Day 201: Crêpe Calling

Ever since I first visited this new local café, I’ve been wanting to return to try its crêpes.

And I finally did.

Café Mezcla shrimp & avocado crêpe

A mess to eat but flavorful and satisfying :)

I had Café Mezcla’s shrimp and avocado crêpe (which is also the most expensive on the menu at $9.50) that also consisted of a “broccoli mix,” topped with drizzles of Thai and toasted sesame sauces. In short, I wolfed that sh*t down.

The only thing is, this café has so much potential (I mean, just look at its mouthwatering menu), but it still doesn’t seem to be getting a lot of business—albeit it was after 6 p.m., and they only recently extended their hours to 8. It was completely empty when I visited. While waiting for my food, I took in my surroundings, trying to glean from what looked like a chic café reasons for its slow business.

It couldn’t be the markings on the side of the counter that made it look unfinished, right? Or the small drops of white paint still slightly noticeable on the tiled floors? Or the out-of-place items stored under a table that had a pitcher of water and Styrofoam cups? Or even the ice cream counter that’s blocked by a large refrigerator full of beverages?

No. The reason for the lack of patrons is more likely due to no WiFi (seriously, though. Cafés of all businesses should have password-free WiFi). Or the fact that this place did only open a few months ago. Or the change in hours.

From what I’ve experienced so far, the food is great. Service and staff are acceptable. Prices are reasonable for a newly opened small business that uses fresh ingredients. The logo design is clean and modern. Location could be better. And personally, I think they shouldn’t use Styrofoam to-go boxes or cups. But all in all, I see myself returning again and again—if not to sit and do work, then simply to try all it has to offer, from sweet crêpes to bubble tea drinks.

If you happened to make it all the way down here (the length of my posts vary so much, I know): In a completely unrelated note, due to my curiosity finally getting the best of me, I’m really interested in knowing who reads my blog. Based on Facebook, WordPress stats, and people who have just told me, I already have an idea but would love to know more! Please do me a quick favor by leaving a comment, whether it’s on this post, an old one that you really liked (heh, yeah, I like to assume people actually like my posts), or even a future one if you don’t feel like it now. Really, the comment may be as simple as, “I read this. -[your name].” I’m THAT curious. Thanks in advance :)

Day 200: Return Home

It has been a great 10 days out of the country, but I’m ready to return home.

Calgary Tower, skyline

Goodbye, Calgary!

But I couldn’t leave Canada without making a stop at Ontario-based Tim Hortons. My cousin convinced me that I must try its iced capp—and I am glad I did, even if it was at the airport right before our flight. I didn’t know if there were locations in the U.S. (turns out there are 600…but at least none nearby) but I had to visit either way.

Tim Hortons iced capp

Long-awaited iced capp from Tim Hortons!

This being the 200th day of my 365-day-photo project, I feel like I should probably write more—or at least do something slightly more special but with 699 photos from my 10-day trip to import, sift through, delete, edit, crop, upload…I’ll just keep it short and sweet :)

Day 199: Wedding Day

I haven’t been to a wedding in years, and the ones I have been to mostly were for Asian couples I had never met and only “knew” through my parents. From the deep reaches of my memory, I recall those weddings also were extremely Chinese, meaning they involved all Chinese food, decorations, venues (Chinese restaurants), etc.

The fact that this was my cousin’s wedding that was held entirely in the hotel we stayed at meant that this wedding would automatically be infinitely more helpful to my understanding of what non-100-percent-Chinese weddings are like.

The day started off early at 10 a.m. with a tea ceremony (though not nearly as early as those bridesmaids—bless their souls—who were up as early as 4:45 a.m. for hair and make-up).

Wedding Snapchat selfie

#weddingsnapchatselfie

Roasted pig at wedding

Posing next to the roasted pig at the morning tea ceremony.

Tea ceremony

Tea ceremony :)

After a buffet of amuse-bouche, we took our seats in the white-and-yellow decorated ballroom of the Delta Bow Valley hotel for the wedding ceremony.

Wedding ceremony

Beautiful!

I sat right at the entrance in an aisle seat, meaning I most likely inadvertently photobombed 99 percent of the photos taken.

The rest of our afternoon was free until cocktails and dinner at 6 p.m., so we returned to the shopping center we went to yesterday to finish our browsing (found and bought the last black-and-white-striped maxi dress from Jacob that I saw someone at the wedding wear). The C-Train in Calgary has a no-fare zone (great idea), so we easily took the train a few stops. On the way back, I snapped a photo of the beautiful Bow skyscraper.

The Bow skyscraper in Calgary

The Bow skyscraper is the tallest in Calgary, serving as the headquarters for EnCana Corporation and Cenovus Energy.

We made it back on time to enjoy front-row seats to the reception, where I just happened to be assigned to sit right next to the wedding cake. I couldn’t help but laugh. If you know me well enough, you would know that I am obsessed with cake shows.

Wedding cake

The rest of the night was filled with delicious food, tearful speeches, and more instances where I probably unintentionally photobombed everyone’s photos (sat right next to the cake which was right next to the dance floor).

Wedding kiss

THIS is how you kiss a bride ;)

First dance

First dance.

All in all, a weekend well-spent in the friendly city of Calgary :)

Day 198: Calgary

Wasn’t able to sleep in, so I went to the hotel’s fitness center this morning earlier than planned, giving me more time to work off all the extra calories I gained from Italy.

Morning view of Calgary Tower and city skyline from Delta hotel

Morning view of Calgary Tower and city skyline from the Delta hotel.

We then took a nice, leisurely stroll through Calgary’s Chinatown, where I noticed some hilarious Chinese-to-English translations.

Funny Chinese-to-English translation

Pretty sure “pineapple” in Chinese doesn’t translate to “crushy topping.”

Chinese medicine sign

Tell me I’m not the only one who finds “Woo Kee” for a Chinese medicine-company name funny.

…along with some beautiful views (of course, not nearly as great as Venice’s ;) )

Calgary Tower

Calgary Tower from Chinatown.

Overlooking bridge

Beautiful morning in Calgary.

Centre Street Bridge

…#ART?

Day 197: Three Time Zones

As much as I love traveling, being on an airplane all day is never fun.

First, it was a nine-hour flight from Rome to Toronto. Then we endured a four-hour flight from Toronto to Calgary.

Three time zones. One exhausting day.

Rome airport security

This is such a simple yet genius idea. Every airport should adopt this system.

Mini Nutella jars

So mini. So cute.

am looking forward to the family wedding this Saturday, though. Oh, and the hotel here? Absolutely luxurious compared to those in Italy. We have thick blankets again so I won’t wake up freezing in the middle of the night (hopefully). And room to put our suitcases and still walk. And working WiFi in the room. And—the BEST part—a fitness center!!!

Time to go to sleep so I can wake up early for the gym. Gotta work off all that Italian food…

Day 196: Last Day In Italy

Leaving Venice this morning was hard. I mean, have you seen the amazing views?

From Venice, we made a stop at Montepulciano before heading back to Rome for our flight the next morning. What is this seemingly unknown middle-of-nowhere Italian town, you ask? Apparently, the Twilight saga filmed New Moon in the main square. #SORRYNOTSORRY to those who hate Twilight but you can’t deny how that’s at least SLIGHTLY cool.

The square in Montepulciano where Twilight filmed

I was basically in New Moon.

Montepulciano

Cat sitting in a window sill. #ART

Our tour guide mentioned trying the beef steak here. As much as I love her food recommendations, I also hate how I use them as excuses to pig out and try everything.

Montepulciano steak

Trying what the town is known for—STEAK.

Luckily, this town is very hilly so the other half of the limited time we had in Montepulciano was spent climbing up and down steep streets. All was worth it, as I got to fit in another “signature” pose of mine—a flying/on-top-of-the-world photo. (My other signature pose is the #ledgepic.)

Montepulciano, Italy

My other signature travel pose.

Being the adventurous tourists that we were, my friend and I got lost wandering the streets. Let’s just say getting lost in Montepulciano with about 15 minutes left to meet the tour group back at the correct gate to the town is NOT a good idea. I mean, unless you’re looking for a serious workout, then by all means, get lost in this town and you’ll find beautiful panoramic views such as these:

Montepulciano, Italy

Snapped this as we were speeding up a steep hill, attempting to find our way back to the gates where our tour group was supposed to meet.

Montepulciano, Italy

Ah, Italia.

I suppose in the end (yes, we made it on time—sweaty but on time), it was worth the adrenaline and adventure.

Once on the bus, the driver Domenico blasted Vivaldi’s Four Seasons as we drove down the extremely windy roads with more panoramic views of the countryside. I freakin’ LOVED it. I even recorded the experience, which I will upload later on Instagram, so I can relive it.

Montepulciano, Italy

Now THAT’S a panorama.

By early evening, we were back in Rome and exploring the streets again.

Rome, Italy

Back in Rome!

Italian pun

Hah. Good one.

After dinner at a highly rated Taverna Romana restaurant near the Colosseum, my friend and I decided to visit the Spanish Steps. I couldn’t tell if my memory was correct, but I couldn’t help but think that The Amazing Race filmed there recently. As soon as we got there though and saw the steps, I knew they did—and of course, I was in awe. Again, my memory failed me as to how many steps there were (135), so I was so tempted to recreate the challenge of counting the number of steps (the step for the drain doesn’t count!) but my friend would’ve hated me.

Spanish Steps

Sunset approaching the top of the Spanish Steps.

Spanish Steps

Can’t get over the fact that The Amazing Race filmed here.

I loved the environment. People just sat on the steps and chilled—many with a bottle of wine, cans of beer, or even cones of gelato. Several others walked up and down the steps all night selling cold water and beer. My friend and I found a spot on the steps and sat for more than an hour—maybe two?—but we could have stayed for hours. It was just that relaxingly enjoyable. And to think it was on a Wednesday night! Can’t imagine what the atmosphere would be like on a weekend. Maybe it was good that we went on a weekday. But then again, kids (and I mean children under 10) are out till midnight even on weekdays in Italy.

View from Spanish Steps

View from Spanish Steps. Just beautiful.

When we finally thought to make our way back to the terrible Torino Hotel (seriously, it sucks. Look out for angry reviews on Foursquare and elsewhere), we had to stop and get some gelato. Our last in Italy!!

Gelato in Rome near Spanish Steps

Yumyumyum.

I actually stood in the middle of this tunnel to try to take an artsy photo—until my friend kept telling me I was an idiot and should not try it again. I didn't...but trust me, I wanted to so badly.

I actually stood in the middle of this tunnel to try to take an artsy photo—until my friend kept telling me I was an idiot and should not try it again. I didn’t…but trust me, I wanted to so badly.

Day 195: Wandering Venice

Got lost in Venice twice and loved it. Our tour guide told us purposely to get lost in Venice—and so we did.

It’s mind boggling to look back and think about all that we’ve done in one day. From finding a tray of Nutella packets at breakfast (should have taken a photo!!) to taking our second water taxi ride to Piazza di San Marco; from watching a glass artist in action to wandering the nonsensical streets of Venice and only relying on large yellow signs to point us in the right direction; from being called mei nu (beautiful girls in Chinese (clearly he has rowed many Chinese tourists) by the gondolier while enjoying our a leisurely bucket list-worthy ride through the Grand Canal, to getting lost again while trying to find our way to a popular university square with 23 bars—our final day in Venice is finally (and sadly) over.

Take a look back at just some of the moments from the eventful, beautiful day.

Venice, Italy Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

THE COLORS. No editing required.

Venice, italy

1 euro for a photo? No, thanks.

Venice, Italy

Notice anything odd?

Venice's Bridge of Sighs

The Bridge of Sighs is NOT supposed to be romantic, our tour guide insisted.

Vecchia Murano Glass Factory

Glass-making demo begins!

Vecchia Murano Glass Factory

Commence the “oohs” and “ahhs” from the audience.

Vecchia Murano Glass Factory

Vecchia Murano Glass Factory

Voila! I mean, ecco?

Venice, Italy

Shopping in the streets of Venice.

Venice gondola

Candid gondola ride pic?

Venice with Eva

My sister and me :)

Venice with Eva and Kayla

The early evening Venetian skyline is gorgeous :)

Day 194: Valuing Venice

Despite having visited Bologna and Padua today, I’m not even going to bother posting photos from there because our last stop in Venice made what otherwise would have been a mediocre day absolutely unforgettable. I love Venice so much that I’m actually thinking about having my honeymoon here. It’s THAT beautiful.

But don’t just take my word for it. Here are just some of the photos I took today—unfiltered.

Venice water taxi ride

Riding in a taxi through Venice.

Venice water taxi ride Venice water taxi ride IMG_0017

Venice, Italy

SPEECHLESS.

Venice Sunset

The sky can’t get any more beautiful than this… #ART #nofilter

Our day ended with a beautiful tour of the city at night, with our last stop in the amazing Piazza di San Marco, where classical bands played and basically just stole my heart. Listening to the bands play with crowds of other people either sitting or standing at the restaurants’ outdoor seating areas, I enjoyed the experience so much I can’t wait to return tomorrow morning.

Piazza di San Marco

Loved the atmosphere at night.

Piazza di San Marco bands

Venezia, ti amo!

Day 193: Florence

Ah, Florence.

Our morning started off with a visit to the Accademia Gallery, where the main attraction was Michelangelo’s David. Even at 8 a.m., crowds of people were lining up waiting for the museum to open. We got in just in time to avoid the masses that would soon crowd the base of the masterpiece that is David.

Michelangelo

#ARTARTARTART

The Rape of the Sabine Women

The Rape of the Sabine Women

Stradivarius violin

Stradivarius violin!

Uffizi museum

Passing by the massive Uffizi museum.

Ponte Vecchio

Complete coincidence that my outfit matches the bridge.

The rest of the morning, we enjoyed a walking tour throughout the city of Florence.

Basilica of Santa Croce

Basilica of Santa Croce

I tried delectable eggplant pizza with a ricotta-stuffed crust for dinner, followed by what “Stanley Marcus of Neiman Marcus says in his book … is the best” gelato, according to Bravo TV’s Foursquare review.

Finisterrae at Piazza Santa Croce

Finisterrae’s popular ricotta-stuffed crust pizza!

Doing the research for blogging can be great—I just discovered that the gelateria opened its first store outside Florence in NYC last year. Time to make another visit to NYC? :)

Funny story: I tried a sample of its cream puff gelato after seeing the employee take a sample herself. The gelato was light, fluffy, and just heavenly. I was in the mood for chocolate, though, so I wanted to sample a chocolate chip one, too. Her response? “Lady, only one sample per person.” LOL. No surprise that the chocolate chip gelato I ended up getting was just as heavenly as you would expect. Only downside? No cones were in sight, just cups.