A Broad Abroad
Updated: May 1, 2020
Manchester In the summer of 2019, my best friend and I did a two-week trip throughout Europe and it was a blast. We flew into Manchester on a Wednesday, which, if you didn't know, is very good way to get a cheap flight. So, if you're able to fly during the week, hop on that! I use a site called SkyScanner to find the cheapest flights and it's the bomb! Check it out. We flew into Manchester because I wanted to reconnect with some old friends from ~uNi~. On the real though, Manchester has a lil piece of my heart because I lived there for six ~bLoOdY~ months. It is a wonderful city and the people are even better. Here are my favorite spots in Manchester:
Rudy's Neapolitan Pizza - Ancoats
My absolute favorite restaurant in the world, no questions asked. If you are ever NEAR Manchester, you gotta stop in. First of all, the pizzas are CHEAP and HUGE (I'm talking £6.50 for the Margherita, which is the best). They serve Neapolitan pizza (obviously) and they (the Italians) make it right there in the brick oven. They only keep it in there for one (1) minute so the crust is pretty floppy, but as Cardi B says, I like it like that.
Federal Cafe Bar - Northern Quarter
My favorite coffee cafe in Manchester! I'm extremely lactose intolerant, which maybe you already knew, but it is important fact, and a very very sad one, too. They have oat, soy, and almond milk alternatives which I HAVE to have in my coffee. They have delicious lattes and cappuccinos and a really good avocado toast with poached eggs on top.
This is the pub on The University of Salford's campus and I have a lot of fond memories of playing pool with ~mE MaTeS~, cheap drinks, and coincidentally, I did my first stand-up set here. It's really cute, really good, and really British.
The Font This bar is a GAME CHANGER and I wish we had something like it in Chicago. All the drinks at this bar are less than £5. 'Nuff said.
The Curry Mile
Weirdly enough, Manchester has some of the best Indian food in the world. Stop into any of the restaurants on this block and getchya self some GOOOOD Indian food.
I'm partial to green curry. ;) Airbnb This is the Airbnb we stayed in, can't recommend it enough! It's in a great location and walking distance to everything.
Paris was our first stop in Europe. We stayed in an Airbnb in Montmartre, which is a very cute part of town. However, we stayed in a room with no air conditioning, and conveniently, the heat wave in Europe hit right when we got there. Ugh. My biggest tip is this: CONFIRM with your Airbnb or Hotel that it has AC (if you're planning to go in the summer). It is worth the extra money, I. Promise. Nevertheless, *oui* had a wonderful time in Paris! Here are the highlights:
The first time I was in Paris in 2017 with my mom, we wearily stumbled upon this restaurant after getting off our train at the nearby Gare Du Nord station. I felt like I hit the jackpot, cause this place has the TASTIEST warm goat cheese salad and we just happened to find it without doing any research. I had to go back again in 2019, and it was just as good, if not better, the second time around. Get it with a nice glass of red wine or a tall coke, either will do. Pictured here. ----->
Sacre Coeur Basilica - Montmartre
One of my favorite spots in Paris. The steps up are SO steep and there are SO many, but the views of Paris from the top are well worth it. I haven't been inside, but the atmosphere outside is so fun and easy-going. There are Parisians playing music, there are cats, and the area of town around it (Montmartre), is so fun to explore.
Christophe Roussel - Montmartre
While you're in Montmartre, hit up this patisserie that has the best macarons in all of Paris.
Musee de Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, & Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris
Unless you want to go into the Louvre (and if you want to, give yourself a whole day--it's massive), these three landmarks are really quick and easy to visit and très très magnifique. The area around Notre Dame is GORGEOUS.
Ummm OBVI!!! During my first visit to Paris, my mom and I went to the top of the Eiffel Tower. The views were beautiful, but let me share a #hottip with you: the best views are from Tour Maine-Montparnasse (Maine-Montparnasse Tower), known by Parisians as "the middle finger of Paris." This building is pretty ugly and doesn't really blend in with the rest of the city, but it has the best views because it's the only place where you don't see the tower itself. Ha! Betchya didn't know that one.
The best ways to explore Paris (or any city) are by walking down the streets. Stop into a restaurant you know nothing about! Grab a bottle of wine, buy a baguette, sit in a park, and just take in the amazing city.
The best country in Europe is Greece, truly. The people are among the nicest in the whole world, the views are unbeatable, and the food is incredible. It's a magical country, I cannot say enough good things about it.
We stayed in Oia, (pronounced ee-ah), and it was an absolute dream. Our hotel was in a great location, it had a pool that we could lounge by all day, and a breakfast I still think about to this day. Although it was right down the hill from the center of Oia, every night we got a killer leg workout walking up to the village each night (the incline had to be like...12%, no exaggeration).
Additionally, the shops in Oia are so cute, there's a lot of handmade jewelry and clothes--definitely check it out!
I have no clue how to pronounce this one, but it's the smaller rock formation off the coast in the picture above. This is a such a fun spot for a dip in the Mediterranean!
Be sure to swim over to the little church on the island and have an inner monologue about whether or not you want to jump off. I did twice and it was exhilarating (it's only about 20 feet high). Warning: it's not a beach, but a swimming area, and the terrain is pretty rocky so make sure you have proper footwear!
This might be dramatic, but this place gave me the best greek yogurt w/ fresh fruit, granola, and honey OF MY LIFE. It also serves other meals as well and is a pretty hoppin' bar at night.
This restaurant had breathtaking views of the sunset and delicious dinner. All of their
options were very fresh! I would recommend getting there an hour or so before the dinner rush, enjoy some cocktails and some views, so you have a great spot for the sunset. I believe they also take reservations!
Kayak Ice Cream Store - Oia, Santorini
Every night, after dinner, we would stroll up and down the main walkway and grab some gelato or ice cream. This one was our favorite. It has a unique view of the cool hotels with cave pools or you can just sit on a bench and people watch.
If we had a car, we would've liked to explore Thera, which is just like Oia, but in the middle of the island. Wherever you go in Greece, you will always be welcomed with smiles, good food, and big hugs--that's just how they do it!
Naples & Positano, Italy
Naples is such a beautiful Italian city with loads of history and the birthplace of my favorite food ever...Neapolitan Pizza!!! When people think "pizza is from Italy" this is what they're thinking of. I've been to Rome, had the pizza, and it's just not the same. THIS is where it's at. We were only in Naples for ~18 hours before heading to Positano, so I knew I had to get my 'za.
We had dinner here after a long day of traveling from Santorini to Naples. It was complete with Italian boys trying to hit on us, two coca-colas, and of course, deeeelicious pizza. Can we talk about how hard a nice cold coke hits after a long day? I believe that feeling is universal.
This pizzeria was at the top of my list not only because it's where the iconic Julia Roberts had HER pizza in the film Eat, Pray, Love but it also has a Michelin Star! It's always packed to the brim with people waiting for a table, so the trick is to order take-away, and eat it outside. My Margherita pizza cost me €4.50, I kid you not, and it was so freakin' tasty. Best day ever.
Positano is a beautiful city on the Almalfi Coast. It's built into the side of the mountain and it is just incredible. There are so many great hotels in Positano, but we were a little late on the planning, so we stayed in a nearby city (on the top of the mountain, lol), called Vico Equense. I would recommend booking ahead, staying in Positano, and being prepared to walk up and down A LOT of steps (it's so worth it though).
Positano, like Santorini, is another city that is so fun to walk around and poke in and out of shops. We did a full day boat tour one day (our guide's name is Hermes, he is a national treasure), and we loved every second of it. Hermes provided snacks and water and even took us to the nearby Island of Capri. It was such an awesome experience to see Italy and its islands from the water. We also rented two chairs and an umbrella (~€18) on the beach, and soaked in the sun one day.
It was the best trip, with my best friend, and we're already planning our next one.