Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Viva Italia - Part 1 - Also known as the time I almost wasn't allowed in the country

Me (Danielle Rose) in total bliss in Vasto, Italy
When I was 14 years old my mom told me to start a savings account. "One day you'll want to travel the world" she said, and encouraged me to start thinking of places I'd like to explore. With visions of nonnas rolling pasta dough, and pizza crusts bubbling out of wood-fired ovens, there was one place above all others that stirred my desire to travel, Italy. 

Though I've been lucky enough to travel to some extraordinary places since then, it wasn't until now that an opportunity to visit my dream country, Italy, finally arose! Thanks to an invitation from my boyfriend Chris' parents to join them, along with a large group of Italian friends, on a trip to Italy to trace their families roots, I could finally make my dreams of exploring the legendary "boot" a reality. 
The plan was to stay in the coastal town of Vasto, situated in Abruzzo's southern coast, adjacent to the Adriatic sea, and from there take day trips to visit the various towns from which Chris' ancestors were from. With several of the other families we were traveling with from Vasto, with friends and family still living in the beautiful town, it was easy to make Vasto our "home base" for the trip. 

Though our vacation got off to a rocky start (ummm...I was rejected from the plane AT THE GATE due to an apparently "expired passport," though my passport was actually due to expire this November 2015. See my angry Twitter rant for more info!), and with a day and a half of mine and Chris' trip lost, not to mention thousands of dollars down the drain thanks to having to purchase a new one-way ticket to Rome, we finally arrived at Fiumicino airport in Rome!
At the sight of a "Mozzarella Bar" in the airport after landing, I knew that all of our initial trouble to get here was worth it! Bring on the mozzarella! After downing prosciutto and mozzarella panini's and cold Fanta's, Chris and I hopped on the Dicarlo Bus (Italy's version of a Greyhound) to continue our long journey to Vasto. Though our string of bad luck seemed to persist through our trek to Vasto, having to switch from our comfortable, air conditioned and near-empty bus to a packed, hot, and smelly bus after blowing a tire, we were happy to be greeted with smiling (and teary-eyed) familiar faces upon our arrival.
We stowed our luggage in our gorgeous suite at the Hotel Adriatico, and quickly joined our friends and family to begin our adventure! After gorging ourselves on an Italian feast of an antipasti buffet, pasta fagioli, an array of grilled meats, a fruit platter, and dessert, we were off to take part in the excitement and energy thriving from Vasto Marina, as the town celebrated Notte Rosa, also known as Pink Night. Though Chris and I hardly had a wink of sleep for days, we managed to stay up until 3:30 AM, listening to live music, taking in the sights, and sipping on cool drinks, taken by the infectious energy of the festival. 

Other things of note:
The espresso was so good all over Italy, that even the espresso offered on the Dicarlo Bus was fantastic, and better than most of the espresso you can find in Toronto!

Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Italian adventure to hear about one of the most extraordinary meals of my life!

Listening To:
Jamie XX - Stranger In A Room 

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