February 21, 2020 – Venetian Carnevale (OOTD #614)

Sciences Po winter break: day 7

On my final day with my Sciences Po travel crew, we woke up in an AirBnB apartment in Venice, Italy during Carnevale season.

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Of all the places I visited on our week-long whirlwind tour of Central Europe, Venice was easily the most visually unique. I mean, it’s arguably one of the most visually unique cities in the world — there’s a reason it’s a popular tourist destination. Each city we visited had its own style in some way — for example, Frankfurt had the charm of both old town Germany and a modern city of skyscrapers and Ljubljana had the most beautiful scenery with mountains in the distance. But at the same time, to some extent, they all ran together in my mind.

Venice, on the other hand, was completely different. You could never confuse Venice for Budapest or Prague or Vienna.

I think being there during Carnevale season also helped its case. Not that I’ve ever been to Venice at any other time of the year, but if I had to suggest a time to visit, I would definitely suggest Carnevale. The weather is perfect, for one: Italy during the wintertime is still fairly mild, and there are fewer tourists than there are in the summer. Apparently the canals can get somewhat smelly in the summer as well, which was not an issue I noticed at all when I was there in February.

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Carnevale season is meant for partying — and even if you’re not a party person (or, if you were like my friends and me, you were too tired for partying after six days of night buses and walking tours), you can enjoy watching the partygoers in their elaborate costumes and masks.

I did my best to replicate the Carnevale style of fashion with my purchased masquerade mask and my vintage velvet coat, but what I was wearing was nothing in comparison to the elaborate ball gowns and hats and coats that I saw people wearing. If our only destination was Venice, and if I’d been planning this trip for more than a few weeks, I would’ve bought myself a costume.

I suppose the elephant in the room is that while we were there, Carnevale weekend, was when the first COVID-19 outbreak in Europe occurred. We left on Saturday, just a few days before the first cases began being reported, so we had no clue what was ahead of us in the coming weeks and months. At that time, COVID-19 was still a news story for Asia, not Europe. That was probably one of the last times I was in a large crowd with strangers, and one of the last times I existed in a world where COVID-19 wasn’t on my mind.

I had one more destination ahead of me than my friends, so I bid them all farewell in the afternoon to catch a plain off to Madrid, Spain. Madrid, however, wasn’t actually my actual destination: Toledo, a smaller town about an hour bus ride away from Madrid, was. Toledo was where my friend, Emma, was studying abroad and living with a host family.

I left Venice shortly after lunch, and I ended up getting into Madrid past sundown. From there, I had to take the metro for an hour, from essentially one end of the city to another. Then, it was another hour to find my bus and wait for it to arrive, and then yet another hour to actually get into Toledo.

Emma and one of her friends met me there, and we walked back to her host family’s house. It was dark, about 10 pm, so I couldn’t see clearly, but even in the dark I got the sense that Toledo was yet another visually distinct town. For one, there were more hills than I had seen in any of the other cities I’d visited in the past week. It was quite a hike.

At that point, I wouldn’t have minded to have just taken a shower and gone to bed, but Emma had made plans with some of her Notre Dame friends to go bar hopping, and I couldn’t resist the invitation to go out in a new country.

I thought 11pm-ish was somewhat late to be heading out for the night, but according to Emma, for Spanish people, it was early. She and some of her friends remarked that one of the clubs we went to wasn’t as energetic as it usually was, which they figured was due to it being too early.

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For me though, by around 1am, I was feeling dead on my feet, and I suppose Emma was starting to notice, so we said our goodbyes to her friends and headed home. At that point, I’d been backpacking for a whole week, sleeping on buses and walking all day, and within 24 hours I’d celebrated Carnevale in Italy, flown to Spain, rode a train from one end of Madrid to another, and taken a bus to Toledo. With one mixed drink and a shot of vodka in my system, my body was ready to sleep.

Dress: Express

Turtleneck: FreePeople

Coat: A vintage shop in Budapest  (thrifted)

February 20, 2020 – City of Dragons (OOTD #613)

Sciences Po winter break: day 6

I technically made my way through probably four separate countries on February 20.

The first was Hungary, where I caught a night bus late in the evening. I slept for most of the journey, so I’m not actually sure how many hours of the wee morning that I was in Hungary, but I’ll wager it was a few. The second was Croatia, where we had to wait out a several hour layover (is that what it’s called when it’s a bus?). Funnily, I’m pretty sure the bus we took from Budapest to Zagreb was the exact same one I took the previous summer. I think we took the same route and went through the same checkpoints and everything.

We only spent a few hours in Zagreb as we waited for the next bus, but I honestly remember almost nothing of it. I spent most of it unsuccessfully trying to sleep in a hard plastic chair. Eventually, as some of the bus station shops began to open up, I bought one of the most disgusting sandwiches I’ve ever had in my life and barely finished half of it.

From there, it was a few hours on until our main destination, Ljubljana, Slovenia. Like Frankfurt, this was just a day trip — less than a 12 hour stay before we had yet another bus to catch.

After finding a place to store our luggage (something I got very good at — who knew luggage storage facilities would become my new best friend?) we headed towards downtown.

Ljubljana is a very small city, though it’s the largest in Slovenia. If you’ll remember, I’d actually been to Slovenia once before, for a brief stop in Brežice while my friend’s cousin picked up medication. Ljubljana reminded me in many ways of Brežice: a small but quaint town nestled in even more beautiful mountains.

Slovenia is known as the “city of dragons” but other than the famous Dragon Bridge, I’m not sure if there’s any history or mythology that goes along with that reputation. We didn’t do a tour or visit a museum at this location, which meant my actual knowledge of the sites I was seeing was scant.

After doing a brief overview of the Dragon Bridge and the iconic pink Franciscan Church of the Annunciation, we decided to take the hike up to Ljubljana Castle. Or at least, that’s what I wanted to do. After having spent the previous 12-ish hours sat in a bus, sat in a bus station, and then sat in another bus, I was eager to stretch my legs, and a hike — that is, a walk through somewhere other than a busy tourist street — sounded wonderful to me.

But it didn’t sound wonderful to some of my friends, so instead, we took the funicular lift, which pleasantly surprised me. I thought it’d be lame to just ride up to the top of the hill, but being in the funicular car actually allowed us some really beautiful views of the landscape and the city below.

At the castle, we met a lovely British man who agreed to take our photo and also gave us some recommendations for lunch options. I wouldn’t have been against trying something else authentic, especially having indulged in sushi and humus in Vienna and Budapest, but my friends weren’t feeling it. Instead, we went to a Mexican restaurant. Because you know, those Slovenians are so known for their authentic Mexican cuisine.

Our last stop before we got onto our bus to our final destination of the day was the Metelkova neighborhood. From what I gathered from my friend, Ebba, who was the one who suggested that we go, Metelkova is a lot like Freetown Christiania in Copenhagen in that it’s a small artist community within the city bounds that has its own autonomous status. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to look around much. There was a group of men playing soccer who didn’t seem interested in having tourists walking around taking pictures, which, you know, I get. I don’t think they would have given us any trouble if we’d kept walking, but my friends didn’t want to risk it, and besides, we had one final (!!!) bus to catch.

Our last country of day was Italy. We got to Venice after sunset, and by then, we were really so tired from walking around and taking buses all day that we weren’t interested in doing much sightseeing. We ended up getting much more of a tour than we bargained for that night, though, as our AirBnB ended up being on what seemed like the exact opposite side of town from where the bus stop was.

It was a Thursday night during Carnevale, but I was too exhausted to really pay close attention to the colorful costumes and loud music. I think there may have been a parade going on somewhere in the city while we were hunting for our AirBnB and trying not to get our bridges confused or fall into a canal, but I’m really not sure.

Once we finally made it to our apartment, we crashed for about an hour to decompress and relax before we dragged ourselves off the floor and crawled to a restaurant for dinner. After dinner, I think I could’ve had enough energy to venture out again and see if we could discern where all those costumed people were heading earlier, but we ultimately just went home and went to bed. We figured we’d have (yet another) big day ahead of us.

Blouse: H&M

Jeans: Altar’d State

Coat: A vintage shop in Budapest  (thrifted)

June 28, 2019 – Arrivederci (OOTD #522)

My final weekend in Rome, I finally visited the Vatican Museums.



I was there in Rome for a whole six weeks, literally 30 minutes away from the Vatican by Metro, and I never bothered to go until my final week. It wasn’t out of a lack of interest, believe me — when I was first preparing to go to Rome, I knew that the Vatican was on the top of my list of things to see.

As it turned out, though, I saw a lot of things before I got around to the Vatican. The Colosseum, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, a climate change protest, a movie studio, a vineyard, a couple of Italian cities, and even a Danish city — some of which weren’t even places I’d intended to go in the first place — all wound up getting crossed off my list before the Vatican.

But don’t worry — I wasn’t about to allow myself to leave Rome without seeing the Vatican Museums. After fighting with their outdated website trying to find a day that wasn’t completely booked until December and finally settling for one of their special extended nighttime hours, I shelled out the 20 euro admission fee for tickets.

And I’m so glad I did. I’ve discussed things that I did this summer in Europe that I don’t think we were worth the time or money — but the Vatican Museums absolutely were worth every euro. I could have spent hours in the Sistine Chapel looking at the ceiling, and a couple more hours looking at the single Francis Bacon painting they had.

I went with a couple of my Notre Dame friends whom I had wound up spending quite a bit o time with this summer. They were the ones who went with me to Florence and Naples, and so by the end of my six weeks, we’d gotten to be good friends. I was the first one of the interns to leave, so it was kind of them to agree to get dinner and visit the Museums before I left.

But my Notre Dame friends weren’t the only people I had to say goodbye — or “arrivederci” to. There were also my two supervisors from my internship, Fr. Felix and Sr. Sheila. My final day at the office, they took me out to lunch, and I gave them each thank you cards telling them to keep in touch. I wrote extensively about my internship experience at the Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Commission in this blog, so if you’d like some in-depth reflections, check there.


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the future is full of pastabilities

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Lastly, there were my friends from the Lay Centre, whom I honestly only got to be friends with in the final two weeks I was in Rome. What took me so long to make friends? For one, when I first arrived, most of the other students there were preparing for their final exams and didn’t have much time for making friends with a random American girl who was only going to be there for a little over a month, especially when they’d already been there for a whole semester (or more) and established their friend groups. Additionally, I spend a lot of my time towards the beginning of my time in Rome not actually in Rome — for three weekends in a row, I left the city and went to other cities or countries entirely. Admittedly, that wasn’t exactly the best practice for making friends at home.

But towards the end, as I got more comfortable with the Lay Centre community and the other students finished up their schoolwork, I discovered that I absolutely loved it there. I wish I had spent more time there in the beginning and gotten to know the people even better. In the end, I made at least three English friends, an Irish friend, an Italian friend, and three American friends. I don’t know when or if I’ll get to see them again, but if I’m back in the area again, I’ll definitely try to stop by.

And with that, my six weeks in Rome and my internship came to a close. As I mentioned, I wound up having farewell lunch with my bosses, farewell dinner with my Notre Dame friends, and farewell drinks with my Lay Centre friends — so I felt pretty farewell-ed out by the time it was time to go.

Time to go — but to go where? The European adventure doesn’t end there; there are two more weeks of traveling still to write about. Check back tomorrow to see where I went after Rome!

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life in Europe this summer. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Dress: Forever21

June 24, 2019 – Vatican Vibes (OOTD #521)

Technically, I can now say I’ve walked across an entire country.

It took me a month and a half to make it to Vatican City. I was in Rome for a month and a half, and up until my final week there, I didn’t visit the Vatican. Several times, I made it to the outside walls or walked around the Vatican, but I never went in. Blasphemous, I know.

Well, I wasn’t about to spend a month and a half in Rome and never visit the Vatican, especially since visiting the Vatican would mean that I could technically claim to have been to yet another country. And that I could technically claim that I’d walked across an entire country. How’s that for an icebreaker fun fact?

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it’s not a tour, it’s a church search

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So one early morning before work, my friend, Yvette, and I decided to visit the Vatican and more specifically, St. Peter’s Basilica. She’d already been on a visit with one of her study abroad classes, but she wanted to visit again, and like I mentioned, I’d never been.

We got there early enough (maybe like, 7:30AM?) that we were able to avoid the crowds. If you can manage, I highly recommend you do the same — busy churches are the worst. Part of the allure of churches is that they’re quiet and peaceful; you can’t really get that experience if it’s crawling with visitors with cameras and selfie sticks. Not that there’s anything wrong with visitors with cameras and selfie sticks — I think people should be able to enjoy a place in any way that makes them happy, as long as they’re respectful of the people around them. I mean, I myself often am a tourist with a camera.

I didn’t bother to wait for an audience with the Pope, I didn’t tour the Gardens of Vatican City, and I didn’t go to see the Archives. Because I went in the morning before work, I didn’t have time to do anything other than visit St. Peter’s Basilica and the Square.

Just as I didn’t spend as much time in the Vatican as I would have wanted, I realized towards the end of my time in Rome that I hadn’t spent as much time in Rome as I probably should have. I only had six weeks — so, six weekends to spend doing fun things and exploring the city. Three out of those six weeks, I spent outside of Rome, in Florence, Naples, and Copenhagen. I’m so grateful to have been able to explore these cities in other parts of Italy and Europe, but I also realized that maybe I hadn’t devoted as much time to Rome itself as it deserved. I also realized that I hadn’t spent nearly as much time as I should have with the friends whom I’d made from the international student housing complex where I was living  — something I’ll definitely expand upon in my next blog.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life in Europe this summer. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Top: The LOFT

Trousers: The LOFT

June 16, 2019 – Ruined (OOTD #519)

Well if you close your eyes / do you almost feel like you’ve been here before? 

Pompeii was one of those places that I knew I wanted to visit as soon as I learned I had gotten the internship in Rome. Everything I’d heard from friends who’d been to Italy before was that it was somewhere I needed to go — and that furthermore, if I didn’t go now, I might never have a chance, as it’s not the most well-preserved site.

After spending the previous day in Naples and liking but not loving it, I decided to take the one-hour train on to Pompeii.

So was it everything I dreamed?

Actually, not really. Admission was steep, and that didn’t even cover the cost of a tour — and so I didn’t get a tour. As it turns out, that’s not a wise idea. It’s a huge space that’s easy to get lost in, and if you can’t read the signs in Italian, there’s not much to indicate what you’re actually looking at. Thankfully, I was there alongside a set of friends who spoke Italian and a set of friends who’d studied Classics and Latin in university, and so together, they were able to piece together what we saw. Without them, though, I would have been completely clueless.

Despite being a history major, if I’m honest, ancient Roman history is just not my wheelhouse. I like modern history — anything post-French Revolution is exciting to me (though 19th century imperialism can be a little dry.) In terms of history, cities like Budapest or Prague or Berlin are the most fascinating to me. I appreciate visiting places like Pompeii and Rome because I appreciate their history — but while I appreciate their history, it doesn’t inspire me like other histories do.

The best part of Pompeii was probably its most morbid element — the casts of dead bodies in their final positions before their owners succumbed to the smoke and ash. I’m not going to post any pictures here because it may be disturbing to some, but I would highly recommend a Google search of the plaster bodies of Pompeii. Through the plaster casts, you get a sense of what these people’s last moments were like before they died. It’s creepy and humbling.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life in Europe this summer. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

 Top: Pitaya

Shorts: PacSun

June 15, 2019 – Not Florida (OOTD #518)

Wait, this isn’t Naples, Florida.

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wait, this isn’t florida

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I’ve actually never been to Naples, Florida. I haven’t actually traveled much around Florida, despite it being the go-to vacation destination for every family that lived south of the Mason-Dixon line from about 2006-2015. I’ve seen Orlando and Destin and Panama City Beach, but otherwise, that’s about it. Don’t tell anyone from Florida, but I don’t actually like Florida that much.

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mall rat

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So while I’ve never been to Naples, Florida to compare it to Naples, Italy, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Naples, Italy (also known as Napoli in Italian) is the better of the two. If you’ve been to both and have an opinion, feel free to fact check me.

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twisted my ankle twice on these streets

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As I discussed in my post about my trip to Florence, Northern and Southern Italy have extremely distinct cultures, a distinction that even I, an uncultured American, noticed in comparing Florence and Rome (both of which are actually more Central than Northern or Southern). Naples, the southernmost location I visited in Rome (and furthermore, considered by many to be emblematic of what makes the South of Italy unique compared to Central and Northern Italy) blew the Florence-Rome comparison out the water.

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i’m having a moment

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Naples was very different — both from Rome and Florence, but especially Florence. It’s like comparing a gated community with a private school that Felicity Huffman paid for her children to go to, to the neighborhood that Kelley Williams-Bolar falsified her address in order to prevent her children from having to school in. Can you guess if Naples is the Felicity Huffman or the Kelley Williams-Bolar?

In fact, when I returned to Rome from Naples, the first thing a friend said to me was “Oh, you didn’t get mugged! I guess you didn’t get an authentic tour.”

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not a bad view

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Actually, I don’t think Naples is as bad as its reputation. Sure, it was a little sketchy, especially that first night after I arrived after sundown and had to find the AirBnB. And the beach weren’t the cleanest. And one half of our friend group got kicked out of their hotel room after it turned out that they’d booked through a fraudulent website. At least the roads were better than Rome’s — no twisted ankles for me!

Plus, Naples had a beautiful castle — the Castel dell’Ovo, “the castle of the egg.” Don’t ask me why it’s called that. I don’t know (though I’m certain it was explained on one of the signs, I couldn’t read them as they were all in Italian). It was beautiful though, and I got some sweet photos on the way up.

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sea you around

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That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life in Europe this summer. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Outfit 1:

Swimsuit top: Hollister

Swimsuit bottom: Target

Outfit 2:

Top: Zara

Shorts: H&M

June 13, 2019 – Italian Cinema Star (OOTD #517)

The Notre Dame study abroad cultural enrichment activities strike again: this time, with a tour of Cinecittà Studios.

These little extracurricular tours have been great because they offer me the chance to see something that I likely would not have gone out of my way to see. Everyone wants to see the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Trevi Fountain — and so naturally, I did that on my own. In fact, I took a whole day off from work to do that.

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hollywood on the tiber

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A tour of an Italian movie studio is not something I probably would have taken a day off from work to do, unless I had something special in particular to motivate me. I know (well, now I know, thanks to the tour) that Cinecittà has been the filming location for many famous movies over its history, including Ben-Hur, Roman Holiday, and Cleopatra. The thing is, I haven’t seen any of those films.

I’m also just not much of a film person. I don’t like sitting still with all of my attention devoted to one screen for so long at a time. I tend to get bored, even in action-packed American films that are meant to keep children entertained for the whole duration. Slower, dialogue-heavy classic Golden Age films are even less captivating. Film, as an art form, just isn’t for me.

But the Notre Dame Global Gateway in Rome was offering free admission for a tour alongside some other students, and I’m glad I went. Even if I’m not into films of filmmaking, it was cool to see what an active movie studio looks like, especially the fully-assembled set of ancient Rome. The tour gave me an increased appreciation for cinema as an art.

I’m also not one to refuse free stuff — and I’m never one to refuse getting to spend time with other people (especially if they can take my picture with a model of ancient Rome used for production).

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life in Europe this summer. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Top: The LOFT

Skirt: Forever21

June 6, 2019 – Get to the Ponte Already (OOTD #513)

Get it? Because ponte in Italian means “bridge,” and I’m standing next to a bridge?

I’d also considered some Tiber River-related puns, but I couldn’t think of any good enough. If you know of any, leave me a comment and let me know! I’m always happy to hear suggestions from people who are cleverer than me.

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all rivers lead to rome?

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After the insanity that was my last post that featured not one, not two, but five major tourist sites around Rome (the Colosseum, the Forum, Palatine Hill, the Spanish Steps, and Trevi Fountain), I thought it was fair for me to take a break from exploring for a while.

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get to the ponte already

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And by “some time,” I mean one day. Regardless of how exhausted I felt after my “tourist day” I had work the next morning, so I had to be up and ready to head to work at 8:30 AM. It was a short day, though, because that afternoon, my supervisor agreed to let me out a few hours early for another one of the “cultural enrichment” events with the Notre Dame study abroad students.

This time, it was a tour of the Jewish Ghetto. I actually have no relevant photos to show from that part of my day. It’s not that there weren’t some beautiful buildings that would have made excellent fashion photography backgrounds for my blog — there were — but there was never a good moment to ask someone to a get my picture.

Also, no one else was getting pictures. That’s a big one for me. I really dislike being the only person or the first person in a group to ask someone to take my picture. I’ll do it if it’s an important location, and I’ll just die without getting a shot for Instagram or Snapchat, but otherwise, I try to get a feel for what the rest of the crowd is feeling in regards to stopping for glamour shots. Not every group of people is big into photos. I always hate to be the single narcissist in a group who is.

After the tour, though, my friends and I split off from the group and walked back along the Tiber River to the Colosseo area where we all lived. That’s when I got these pictures. I’m less concerned about being the single narcissist in a group when I’m with a group of friends.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life in Europe this summer. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Dress: Zara (thrift)

June 5, 2019 – Tourist Day (OOTD #512)

I think every trip to a new city over a week long needs a “tourist day.”

Of course, only if you have time for one. Not every travel experience is meant to be vacation, and that’s fine. But if, on your non-vacation travel experience, you have the time to take a “vacation day,” you should go for it.

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one step at a time

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At this point, I’d been in Rome for well over two weeks, and I had yet to see most of the major tourist sites. In fact, I’d seen more of Florence’s tourist sites than I had seen of Rome’s, the actual city where I was staying.

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roaming rome

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It’s hard to go out and see a city when you’re more there to work than to simply visit. You’re there for an extended period of time, and it’s not like any of the sightseeing destinations are going anywhere, so it’s easy to just convince yourself that you can put off exploring for another day. You have work and chores and responsibilities to deal with; your purpose for being in the city is not to see the city, as is the case when you’re just a tourist.

For example, I lived within five minutes walking distance of the Colosseum, but I never had the desire to see the inside of it. That’s not because I didn’t want to see it for its own sake —  I did — but I didn’t have the time to deal with the hassle of ticketing and crowds when I had work. I was usually too tired after work to try fighting off the tourists, and the weekends were so insane with swarms of people that even with extra time on my hands, it didn’t feel worth it.

And that’s why I believe giving yourself a designated “tourist day” is so important. Sometimes, you just have to push yourself to get out and see the world, even if you don’t feel like you have the time or energy. Imagine how much I would have regretted it if I had been in Rome for two months and I never saw the Colosseum, the Forum, Palatine Hill, the Spanish Steps, and Trevi Fountain.

But don’t worry — I did see all of those things! Rome has a deal where they offer entry to all of their historical sites for free for one day a month. In anticipation of this deal, I asked for the day off of work (and yes, I was honest with my bosses about the reason I was asking off), and I made it my mission to see as much of Rome as I could in the afternoon that I had.


At this point, I had finally established a small group of friends (my Firenze pals), and so I invited them to join me. It was probably only the first or second time in the two weeks I’d been there that I actually got to hang out with a group of people my age, and I didn’t realize how much I missed it. Up until that point, I’d pretty much been completely on my own — another factor that was keeping me back from going out and doing tourist things. That first one-third of my time in Rome was kind-of lonely.

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this is what dreams are made of 🎵

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My friends and I made it everywhere I was hoping to go except for the Pantheon. Spoiler alert: I never made it in the whole two months I was there. A friend told me it wasn’t super exciting, and so every time I told myself I was going to check it out after work, I ended up coming up with an excuse for why I was too tired to go, and that I’d just go tomorrow.

But eventually, I ran out of tomorrows, and the Pantheon remains for me unseen. I guess that’s one for the bucket list for the next time I visit.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life in Europe this summer. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Top: H&M

Trousers: Thrifted (Salvation Army)

June 1, 2019 – Friends in Firenze (OOTD #511)

It took me two weeks, but I finally made a small group of friends here in Italy!

You wouldn’t know it from these photos, since they’re not like…present in any of them but this selfie. I mean, I’m not so vain as to force the people I’m with to take a bunch of pictures with me just so that I can prove that I have friends. I’m only vain enough to force the people I’m with to take pictures of me so that I can prove that I’m out and enjoying my life.

To absolutely no one’s surprise at all, the friends I ended up making in Rome were also Notre Dame students. To my genuine surprise though, the people who wound up as my friends were not the study abroad students who lived so close to me near the Colosseum; they were actually the other interns who lived and worked in other places in the city. There was one girl who was a study abroad student, but otherwise, we were all doing independent internships.

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*mrs. puff voice* oh, neptune.

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I’d met them all very briefly back on campus at Notre Dame, but I hadn’t expected that we’d actually bond, given how on our own we were in the city. But maybe that’s why we did bond — because we were relatively on our own, with no means of making social connections. What, you didn’t seriously expect us to go out on our own and meet people, did you?

Rome’s a great city, and I miss it now that I’m gone, but after being there for two weeks, I was craving an opportunity to get out. Frascati, which I visited had visited earlier for a winery tour, hardly counted, as I was barely there half a day. I wanted a real day trip. Turns out, my five newfound friends wanted a day trip too.

Florence (also known in Italian as Firenze) is perhaps the closest major city to Rome, just an hour by the fast train or three hours by the slow train. We chose the slow train because we’re cheap. If you’re richer than me, though, I recommend taking the fast train — I’ve hard it’s quite nice.

Despite its relatively short geographic distance from Rome, Florence feels worlds about from Rome. As I understand from the very little bit of Italian culture and history that I know, Northern Italy and Southern Italy are economically, culturally, and politically separate entities, almost to the point of being separate countries in effect. They’re united by the Italian language, and not much else. Northern Italy is much more like its European neighbors, while Southern Italy is its own separate world.

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duomo? fo-sho

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What’s the point of me mentioning this? Rome and Florence are both considered Central Italy; the North/South divide shouldn’t play into the dynamic between the cities. But it does. At least, to my unknowledgeable and uncultured opinion, it does.

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i’m out of bridge-related puns, sorry

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Florence felt different from Rome. It felt richer and cleaner and quieter and more stereotypically European. Rome is insane — hot, dirty, ancient, and quite possibly falling to pieces. At times, I’ve felt that it’s almost more like Kathmandu, Nepal than other European cities that I’ve visited, such as Munich. Florence seemed to be more put-together. For one, the sidewalks weren’t constantly trying to kill me, like they were in Rome.

I wish I could have stayed in Florence for longer than I did. I feel like there was so much more to explore than I got a chance to see. Sometimes, at the end of a trip, I feel like I’ve exhausted the things to do in a city; Florence was quite the opposite. It’s a place I’d like to go back to one day, if I have the opportunity. One day was not enough.

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made some friends in firenze

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That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life in Europe this summer. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Skirt: Zara