I Ate Gelato Every Day

Hi, everyone!

I have just returned from the most amazing trip to Italy! My grandparents travel to Italy every year in May, and since I am in London, they invited me to tag-along their vacation. We spent 10 days in Capri, an  island off the coast of Naples. Although we stayed in Capri the whole time, my grandparents ventured with me to other parts of Italy nearby – Anacapri, Naples, Sorrento, Positano, and Amalfi.

I am so grateful and thankful that my grandparents took me with them to such a beautiful place. It was a once-in-a-lifetime vacation that I will never forget.

Here are some of my favorite pictures:

The view from our hotel.

The city of Naples (with Mt. Vesuvius in the background)

Positano

Inside the Blue Grotto. Shout-out to my grandma for going inside with me! There is a bit of a process when visiting the grotto. From the harbor in Capri, you take a boat to the other side of the island, near Anacapri. The boat anchors, and you hop into a tiny row boat, and sit on the floor. Once on the floor, you are rowed to the grotto entrance, which is the hole you see in the picture. The man rowing the boat then tells you to lie down on your back in the boat (keep in mind that you are in this tiny row boat with 3 other fully grown adults..). Then the man rowing the boat grabs two chains that are hooked on each side of the tiny hole entrance. He counts to 3, and suddenly pulls the tiny row boat into the grotto. Once inside, you see the glowing blue light from the water (which is sunlight shining through the water), which was pretty amazing.

Me at Amalfi

The Faraglioni

Like I said in my previous post about Scotland, I am a the biggest whimp. So, when I took the ski lift (that’s what my grandma and I called it, but pretty sure that isn’t the proper name) to the very top of Anacapri by myself, I not only shocked myself but my friends and family who had seen what I did via Instagram. Not going to lie, the whole way up I was gripping onto the handle bar and kept thinking “if I were to fall right here, would I die or just get really hurt??” Although I was freaking out, I did it, and got some pretty amazing pictures!

Like the title of the post says, I ate gelato every day during our trip. Literally. In addition to the exorbitant amounts of stracciatella gelato (basically the Italian word for chocolate chip), I ate the yummiest Italian food – pasta, pizza, mozzarella, bread, and bread and bread. I made sure to take a picture of almost everything I ate, to not only remember the delicious food, but to also show my dad, because I know he would have loved it as much as I did!

My first of many gelato cones.

Ravioli Caprese

The best eggplant parmesan I have ever had EVER.

Pizza in Naples, obviously.

Veal Milanese

 

Like I said before, it was an amazing trip that I will remember forever. Thanks again to my wonderful grandparents for bringing me along!

Well, I have just over a week left here in London. I cannot believe this adventure is coming to an end!

Thanks for reading, and I will probably be back with one final post before I head back to the States 🙂

Cheers,

Katie

Beautiful Scotland

Hello!

Last weekend, I fulfilled another dream of going to a place I had never been: Scotland.

When I had visited the UK 6 years ago, I had been almost everywhere EXCEPT Scotland. It was a slight disappointment at the time, but I promised myself then that sometime in the future I would visit.

My flatmate Sari and my friend Sam both had similar dreams to visit Scotland as well, so decided to go together. Trains run often from London to Edinburgh (pronounced Ed-in-bruh), and we were able to find some really cheap fares. The train ride up is a little lengthy, but the beautiful views of the English and Scottish countryside make up for the time.

We arrived to Edinburgh in the early afternoon, and made our way to our hostel, which was conveniently located right next to Edinburgh Castle.

Here is a view of the castle from the front door of our hostel.

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We decided we might as well visit the castle first, which provided gorgeous views of the city!

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We also had a great view of our hostel!

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The castle also provided some humorous picture opportunities..

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After our visit to the castle, we walked around the city, and it was absolutely beautiful!

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We had an early night, because the next day was a full day. From Edinburgh, we took a bus tour throughout the Highlands and to Loch Ness. I took a billion pictures, and it was gorgeous.

Here is the map of the route we took.

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Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness

 

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Beautiful Loch Ness!

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The closest I could get to Nessie….

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The Highlands!

 

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The next day, our last day, we made it a mission to go to The Elephant House for breakfast. This cafe is famous for being the “birthplace of Harry Potter” – J.K. Rowling did a lot of her writing for the Harry Potter series there.

The cafe was adorable, not to mention yummy.

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Our next mission was to climb Arthur’s Seat, a giant hill, and I think one of the highest points in Edinburgh.

My family members and close friends know that I am a whimp when it comes to heights. That, coupled with my general fear of hiking (an odd fear, I know), it was a kinda-big deal for me to go to the top. It took some time, and a lot of comfort from Sari and Sam (both held my hands at several points!) I made it to the top! I was so happy that I did, and now I can say I will never do it again!

A view from the bottom.. it doesn’t look that big, BUT IT WAS.

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Can you see the fear in my eyes?

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Our train home was that evening, so we had a pretty laid back afternoon. Scotland was gorgeous, and I am not going to lie, it was one of my favorite places I have visited so far!

Thanks for reading!

Cheers,

Katie

DOWNTON DAY

Hello, everyone!

So, I am not going to lie, but, when I decided I was going to study in London for the semester, I made a list of things I wanted to do and places I wanted to see. At the very top of the list, which may not come as a surprise to those who know me, was to see Downton Abbey in person.

I have been obsessed with the television show for a few years now. I have to thank my mama for introducing me to it in the summer of 2011. We went on a trip to DC the summer before my freshman year at AU so I could attend Eagle Summit – the orientation program for AU. The night before I went to Eagle Summit, I stayed in a hotel with my parents. I was pretty nervous the night before, and my mom had her iPad with her that had the whole first season of Downton Abbey on it. I started watching them and finished that night! Ever since, I’ve been hooked.

Last fall, when I decided I was going to London, I also decided that I HAD to visit Downton Abbey (which is actually called Highclere Castle). After doing some research, I discovered that it wasn’t very far outside of London at all, and pretty accessible via train. But I also learned that tickets to the castle were sold out for months – the whole time I was going to be in London.

When I arrived in London back in January, I had made some friends who also shared my love for Downton Abbey, and we also bonded over our desire to go see it, and not being able to because it was closed and tickets were sold out. When Lisa and I discussed our love for Downton, we made a pact to find a way to go see it somehow in person – whether that be just approaching it and snapping a few pictures, or actually breaking in (we were desperate).

Back track a little to a few weeks ago when Kendal and I did a tour to Leeds Castle, Cliffs of Dover, and Canterbury. We did it through a company called Premium Tours. We had a really good experience with them, and I decided to look through their website to see what else they offered. I saw a tab on the side that said “Downton Abbey Tours” and immediately clicked on it. Just for kicks, I decided to see what availability there was for the Downton Tours. To my surprise there was an availability, and decided I HAD to go. I reached out to Lisa, and she was totally game to go with me. It was a little pricey, but I knew that it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I couldn’t pass up. It was most definitely worth every penny, and one of the best.days.ever.

The tour started off in Oxford, where we were able to walk around and grab some lunch. Downton Abbey isn’t filmed there, but it was still fun to visit another English city!

Our next stop was Bampton, which is a tiny village in Oxfordshire where the village scenes in Downton Abbey are filmed. As we were pulling up, our tour guide told us that he was informed that we may not be able to walk around some parts of the village because they WERE FILMING PARTS OF SEASON 5. Lisa and I immediately began freaking out, and then proceeded to pray that we would see Branson or Carson in the flesh.

Unfortunately, the cast was on lunch break when we arrived, so we didn’t get to see anyone 😦 BUT, we did get to see the crew and the sets, which was pretty freaking cool!

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Cousin Violet’s house!!

 

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After Bampton, we finally made our way to Downton Abbey aka Highclere Castle! I actually could not contain my excitement as we were walking up the driveway….

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Proof I touched the house, obviously.

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Pictures weren’t allowed inside the house, so we had to be super sneaky when taking them. Here is me being super sneaky.

 

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So, I have been developing a slight – some might say huge – obsession over Theo James ever since I saw him at the Divergent premiere, and then again a week later when I picked up Gabby from Heathrow (all of which I believe signifies that we are meant to be.. but, I digress), so I HAD to snap a picture of the room where Mr. Pamuk died, of course.

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It was such an amazing day, and I am so thankful and grateful that I was able to check off this visit on my bucket list.

Thanks for reading! Don’t anticipate too many more posts in the future as I return to the United States in less than a month! TIME. FLIES.

Cheers,

Katie