The Galleria and stepping on a Bull’s Balls in Milan

The Galleria

If you’ve been following along on my European adventure, you should know that I’ve just visited the Duomo in Milan, Italy.

It is a beautiful sight and I could stare at the details of that building forever. But we had very little time left and the rest of Milan to see.

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Sioux Empire Fair

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Food. That’s all we want to hear right? Well at least at a fair you think immediately of food. And that is exactly what I did for this fair.

Now I’ve been a San Diego Del Mar Fair girl all my life, so it’s my first time to experience this Midwestern type of fair.

The 76th annual fair went for a week long, a fairly short period of time in my opinion, but I realized I was there almost the entire week.

I was literally at the fair almost every single day since work had me going to the fair all week and then on my days off I wanted to eat and hang out with Alex and so we did.

While there is no comparison to the Del Mar Fair considering Del Mar is much larger and longer, but the Sioux Empire Fair was a lot of fun and had some yummy fried foods. Which, I think, is pretty much all you need at a fair.

Fair Food Stands

Why don’t I just get right to it?

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Bonus: Root Beer Tasting

imageI have been obsessively making lots of root beer floats lately. And Alex and I have been quite enjoying it.

As a bonus to my last wine tasting post, since we decided to bow down from all the wine drinking our driver took us Old Town Temecula, California to see the town.

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On our way to Old Town, you’ll see horses in the Vineyard. There is even wine tours on horses!

Even though I used to live so close to Old Town Temecula, I surprisingly have not been there. As an extra part of our wine tasting tour, our awesome chauffeur took us to Old Town Root Beer Company to do some root beer tasting.

The store literally had hundreds of different kinds of root beer. It was pretty amazing if I must say so myself.

Rootbeer racks

It had all of your originals and some quite odd pop bottles.

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Not all root beer, but all kinds of pop! (I’m starting to catch on to the Midwestern talk of pop instead of soda!)

As a group we decided to chip in and just buy a few root beers and have our own root beer taste testing.

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St. Maarten, Philipsburg – Island #2

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To continue on with my Eastern Caribbean Cruise Getaway, our next stop is going to make you wish you were in that warm beach now.

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My next island adventure was at St. Maarten, Philipsburg. (And if you don’t remember, my last island adventure was at Puerto Rico).

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St. Maarten is a beautiful beach city. But it also has some fickle weather where it can rain one minute and have the sun shining high the next. But we were lucky to catch mostly the sun.

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Here you can see the clouds slightly forming into rain clouds.
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From our port we had to take a little boat to get to the main city. Once at the city it was shops, restaurants, and the most beautiful sandy white beach I had ever seen in my life at that point.

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We decided to walk around the city before going out by the beach. We found a little church and went inside. It was small, but dainty and had so much character to it.

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We went into shops and I ended up buying some souvenirs for my family here. One of them was a cute little green dress for my goddaughter.

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Around noon we decided to try some local food. And what’s more local than some jerk chicken and what the drink the Caribbean is known for: Rum.

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We saw this cute outside restaurant that had a grill going in both the front and the back and a bartender all right next to the beach. Safe to say, it was absolutely delicious and I ate that chicken right up. Oh how I wish I can go back and eat that chicken once again.

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After a few rounds of blended rum, it was time to hit the beach. This day we were actually able to relax by the beach and enjoy the sun and water. And of course that is exactly what I did. We rented out two chairs and an umbrella and I set out for the water.

Yatch

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Paris, France – Rain, Crêpes and the Eiffel Tower

Our second day in Europe, we hopped on the Eurostar and made our way to the beautiful city of Paris.

Now Paris is beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Our hotel came with a little view and even just that was breathtaking.

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Our amazing view from our top floor window.

We were a bit tired from all the trains, metros, and walking, but we couldn’t stay inside on our first night in Paris. So we settled our stuff down, took a quick breather and were out the door to explore the city.

Alex booked this hotel called Fred Hotel. It was only about a 30-40 minute walk to the Eiffel Tower. Well to save us a few bucks for the metro, we decided to just walk.

It’s truly not a far walk to the Eiffel Tower, that is, until you get lost.

With no navigation system, we had to rely on this little city maps I had of Paris to get there. Right off the bat, we had already missed a turn and ended up walking about 10 minutes in the wrong direction. So we had to turn back, and there we missed another turn somehow.

After trying a bit more walking, we were starting to get frustrated that we had no idea where we even were. No navigation system really sucks when you’re in a foreign land.

And to the best of our luck, it started to rain. And I don’t mean a small sprinkle. It started to pour. So there we were at a corner trying to look at the maps on my phone and it starts to pour that we can’t even read the map without my phone drowning from the rain.

Luckily, my good navigation systems and map reading (Alex can back me up on this, I was usually always right when it came to directions in Europe) we were finally headed in the right direction to the Eiffel Tower.

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So close, but still so much walking.

Finally after what felt like an eternity of walking, we saw the Eiffel tower and got so excited. Unfortunately, the Eiffel tower looked closer than it actually was and we still had a bit of walking to do. But even through all the rain and frustrations of being lost, we made it the beautiful Eiffel tower.

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London, England – Tubes, Phone booths, and the River of Thames

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The best way for me to tell you about my first European experience is by starting from the beginning.

We touched ground at Gatwick Airport (LGW) around 13:00. And after the 10 hour red eye from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Norwegian Airlines, I was ready to get off the plane and right into the UK. I had never been more excited to get off a plane in my entire life.

After going through the long line of passport control, we had finally entered Europe! I was bouncing up and down with joy, I mean that literally too.

After a small mishap with trying to take out money from the ATM (remember your cash withdrawal allowance and the current exchange rate) we were on our way to get into town and drop our stuff off at our hotel before exploring London.

We walked to the train stations and immediately were overwhelmed. It was busy, loud and everything suddenly seemed fast paced and without any phone data or Wi-Fi, we had no idea where we were going. After gawking at timetables and truly not knowing what to do, we ended up in the line to hopefully get the right tubes and trains tickets to our hotel.

The guy that serviced us was very kind and gave us all the info we needed and set us off into our train. We had luckily screenshot our directions to our hotel while we had some Wi-Fi and we were then on our way.

Considering I’m a San Diego girl where public transportation is scarce and we drive everywhere. Taking all the trains and tubes was an experience within itself. I’ve been to New York and through the subway systems there, but for some reason having to change trains to express trains to DLRS to the underground was overwhelming.

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But we finally made it the underground London Bridge. And I couldn’t have been happier.

After what felt like an eternity on the packed undergrounds and trains, we made it the Premier Inn Hotel in Docklands and were able to settle in to our rather cozy hotel.

It was our first night in London and we had a travel day pass, so we decided to get into town. We went back into the tubes and made our way to London Bridge and decided to wing it.

There was no real agenda for our first night in Europe, but I wanted to get Fish N’ Chips and see a little sights and then get back to our hotel and in bed to try and beat jet lag.

The London Bridge exit was perfect for our first night. I immediately went crazy with seeing the famous red telephone booths and just had to get inside.

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It unfortunately smelled like pee and we really didn’t want to stay in there for much longer.

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Europe Itinerary

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Passports ready to go!

With Europe being such a big dream of mine, it took a long time for Alex and I to finalize our itinerary, but everything is finally official and we have all our accommodations and transportation all set up and ready to go!

Since we’re only going to be there for a 2 weeks, we decided to hit up most of the major tourist destinations and get our whole tourist-y European let loose. That way we have more reason to get up and explore Europe in another year together.

Here are our main stops in Europe:

Stop #1: London, England – Since our plane arrives in Gatwick, it only made sense to start in London. Our first night will be spent there where we will try to adjust to time and probably get some Fish N’ Chips.

Stop #2: Paris, France – We’ll be hitting all major spots: the Eiffel Tower, Luxembourg Gardens, The Louvre,etc… We will also enjoy the city of lights and enjoy the French cuisine.

Stop #3: Amsterdam, The Netherlands – We’ll only be here for a night before our flight to Italy. But we’re going to make the day and the night count completely.

Stop #4: Milan, Italy – The bulk of our stay is in Milan for we are staying with family.

Stop #5: Nice, France – My best friend and fellow Krazy Kappa line sister is studying abroad near Nice and we will make a Nice pit stop in the south of France.

Stop #6: Pisa, Italy – A few hour day trip to the leaning tower before Tuscany.

Stop #7: Florence Italy – From Pisa we go to Tuscany and see the Piazzale Michaelangelo and enjoy the city of Florence at night.

Stop #8: Venice, Italy – Straight from Florence we jump on a train to Venice. We’re going to only go for a night during our week stay in Milan, but riding a Gondola is definitely on our radar.

Last Stop: London, England – Our first night in London is just going to be a time to adjust to Europe time and adjust to foreign land. The last weekend we are in Europe we will spend in London and that’s when we’ll be doing our sight-seeing and Halloween partying.

Do you have any advice, tips or cool places to eat or see for this girl and her boyfriend traveling to Europe for their first time? Comment below, send me an e-mail at lostwithyvonne@gmail.com, or tweet me @lostwithyvonne.

Cheers!

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Fab (and fattening) Fair

The San Diego County Fair or known as The Fab Fair for this year’s theme was quite a full-filling experience. And I mean that literally.


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Located at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, which is the Del Mar Racetracks, as usual, the fair consisted of lots of unhealthy eating, thrill rides that make you re-think having eaten that deep fried corndog, and so many little shops you feel like you’re in an infomercial. And even though my body hated me the next day after binge eating grease and who knows what else, I am so glad I got to have a big cheat day and eat all that delicious food.

The San Diego County fair has always been special to me. I’ve grown up going to the SD Fair; it’s always a big deal in San Diego, as is any fair in any city really. But this fair has always been my main one. I mean I’ve performed a dance on one of the concert stages, worked for a radio station during the Michael Jackson zombie tribute, did the scary bungee ball ride.

But this year, we focused on the food, as it’s supposed to be.

The fair is always known for making the most outrageously bad, but actually so good, food for you. And every year the heart cloggers get more and more grandiose. While I didn’t try it, this year’s big heart attack item was called the Triple Decker Krispy Kreme Cheeseburger and I have heard reviews that it is good. I guess it tastes like it sounds: a cheeseburger wrapped around two glazed donuts, so if you’re up for it. I say, why not?

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