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

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Boating around the Island of Capri

Last summer our friends and I boated around the island of Ischia. I knew I wanted to do it again around Capri this summer. So when my family was in town I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to go. We used the company Banana Sport Capri Boat and just called the day before to make sure they would have a boat for us. I think the total cost was about 200 euro for 4 hours. Which I thought was a reasonable price. We took the ferry from the main port in Naples to Marina Grande in Capri. The ferry to Capri is rather expensive, it is about $20 a person just one way. So going to Capri is a little expensive but totally worth it. Once we got to the marina we went directly to the right and saw the banana sport place. We filled out some paper work and then we went to get sandwiches and drinks to take on the boat with us.
We definitely like boating on the backside of the island better because it was less choppy. There was a little bit of wind the day before and it was lingering so the water was a little choppy on the side of the island with marina grande and the blue grotto. The blue grotto was closed but that was okay we weren't really planning on going anyway. The people that rented us the boat said that if the wait is only 10-15 minutes then it can be worth it but I guess sometimes the wait can be over an hour and the locals say it is not worth it. And it's also like $15 a person I think. Just go to inside a cave and come out. But maybe someday we will try and go see it though. Once we got around the lighthouse point the water was a lot calmer. So decided to anchor so we could eat and swim a little bit. We were having a hard time finding a good place at first but we finally did. It was next to the green grotto. So we stopped to eat and swim and it was a lot of fun. We swam into the green grotto and the boat company had snorkel masks we could rent so we did. My little brother and I had a lot of fun swimming around.
We continued around the island and stopped in a bunch of caves. We basically just followed the other boats with actual skippers that knew what they were doing. It was a good strategy.  We also saw natures arch and we got to drive our boat through Lovers Arch. The main arch you will see if you google Capri. When I say we drove through it, I mean Clark drove and I snapped photos and enjoyed the view. I really liked the landscape that Capri offers and it is so cool seeing it from the sea. The rocks and cliffs really seem to just shoot up out of the water in a lot of places. We also came across the back side of the island there we got a good view of Marina Piccalo (small marina.) I love all the colorful houses, not just here on Capri but everywhere in Italy. Makes me want to paint my house pink or orange someday.
When we got around the main side of the island. The side with Marina Grande and the side we started on. The water was so choppy and wavy. We were holding on so tight and laughing a lot. Although one time I was a little scared our stuff was gonna go over board but we made it safely.

The day was wonderful and I would definitely recommend Banana Sport if you want to do the boating by yourself around the island. I think it gives you a lot of freedom. Although it can be frustrating at times. Clark and I were getting frustrated trying to anchor at one point and we had boated and done all that stuff before so if you are inexperienced it might not be the best option but I know the company says that you don't need any experience so if you are confident give it a shot.
love, Carlee
Swim suit:  H&M