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Have you ever been somewhere you’ve never been before and felt right at home? I have never really gotten that feeling until we went to London. When we got into England it was about 8:00 p.m. We landed in an airport an hour outside of London so we had to take a bus in. When we were buying our tickets the man selling them welcomed us to “the worst part of Europe” he followed that with, “We just have a really great P.R. team.” That little piece of sarcasm made me feel right at home. 😉 Then, we missed our bus. The next bus wasn’t for another 45 minutes. For obvious reasons I hate getting into new cities late at night. So, we sold our bus tickets and went to the train station. Two trains and a taxi later, we were in our flat. Once we arrived at our flat I went to the grocery story down the street and bought fruits and veggies for dinner.

I also have to mention how great it was to be able to communicate with people in my first language, English. Over the past few weeks I have picked up quite a bit of Italian but I still have to think really hard about some words. I found out that I really took for granted everyone knowing English in America. I think everyone needs to go to a place they don’t know the language. It humbles you and makes you more considerate about people who might not speak your native language.

Our flat had the CUTEST balcony and since I wake up way earlier than Braxton I was able to have tea and grapes in the morning. It was so peaceful and perfect! We knew we only had one full day in London so we needed the best way to get around. We opted for the cliché double decker bus tour. It was about 25 euro but that was all day transportation + a river cruise. We started at Buckingham Palace. I personally would have rather lived in Versailles but thats just me! The Palace was huge but not as beautiful as Versailles in my opinion. Next, I wanted to see the London Eye. The views were amazing and the line was not bad at all. We then took pictures around Big Ben and The House Parliament. Right across the street was the start of our river cruise to the Tower Bridge. Of course, we got more entertaining Brits as our tour guides. They warned us about proposing on the top of the London Eye because, “It will be a long, awkward ride down with 15 strangers if she says no.” haha. We also went under the London Bridge. Now, I was born in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. LHC is now home to a former London Bridge that was sold to a few developers. On the tour they had mentioned, “The last one is in the middle of the desert somewhere.” I chuckled knowing that I was from the middle of that desert.

Once we arrived at the Tower Bridge we walked across it to a pub called, The Anchor Bankside. This is one of the oldest pubs in London. Supposedly Shakespeare even wrote about it. We had a couple beers (and by this I mean, I had a cider and Braxton had a Guinness) and traditional fish and chips. I am obsessed with the ambience of English and Irish bars now. We snapped some more pictures then we were off to finish our bus tour. The nice thing about doing the bus tour is that, at the end of the day when you don’t want to walk anymore, you can still see all of the other attractions from a bus. We did exactly that. The bus dropped us off back near our flat and we walked from there. It was a super long day in London but we had seen everything we wanted to in only 12 hours! Then we were off to our next adventure in Dublin, Ireland. Stay tuned for my next blog post and video. 🙂

With Love, Elizabeth Ashley

P.S. Check out our video down below of our travels through the city of London!

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcqvIry_ubk[/embedyt]

September 25, 2016 0 comment
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A while back when Braxton and I were first dating we talked about how cool it would be to go to every Disney Park in the world. So obviously, Disneyland Paris was on our bucket list for this Paris trip. Sometimes when you are away from home from a while you start to miss the little things that remind you of home. Disney was so nice because it reminded me of home. Some parts reminded me so much of the OG Disneyland in California especially the part where I got a CHURRO! (Mexican food has a special place in my heart and I miss it very much. LOL!)

If you are planning on making a trip to Disneyland Paris, be sure to buy your tickets online the day before. Instead of paying 90 euros for a single park per ticket we paid 45 euros for two parks! This was a great deal because honestly I feel like I would have been robbed paying 90 euros for a single park. I know that in California we pay around 100 USD a ticket but the parks in Paris are much smaller and 45 euro for both parks in an extremely fair price in my opinion. I say this because it took us around 5 hours to see every adult attraction in both parks. Although, I must say Disneyland Paris has a MUCH better Space Mountain. We did so many twists and turns and upside-down stuff! Haha! It was awesome! 😛

We are in London now and are having so much fun! Stay tuned for my blog post on our first day in London!

With Love, Elizabeth Ashley

P.S. We are finishing up our Paris Travel Diary and it should be up soon! 🙂

September 21, 2016 0 comment
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I made my modeling debut today in Versailles!!! hahaha. Just kidding. In all seriousness I think I might just retire in the gardens of Versailles. I have always loved gardens but Versailles is magical. There is no place in the world like this. When you first walk up to the Palace it is extremely intimidating. The giant gold gates make it look straight out of a Willy Wonka. If you gave me all the money in the world and told me to build my dream home it wouldn’t come close to Versailles. Versailles is the palace other palaces dreamed of being. It has inspired thousands of designers thru out the centuries.

We took the 30 minute train from Paris to Versailles and it only cost us about 4 euros each. Since we have visas that are over 90 days we were able to have free entry into the Palace. After touring the grand rooms and famous Mirrored Hallway, we retired to the garden. There was not a single piece of trash on the ground or was there a branch out of place. This garden was immaculate. We walked through the giant hedges to the small lake near the end of the gardens. There we rented a small row boat and toured the lake. It is amazing how well placed every tree and plant is, it makes everything seem so perfect. I can only imagine what it had to be like back in the day! We grabbed lunch at a sweet restaurant by the lake. The hot chocolate was amazing but the meal was sub par.

We ended our day by stopping at Notre Dame. We didn’t go in but I faced my fear and fed some pigeons. 🙂 Stay tuned for more on Paris!

With Love, Elizabeth Ashley

September 17, 2016 0 comment
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First off, sorry not sorry for the extremely over the top amount of photos including the Eiffel Tower. 🙂 We were hardcore tourists today in Paris. The first thing we did when we woke up was get ready and call our uber to go to the Eiffel Tower. I have waited a long time, a lifetime to be exact, for that moment. You know when you imagine a place in your head and 9/10 times it’s a disappointment when you finally see it in person? Yeah, that’s NOT how the Eiffel Tower was for me. It was way better than I imagined and bigger! I personally, (don’t hate me for this…) think I might like France more than Italy. I feel like it’s just more my style. It’s girly and elegant. 😉

After being super duper touristy at the Eiffel Tower we headed to Ladurée. This was another moment I have waited a lifetime for. 😛 For those of you who don’t know what Ladurée is, YOU SHOULD BECAUSE IT HAS THE BEST MACARONS EVER. Macarons are like sushi, if you don’t like them, you probably haven’t had a good one. After breaking the bank ($20) 😉 for 6 macarons we walked down to the Arc De Triomphe and took some more cute pictures.

Coming to Paris I knew I wanted to see the Mona Lisa so we headed to the Louvre. Everyone told us “be prepared for the wait… blah blah blah” and yes, 11 out of 10 times they are right but we literally walked right in. *hair flip*. Fifteen dollars later we saw her smile. I really do want to talk about how different it looks in person. In all seriousness, its like she is staring right at you. To me, her eyes were more haunting than anything. It was like someone had cut eye holes and they were staring right into my soul. You really need to see this painting if you don’t like sleeping at night.

Braxton and I are in love and we wanted to do the super cliché thing and leave a lock on the locks of love bridge. But, sadly the bridges locks were removed over a year ago. Since, we don’t keep up with Paris news we didn’t know. So sad, I know, tell me about it. So, what did us lovebirds do? We bought a lock and put them where everyone else does…next to the bridge. :p

Eiffel Tower, Ladurée, The Arc, The Louvre and the not so locks of love bridge. Day one mission accomplished. 🙂 We are so excited for the next few days.

With Love, Elizabeth Ashley. 

 

September 16, 2016 0 comment
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About an hour south of Naples is a piece of heaven on earth called the Amalfi coast. When we first began thinking about studying abroad we knew that we had to visit the picturesque town of Positano. The town is famous for its bright and colorful buildings tucked along the coast of the baby blue Mediterranean.

We arrived by train to Salerno around 11 a.m. then took a ferry ride to Maiori. We stayed at a beautiful hotel called Hotel Panorama. After we got our bags in our room we headed to the beach. Along the Amalfi Coast is a mix of public and private beaches owned by the hotels. Hotel Panorama offers an amazing beach to its guests. We rested the entire first day and enjoyed the small charming town of Maiori.

The next day we took a bus to Amalfi. Before we went, we watched the Rick Steves episode on the Amalfi coast and he talked about how scary the bus rides were and he wasn’t lying! The road along the Amalfi coast is around 750 years old and in some places isn’t quite wide enough for two cars. The fact that we were cliffside along the Mediterranean Sea made for an interesting and intense first ride. Amalfi is known for its lemons and Limoncello liquor. These are amazing and a must try in Amalfi! While we were wondering the town we got stuck in a rainstorm. We noticed that the sky was dark but didn’t expect rain in paradise! So we escaped on our ferry to Positano.

Positano was as amazing as one would expect. It’s the kind of city that inspires artists. We stopped and had a caprese salad and a drink before exploring. After lunch we headed out and walked the small intimate streets. It was as romantic as it was beautiful. There is a path that stretches along the coast that we hiked along which holds some amazing views, private coves and small, intimate restaurants. We decided to take a swim at the end of the day while collecting some pretty colorful rocks, which cover the shoreline. The water was so warm and reminded me so much of Hawaii with its clear blue water.

When we got back in Maiori, Braxton took me out to dinner. It was a great way to end our week traveling. 🙂

With Love, Elizabeth Ashley

September 13, 2016 3 comments
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I feel like I’m really adjusting to being here and it’s amazing because I am finally able to relax and really enjoy all the traveling. BUT, after 8 days of non-stop traveling place to place… I’m exhausted! I’m starting to really understand the whole, “I need a vacation from my vacation” thing. Anyways, back to Rome… I have dreamed of seeing Rome since The Lizzy McGuire Movie. Hillary Duff just really had a way with making every eight year old girl want to run away and become a pop star in Italy.

We were only in Rome two nights so right when we got off the train we headed straight to our hotel, dropped off our bags and went to the Colosseum. The best way to get tickets and see the Colosseum is buying them by the Roman Forum and see that first then head over to the Colosseum (the same ticket includes both entries). The Roman Forum is really old, it is so hard to fathom how old it is when you were born in a country founded thousands of years later. After we walked around the Forum we headed to the Colosseum. We entered the Colosseum and were stunned by the architecture and design. We could only imagine the roars of the crowd and how packed the Colosseum would get when watching an event, it was really eye opening. After walking around for about 30 minutes without water (because they were all sold out) we headed back towards our hotel. On our way home we stopped at a local pizzeria and enjoyed a “pie” as well as a caprese salad(which are mine and now Braxton’s favorite too). 🙂

The next day, we made our way to Vatican City. We woke up early and got on the Metro which is basically the same as a New York subway. After hearing from locals that a lot of pick pocketing happens on the metro we were told to stand near the back or very front where it is less crowded(thankfully we never had any issues). Our first stop on the way was at the Trevi Fountain, yes the one from Lizzie McGuire ;). We made our wishes by tossing Euro coins over our shoulders as “the Romans do” then headed off to the Vatican.

When we arrived, we stood in a long line adjacent to the outer wall waiting to get in the front door. Just some advice, never buy tickets from the tourist guides out in front. They charged 33 Euros for a one person ticket into the Museums when the same ticket costs 16 Euros inside at the ticket office. Once we made it in, we found our way toward the Sistine Chapel. We walked through some beautiful, elaborately decorated hallways which held numerous statues, paintings and rugs older than America itself… aka SUPER OLD. Braxton joked that if we touched any of the rugs they would turn to dust lol. Once we made it into the Chapel itself we were taken back by the exquisite detailed work of Michelangelo. We were told not to take any pictures or risk getting kicked out of the city, but Braxton being the rebel he is snapped a photo anyways. Then after touring the whole Vatican City we stopped at a restaurant outside of the City walls for lunch and enjoyed another caprese salad(#sorrynotsorry).

One of the best moments we had in Rome wasn’t at a Museum or monument it was at La Cucaracha Mexican restaurant which made us feel at home. After a few burritos and enchiladas were were content with life itself and headed back to the hotel to prepare for our next adventure.

With Love, Elizabeth Ashley

September 9, 2016 0 comment
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We only had about 16 hours in Florence but we still saw so much! When we arrived at our (most amazing yet) AirBnB, we were greeted by our host, who told us about the best places to eat, drink and see.

We started at the Museo di Palazzo Vecchio, which held breathtaking art, as well as a replica of Michelangelo’s David statue. Florence is also the home of the original David,  unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to see. We then walked down to Ponte Vecchio, a medieval bridge that was first opened in 1345. The bridge was filled with expensive jewelry stores that no average person can afford (*cough* Patek Philippe *cough*). We had dinner at a small intimate restaurant on the other side of the bridge where we met a few other Americans. I knew the moment they walked in the restaurant they were American by their candid southern drawls and “typical loud American” voices. It was two middle-aged couples, they reminded us so much of our parents lol. This might be weird, but talking to them was a moment I enjoyed so much because they felt like home.

After dinner we walked up to Piazzale Michelangelo. It is a place to look out over the Florence skyline and enjoy yet another replica of Michelangelo’s David. We got so many great shots there and also ate our body weight in gelato. 🙂 We were so tired from our day we decided to go watch Netflix and get some sleep.

When we woke up we had breakfast at a cute place right next Basilica of Santa Croce. It was such a peaceful and beautiful morning. After breakfast we walked to the Duomo of Florence. Italy is really spoiled when it comes to their churches, in every city they have at least one massively, over-decorated cathedral. Braxton and I both decided not the bring cameras and to just enjoy the morning to ourselves, which is why we don’t have photos (#sorrynotsorry). We took in the Duomo’s breathtaking size and beauty then it was time to catch our train to Rome.

With Love, Elizabeth Ashley

September 6, 2016 0 comment
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Venezia was a dream! It was without a doubt one of the best days of my life.

We started our day waking up at 5:00 am in Milano. We took the train into Venice and arrived to our Airbnb around 10:30. Since we’re ballin on a budget, we have used Airbnb everywhere. We have had the best experience so far with them! (I hope I am not jinxing us because we check into our next one in about two hours! *fingers crossed*) Every time we have checked in the host gives us amazing details about the city and the best things to do. The Venice Airbnb did, however have a lizard in the shower that scared me early this morning! Haha.

After we checked in we walked the town. I was amazed with just how tiny Venice seems. It was like walking across the ASU campus! The tiny city is just as beautiful as the pictures make it. It was extremely more tourist friendly than Milano. We loved the vibe, the people and the food. The window shopping is almost as good as it gets, with stores like Gucci, La Perla, Louis Vuitton and Prada. The close proximity of the buildings give the city a feeling of intimacy and warmth that is extremely inviting. Before the end of the walk we made sure to purchase a few Murano glass pieces.

Gondola rides are a Venice staple. It was on our bucket list of things we HAD to do on this trip and it was well worth it. The half an hour ride took us through the Grand Canal, small quiet canals and we even passed Marco Polo’s home. It was a peaceful escape from the crowd. After that experience, I believe everyone should take a gondola ride thru Venice at least once in their lives.

We had a great canal side dinner after our beautiful gondola ride. Our restaurant hugged the side of the famous Rialto Bridge. I had gluten free tortellini and prawns, Braxton had spaghetti and we both split a bottle of Rosé.

Around five we headed back to our apartment for a nap. When we woke we went out for gelato. In most Italian cities you can’t walk 100 feet from a gelato shop before hitting another gelato shop. We have yet to have bad gelato but in Venice we have had some of the best so far! The shop we ended up going to was recommended by our Airbnb host and it was lovely!

We ended our day in Venice by watching the sunset on the Grand Canal. It was a beautiful way to end such an amazing day! Follow our adventures on Instagram (@loveelizabethashley/@bpalms06) as we head to Florence for another beautiful day.

With Love, Elizabeth Ashley

September 1, 2016 3 comments
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Ciao!

Yesterday, we went just north of Milano to Lake Como. It was about an hour by train and only cost us about $5 US dollars. Lake Como is where a lot of Milan residents weekend. It’s obvious relaxed and laid back atmosphere is what makes it so appealing. Milan is known to be one of the business capitals of Europe, it has a very fast paced vibe.

While at Lake Como, Braxton and I walked the town then took a boat ride around lower Lake Como. The hour long boat ride was as pleasant as it was breath taking. We really enjoyed seeing the locals (last photo) fishing and joking on their small boats. I have learned so many cultural differences but all humans love a good laugh. 🙂

After our boat tour we decided to get lunch. The charming restaurant, Monti’s, was updated, chic and yummy. I ate gluten (…ooops) and had a prosciutto panini. Braxton went for the lasagna In case you were wondering, the lasagna was way better. When we finished lunch it was time to start heading home, but first we stopped for gelato.

We didn’t get to see a few things the we had really been wanting to see so we will probably go back sometime soon! Among those were the town of Bellagio, a tram ride up into the mountains and George Clooney. 😉

With Love, Elizabeth Ashley

P.S. I felt afraid to share part of my culture shock when we first got to Italy. I was really so nervous and lost. At first I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it for so long, I had already been so anxious for this trip. Apart of me felt so embarrassed to be feeling that way after all of the excitement. Braxton wasn’t feeling like this? What was wrong with me? So I did what any sane person would do and I googled it. Culture shock was normal and now I am starting to finally adapt. Although I am still not getting used to the market not having shredded cheese, tortillas or salsa. I am in desperate need of Mexican food. SOS!

August 28, 2016 0 comment
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We did so much more in New York than we thought we could in two days! One our second day we woke up, walked down to the subway and took it down to the One World Trade Center building. On our way we made a quick stop at Grand Central Station! They don’t call it GRAND Central for nothing. 😉 We bought our tickets and went up to the top. The elevator ride was so cool!!! There are monitors on the walls of the elevator and as you rise you “go through time”. It starts around the 1600’s and as you rise New York City grows around you. I would definitely recommend doing this if you are going to do anything in NYC (the tickets were $37 dollars).

After, One World we went downstairs and saw the 9/11 Memorial. It’s so heartbreaking to see the names on the monument. 🙁 The fountains are so beautiful!

It was only a short walk down to Liberty Park from the memorial. We decided to take the ferry to Lady Liberty on Liberty Island. We woke up so early that by this time it was only 10:00 am. After seeing that Statue of Liberty heading back to Manhattan we walked up Wall Street to see the charging bull. It’s supposedly good luck to rub his unmentionables so we of course did that. hahaha.

We were so tired after doing all of those things so we went back to our AirBnB for some rest. After our nap we grabbed food from a place called “Ashley’s Fine Foods”. It isn’t very fancy or fine at all, but it was a quick and easy way to grab dinner! At night we went to the see Times Square all lit up. 🙂 It reminded me so much of Vegas with all the people and lights. On our way back to our AirBnB we grabbed ice cream floats.

In the morning we got up and went to a bagel shop called Ess-a-bagel. Now, one of my favorite things in the entire world is Lox. Lox is a bagel, cream cheese, capers, tomato, cucumber, onion and Nova salmon. I’m sure if this is your first time learning about lox you’re probably disgusted, DON’T BE! If you haven’t had lox you are missing out on a very important thing in the world!!! Anyways, when we arrived at Ess-a-bagel the line was out the door, which is usually never a bad indicator! I ordered the lox and it was literally top ten most amazing things I have ever eaten! I usually don’t eat gluten, so this was a splurge and it was the best splurge ever!!! Seriously, this place was amazing.

After breakfast we started to head to the airport to catch our flight! Our flight was long but it wasn’t too bad. I’m glad to say we are finally here. 🙂

With Love, Elizabeth Ashley

August 25, 2016 1 comment
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