By Cassi Greenlee
One of the greatest things I’ll be able to take from my study abroad is a life-long friend, Stephanie. As I’ve told Stephanie many, many times, I am not a “free-spirit” and I envy her spontaneity, her enthusiasm and her sense of adventure. In one and half days we planned an entire trip to Rome, something I would have thought impossible before. She sought out car rental options and I emailed every B&B in and around Rome. Spectacularly enough, we planned everything just in time.
Along this road trip we had someone very special with us, Stephanie’s grandmother “Ama.” She had been visiting Stephanie in Nice and we were very excited to have her along for the ride.
It took about eight hours to get to Rome from Nice but the ride wasn’t a difficult one. From the backseat I had hours to watch the passing Tuscan landscape. We finally arrived in Casperia (after a few wrong turns), the location of our B&B. Casperia is a medieval town, built in the 1400s, with a population of 200 people. It is built on a mountain top and has one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen. Our B&B was in the center of the town and I was smitten with it as soon as I walked through the door because much of the original architecture and art had been preserved. The couple who owned the place were extremely welcoming and made us feel right at home.
The first night we stayed in Casperia and Stephanie and I went out for dinner in the only local restaurant in the tiny town. I cannot say enough times how much I enjoyed the food there. It was the simplest pasta dish but it was unlike anything I had ever eaten. We later found out the restaurant makes their own olive oil. I could have eaten it every day for the rest of my life. As a matter of fact, I ordered it the next night too…
It wasn’t difficult to get into Rome from Casperia, we just drove down the mountain and took a train into the city. While in Rome we took in all the sights with the oh-so-cheesy tour bus. I wasn’t ashamed because I got to maximize my time there. We spent most of our time visiting the Colosseum and the Vatican Museum. The Vatican Museum was indescribable. I never expected to be able to see the Sistine Chapel and the fact that I did still amazes me. It was one of the moments I felt overwhelmingly grateful for the opportunity to live abroad.
All in all the trip was full of laughter, stories, great food, great sites and great company. I was very sad to see it end so soon.