When Jack and I began planning our recent trip to Europe, we expected to only visit Italy. We had our hearts set on seeing Lake Como and the Piedmont region, but we weren’t sure where else to go. We looked into visiting Cinque Terre on the Ligurian coast, but quickly realized that we wanted a bit more city sightseeing to balance out the quieter lakes and Italian countryside. I looked at a map and realized that Vienna, Austria was just a quick plane ride from Milan; neither of us had visited Vienna before, and we had fantasized about spending time in this seemingly charming city after watching the movie Before Sunrise. This location was new to both of us, different from the other spots we were visiting, and fit seamlessly into the logistics of our trip. Vienna it was!
I had every intention of writing my Vienna post this month, but time is getting away from me and I don’t want to rush through all the details. We attended a wedding in Kansas City last weekend, and we’re headed to another wedding in Washington, D.C. this weekend, followed by some sight-seeing and a conference in Anaheim for me – so my food and travel writing has taken a back seat. However, I did want to write up a quick recap of our Italian vacation itinerary from two years ago, as our friends who just got married last weekend are planning to recreate much of this trip on their honeymoon, and it got me feeling sentimental.
2015 was an epic year for me as far as travel was concerned. For years I had been dreaming of using my education leave hours at work to finagle a trip abroad to study Spanish. I had a coworker who traveled to Chile to take Spanish language immersion classes, and our company paid for this time off as well as some of her travel expenses because Spanish is an applicable skill in our job. What an amazing opportunity! So, at the young age of 33, I planned a trip to Spain to study Spanish, and combined this with travels around Spain (solo, then with a friend) as well as Italy (with Jack).
Jack and I just returned from a two-week vacation in Europe. We visited Vienna as well as three spots in northern Italy. I hope to write up each of the cities/regions we visited in detail over the coming months, as well as some of the delicious meals we ate while traveling. Here is a general outline of our trip:
Days 1-2: Travel days
We Flew from SFO to VIE with a short layover in FRA (Frankfurt). We left San Francisco at 2pm on Saturday and arrived in Vienna by 1:10pm Sunday.
Days 2-6: Vienna, Austria
We stayed in Vienna for four nights (Sunday – Thursday). It rained for most of our stay in Vienna, but we were able to do most of the activities to which we had been looking forward. We saw one of the most beautiful paintings I’ve ever seen, attended a 4+ hour-long opera, ate incredible Middle Eastern food, ate fish cooked in beeswax, drank local wine at heurigen (wine gardens outside of the city), and explored much of this beautiful imperial city on foot.
When Jack and I were planning our trip to Italy earlier this year, I reached out to my friends on Facebook and asked for recommendations. My friend Marc forwarded my post to his friend Donna, who had just returned from a trip to Italy. Donna (whom I have never met) generously emailed me a two-paged document full of tips for Rome and the Amalfi Coast; this list included Roscioli, a restaurant just south of Campo de’ Fiori in central Rome.
In her description, Donna wrote: “Wine and Food Pairing at Roscioli’s – you have to do this if you love wine! I found out about this from Anthony Bourdain and we ended up shipping a few cases of food and wine back. One of the best food and wine pairings I’ve ever had. But be forewarned: he doesn’t like American wines. Haha! But it doesn’t matter. The wines he pours are phenomenal, better than most American wines I’ve had.”
Roscioli actually has several different locations and functions: Salumeria Roscioli (the main restaurant and salumeria), Rimessa Roscioli (wine and food tasting space that Donna recommended), and Antico Forno Roscioli (the Italian bakery). We were not aware of these distinct spots, so when we asked our hotel concierge to book us a table at Roscioli, he assumed we meant the restaurant, rather than the wine tasting. But, as often happens in life, the mix-up was pure serendipity, and our meal at Salumeria Roscioli ended up being one of the best meals we had in Italy.
I’m deeply saddened by the news coming out of Paris tonight. Anyone who has ever visited Paris knows that it is a special place. The history, architecture, FOOD, art, and culture in general are unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been, and the city has an almost magical quality to it. It is also the most romantic city I’ve ever been to, and I look forward to returning one day with my husband, Jack.
In 2009 Jack and I attended his sister’s wedding in Lyon, France, followed by a trip to the City of Light. Here are some of my favorite photos from that trip: