EDUCATION

Column: Traveling abroad in Europe changed my worldview

tuscany

Photo of me in San Gimignano.

Caroline Luckie
Oxford Stories
cgluckie@go.olemiss.edu

When I was growing up, my dream vacation was anywhere in Europe. I had to wait until I was 18 for this dream to happen. A month after my high school graduation, my family went to Italy. Getting on the flight to Rome was something I had always wished for.

Our first stop was the Amalfi Coast. After the eight-hour flight to Rome, we had a three-hour car ride to the coast. I had jet lag, but didn’t care because I was in the most beautiful country in the world.

The car ride to the coast involved tiny, winding roads on the edge of a cliff. It made me nervous, but eventually we made it to the hotel.

The Amalfi Coast is a place that looks like a movie set. It was the most picturesque place I had ever seen. We checked into the hotel and went to the rooftop pool bar that over-looked the Mediterranean Sea.

capri

Capri. Photo by Caroline Luckie.

By this point in the afternoon, my mom, dad, sister, brother, and I were ready for a quick bite to eat and bed. It had been a long day, and we wanted to rest for our trip to the town of Positano the next day.

I woke up feeling amazing and still couldn’t believe the view from our hotel window. Our plans for the day were to take the 30-minute ferry ride to the coastal town.

The weather was beautiful, the water was the clearest blue I had ever seen, and I was ready to see this town. We got off the ferry and walked to the tents and shops. We had lunch, then spent the afternoon on the beach.

The next day, we traveled to Capri, another coastal town on the Amalfi Coast. I thought Positano was something, but Capri was stunning.

Capri is known for being a romantic, beautiful coastal town for lovers. It was the best place I’ve been in my life. We spent the first 30 minutes in a rented car that took us to the top of the island.

Once there, we took a chair lift up farther. The views were surreal. When you looked down at the water, you saw the beautiful crevices the rocks made.

That afternoon, we took a private boat tour around Capri. We went through some of the most beautiful, naturally-made archways. We saw beautiful caves, and we went into the Blue Grotto. This place is not for those with claustrophobia, but it was wonderful.

The next day, we wen back to Rome to experience the city. Checking into the hotel in Rome felt different than Amalfi. Rome is a different speed, but after relaxing in Amalfi, we were ready to take on the city.

forum

Inside of Colosseum. Photo by Caroline Luckie.

My favorite thing about Rome was the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Colosseum, and the Vatican. Touring the Roman Forum and the Colosseum was something totally life-changing.

All the history surrounding us was breathtaking, and knowing that this was all built by humans hundreds of years ago was insane. To me, this was the part of the trip I was waiting for, learning about and being immersed in the culture.

After Rome, we had one more stop before heading back to the states  – wine country. Tuscany is another part of Italy that is different than Rome or the Coast. It’s what I would think anyone would imagine a medieval city to be like. The roaming green hills looked picture-perfect. While in Tuscany, we went to two towns, Siena and San Gimignano.

My trip to Italy was something I treasure. I’m glad my parents waited to take us overseas until we were all old enough to appreciate it.

To me, traveling abroad is something essential in learning about yourself. It changed the way I looked at things. This summer, I’m spending six weeks in Austria, and hope to immerse myself in the European culture even more.

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