The beautiful cities of Rome, Florence, Venice….

and the struggles of surviving it through a student budget.

On April 15th I left Spain for a week in Italy with 3 of my friends and we arrived first in Rome. We accomplished sight seeing all the touristy places that you could fit into 3 days. I got to see the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi fountain (got to make a wish). The Vatican, however we were unfortunately a half an hour late to the closing of the Vatican museum and we tried to sneak in but that didn’t work. However in Florence we successfully snuck in to see the statue of David and saved 11 euros, it may not seem like a lot but trust me it was for us at that time. Sometimes living off a student budget and your desire to see art firsthand can get you in jeopardizing situations. I honestly don’t think it was the worst thing we could have done, it was a museum and we only went in for about 10min.

The Trevi Fountain

The Spanish steps

In front of the Roman Colloseum

Inside the Roman Colloseum

The Vatican

View from the tope of the Vatican

Inside the Vatican

On the other hand while in Rome we did get to see Pope Francis, he spoke with his very thick Argentinian accent and he blessed the crowd and my friends and I were very lucky to be there, even though he was a distant off there were huge screens where we got to see him from. I’m grateful we were luckily enough to be there when he began talking to the crowd.

Now, I must say Florence was definitely my favorite city, it wasn’t as touristy as the other two and we got to see a lot of the region of Tuscany. Florence was also very easy to navigate simply by walking and again it saved us a lot of money on paying for metro.

Bottom view

Top view

Couldn’t get enough gelato

Perche no (why not) was recommended to us

The replica

Celabrating Easter in Florence

4 boxes of pizza is totally necessary

While in Florence we took a day trip to Pisa, and I made a tuna sub in front of the leaning tower of Pisa while my friend napped on the grass and my other friend took pictures of us. We basically paid 16 euros to go see this tower to then proceed to nap and eat and completely ignore it. We took plenty of picture (gotta do it for the gram ((instagram and grandma– see what I did there?))

There’s a story behind this mayonnaise toothpaste..


Venice hit my wallet HARD but it also grabbed my heart. Every sight in Venice was breathtaking, despite the fact that we got there on a rainy Monday it was still beautiful. It was also very touristy and pricy so I had to live off left over tuna cans from the supermarket, Conad in Florence, and gelato and pizza. But you cant go to Venice and not go on a gondola, so we managed to get a discount and pay 60 euros rather than 80 euros and the 6 of my friends (we met up with 3 more girls in Venice) went on the gondola (one of them didn’t because it wasn’t on her budget and she had already been on one before). It was breathtaking both because we were trying to snap as many selfless and pictures of the scenes and because we saw the most gorgeous part of Venice in a quick 20min boat ride. I expected Venice to be a lot bigger in terms of much taller buildings but it makes sense for everything to be smaller considering the canals, which were very narrow but nevertheless it was still a very beautiful city.

Italian is a bit similar to Spanish and if they talk slow enough you can understand most of the conversation, yes they are loud but the Spanish I feel are more loud when they get together, yes they eccentric in their movements and it’s great to watch them, I love it. Yes, they can be rude as they must get tired of Americans constantly asking for prices and directions, which we did a lot because a girls gotta know how much she’s willing to pay for pizza and gelato and where she can find the best pizza and gelato.

The entire trip overall went very smoothly, no one got lost, no one’s things got stolen….. until… the very last second as we were boarding our plane. Coming back home was sort of a roller coaster of a ride because as we were literally on the stairs about to go in the plane when we got told that we had to get off and go down and back into the airport. We got moved from one room to another, each time wishfully hoping that it meant we were about to board back, only to be taken to another room, there were about 300 passengers. Finally they brought water bottles out for us to drink and after sitting for so long we were able to go back in. We found out that someone had left a note on the plane saying that there was a bomb on the plane and because of security reasons we had to wait for everything to be checked I guess.

After a week living in sketchy hostels, carrying heavy bags and a suitcase, desperately needing a good shower, and missing affordable food back home at this point I could have kissed the Valencian ground. Valencia definitely became my home away from home. Who knew I’d miss Valencia so much.

Italy was a great adventure and I’m glad I got to go while in my 20s because there were a lot of older tourists there and I don’t want to be older and traveling I want my entire life to be full of travel and adventure (as long as I’m not always on a school budget)

I recommend everyone to travel, it will bring out the survival skills you need, it will bring out your strengths and weaknesses, it will give you a new perspective, it will make you tolerant and conscious of other cultures. Now is the time to do it. And trust me when I tell you there is a way there is always a way.

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Studying Abroad in Spain

I studied in Valencia, Spain in the Spring of 2014.

Valencia was perfect because it was a 20 minute walk to the beach


and a 5 minute walk to our favorite bar: Quintos.


There were countless nights when we partied from midnight until the sun would rise.

Once we even saw our professor and took a picture with him (he’s the one all the way on the left).


Did I mention we partied A LOT?

In the Spring they have a week long festival called FALLAS (where they build statues like the ones behind my friend and I, they place them all over the city and then BURN it to ground on the last day)


It’s magical.

Fallas happened to be on the week of my 21st birthday, so you can imagine the amount of celebration that went on (even though turning 21 isn’t a big deal in Spain)


They even had Octoberfest in May INSIDE a bullfighting arena.

We would typically eat delicious paellas made by the chefs at our dorm.

And lastly, incase you didn’t know, we did A LOT of partying.


It wasn’t the only thing we did, since we were living there for six months we really got to explore the city of Valencia. We mostly walked to everything but eventually learned to manage the metro system, which is so much better than the system in New York. Either way, we still walked a lot because the weather was usually perfect, it never rained for too long and it always seemed to be spring weather, plus it helped to save a few extra euros. (Those extra euros usually went to Quintos.)

Fallas reminded me of the Ecuadorian tradition of “Ańo Viejo” where we build a doll to represent a character, politician, or person and then burn them for New Years. For my birthday we got to go all around the city, a city that was ablaze, (an arsonists dream) to look at the different paper and plaster statues. I wouldn’t trade these experiences for the world. I became very close to the group of girls that were with me in Spain. We’re still very close to this day, so I definitely recommend traveling in a group and exploring Spain in the spring!


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First post!

Welcome to my blog, my name is Jen and you will be reading a lot about my travels, vegetarian recipes, and latinos in the media!

I’m going to be posting about the places that I’ve visited (which aren’t much) and how I managed to travel and survive with a 20+ year old budget. I strongly believe that the best time to travel is when you’re young, there isn’t going to be a better time to step out of your comfort zone and explore a new culture. The world is so much bigger than we can possibly imagine and not to sound overdramatic but it’s waiting for you to explore. Some of the places I’ve visited are Spain, Italy, Ecuador, and Canada.

I’ve been a vegetarian for a year and a half now and it’s so much easier than you’d expect so I’m going to be posting meals and recipes in case you want to try yourself.


Lastly, considering I’m latina, I was born in Ecuador, and I’m studying digital media I am very interested in latino representation. Anything in entertainment, movies, blogs, and websites that include latinos I will be posting and discussing.

Stay tuned!

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