As I start looking forward to 2017 and the trips that I have planned, I thought it would be fun to do a complete review of my 2016 travels. Towards the end of 2015 I made the big move to Rome from Massachusetts and throughout 2016 I focused on exploring Rome more, as well as other places in Italy. I did less international traveling than I would like but this year I think this will change!
One of the hardest things that I find about living abroad in a different country from your own is balancing the costs of time/money spent traveling home to see family and friends, and budgeting for other travels. With two visits to my family in the U.S. last year, I wasn't able to budget for as many other trips. I'm hoping to work around that this year and still manage to make it to a few more places on my travel bucket list. Here's an final list of everywhere I traveled to in 2016, excluding solo day trips.
My Berlin trip happened in December, 2015 but we're counting it on the list anyways ;) My boyfriend and I decided to go to Berlin because of all we had heard about the architecture, music scene and for the Christmas markets. While certain parts of the city were beautiful and the history/museums were well worth the trip, I don't think we go to experience the laid back aspects of the city, including the nightlife, because the temperature was so brutally cold when we went. Visiting in mid-December, hopping from one warm indoor location to another was the norm. We definitely want to go back in the summer to see more people out and walk around the city more.
Highlights included: the Topography of Terror (built on top of the headquarters of the Gestapo and the SS), East Side Gallery, the Christmas markets (specifically Weihnachtszauber at the Gendarmenmarktand) and the free wifi at the Starbucks near the Brandenburg Gate.
This was my second trip to Naples, a city that I absolutely love, and it was even more special because my parents came with us. They flew out to Rome after Christmas and I spent the first week of January exploring Rome with them and heading to Naples and Pompeii for a quick 2 -night trip. The food in Naples is spectacular and Pompeii was everything that we thought it would be. I really recommend getting a private or small group tour at Pompeii because nothing is labelled and our tour guide, Lello, really brought the ancient city to life.
In May, I flew out to visit home and for my younger sister's high school graduation. It had been 7 months since I moved to Rome and I was so happy to see my family again and reconnect with friends. This was a long trip (3 weeks) so I also managed to fit in some visits to Boston and a trip up to Kennebunkport, Maine. Edoardo also came home with me this trip and it was fantastic to show him more of Boston and to spend time all together.
In August, when all of Rome shuts down for the month, we took a last-minute trip to Puglia for a week. Until this point, I hadn't been south of Naples in Italy and I was so excited to see this beautiful region. We rented an apartment in Galatone, a small town close to Gallipoli and based our trip from there. The entire region is accessible by car and can be crossed from the different coasts with a one hour drive. We took day trips to Gallipoli, Ostuni, Otranto, and Lecce. Next up in the South, I want to see more of Compagna and definitely need a long trip to Sicilia!
Highlights included: a scuba diving trip from Otranto, laying on the beach at Baia del Turchi, and seeing Solomon at the Blue Bay club.
Ever since I studied abroad in Rome in 2013, I've been desperate to go to the Amalfi Coast. It's a hot destination for tourists to Italy and somehow I didn't get out there until September of this year, when my friend Tori came to visit. It was a breathtaking trip with fantastic views, food, and shopping. We loved Ravello and Positano more than Amalfi, but all of the smaller towns along the coast were so cute that if I were to go back, I would stay and spend my time in a lesser-known place.
Highlights: Dinner with a view overlooking the Bay of Naples in Ravello, our ferry ride from Amalfi to Positano, and buying a fresh sandwich and fruit to eat on the beach in Positano.
For my birthday in October , Edoardo took me on a weekend trip in Umbria. I've spent some time in Tuscany before and did go to Perugia for the Chocolate festival once but taking a weekend road trip through the region and seeing some of the smaller towns was so much fun. We stayed in Castiglione del Lago, on Lago Trasimeno and visited Assisi, Orvieto, and Spello. The views from these mountain towns were breathtaking and the food (ragù, tartufo, vino) was incredible.
Highlights: agriturismo stops, an adorable B&B in the medieval town of Castiglione del Lago with a turret bedroom,and multiple food and wine tastings in the small towns scattering the countryside
Boston/New York, USA
I actually just got back from this trip a week ago and am still recovering from the many family and friend activities that I fit into a two week period. Aside from spending the holidays with my family, I also made it into Boston a couple times and also to Manhattan for a night. A dinner out with my family in the Italian North End of Boston was a fun experience for me, especially as I tried to be as obnoxious about the Italian culture as possible, annoying my family to a great extent. I also spent New Year's Eve with my friends in South Boston and had a blast while also making it to bed by 2:00 (which is a big win in my book). At the last minute, I decided to make the drive down to NYC to see my friends from college. We had such a great day exploring the west side of the city, going to Chelsea Market and Eataly, and fitting in as many food-stops as possible in a 24-hr trip.
Highlights: Seeing my family on Christmas Day after missing out last year, meeting our puppy for the first time, and plenty of down time with bffs.
I'm REALLY looking forward to 2017 and I'm so excited to get started on some new projects for work, my personal life, and this blog. And obviously, food and travel experiences are at the top of my to-do list for the year. Where do you hope to travel in 2017?