Giving The Top Tourist Cities In Italy "The Boot"

Giving The Top Tourist Cities In Italy "The Boot"

A country town in Italy? Count me in!
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In Northern Italy, there is a small town called Reggio Emilia. I have recently fallen in love with Reggio Emilia due to it’s quaint country feel and huge historic value. Most tourists would look right over this province since it is not as popular as Tuscany, Rome, or any of the other tourist’s sections in Italy. I, however, found this town while researching for study abroad. I can’t wait to tell you more about it!

In Reggio, there are restaurants, shops, and historic buildings, just like your typical town. But, there is something very special about this town. It is the home of Italy’s tri-color flag! You can find the Tricolor’s Room in City Hall among the other artifacts in the museum. I never knew that the flag was adopted in such an unknown town! I guess you do learn something new every day. Another cool thing I found out is that there is a parmesan factory called Parmigiano Reggiano. This is amazing to me since I absolutely love food. I love adventuring and trying new things that I would not find in America. Some of the most popular things in Reggio Emilia are cheese, (as mentioned before) and balsamic vinegar! As M says in her blog, “Married to Italy”, “You must be a foodie to appreciate everything that Reggio has to offer”. I fully plan on taking her advice and trying everything I can get my hands on! I cannot wait to see what is for dinner.

Besides all of the amazing food, Reggio is known to be “purty darn country, with piggy poo and hay bales everywhere” according to the “Married to Italy” blog. Coming from South Carolina, this makes me even more excited to go to Reggio! It is also sister cities with Ft. Worth, Texas. This clearly makes it far more interesting since I get to experience Italy AND Texas at the same time. Talking about being country and our “lack of education”, I won’t forget to mention that Reggio Emilia is also a teaching method! How cool?! The method encourages students to learn what interests them instead of just having to stay attached to the required classes/curriculum. This is sort of like Montessori in the United States which also gives our educators a chance to learn more from a different country if they took this program as well!

Going back to the city part, Reggio is very clean since everything they have is the original. They take pride in their province and are very friendly people. They are always excited to get tourists since the province is rarely visited by internationals. Rachelle Lucas from, “The Travel Bite” blog, mentions how one gentleman stopped them in the street to show them “his building’s courtyard so we could admire the stone lace frescoed walls while he explained to us the history of the construction”. It means so much to me already that these locals take such pride in their buildings and city.

I look forward to all my adventures no matter where I end up going!

Cover Image Credit: Study Abroad USAC

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4 Breakfast Spots Near The University of Kentucky That Will Actually Get You Out Of Bed In The Morning

These places will satisfy all of your breakfast cravings.

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If you're a breakfast foodie like I am, you know that is an absolute priority to find the most popular breakfast spots despite the city you may be in. You don't want to visit the touristy and basic restaurants that everyone else goes to, but instead, you are determined to uncover the locations that are the best of the best. Most foodies will go to great lengths to discover these places. As a University of Kentucky student and major foodie, I have searched all over Lexington to find my favorite places to visit on Saturday and Sunday mornings. This took my entire first semester and many trips to the ATM, but today, I am now blessed to say that I am a regular at all 4 of these incredible breakfast spots.

1. The Great Bagel

The Great Bagel is one of my all-time favorite restaurants to visit on Sunday mornings. The restaurant offers a variety of bagel sandwiches and freshly squeezed orange juice, and it makes for the perfect early morning start to a day filled with homework or relaxation.

2. Chocolate Holler

Though not a true restaurant, Chocolate Holler is one of the most popular coffee shops near the University of Kentucky. Because it is only a 3-minute drive from campus, Chocolate Holler is always buzzing with UK students who come to socialize or study. The coffee shop is most well known for its chocolaty drinks and the music is great there, too!

3. Stir Krazy

Stir Krazy is a local smoothie bar down the street that serves protein shakes, smoothies, and tea. Though It only consists of these three beverages, the shakes at Stir Krazy are enough to fill you up for breakfast or lunch. Each shake or smoothies range from 200 to 250 calories and serves as the perfect energizer before a workout or a filling recovery drink after a workout.

4. La Madeleine

La Madeleine is a French breakfast and lunch cafe conveniently located on campus (and only a 30-second walk from my dorm). Their breakfast is served all day long and their croissants are to die for. I highly recommend building your own omelet for the most fulfilling experience. Not to mention, their iced caramel macchiatos are a great refresher on the side.

No matter which city, state, or country I am currently in, I make it my mission to eat as a local would. In Lexington, Kentucky, these four breakfast spots are guaranteed provide you with a plethora of different types of food to get you through even the worst cases of morning hunger. Though these places are my current favorites, I am now looking forward to containing the search for more breakfast restaurants, cafes, and juice bars throughout my next four years in this city.

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4 Ways To Be Present While Traveling

The intangible, yet most important, part of traveling.

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In the summer of 2017 I left the country for the first time. I spent two weeks on the island of Java in the country of Indonesia, and I fell in love with the new-ness of culture, people, language, and food in a way that I didn't previously believe was possible. I have fallen in love with every place I've visited so far, and each country and city has taught me something different. Each one has taught me to love a new location, to be okay with a new bed (if there is one), and to eat what's given to you (no matter how strange).

Don't get me wrong, I love where I live here in Missouri, I love being in a comfortable home, and I'm a picky eater, but the adrenaline rush of being in complete oblivion of a place unknown to me is so addicting. Since my trip to Indonesia I have also traveled to England, France, and Jordan. All are beautiful in their own way, and I don't have a favorite (please don't ask me to pick). My tips about immersion will all be based on my first trip – to Indonesia. These five tips on how to truly be present in a place you're traveling to are not about things you can buy, or tours you pay for, or even the luxury of places you stay, but instead are focused on the intangible things such as friendships, language, and change of the heart.

1. Stay a while.

No one is asking you to stay forever, but spend enough time in one place that you are able to make a friend. It could be the barista at the coffee shop you go to, or someone at the park, but at least a week is enough time to make this happen. One week will allow you to see the way the local people live, as well as give you time to see all that there is to see in your travel destination.
I stayed for two weeks in Indonesia, and volunteered at an English Center where I made friends that I will have for a lifetime. I was able to go on gelato dates with my new friends, and still have time to see a volcano, go on a float trip, and conquer my fear of heights (kind of) by jumping off of a 35-40 foot cliff into water. Anything is possible to explore if you stay long enough.

2. Find the little things.

This is when knowing local people comes in handy. Your new local friends will suggest the best places to eat, tour, take pictures of, and where the best local coffee shops are. Don't fall into the trap of your own imagination or the trap your own taste buds, step outside of yourself and live like a local.
On the island of Java there is bound to be great coffee (I mean…there has to be, right?) and some of the best coffee I found was actually in my hotel. None of the "chain" coffees came close to the taste of the tiny espresso-sized mugs of coffee I got at the hotel's breakfast.

3. It's not about you.

You're soaking in a new experience, not being your own experience. So many times I see travelers and friends leave the country expecting to change the world with their presence, but they're not letting their presence be changed by the world. When you travel to your next location, look for ways you can be educated about the place you're in, listen to your new friends and strangers, and find every excuse to spend the most time outside of your hotel room.

4. Rest.

You aren't going to remember your trip if your mind isn't rested enough to store more memories. Long flights and travel wear people out very quickly, and your excursions aren't going to be as exciting if you're not awake to remember them. However, if you need to adjust to a large time difference, don't go to bed until 8 pm the first day that you're there. That will allow your body to readjust to the time zone quicker so you'll be more rested for the days ahead.

Wherever you're going, I hope you learn the most you can and that you immerse yourself into a beautiful culture. Even if you don't understand it at first, allow yourself to be open to differences. Stop comparing your destination to "what's back home" and just let yourself be! Travel is meant to be an addition to your cultural portfolio, not a comparison. I hope these tips help you to have a better understanding of how to venture into a new culture. Have a great trip!

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