travel

ROME PT. 14 - the end by Caitlin Trickett

And just like that, it's all over.

[2:50 AM - bags packed and under 50 pounds - leaving in 1 hour - mix of emotions]

It is with equal parts happiness and sadness that I write my final post about living abroad in Rome. I'm sad to leave behind all of the wonderful things I have grown to love about this beautiful place but happy to be going back to the comforts of home. 

The first day in Rome I remember getting out at 7:00am (thanks jet lag) and exploring around my home for the next four months. With nowhere in particular to go I simply chose a direction and walked. At one point I came upon an archway. I crossed through the archway and then through a colonnade only to look up and see St. Peter's Basilica reveal itself in that beautiful pink early morning light. It was probably the most amazing moment of my being here. It was then that I realized the magnitude of what this experience would hold. "Wow, I'm in Rome." This realization would come about at random moments many times this semester.

Rome is much more than I ever imagined it to be in both the good and the bad kind of way. Dean Martin sings of a romantic Italy that I only saw a handful of times; a quiet side street hidden in Trastevere, the sound of a lonely accordion in an empty piazza, that rare smile from a barista as he hands you a cappuccino. Rome is an unforgiving place most of the time. The 'glamour of it all' is only occasionally enjoyed...when it's not tourist season, or when you can go a block without breaking an ankle on the cobblestones, or when you're not having to dodge piles of trash, or when you're not almost getting hit by a Vespa. Rome managed to make everyday life a little bit of a challenge.

Of all the things I have learned in these past 17 weeks I would say I learned the least about architecture (if you'll remember, learning about architecture is what I came here to do). No, I learned more things about food, fashion, cars, photography, people, and most importantly myself. Rome gave me the gift of time. Time to think, reflect, dream, play. 

In Rome the world was at my fingertips. I 'carpe diem'ed' everyday and drank in everything the city had to offer. It is said that Rome will welcome you when you arrive and forget you when you leave and now I understand. I am beyond grateful to have had the opportunity to study abroad and it is something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. With a few tears in my eyes, it is now time to leave the apartment for the last time, catch my flight to the States, and watch out the window as Rome vanishes into the distance, becoming nothing less than my sweetest memory.

Until we meet again. Ciao Roma.

[A huge 'thank you' to those who kept up with me and my blog. That's a wrap on my time abroad but I'm excited to write about the adventures to come.]

17 Giovanni Bettolo, Rome, Italy - Home away from home

17 Giovanni Bettolo, Rome, Italy - Home away from home

ROME PT. 13 - BOTANICAL GARDENS by Caitlin Trickett

My time in Rome is coming to a close so I'm rushing to check some final things off of my 'To Do' list before I leave. The Botanical Gardens have been something that I've wanted to see for awhile now and it was nice to be able to peruse around in the park for a couple of hours photographing exotic plants from all over the world. The Cactus Greenhouses and Bamboo forest were probably my most favorite pieces. The park was a nice change of pace from the noisy, congested Rome. Here are some photographs from my time at the park today. Enjoy!

THE FRENCH RIVIERA by Caitlin Trickett

A weekend trip to the South of France was a wonderful way to wrap up my time here in Europe! Honestly, you'd have to experience the French Riviera for yourself to truly understand how beautiful it is. We left Thursday evening for an 8 hour bus ride to Nice, France which is where our hostel was located, and spent Friday hiking around, exploring the old part of town, and laying on the beach. Saturday we ventured to the beautiful mountain town of Eze followed by an evening in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Finally, on our way out Sunday we stopped by the quaint town of Antibes. It was all so much fun and I know for sure that I'll have to visit again someday. Here are some photos from my time in France! [I went VSCOCam style by making the photographs look like film]

^ Looking out over the city of Nice:  the 5th largest city in France. The hike to the top of this mountain made for very beautiful 360 views of the city and the sea.

^ The mountain town of Eze was so much fun to explore. It reminded me a lot of Minori with its small, winding walkways going in between houses. At the top of the mountain that the town sits on there is an Exotic Botanical Garden with so many beautiful plants from lavender to cacti in every color.

^ Looking out over the town below from the top of the Botanical Gardens of Eze.

^ Monte Carlo, Monaco:  playground of the rich and famous. This city was probably my favorite because of all of the "glamour". Money is oozing out of every crack and crevice of this city with yachts, fashion, cars, etc. I wouldn't mind 'being about that life'.

^ The luxurious Casino Monte Carlo just next door to the Fairmont Hotel.

^ I could get used to this lifestyle...

^ Of course there were ridiculous cars everywhere! At one point Cesar and I found a dinky little restaurant right next to one of the main roads. We ordered pizza and lasagna and just sat there for a good 2.5 hours watching the cars go by. SO COOL!

^ Looking back towards the Casino. The Rolex Masters were happening just down the road.

^ After awhile the red Ferrari became pretty basic. We needed something a little more impressive ha.

^ On Sunday we stopped off at the town of Antibes:  home to 48 beaches. It was so beautiful here.

^ Goofing around in the quiet side streets. French baguettes are heavenly! I may miss this most of all.

And there you have it:  The French Riviera. Now that playtime is over I have to tackle finals week! Only 12 more days left in this European Wonderland. Have a great week!

And thank you to Cesar Chacon for his excellent photo-taking skills while in Monaco and Antibes!

That's Amore - Joey and Shaelyn Engagement by Caitlin Trickett

How many couples can say that they had their engagement shoot done in Rome, Italy?! I don't know but Joey and Shaelyn can! Last Sunday was the perfect day for a photoshoot (minus the freezing wind). The three of us had a fun time playing around in the side streets of the city center before heading down to the riverbank to snap a few more shots. With Castel St. Angelo and St. Peter's as a backdrop you can't go wrong. These two looked great which made my job very easy and they were such troopers when the temperature dropped towards the end of the day. The love that Joey and Shae have for eachother is so apparent and I was happy to have been able to work with them. What a great opportunity they have had to travel Italy together! Here is a collection of some of my favorite photos from the shoot. Enjoy!

FOOD AGAIN - ROME pt. 12 by Caitlin Trickett

Here she is again:  Food! This month's edition is a bit lacking because I was having way too much fun and eating too many good things to remember to photograph them ha. I did a lot of traveling this month so I got to break away from the Italian pastas and try other dishes special to Spain and Switzerland. Looking back there were many delicious dishes that I wish I could share with you but you'll have to take my word for it when I say that "I've been eating good in the neighborhood" lately. So here are a few dishes for you to sink your teeth into:

^ This past week's Spring Break consisted of many good things including the homemade meals that happened 3 times a day everyday. This little spaghetti with meatballs combination was enjoyed twice while on the trip because the meat was SO delicious. We thought about taking a few back with us when we left but decided to keep them as a sweet memory. Just one more thing to persuade us to come back to the Amalfi Coast again someday.

^ Cesar surprised me with his culinary creativity by bringing out an "egg pancake" of sorts. It was a simple egg and saltine cracker combination and it was so delicious! We had this every morning during Spring Break week with a side of toast and strawberry jam and roasted red peppers. Oh and Peach Tea, you can't forget this because we had at least 4 cups each everyday.

^ At the beginning of March Cesar and I went to Barcelona and tried the famous Paella which is a Spanish dish composed of rice and a seafood medley. While there were yummy aspects to the dish we couldn't quite get over the different textures and the fact that some of our food still had its face.

^ I've set aside the brusselsprouts with pancetta and replaced it with a colorful, fresh salad. No matter what I'm eating I love to couple it with a heaping bowl of salad topped with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Tuna cakes are also a very quick, easy, and filling dish to make so I've been whipping up some of those lately as well.

^ This was one of the most amazing things I'd seen in a long time:  An All-American Breakfast complete with a stack of 3 pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, and a cup of coffee. This little gem of a place is known as Homebaked and sits atop a hill just south of Trastevere. While it's probably a 3 mile walk from my apartment I like to treat my self on occasion and I am never disappointed. 

^ My friend Hannah Breshears came to visit Rome a couple of weeks ago and opened my eyes to all sorts of wonderful shops and restaurants I'd never knew existed. This particular day we got brunch at the Babington's Tea Room next to the Spanish Steps and indulged in a ham and cheese sandwich and a pot of chai tea. I felt so fancy!

^ Another excellent example of Hannah's restaurant introductions is Prati Urbani. This place is relatively new with a hip environment and an extensive menu of delicious foods. I've been back three times since ordering things like Chicken Meatballs, Cheeseburger, Cheesecake, and Chicken Burger. Prati Urbani has everything and I'm a huge fan.

^ Roommate Kelley is at it again with her creations. To add to her gnocchi-making genius she has now embarked upon mastering the art of the Pici Pasta. A pasta dish famous in the region of Tuscany, Pici is a thicker pasta made from scratch and typically coupled with a ragu sauce. Kelley did good and I hope she lets me participate in the next eating of Pici Pasta.

So there you have it:  Food Again March Edition. I suppose the month of April will be my last 'Food Again' post so I'll try to only eat the best of the best to share with you before I head back to the states. Thanks so much for taking a look! 

MINORI, ITALY by Caitlin Trickett

In case you're wondering, I left my heart on the Diva Coast of Italy. Minori was the most wonderful week long experience I've ever had and I am going to miss it oh so much but I know I'll be back someday to revisit the sleepy town in all its simplistic glory. There are many things in life that you have to experience for yourself to truly understand how wonderful it can be and the Amalfi Coast is one of those experiences. I was lulled to sleep each night to the sound of the waves and awoken each morning by the light bustle of the Italian elders beginning their daily routines. Everything was so simple this week and I loved every minute of it. Wifi was spotty to non-existent most of the time so I spent my days laying on the beach, hiking the winding trails through the mountainside streets, reading a book, sipping tea, or just silently observing people from the front porch. Time moved so slowly in the moments but looking back it seemed like the week went by in a flash. Rome is fast, loud, chaotic, and unforgiving while Minori was quiet, quaint, lazy, and friendly so it was a very nice change of pace. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to stay in such a beautiful place with such wonderful people. Here are a few more snapshots of Minori:

MINORI, ITALY by Caitlin Trickett

Spring Break 2015 is going to be one for the books because I'm getting to spend it in Italy's beautiful Amalfi Coast! Minori, my home for the week, is a quiet little town about a 45 minute walk from the coast's namesake Amalfi, nestled among and between mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. This week is going to be filled with a lot of laying on the beach and hiking through the mountains and I can not wait! Here are a few photos from the first few days in the Amalfi Coast:

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND by Caitlin Trickett

Cesar and I attended the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland this past weekend and it was probably one of the coolest things that either of us has ever seen. The Palexpo Convention Center at the Geneva Airport was massive and jam-packed with amazing car displays and thousands of people. From Ferrari to Fiat this show had it all! Here are some of my favorites:

BMW i8

BMW i8

Ferrari 488 gtb

Ferrari 488 gtb

Ford GT

Ford GT

Infiniti g60 Coupe Concept

Infiniti g60 Coupe Concept

Giugiaro Concept

Giugiaro Concept

Touring Superleggara Berlinetta Lusso

Touring Superleggara Berlinetta Lusso

Nissan GTR LM Nismo LMP1

Nissan GTR LM Nismo LMP1

Koenigsegg CCX

Koenigsegg CCX

Agera RS - Koenigsegg

Agera RS - Koenigsegg

Regera - Koenigsigg

Regera - Koenigsigg

Pagani Hyuara (Cesar's Favorite)

Pagani Hyuara (Cesar's Favorite)

Corvette z06

Corvette z06

McLaren f1 long tail

McLaren f1 long tail

McLaren p1 GTR [$3.36 million]

McLaren p1 GTR [$3.36 million]

McLaren 670s It

McLaren 670s It

Lamborghini Aventador lp-750sv

Lamborghini Aventador lp-750sv

Lamborghini Huracan

Lamborghini Huracan

Cayman GT4 - Porsche

Cayman GT4 - Porsche

Porsche 918 Spyder (Caitlin's Favorite)

Porsche 918 Spyder (Caitlin's Favorite)

Porsche 911 991 gt3rs

Porsche 911 991 gt3rs

Reanult Sport R.S. 01

Reanult Sport R.S. 01

Citroen ds divine concept

Citroen ds divine concept

Range Rover Sport SVR

Range Rover Sport SVR

Mercedes AMG w05 f1

Mercedes AMG w05 f1

Photo Credits:  Cesar Chacon

Info Credits:  Cesar Chacon

Credits:  Cesar Chacon

BARCELONA, SPAIN by Caitlin Trickett

This past weekend Cesar and I took a little three day trip (an early birthday present from Cesar to myself) to the beautiful city of Barcelona, Spain and wow, I can not say enough wonderful things to describe this wonderful place! Going into the trip I had no idea what to expect but if I had expectations then Barcelona would have far exceeded them. The weather was perfect, the city was clean, the people were nice, and it had Starbucks and Skittles in every neighborhood. What more could you ask for? I hated to leave but I'm already trying to figure out a way to go back someday. Here are a few snapshots from this weekend's Barcelona trip:

^ The beaches of Barcelona were a nice little tease for the upcoming Spring Break week. We probably could've spent all weekend next to the water with our toes in the sand.

^ Sadly Rome doesn't have Starbucks but Barcelona had plenty! I could've cried I was so excited. Is that pathetic of me?! I'll admit it; I went to Starbucks 3 times this past weekend but only because I don't know the next time I'll see it again and 2 months is too long ha. Cesar and I grabbed a couple of coffees Friday morning for our walk to the beach. I felt strange drinking hot coffee on the beach with my tights and boots on.

^ Ahhh Sangria: the nectar of Spain. It's basically deliciously refreshing fruit juice with a little something else and it is amazing. We tried Sangria for the first time on Friday night with our Paella (a Spanish seafood and rice dish) and then ordered the yummy drink again Saturday evening on the pier along the beach as the sun went down. People watching for days!

^ This is Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona relatively close to the beach. We stopped to take a look at the fountains which actually reminded me a lot of the villa fountains I'd seen the previous weekend in Rome.

^ [VinconThis place is SO cool! I would buy everything inside if I could. It's basically a large home furniture and accessory store with products from around the world by artists, designers, and architects alike. Cesar and I had a lot of fun in the furniture showrooms upstairs if you can't tell...

^ Connected to the Parc de la Ciutadella is a very long, linear park that reaches pretty far to north Barcelona at the base of the Park Guell mount. This is Spain's 'Arc de Triomf'.

^ But of course you can't visit Barcelona without stumbling upon a few Gaudi projects. These two cooky buildings are Casa Mila (left) and Casa Batilo (right) along the main shopping avenue of Barcelona. Gaudi also designed the Segrada Familia Cathedral of Barcelona.

^ Saturday was probably my favorite day because Cesar and I rented a couple of bikes. This adventure began with an intense uphill climb to Park Guell for an overlook of the city. The view was worth ALL of the pain though. Barcelona is a very bike-friendly city with a bike-sharing program, bike rentals, and bike lanes on almost every street. That's probably the best way to see everything you want to.

^ Our Airbnb apartment was right in the middle of the Gothic Quarter (old city) very close to the beautiful Barcelona Cathedral and "happening" city center. The narrow streets that branch off of the main roads were a lot of fun to explore. Something that really impressed me about Barcelona was the cleanliness. This place was spotless!...Rome needs to take some lessons.

^ A little midday break at the apartment with some pomegranate and hot tea.

^ The Barcelona Cathedral (left) and Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona Pavilion (right).

^ El Ciclo is a very cool little shop that we stumbled upon and rented a couple of bikes. They also make lamp fixtures out of old bicycle parts. This guy on the right was a bit creepy ha! El Ingenio is a festival goods shop that sells huge festival heads and masquerade whatnots. They've been around since 1838!

^ At the top of Park Guell overlooking the city.

^ The Barcelona Pavilion is in the Olympic Park sector of the city. This was the little piece of architecture that I really geeked out over and it was surreal to be able to see it in person. Well done Mies!

^ The overlook onto the city from Montjuic Park. We did an awful lot of climbing on Saturday (the hill in the distance is Park Guell which we had visited earlier in the day). At night the fountains below light up in all different colors and it's pretty amazing.

So there you have it! Barcelona was incredible and while I won't say that I like it better than Italy after one tiny visit it was definitely a refreshing change of scenery and culture. Hopefully this past weekend wasn't the only time I get to see this lovely place. Until next time Barca!

Thanks for taking a look! Keep up with my day-to-day by following me on Instagram!  @caitlintrickett

TOUR DE LA VILLA - ROME pt. 10 - VILLA D'ESTE by Caitlin Trickett

TOUR DE LA VILLA - ROME pt. 10 - VILLA D'ESTE

Oh my goodness, Villa d'Este! This was probably the most beautiful in mine and probably everyone else's opinion. The villa grounds sit on the mountainside in the small town of Tivoli just a stones throw away from the city center of Rome. The villa itself was gorgeous with 3 stories of many rooms with beautiful frescos but the gardens below it were even more breath-taking:  fountains, trees, reflecting pools, gardens. I am definitely going to have to pay another visit to the quaint town of Tivoli for Villa d'Este sake and also for the excellent food and wonderful views. 

^ The main fountain about midway through the gardens.

^ The main fountain about midway through the gardens.

^ Looking back at Villa d'Este from within the gardens below.

^ Looking back at Villa d'Este from within the gardens below.

^Looking down towards the reflecting pools and above the main fountain.

^Looking down towards the reflecting pools and above the main fountain.

^ A gorgeous overlook. You could just barely see the top of St. Peter's dome in the distance.

^ A gorgeous overlook. You could just barely see the top of St. Peter's dome in the distance.

^ Yet another view to the main fountain from across the reflecting pools.

^ Yet another view to the main fountain from across the reflecting pools.

^ An archway looking out towards Rome.

^ An archway looking out towards Rome.

^ Looking down the main stair leading into and through the gardens.

^ Looking down the main stair leading into and through the gardens.

^ The lovely Tivoli in the afternoon sun.

^ The lovely Tivoli in the afternoon sun.

Well there you have it:  Villas of Rome! Whew, I feel like I've just run a blogging marathon with all of these posts! This weekend was one to remember and may be competing for 'number one favorite' thus far with all of the beautiful places I got to visit. Thank you again for taking a look and have a wonderful week. Ciao!