Wine Tasting in Tuscany

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 3.05.13 PMOn the way to Rome we stopped for a wine tasting in the Chianti region of Tuscany. Our wine tasting was at a charming 16th century Tuscan winery called Castello Il Palagio. We came during their off season so I think the winery was understaffed. Instead of having a tour and getting to learn about the wine we were just sat down and basically told to “Chow down”. So it wasn’t really a wine tasting…more like a wine devouring. We got to taste several aged red wines and feast on amazing bread and fresh olive oil. While people were still drinking I explored the vineyard on my own. I found rows of aged cyprus trees, aromatic orchids and a adorable cat family!

Isle of Capri

Today we set out via high-speed ferry across the windy ocean to the Island of Capri. We toured around the entire island starting in Capri and ending in Anacapri. I trekked up hills to panoramic vistas perfect for photo shoots and explored a public garden. It was very windy and cold but still charming and beautiful. It would love to return in the summer. I bet its even better in warmer weather.

Then I had pizza for the first time on the trip. My margarita pizza was delicious! Afterwards many people wanted to stay in the restaurant during their free time because they were so cold. So I went to explore Anacapri by myself. I am so glad I did. I ended up finding this charming pathway that went through the old town. Everything was so white, clean and old-timey. It was also very quiet. At one point I realized I was the only one walking down the pathway. I felt alone, but good alone. It was really peaceful. I ended up walking for almost an hour alone before making my way back the restaurant where I found everyone huddled over their cell phones on the WIFI. I felt so satisfied with my adventure I sat down, relaxed and reflected on the adventure I just had.

I feel like I truly saw and appreciated Capri. More so then some of my tour mates. Capri was simply wonderful and I will go back one day!

Sorrento

After a short coach ride along the stunning coast of Southern Italy we arrived in Sorrento.

I’m no longer in the triple share room. I’m pretty bummed about it because Mollie, Stephanie and get on so well. Now I’m in a double room with a girl named Alex.

Most people wanted to nap before going out at night but I convinced a couple of girls to walk about the town with me. It was windy but the views were worth it! The water is so blue and its fastinating seeing the houses built into the cliffsides.

We returned about an hour before we needed to meet for dinner so I took a power nap!

Where did I stay? Sisters Hostel on Via Francesco Caracciolo (No website)

DSC00767 DSC00779
Before dinner we tasted Aperol Spritz, a traditional italian aperitf. It’s a cocktail with prosecco, aperol, soda water and a slice orange.Then we headed to this massive resturaunt for a four course dinner and lots of wine! After dinner we headed to a local bar where we crashed a 1 year old birthday party! The bar was very strange…and we quickly found out why… all of the patrons were 16 year old boys from New Jersey! That didn’t keep us from dancing and flirting. it was all in good fun!

Halong Bay

After a three hour drive from Hanoi we arrived to Halong Bay. To board our junk boat we had to catch a ferry. Our group was split up when a bunch of Chinese tourists invaded our ferry. So half of us had to figure out which boat was ours without our local guide! After searching we eventually found it.

10525816_10152765412165813_6456247174595659615_n

Our ship!

Then we boarded our beautiful Chinese-style junk boat for an overnight cruise. Our ship was absolutely stunning. It was a five-star cruise ship. defiantly more than what I expected. The company is called Halong Sails. It would recommend them to anyone! Our room was the fanciest of the trip so far and the best was like sleeping on a cloud!

67353_10152771305670813_4875798324393699733_n

After a bit of sun bathing on the top deck we jumped into Kayaks to explore the lagoons and secretive mountains of Halong Bay. For a while we were alone in a beautiful lagoon surrounded by towering mountains. It was so peaceful and quiet. We paddled through the stunning blue waters and past playful monkeys. It was simply breath-taking. As we were leaving several tourist boats zoomed by us and into the lagoon. I’m very glad we had the place to ourselves while we could. 1501730_10152765343290813_6595236365577869226_n

After kayaking the sun started to come out so we headed to the beach. While some people trekked to the top of a mountain I decided to take a nap on the beach. It was glorious and refreshing. I felt well rested which was important because that night we had a “Pirate Party”!

1723004_10152765413270813_6685661476372140546_n10710955_10152765412070813_9097355450613673226_n

The party was wild! I drank my weight in vodka and even got to DJ. I got a bunch of people to dance by playing mega hits like “Grease” and Spice Girls. We even convinced the cabin crew to dress up. At one point the bar stopped keeping track and we were pouring our own shots!

I woke up early in the morning with only a mild hangover. But my hangover was amplified when we went to the VERY loud Sung Sot Caves. We had to wait in a long line and push through tons of tourists before getting into the caves. Our guide neglected to mention the winding staircases and long hike. So those of us who drank a bit too much the night before had a pretty rough time at the caves. But we had a great time laughing at each other’s misery!

My Son Sanctuary

Today we explored a series of Hindu Temples called My Son. My Son is a UNESCO world Heritage-listed site that was built between the 4th and 14th century. It was like being in Indiana Jones! The temples still see so wild and undiscovered. They’re tucked deep into the jungle and surrounded by vast mountain ranges and overgrowth of trees and vines.

On the ride back our local guide told us his fascinating life story. He was a intel solider and translator for the American Army during the Vietnam war. His story should be made into a movie!

Angkor Wat and Dance Parties

10689473_10152743606790813_5136321079821951256_nToday we woke early to see the sunrise over Angkor Wat. It was pretty surreal. Then headed back to the hotel for breakfast. Our guide said that leaving and then coming back we would beat the crowds. I think he was right. Because when we went back it defiantly was as busy. We were able to properly climb and explore enchanting temple. It was like we were true explorers because everything seemed untouched and authentic. Angkor Wat only opened to tourism a decade ago so it’s still very new and un-abused. I think in another 10 years you won’t be able to climb and venture through as much as we did.

I was most astounded by the sheer size of the temples. The buildings are gigantic. Some reach 16 stories high. These were built around the time of the pyramids. How on earth did they do it? Simply mind-blowing.

There are hundreds of temples in Angkor Wat and we explore five of the most famous ones. It was an amazing day full of adventure, trekking and tuk-tuks!

Tonight was the last night for many of my tour mates who were not continuing on to Vietnam. So of course we had a huge party. We went out to the main bar street and to put it simply…got wasted. I drunk from many people’s Fish Bowls, danced in an insanely hot club and then helped start a massive dance party in the street. It was one of the best nights of my life.

Group selfie!

Group selfie!