Monday, July 31, 2017

Gdańsk, Poland

We had the best time on vacation and are starting and stopping point was Gdansk, Poland. Clark got some time off in July and when we looked into where we wanted to go we were originally looking into doing a big road trip from Italy to Switzerland ( we totally still want to do that at some point) but I knew the alps would be a lot of hiking and my leg is not up for that yet. 
So I turned my attention elsewhere and I was just randomly searching flights on Google Flights and I came up with either Barcelona or Gdansk, Poland to go to. Both were super cheap  nonstop flights through RyanAir and since it's very warm in Italy in the summer we decided to go north to Poland to escape the heat for a week. The flights cost around $140 for both of us round trip. We stayed two nights in Gdansk at a really centrally located Airbnb it was in such a good location although not the comfiest apartment we have stayed in. But it was literally like 2 minutes from the Main Street. 
Our full day there we explored and just started out on foot wandering the streets. One of the good things about this trip was that I didn't have too many solid plans. We could just kinda go with the flow and if I was tired we could go back to the apartment. It wasn't tightly packed with activities like our vacations usually are. Though we did get to see and do a ton of cool stuff. 
We rode the ferris wheel which had a great view of the whole cities and especially old town. Although I someday hope to live in a world where the pretty views are never obstructed by construction cranes. We ate lunch at Original Burger which I highly recommend. It was fantastic. Then got some tradition polish soft serve ice cream. I love how different they do ice cream in every country/ region. This stuff was a lot thicker and more of a rich cream flavor then vanilla. You could also get swirl or chocolate. I tried the swirl (vanilla/chocolate) in the evening after dinner. 
We the headed out to Westerplatte which was about a 15 minute drive from downtown Gdansk. It was the place of an old military fortress and there is a giant monument erected. One of the things I loved the most was the old barracks they had been bomb or something of the like and the building was semi collapsed but we could walk through it and that was really neat. It was cloudy the full day we had in Gdansk but luckily it didn't rain at all except a tiny bit first thing in the morning when I had to go to the street and pay the meter for car parking. 
When we were pulling out of town the next day it was pure blue sky. That is why there isn't blue sky in any of the photos except the last one haha. We loved Gdansk. People thought it was a very random place to visit when we told them but it had lots of charm and was definitely a cute little historical city and also named one of the best European destinations of 2017! 
love, Carlee 
Nike shoes: Amazon
Jacket: Northface
Leggings: Nike
Purse: JCPennys
Long sleeve shirt: H&M

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Caserta Palace Gardens

I really wanted my family to meet our Italian landlords while they were visiting. Our landlords have been really good to us, even visiting me everyday when I was in the hospital with my broken leg. Our landlords are about the same age as Clark's and my parents and they have 3 children about our age so they are like our Italian parents. They wanted to meet my mom and little brother as well. They live in Caserta about 30 minutes from where we live and they love the Palace of Caserta. Which is totally understandable, it is gorgeous and so we decided that the gardens would be a good place to show my family and while Clark and I have visited the palace we haven't ever visited the gardens.
I think my mom was picturing more florals and flowers when I was describing the gardens but it is more trees and fountains. The total length of the gardens is about 2km. We walked from the palace all the way down and then saw the English Gardens and then my mom, brother, Gianfranco, and I rode the bus back while Giulia and Clark walked. Italians are very proud people so they like showing off their neighborhood and town. They even mentioned that when the Clintons visited in the 90s that they loved the English Gardens. 
The fountains were probably the most impressive part of the gardens or maybe the giant fish in the pounds they are SOOOOO big haha. We were wondering if the fish jump from pond to pond up or down through the fountains and they do! We saw a few of them. Our landlords wanted to show us a little lake and castle that the royal children used to play in but my legs were tired. So my mom, Clark, brother and landlords went to there and I hide out in the trees. There is a bunch of patches of forest and I thought thats all there was. But there are little trails that go back in the forest and I went back there and there are benches and a trail and it's crazy because it really doesn't look like anything but trees from the outside and its a little wonderland or 'secret garden.' 
love, Carlee
Dress: Thifted
Bag: JCPennys

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

St. Peter's Basilica

I still have soooooo many photos from when my mom and little brother came to visit. We really did pack in a lot of stuff. We spent two days in Rome. It was Clark's and my second visit to Rome so we had a lot to still see. Someone told us when we first got here that we don't need to go to Rome too much because whenever family comes to visit they will want to go and they were right! haha. One of the main things I wanted to do was go to St. Peter's Basilica. We went to the vatican museum already at our first visit so we didn't need to go again but my mom and little brother went. But before that, we all went to St. Peter's Basilica together in the morning. We went early around 8:30am and I would recommend it or even a bit earlier. We had to wait in a bit of a line for security but it moved fast. We were also very careful with the dress code we heard it was even striker than the vatican museum. So we made sure we were dressed properly. Knees and shoulders covered, and in the dress code it says that men need to be wearing long pants. So Clark and my little brother both wore pants and while other men were in shorts absolutely getting in but at least we weren't worried about it at all. There was one women in a tank top and a long skirt and the guard turned here away. I would just be on the safe side.
One of the main things I wanted to do was climb to the top of the St. Peter's dome. I wanted to see the really good view from the top and it did not disappoint. Getting there was another feat. Most of visiting St. Peter's is totally free but you do have the pay to visit the dome. It is either $8 to take the elevator half way or $6 to walk the whole way. We paid the extra $2 and road the elevator half way and it was a good thing because the rest of the trip was a little bit of a hike. Once we got off the elevator you are at the top of the dome on the inside and it is really cool. You get to look down on the inside of the basilica and there was even a mass service going on inside. 
We started on up and the stairs are legit so narrow and you are walking through this little corridor and it is even slanted as the shape of the dome. It was definitely a climb and there was no AC. It was definitely worth it through, the view from the stop is gorgeous and after walking up like 500 stairs the fresh air also felt nice. It was not very crowded up at the top and like I said the views were spectacular. We headed back down to check out the inside of the basilica and the pieta.
I didn't actually know anything about the Pieta but my mom mentioned it because my grandma loves it. It is a sculpture that Michelangelo did and it is breathtaking. I can't believe that the ripples in the blanket are solid marble. It is just really beautiful. After that, we walked around the rest of the basilica. We only had about 3 hours in the basilica but it was enough for now. I wouldn't mind going back again and again. I am sure we will get the chance when more family comes to visit. The paintings and marble work in the entire church were something else. They even have remains of past popes and bishops. 1000% worth the visit. 
Walking to St. Peters in the morning. 

Another thing is that St. Peter's Basilica is actually huge! I know you can't see the scale cause it's the only thing in the air but really it's massive. Clark and I went to McDonalds afterward while my mom and little brother went to the vatican museum haha. 
love, Carlee
Dress: Old Navy
Shirt: Forever 21