready to go! I was up early and off I went to the harbor! Although boating gives me motion sickness, and I had to take a boat there and back, it was well worth the journey! Capri was such a cute place, and I'm SO glad that I didn't decide to stay in Naples for the day! Check out my post "Capri: Day Trip from Naples" to hear more about my time in Capri!

IMG_2025IMG_2020IMG_2018IMG_1954IMG_1944IMG_1938 Naples wasn't exactly my favorite place, but I had a great time staying there. I think that it's a good place to stay if you want to see other places but don't want to pay as much to stay there. For example, the Amalfi Coast is a train ride away, but staying somewhere on the coast could be extremely expensive. Naples is a good alternative!

After a couple of fun-filled couple of days, I was ready to move on to my next destination: Catania, Sicily in Italy!

Following me on here to check out how the rest of the trip goes, and follow me on my Instagram for more pictures of my adventures!

Thanks for reading! XOXO

Review of Giovanni’s Home: A Hostel In Naples, Italy

Hey Everyone!

While I was backpacking through Europe by myself this spring 2017, I stayed in hostels almost everywhere I traveled! So I thought I would kind of review and give an overview of the places I stayed!

While I was in Naples, Italy, I stayed at a hostel called Giovanni’s Home. Like how the name sounds, it is actually the home of a man named Giovanni! I stayed three nights in a standard 8 bed mixed dorm. The hostel was small in that I believe there were only two rooms to sleep in with 8 beds in each. Although online it said mixed dorm, Giovanni had separated the room between men and women. Personally, I don’t care if it’s mixed or separated. So, it was fine with me. The hostel had a big dining/lounge area with a guitar, keyboard, books, refrigerator, microwave, and sunflowers painted on the walls. There was a big bathroom with a shower, toilet, and sink, and there were also two small bathrooms with a toilet through two doors across from each other with a single sink in between. There was an outside terrace, located through a door in the kitchen. The kitchen was nice! During my three days there, Giovanni made a lot of food in there for us!

When I first arrived, he sat me down at his desk, gave me a map, and told me all the different worthwhile places in Naples. He also gave me his opinion on the best way to see Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii in a day. After asking what Italian dishes I liked, he proceeded to gather up the two other women who were at the hostel at the time and take us to the kitchen. He instructed us on how to make the perfect spaghetti carbonara, which I absolutely love!! Also, at some point during this time, he had ordered these special St. Josef’s day pastries to be delivered. So a delivery boy brought a package to his place while we were eating the pasta carbonara. He opened the package and explained what they were and the different ways to make them. For reference, they were zeppole, and they were the fried ones, not the baked ones (basically like little amazing donuts). He insisted that we have some because he had ordered them just for us! It was so sweet of him, and they were just so amazing. My world was rocked, and I was so grateful.

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*These are zeppoles.

Throughout the three days, we made asparagus risotto, eggplant parmesan, and a eggplant, tomato, basil bruschetta type of thing. Everything was AMAZING. You couldn’t go to a restaurant and get food that was that good or get the amount of food that we had. Everyone was stuffed and satisfied. On the morning that I was leaving, I was waiting outside for a taxi. He called me through the speaker system and asked if I wanted to take a piece of the leftover eggplant parmesan to go. It was so sweet.

So If you’re traveling through Italy and are looking for authentic cooking lessons, you’ve come to the right place.

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Most importantly, there is Wifi.

Overall, I would definitely recommend staying here! It was an amazing experience that I’ve never gotten at any other hostel. I learned so much, and Giovanni is a sweetheart. The hostel was clean and safe with good vibes. The beds were basic but comfortable. I paid $49.50 for the three nights, and I thought that I got good bang for my buck!

*Note: For the deposit I paid 9.18 Euro, and paid the 40.32 Euro when I arrived. The deposit is non-refundable, unless you choose the Standard Flexible Booking option when booking your stay. The cancellation policy states that cancellations must be notified to the hostel directly at least 72 hours prior to arrival. If you just don’t show up on your planned day of arrival, your card will be charged for the first nights accommodation.

I do want to add that if you are looking for a party hostel, this is not the place to book. This is a much quieter hostel, and Giovanni will have no problem kicking you out if you come back to the hostel a drunken mess. I wasn’t looking for a party hostel, so it turned out to be a good fit for me.

Here is the link to the website to check it out or to book: Giovanni’s Home

Thanks for Reading! XOXO

To see more pictures of my adventures, check out my Instagram

Review of Alessandro Palace: A Hostel in Rome, Italy

Hey Everyone! This spring 2017 I went backpacking through Europe for 2 months by myself, so I started posting about where I went and what I did! During my time there, I stayed in hostels almost everywhere I traveled so I thought that I should post about where I stayed and how I liked it!

So, here is my review of the hostel I stayed at when I was in Rome, Italy. I stayed at Alessandro Palace! It was the first hostel I had ever stayed at, but surprisingly I wasn’t nervous at all about my first stay!

Luckily, I picked a great place to stay!

I stayed for 5 nights in a 8 bed mix ensuite. The room was clean. The bathroom was clean (thank goodness) and it had a shower, toilet, sink, and mirror. I had a bottom bunk, and my roommates were all nice and respectful to the other guests in the room. Each bed had an outlet and a personal light on the wall.

Of course there is Wifi!

Downstairs there is a bar and kind of lounge. There’s a television AND they always have good drink specials whether it’s happy hour or just cheap drinks! They also put together events for people who are staying at the hostel. The event starts in the hostel and gives you open bar for an hour and then drinking games. Then they take you out to a pub and give you a free shot when you get there. The last stop is a club, where you get free admittance. The price is 25 Euro or 20 Euro if you book it earlier in the day. I never went on one of the events, but a lot of the people who were in my room did, and they had a great time!

If you need to keep something important in a locker you can rent one pretty cheap. I think it’s 2 Euros for 12 hours. (Just make sure you keep track when you start renting it so you know when your time is up.) It’s pretty convenient to have!

One of the cool things about the hostel was that it was located right by the Termini train station and metro station. Being a short distance from the station was a blessing. After I got off the plane at the Fiumicino Airport, I bought a ticket right at the airport for a non-stop train to Termini that leaves from the airport. It is also called the Leonardo Express. It leaves every 30 minutes, and it takes about 30 minutes to get to the Termini Station. From there I had about a 5 minute walk to my hostel. The Termini station was also convenient because of the metro station. I could go all over Rome just with the metro. It was easy to use, and it beats taking a taxi any day!

For a five-night stay I paid 72.80 Euro. The booking fee was 1.50 Euro, and that was the only money I had to put down ahead of time. I had to pay the 72.80 Euro as a whole when I arrived at the hostel.

*Just a side note: Cancellations must be notified to the hostel directly at least 72 hours prior to arrival. If you do cancel more than 72 hours prior, the booking deposit is non-refundable, unless you choose the Standard Flexible Booking option. If you just don’t show up the day you are supposed to arrive, your card will be charged for the first nights accommodation.

For my first time staying at a hostel, I was happy I chose this hostel. I felt safe and comfortable. Everything was clean, and the place had cool vibes! I had the option to go out as a group, which was nice. Being by yourself and trying to go out at night can be intimidating. This provided me with the option to go out in a more safe environment. If you’re in Rome and you’re looking at hostels, I would definitely recommend checking this one out!

Here is the link to the hostel: Hostels Alessandro

Thanks for reading! XOXO

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Terme dei Papi: Day Trip From Rome

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For those of you that read my last post, “Backpacking Through Europe: Rome, Italy”, here is my tell-all about my day trip to Terme dei Papi from Rome. For those of you who didn’t read it, no worries! I’ll give you a quick summary of what Terme dei Papi is. Terme dei Papi translates from Italian to English as The Pope’s Bath. Terme dei Papi is a spa  with thermal baths. They also have different spa and wellness treatments that you can buy.  I found out about it while looking up things to do online in Rome. I found out that a shuttle bus comes to Rome in the morning and takes you to Termi dei Papi, and then it takes you back in the afternoon/evening, depending on what day of the week it is. Here is a link to the website to check it out: Terme dei Papi Website

So, I caught the shuttle bus at 8:30am and headed back on it at 6:00pm. While I was there, I bought a spa treatment, which included a day pass to the thermal pool. The spa treatment was a complete body natural lava mud treatment. The treatment was scheduled for 2:00pm, so I went and checked out the thermal baths outside. You get a key card for the day, and that is how you open and lock your lockers. So I changed into my swimsuit and put my valuables into a locker. Before you enter the thermal baths, you leave your towel/bath robes on basic coat hangers and leave your shoes under your stuff on the ground. I was SO nervous someone was going to take my towel and my jacket with my key card, but everyone else was doing it, so I assumed it was pretty safe. The thermal baths were so nice. Some people had their hair up in shower caps and some just had their hair down and in the water. I didn’t really think about it, so I kept my hair down and in the water. (I read later that putting my hair in the water probably wasn’t a good idea. Oh well.) The water was naturally heated and felt amazing. It was a cloudy, windy, and somewhat rainy day, and the water was a nice refuge. They had an area of a waterfall of the thermal water, and when you sat under it, it was like getting a massage! I stayed in the water for a long time just relaxing. There were people of all ages in the water. I think I was the only solo person there. I didn’t mind though. At 2:00 I reported to the area for the spa treatment. I think it should be noted here that Viterbo and Terme dei Papi are not necessarily tourist places. I was under the impression they were, and I was dead wrong. There were few people who spoke English. My Italian skills were tested real quick, and luckily there were still pretty damn good. So throughout my time there, I was just speaking Italian. Things got tricky when I went in for the spa treatment. The person who would be doing the spa treatment showed me the room, told me to take off my swim suit and hang it on the heated pole so it would dry, put a shower cap on, then she said something I didn’t understand and made a motion with her feet while holding something, and to finally lay on my stomach on the table. I did everything she said except I wasn’t sure about the thing she made a foot motion with. I thought they were socks, but there was only one. I put one on my foot, but it was definitely not in the shape of a sock. Then it hit me. It was underwear. Teeny, tiny, paper underwear. I put it on and just hoped she wouldn’t come in and laugh at me. Luckily, I was right and everything went normal. She brought in this huge bowl of lava mud and put it all over my body. It was warm, and it weirdly felt good. After she applied it everywhere (I mean EVERYWHERE. I kept finding it in odd places days after no matter how much and how thoroughly I showered.), she put on some relaxing music and left me to let it dry. Then she came back and told me to shower and wipe it off with a sponge she had given me. Basically, I just made this horrific mess in the shower because the mud was black and I was trying to rinse it off and it wasn’t working. It was just going weird. I deemed it a lost cause and just got out of the shower. When the woman came back, she gave me a massage. I don’t think I’ve ever been that relaxed before. Oh my gosh. After that, I went and got some fresh juice and a snack. I hung out in the lobby on the couches until the shuttle bus came to take me back. Overall, it was a great experience. My hair had remnants of salts in it for about a week after, but believe me, it was completely worth it. If you don’t want to pay for a spa treatment, just get a day pass to the thermal baths. It’s a good price for it, and it’s a cool experience just to go there.

Thanks for reading! Look out for my next post about where I traveled to next! You won’t want to miss it! Follow me on here and on Instagram for more adventures!

XOXO