Before we arriving in Florence, I had never even heard of the town of Lucca. But immediately when we got to Florence, every single native Florentine told us that we had to make a day trip to Lucca. Lucca is about an hour west of Florence and is easily accessible by car or train. We took the train out for a day trip to see what all the fuss was about and were totally not disappointed! Lucca is an ancient walled city. Now this is no ordinary wall. The wall around the city is massive. We rented bikes and rode on top of the wall, which was so much fun. It was like bike riding on a really scenic beautiful track that overlooks an ancient Italian city. Definitely so much fun and something you must do if you ever visit. We explored the city during the day and I just loved how untouched it felt. We barely saw any Americans in the city. We actually barely saw any tourists there in general. Lucca was way less crowded than Florence or Rome or any other of the major Italian hotspots. I loved our day trip to this cute little spot.

     

For the 4th of July this year we decided to take a quick trip to Vienna! Matt had been to Vienna once before many years ago. He had really good memories there and wanted to come back as an adult. Vienna is known for the beautiful Opera house, being the home of Mozart, cafés, and the yummy Sachertorte Cake. If you are traveling to Vienna, you must have a coffee and some Apfelstrudel at a famous coffee house. Vienna likes to claim the title of “coffee house capital of the world” and there are opulent coffee houses on every corner. I would recommend Café Central, Demel, and Café Sperl. You also must go to the Hotel Sacher-Wein and order the Sachertorte Cake at their beautiful café. The Hotel has carefully guarded the recipe for the Sachertorte since the 18th century. The cake itself is a chocolate sponge cake with an apricot filling and chocolate icing. I do not usually loved chocolate with fruit fillings but this cake had just the perfect amount of apricot filling. It is so good! There are tons and tons of amazing museums that you could also spend days exploring. We never went to any of the museums there because we are a little museum-ed out at this point in the summer.

However, we did visit the Naschmarkt and I loved it! When I love something, I really love it and get kind of obsessive about that it. I listen to the same song on repeat until it starts to annoy the people around me (aka my husband). I love flowers, Italy, Siggi’s vanilla yogurt, Dairy Queen, Dolly Parton, Shauna Niequist and also open-air markets! I basically died over the amazingness of the Naschmarkt and it was easily one of my favorite things we saw there. Half of the pictures in this post are from the Naschmarkt. The Naschmarkt was just super abundant and filled with so much amazing fruit, olives, drinks, candies and flowers. Matt and I bought some Turkish delight and had the best time walking through the stands. You could really spend an entire afternoon there. I would definitely recommend having lunch at the Naschmarkt and then giving yourself sometime to walk around and try new foods you may have never even seen before. I felt like I was in some sort of Turkish market without ever having to travel to Turkey. I would absolutely love to come back to Vienna around Christmas when they transform the markets into the Christmas markets.

We also had a great lunch at the Schachtelwirt, which is basically like a modern Chipotle for Viennese food. Super affordable and flavorful. Also side note- the Vienna airport was also shockingly clean and super efficient which also makes traveling there more enjoyable.