Bordeaux day 3- museums, bookstores and more rain

I opened my eyes… I could hear the rain, it must have rained all night and all of a sudden pain, the moment my senses woke up. I forgot about the pain.

Why? It’s not time yet, it’s not until next week… But it seems that the walking and the excitement of it all had an effect on my body.

It rained, I was in pain and feeling rough, I may be also getting a cold…I was tempted to pop out just to grab some food and then stay in bed for the rest of the day. But I wouldn’t do that. Not on my last full day in Bordeaux.

I popped downstairs for breakfast.  Malvina got me a pastel de nata, a Portuguese sweet tart and goat’s milk yogurt, in addition to fresh bread and her delicious organic spreads.

I love chatting with her. Today we talked about life, how she decided to never get married, living alone but with an amazing support network of friends and family, her career as a city planner, working for the government, it reminded me of Parks and Rec, oh I miss it… What a wonderful life she had, full of adventures and now, lucky enough to retire early she spends her time doing whatever she likes. She gave me advice, she made me laugh and made me feel awesome (she thought I was younger than my age but she still thought I was young and I should follow my dreams and not compromise, thanks Malvina!).

After about two hours getting ready, everything still hurting, I was out and about. I had a vague plan for today.

First on the list: A  unique, quirky bookstore I discovered online, Machine a Lire. It was more impressive to see up close. And it was so quiet, very appropriate for such an imposing setting.

Machine a Lire

Next, another bookstore, this one of historic importance, Librairie Mollat, located where political philosopher Montesquieu last lived. It was huge! On my way there a group of school children following their teacher, like ducklings follow their mum, were on their way to the bookstore too, stopping every now and then for the teacher to show them another landmark. I remember when our teachers took us on day trips when we were 6-7 years old. Everything seemed so big, everything impressed us.

Librairie Mollat

After a wander in the enormous bookshop, it was time to visit Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux, the Museum of Fine Arts. I didn’t know what to expect, but in the end it definitely worth more than the five euros entry.

It was split into two buildings, the classic art in one side and modern art on the other (with an impressive palace in the middle).

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux

It’s impossible to list all the artwork that impressed me but the ones that I still remember:

David holding Goliath’s head (Aubin Vouet)

David tenant la tete de Goliath, Aubin Vouet

God Hermes, devastated  for Sappho’s, the Greek poet, death (Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse)

La mort de Sapho

The Window a La Goulette (Tunisia) (by Albert Marquet), so simple but striking.

La Fenetre a la Goulette

The Souliot women (Narcisse Diaz de  La Pena) who heroically decided to commit suicide rather than surrender to the Turks back in 1803, and they did so by singing and dancing, the Zalongo dance, I guess not many would know the story behind it, unless you were born and raised in Greece or Cyprus).

Les Femmes Souliotes

And finally an original Picasso, Olga Reading

Olga reading, Picasso

After a short break for late lunch at the first cafe I bumped into (not the best food I had but it was OK)

Baked Camembert

and a moment to admire the cathedral

St Andre Cathedral

my final stop was Musée d’Aquitaine, a museum on the history of Bordeaux and Aquitaine. It spanned over thousands of years of history, from the palaeolithic age, the first paintings on the wall, the Roman era to modern history. Definitely worth a visit if you are ever in Bordeaux!


And that was the last place to visit in Bordeaux. I made my way home to pack and prepare for my flight tomorrow.

I can’t believe I haven’t travelled on my own before. I loved everything about it. The freedom, the liberation, wandering around, getting lost in streets I’ve never walked down before, ending up in the most random places, discovering new things.

I wish everyone could experience travelling on their own at least once. It’s such a unique, meaningful, emotional, amazing experience, it’s hard to understand until you do it yourself.

I’d definitely do it again, although it’s great to share these moments with loved ones. Here’s to more adventures, small or big, solo or with friends and family, that’s what’s life it’s all about.




Bordeaux day two- A divine intervention across the Bridge

Day two.

I didn’t sleep much. My tummy hurt, I didn’t eat enough the day before and my subconscious went wild leaving me with messed up dreams again. And I left the heater on and I got really hot as well.

I woke up for the final time around 7am but stayed in bed until 9am, listening to the rain and the wind. I couldn’t believe it was raining. It’s the end of March, I’m still wearing a coat and the rain and the wind doesn’t seem to stop. I miss the sun, I miss the warmth, I miss the sea. But I was in a gorgeous city and I couldn’t let the rain ruin my day.

Around 9am it was time for breakfast. Malvina had everything ready for me. Fresh juice, hot, delicious coffee, fresh bread, a cannoli, an apricot yogurt, organic apricot and strawberry jams and some of the best honey I’ve ever tasted, although it looked more like an almond paste rather than honey.


I stayed for an hour, talking with Malvina. She told me all about her travels in Vietnam, Costa Rica, Greece. She nostalgically narrated me holiday stories from her childhood, visiting Surrey in the summer when she was a teen to her most recent annual trips to the nearest beach in Bordeaux, Archachon, where famous people own luxurious holiday homes but after they are off in September it’s quiet, perfect for the locals to visit, including Malvina who often takes her bike there to cycle along the beach line.

What a truly wonderful lady she is and what an incredible life she let. I love listening to her stories and I could have stayed there talking for hours but it was time to brave the rain and get out and explore more.

The plan for today was to visit the Darwin Eco-systeme Malvina recommended, renovated deserted warehouses in the old Niel Military Barracks, a sustainable, eco-friendly, work-space development. It took me about half an hour to get there and I already got wet after 10 minutes. But I was determined to make it. And I’m glad I did.

I had lunch (Oeufs mimosa and a cup of cappuccino) in this open plan cafe/ restaurant/shop, very industrial looking but at the same time cosy, with homely decorations and an impressive piece of artwork just outside in the courtyard.

I couldn’t see much of the development in the rain, so I decided to go down the Chaban-Delmas Bridge, a modern bridge which lifts up for ships to pass by. By this point it was chucking it down and I felt like the wind could blow me away into the river any minute now. And I was worried the Bridge might start moving with no warning, so I tried to cross as fast as I could, scariest 15 minutes of my life.

I had my music on all day today, since the rain wouldn’t allow me to pay much attention to my surroundings and I needed a distraction. I found myself singing along when the wind would blow my umbrella away once again.

After about 40 minutes of walking, I ended up in Rue Notre Dame, a street Malvina told me about, with many antique shops. A couple were open but I didn’t go in, I didn’t want to risk getting any precious items wet, ruined.

I was wet and cold, my hair ruined and by this point my legs hurt from all the walking. I suddenly felt very emotional. Not because I was sad, or upset. I’m still not sure what caused it. But it felt very cathartic letting all the tears out. Out of a sudden a large church appeared out of nowhere, just by Rue Notre Dame. A divine intervention.

Church St. Louis Chartrons

I decided to walk in, rest my legs and admire the building, since I love old buildings, especially churches.

What I forgot was that it’s Holy Week for the Catholics this week (for Greek Orthodox this year it’s a week later). And there was a service on. There was a crowd at the front, so I decided to sit at the back on my own.

The church was just beautiful. Stained glass, large windows, the smell of incense, a very familiar smell. I started crying again, almost instantly. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a large statue of Jesus on the cross. It reminded me of Easter back home. I cried even more.

I’ve never been to a Catholic Service before. The beautiful singing of this older lady, the gorgeous church, the memories, all together, it filled me with joy, gratefulness and nostalgia. I sat there for about 20 minutes, crying, smiling, taking it all in. I thought for a moment to take a snap, but I didn’t. This memory was for my eyes only, it was a very personal one.

I left feeling lighter, as a weight was lifted off my shoulders, I left it there, on that chair I sat crying.

I decided at this point to get something to eat from a shop and go home. It was already 4ish, I’ve been walking for 5 hours, I was wet and tired and in pain.

And all of a sudden, my phone battery went. But I didn’t panic. I somehow, miraculously remembered how to get back to my temporary Bordeaux home and luckily I found a shop on my way back to get some food.

I’m weirdly happy how today pan out. The weather is not always ideal, plans can change but travelling it’s still fun, an unpredictable adventure.

I’d never thought I’d walk into a church in Bordeaux, on Easter Week and have such a spiritual moment. The magic world of travelling.

Who knows what will happen tomorrow (although I might be getting a cold…)!



Bordeaux day one- The Great Unknown

Monday morning. I didn’t sleep much last night.

I was too excited, and a little bit nervous, but proud of myself for remembering to pack little but important things like a plug adapter and a couple of Euros for the bus which was to take me to my AirBnb when I was in Bordeaux.

I arrived at the airport on time (one of the very few places I usually make it on time, when I’m about to fly away), I even had all my liquids put in a bag beforehand.

It was a short flight and the pilot brought us to Bordeaux earlier than expected. On the plane I read the book Shebs gave me on Ikigai, the’reason for being’, what gets you up in the morning, the Japanese way of life and its five pillars, starting small, releasing yourself, letting your ego go (probably the toughest but the most liberating), harmony and sustainability, the joy of little things, my favourite and my personal eternal struggle, being in the here and now. Every time my mind wandered to anything else than my French adventure, I remembered the fifth pillar. Right now you are on the plane, on your first solo trip. Forget everything else. Who cares what you’ll be doing in a week?  

When I arrived, I smiled. I was finally away. And it was sunny!

On the bus my mind wandered, but this time was happy thoughts. I remembered the last time I was away, in Italy with my sisters… and then I got car sick… At that moment I decided I’d rather walk for the next three days and only get the bus again to the airport.

After I checked into my beautiful, colourful Airbnb room, my lovely host Malvina gave me a little tour of her house and a couple of ideas on what to do the following days. Oh and I only found out a few days before that breakfast was included. I asked Malvina for breakfast at 9am tomorrow.


After a quick freshening up, out I went to start exploring. I was a little scared to begin with, but after 10 minutes of wandering, looking around, taking it all in, I remembered why I love travelling so much.

I started to feel hungry so I found this little cafe on TripAdvisor, Books and Coffee, just under the Great Bell Malvina told me about. I loved it. Cosy and quirky, buzzing with people.


After my short break, I walked by the river, God I love the water, it will always remind me of home. It was breezy, but still sunny.

I then bumped into the Place de la Bourse, the iconic Bordeaux square, which at summertime you can see reflecting on Miroir d’eau, the world’s largest reflecting pool.

Place de la Bourse

I wandered into the Musée national des douanes, a national museum of the history of French Customs and then off to St Michel church and Porte d’Aquitaine.

On my way to… nowhere specific, I walked into a handmade chocolate shop and had a laugh with the shopping assistants (and bought a delicious chocolate on a stick) and then came across what I’d describe as a ‘room’ dedicated to Peru, still not sure what it was…Taste of Peru

Three hours later, I was exhausted and starving. Deciding where to have dinner was tough. I didn’t realise that most restaurants are closed on Monday in Bordeaux. Again TripAdvisor did not disappoint. I found this cute, elegant bar/restaurant, Loulou and I had a well deserved glass of wine, A Chateau Peyreau the waitress recommended with my dinner, who I asked her to choose for me as the menu was in French and I was too tired to think and translate and decide. She chose the Filet de Canette (duck fillet), Pommes au safran, legumes craquants (apples in Saffron and ‘crunchy’ vegetables) and it was delicious! The glass of wine she recommended was perfect with my dinner! A girl was there on her own, translating the menu. Another fellow solo traveller.

I smiled. A couple of years ago just the idea of eating at a restaurant on my own wouldn’t even appeal to me, but here I am, in another country on my own, absolutely loving sitting on my own, enjoying dinner and a glass of wine, people watching.

LouLou restaurant

I came home exhausted but happy.


Probably the best night of 2018

Friday, 16th of March. The last day of a busy, eventful but rewarding week.

And it was as busy as the rest of the week.

But I had a great evening planned I looked forward to all day, starting with dinner, cocktails and seeing Jonathan Pie at the O2 Guildhall with my cool manager Suzanne and joining the Solent gang afterwards for the music karaoke and quiz.

My Friday night turned better than I thought, probably the best night I had in 2018 so far.

Dinner at Mango’s was incredible. Food at Mango’s is always delish and Suzanne and I decided to go for tapas, the Thai version of Greek meze, and a Long Island Ice Tea bucket to share. Dim Sums, butterfly prawns, crispy beef, spring rolls, the whole lot. The food was once again exceptional. Freshly cooked, perfectly seasoned, delicious Thai food and great, friendly, quick service.

Mango Thai Tapas

After dinner what I really fancied was a Hugo, my favourite cocktail at Tapas Barcelona.

On our way there we bumped into two guys in banana suits with a sign hanging on their neck, ‘travelling for charity’. I couldn’t not stop and have a chat. Kaber and Karim are two lovely Exeter University students taking part in RAG Jailbreak 2018 to raise money for charity.  Their aim was to get as far away as possible from Exeter in 36 hours using no money for travel and instead rely on strangers’ generosity.

They left Exeter earlier that morning and somehow ended up in Southampton in the afternoon.

Their challenge is now over but if you want to donate or just find out more about them all details are here.

After our chat, wishing good luck and hugging goodbye our new friends, it was time for Hugo.

The disappointment when I had a look at the cocktails on the menu and Hugo was no longer on there, I can’t even describe. I was devastated.  I really fancied a Hugo for days.

Luckily the lovely restaurant manager stood next to me whilst I was talking about it with Suzanne, wondering why it was taken off the menu and he explained to us how the price of Prosecco went up and it was not affordable to offer anymore but he also asked the barman to make us two Hugos, since I loved it so much. A great example of brilliant customer service. Thank you dear, it made my evening.

Hugo, one of the best cocktails in the world

After bumping into Denise, one of my favourite Solent people and her husband Mike it was time for Jonathan Pie.

Jonathan Pie is a fictional news reporter created by Tom Walker and I love him. The first time I’ve watched one of his YouTube videos I genuinely thought he was a real reporter caught off air ranting about Brexit.

He satirises politics, society, anything that’s wrong in this crazy world in an honest, raw manner that gets me every time. He doesn’t just make me laugh, he makes me think. And that’s what he did on Friday. He made me laugh, he taught me new words and he made me think.

His warm-up act on the night Zoe Lyons was also amazing, I couldn’t stop laughing, I think I probably laughed at each punchline.

The evening ended with some of my favourite people, my Solent family singing, dancing, laughing. I couldn’t think of a better end to a great night.

It really is about the little things and  the moment you decide to be open to what life throws at you, opportunities and challenges, and not worry about the consequences and the future so much, you’ll wake up one day and realise how much richer, vibrant, colourful, beautiful life can be. Just by living in the moment and giving everything a go.

I have a feeling there will be many more probably the best nights of 2018...





The perfect end to a not so perfect week

Sunday afternoon. I’m home alone, sitting on my bed enjoying the sunshine, listening to my music on Spotify. (obsessed with Ider, Does She Even Know) Pure bliss. I just came home from lunch and I feel it’s the perfect time to reflect on last week. What a better way to start the new week with a clear mind.


Before I take you through this week in Eleni’s world, I want to wish happy birthday to my amazing, sweet, honest, loving, caring dad. I’m not saying any more, otherwise I’ll start crying again. God this week I’ve cried so much it’s unbelievable, but here’s my Insta post, it sums up how lucky I am to have chef Costis as my father.


The week didn’t start well. I doubted myself, I felt inadequate, I felt I wasn’t enough and all of that because I let someone in and I was disappointed. I’ll post about it later, of course I will, I learned from it and that’s why I started this blog. To share what I learn and hopefully others can learn from my mistakes and experiences. I can’t say more right now because things are not clear in my head yet and I learned over the last two years that overreacting never helps. Emotional hijacking that is. When your emotions bypass your thinking, rational self and you are filled with anger, sadness and pain, that’s how humans are made of. It’s hard to master the art of emotional intelligence, but when you do, even a little bit, makes such a difference. More on that later.

What made my Monday better was writing on what I love about Solent. It’s all about the people, it really is. A reminder of how lucky I am to have loving, caring people in my life.



Tuesday was a little bit better than Monday. A heart-felt chat with one of my favourite humans, Dan and our singing session lifted my spirits.

My fave


Wednesday was just amazing. I had the best day with Lou and the rest of the Student Achievement team, with the highlight of probably my week, the visit at Below Bar and meeting incredible, talented, brilliant people, exactly what I needed to restore my faith to humanity.

Fine Art Studios


On Thursday I finally got to visit Shanghai 1814 and had a great lunch with my lovely ladies. Post coming soon, it’s already been written, there is so much I want to write about this week, I’m not sure when this will go out but coming soon.



Friday was the best. I woke up feeling homesick. I really wanted to be at home with my loved ones but the day turned better and better. After work I went for a drink, chat and lots of laughter with my UK mamma and her husband Darren and after that I’ve met 4 AMAZING ladies, local bloggers for dinner, drinks and brainstorming. The ideas kept flowing, I can’t even describe how excited I am for what’s to come. I’m not a professional blogger, I can’t stress that enough but I love writing and meeting like-minded individuals it truly is a blessing.



Yesterday I needed a day for myself, to do the house chores, take care of my body and my spirit and also change the strings on my guitar, which I managed to do all by myself! So proud!


The week ended with delicious lunch in the sunshine enjoying the seaviews with my gorgeous friend Sofy. It’s rare to meet people you just get along and get each other from day one and I’m so incredibly happy life brought us together. I learn so much from her, I can’t wait to do even more things together, so much to do and see, we came up with so many ideas today, I don’t know where to start from.


It’s now been a month I’ve been living with someone else. And I’m still struggling. I just can’t get used to it. I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to it. I don’t think it’s only because of me struggling to adjust. I’ll post about it this week, since tomorrow it’ll be the one month anniversary.

I’m immensely proud of myself and how much I matured and learned to deal with whatever life throws at me without letting depression and anxiety paralyse me. I can’t believe it’s already been a year since I poured my heart out and opened up about my struggles. It’s tough being honest, open, sensitive and vulnerable in this mad mad world but for me is the only way I can survive.

All throughout this week listening to Shebz sweet voice messages, the highlight of my day, Chris’s emotional support, thank you for making me laugh when I was sad and miserable and Donna’s care, thank you mamma Donna, kept me going.

A very busy week coming up, Pancake Day, the new Nuffield Theatre opening fireworks, and a couple of other things I can’t share yet. I’m hoping I’ll get the time to post about all of it.

Now, time for a yoga session with my favourite gal and a relaxing evening with music and my guitar to fight the Sunday blues.

We’ve got this.

The awesome in me bows to the awesome in you (love you Adriene).



Blogmas day 23- Christmas baking, theatre and friends

It’s been a busy one today I didn’t get to write my Blogmas post until now and it’s already half eight.

I’ve only been home for two days and I’ve already caught up with two my closest friends, did some Christmas shopping, saw my little Prince and today the little sister and I did our Christmas baking.

First up it was ‘melomakarona’ , Greek/Cypriot traditional Christmas sweet, honey biscuits . It’s my favourite Christmas treat and you’ll find it in every Cypriot home. My dad used to make them every year and I used to make them back in Southampton to remind me of Christmas at home.

I was over the moon when I’ve tasted the first one and it was delicious! The whole house smelled of Christmas.


We’ve also made a heavenly Nutella Christmas tree. I came across the recipe months ago and the little sister, who’s probably the only person I know who has sweeter tooth than I do couldn’t wait for us to attempt it.

I just had some and it was incredible. I definitely recommend it. It’s super easy to make and it tastes amazing.

Nutella Christmas tree

After our Christmas baking we went to the theatre to watch ‘Ο Χιονάνθρωπος μου’ (my Snowman) which turned out it was mainly aimed at children and we were probably the only adults there with no kids. We had a right laugh with the little sister. It was fun anyway. We were photobombed by a not so happy mum whilst trying to take a selfie with all the little ones in the background.


Now time for a Christmas movie and munching our homemade Christmas treats and sweet and salty popcorn I finally found in a supermarket here (and funnily enough it’s made in the UK).

Two more blogs and two more sleeps until Christmas. I can’t wait!


A taste of Scandinavia in Southampton

Happy Friday!

The weekend is finally here. It’s been a busy week but a very interesting one. I’m super excited for my upcoming blogs and I can’t wait to share with everyone what I’ve been up to.

But today is all about Kupp, the new Scandinavian restaurant in Southampton.

I’ve only tried Scandinavian food once, when my lovely old colleague Lilian who is originally from Finland invited us over for dinner a while ago. I don’t remember much from that night but I remember her impressive sandwich tower and that most of the dishes were cold ones.

I’ve been meaning to try Kupp for a couple of months now as it had really good reviews and I love trying different cuisines and last night I finally made it with my lovely friend Sofy.

I loved the decoration and open plan, spacious vibe.

Kupp Southampton
Kupp Southampton

We went for the Kupp Smörgåsbord, a sharing board for two which included smoked pork meatballs (cured and hot smoked over oak and apple wood, served with their secret recipe beer sauce), chorizo sausage rolls (we swapped the potted rabbit for a second roll as neither of us felt right eating rabbit), carpaccio of hot smoked venison, Västerbotten cheese, potato salad, pickled vegetables, Spidskål (scandi slaw), mustard mayo, Leksands knäcke crispbread and toasted sourdough.


Everything tasted delicious. We both absolutely loved the smoked meatballs, I’ve dipped all my bread in the amazing sauce, the cheese that was similar to Pecorino cheese but softer and a bit less salty was amazing and I never thought I’d enjoy picked vegetables that much but the combination of flavours of their hot and cold dishes put together just worked.

The sharing board was enough for two, we couldn’t even finish it! I could not not try their puddings. It was hard to choose between the toasted banana bread with cinnamon ice cream and blossom honey, their white chocolate and Pepparkakor (Gingersnaps biscuit) cheesecake and their other delicious desserts on offer but I had to go for the Aquavit Poached Apricot and chocolate trifle with Cloudberry cream (cloudberries are considered  a delicacy in Scandinavia, I’ve never heard of them) and toasted hazelnuts and it did not disappoint!

Aquavit Poached Apricot and Chocolate Cake Trifle
Aquavit Poached Apricot and Chocolate Cake Trifle

The chocolate cake sweetness, the light, fluffy cream, the warmth of the toasted hazelnuts and the light sour kick of the apricot combination was amazing. I struggled but I finished it!

Great food, lovely atmosphere, good prices and fast and friendly service. I’m definitely going back for more. I would recommend it to anyone who fancies trying something new and different. It has my seal of approval!

It’s making me hungry just looking at the pictures from yesterday. Off to get some dinner!

Have a lovely weekend everyone!





Italy- sisters on tour part 4- Italian Cuisine!

This post is purely dedicated to our Italian cuisine experience, good and bad. I can’t believe it took me three days to prepare this post!

It’s worth mentioning that our food budget was around 10 to 15 euros per meal but to be fair most places we checked out were within that range. I tried to take a picture of all of our meals but unfortunately sometimes we were too hungry we just dug in.

Before we start a couple of useful tips.

Most places have different prices for sitting down compared to takeaway. If you are not desperate to sit down and just fancy a snack, then don’t.

Also, most restaurants in Rome and Florence, I think all of the ones we’ve been, include service charge in the bill (for some of them it was unbelievably high e.g. 22%), so no need to tip.

Thank you to my lovely sisters for some of the photos on this post and helping me remember the names of the places we ate at. Love you.

Just to warn you, I got really hungry reading this and looking at the photos we took, so get a snack and a drink and enjoy.

Let’s start shall we?


We had our first meal in Florence at this cute little restaurant, L’Imperatore on one of the picturesque streets near San Lorenzo market. Stella (sister two) and I were not too hungry so we opted for a starter, grilled vegetables with melted mozzarella on top, and a ‘primo’ (first course) which is hot food heavier than a starter but lighter than a ‘secondo’ (second course) (check out Wiki for more on Italian meal structure). I had the beef cannelloni and Stella the ricotta cheese and spinach one, and our little duckling Anna was very hungry so she had pasta al pomodoro (spaghetti with tomato sauce, which was ‘very tasty, it doesn’t even need cheese’ in her own words) for a first course and grilled chicken with roast potatoes for second. All in all we enjoyed our meal so if you want decent and some of the cheapest food in Florence, give it a go!

After lunch we bumped into Mercato Centrale, this amazing indoors food court, which included a fancy cooking school we had a peak through the glass doors. We wished we hadn’t just had lunch so we could try some of the delicious food on display. I won’t say more about it, just look at the photos.

In the afternoon we sat at this pretty patisserie, Scudieri,  just opposite the Florence Cathedral, which looked awesome but the counter lady was rude. And the tiramisu brought to me the first time was too runny so the lovely waiter didn’t want to give it to me and took it back. The second one he brought me was really nice and the chocolate cupcake the little one had was great but Stella found hers too sweet. We paid around 25 euros for three puddings and a bottle of still water (it cost 5 euros!!), which I think was too much considering the relatively poor service. We found water overpriced in most places in Florence and Rome so get water from a shop for a euro or two instead.

On our second day in Florence we had breakfast at Smalzi cafe. We had freshly prepared paninis and OK coffee. Friendly service, reasonable prices and AMAZING location. I could sit there admiring the views for hours.

We had lunch at Fiorino D’Oro on Piazza Della Repubblica. Decent food, brilliant location overlooking the square and good prices but the service was slow. It was busy but still.

In the evening we got to try the infamous Bistecca alla Fiorentina, delicious, juicy T-bone steak. It’s expensive in most restaurants, but is a very large dish and perfect for sharing. It took three of us to finish it. We had ours plus a delicious margherita at Le Cappelle Medicee. This was one of my favourite meals. Friendly staff who also offered us limoncello shots on the house, good prices and another great location near the Cathedral.


On Day one at Roma we had the worst meal ever. We were exhausted and starving so we sat at the first cafe we saw, Bar Cottini. It wasn’t very clean, service was slow and we had the most horrible, greasy pizzas. We didn’t even finish them despite our hunger and we didn’t take any pictures! If you ever come across it, avoid it!

On the contrary, our next meal, dinner at Ristorazione Alimentare Romana, I think, (I remember the street, I actually found it on Google maps but there are a couple of restaurants there, is the first one you find on this cute, quiet side street, but it might not be because the food was good but the TripAdvisor reviews are horrible) was really nice. They used fresh pasta for their carbonara, which makes a huge difference to the palete and their capricciosa pizza was decent, although I still can’t understand why the ingredients were clearly divided in two halves.

From day two to our very last day, breakfast was delivered to our room by our lovely hotel owner, Helena. Fresh croissants, coffee and orange juice.

Hotel breakfast, Cialdini, Rome
Hotel breakfast, Cialdini, Rome

We then had a quick lunch at this small, cute, quirky cafe near the Colosseum, Cafe Cafe. Loved the decoration and our freshly prepared sandwiches. Good prices and service and the music in the toilet activated as soon as you sit on the toilet seat made me laugh.

We grabbed some ice-cream at Gelateria ai Cerchi on our way back from Tiber island. Their lemon flavour was not the best but their pistacchio was super scrummy.

Gelateria ai Cerchi

For dinner we visited a bakery close to our hotel, Bakery Roscioli Pietro, which I found out about online as it had great reviews. We had pizza by the meter, a white one/’bianca’ (no tomato sauce) with thinly cut potatoes and a prosciutto with cheese one. They were very tasty but I think we were overcharged! We paid 35 euros just for the pizza and for that amount of money we could have had  a nice pizza at a proper restaurant. We bought desserts from there as well, which were alright but not to our like. They did have a great selection though!

Day three kicked off with a very average snack at a cafe in the train station. I can’t remember the name but it was the last one on the top floor. I wouldn’t recommend it.

We had great dinner though at Osteria La Mucca Biricchina, which was one of our favourite meals of the whole trip. Reasonable prices and delicious food! Little sister had a Carbonara Calzone (it was massive!), I had Bucatini all’amatriciana (pasta with smokey tomato sauce, bacon and parmesan) and Stella had Spaghetti Bolognese.  I loved the traditional, cosy decoration as well. I highly recommend this restaurant!

On our way back we got delicious pudding from Mercato Centrale, the food court next to Roma Termini train and metro station. If you are ever at the train station or near it and you fancy a snack or a meal avoid the cafes/restaurants at the station and go here instead. You won’t regret it!

On our penultimate day, we had lunch at the Vatican museums canteen. Avoid like the plague if you are not that hungry. Very slow service due to the crazy amount of people, horrible food, at least what we had, an army of pigeons was ready to attack our plates at any point, they fly VERY close to your head and grab bread as soon as it drops to the floor or left unattended on the table, and we were served by a very rude waiter.

We had a drink at a little cafe/restaurant near Ottaviano metro station, Tavola Calda Pizzeria Caffetteria. That’s where I had the worst cup of tea (the tea bag must have been really old, at least that’s how it tasted)! And the decoration was horrendous! Definitely avoid if you can.

We had nice dinner back at Mercato Centrale. At that point we wanted a break from all the pizza and pasta so I had a juicy beef burger in a tasty bun, Stella had the Italian version of Greek souvlaki/skewers with a variety of different meats (chicken, pork and italian sausage) and delicious roast potatoes and our duckling had roastbeef which was nice but not what she expected as it was thin layers of cold beef with salad.

Italian skewers
Italian skewers

On our final day we had the best pizza to all the ones we tried in Rome, at Ai Tre Tartufi on Piazza Navona. Delicious pizzas (margherita and bacon bianca) with the best crust compared to the rest of the pizzas we had, but crazily expensive bottle of water, the most expensive in Rome and Florence, at least at the restaurants we’ve been, 6.50 euros!!!!

Ai Tre Tartufi

On our way back we bumped into one of our now favourite places in Rome, Venchi Ice Cream and Chocolate shop. When you visit Fontana di Trevi and Pantheon, you must pop into Venchi for the tastier, most delicious ice cream! You can smell the chocolate from the outside luring you in, their feature chocolate wall made us crave chocolate even more and they have a chocolate tap (YES, they do!!) they use to pour chocolate on top of ice cream or cornet. My photos don’t do it justice.

Venchi is a large Italian gourmet chocolate manufacturer and I found out they have a branch in London as well. I don’t usually support big chains but I’d definitely recommend Venchi purely based on the quality of their chocolate and ice cream.

Here’s a Youtube video of the chocolate wall!

We had our last drink at Angelo Cafe near Piazza della Repubblica. Nice cafe, fast service and not lovely views.

Angelo Cafe

We had some food at a couple of places at the airport, which was ridiculously overpriced and mediocre so I’d recommend to take some food from town or eat before you go. You will still unfortunately have to get ridiculously overpriced water after you go through security.

All three of us love Italian Cuisine, pizzas, pasta, sandwiches and desserts and despite some bad food, we thoroughly enjoyed our Italian culinary experience.

I hope you enjoyed our food journey in Florence and Rome. I’m off to have some dinner!

Next post will be on Friendfest, a gorgeous day in London with lovely friends checking out memorabilia and the sets from our favourite TV show Friends 🙂