While only being in Rome for a few weeks now, I already feel like a local. Although, I love exploring new places and traveling elsewhere on the weekends, as I did with SAI this past weekend. Exploring Abruzzo was even more exciting and relaxing than I could have expected. The first day we embarked on our journey and arrived at Pacentro, where we walked around the town square and visited the Caldora Castle. The castle made you feel like you were in Game of Thrones, with shields lined up throughout the walkway and a small lookout point at the top. We then headed to lunch at Taverna dei Caldora in the heart of the town.
After dropping our bags off at the hotel, everyone rushed to make it to their activities for the afternoon which consisted of either horseback riding, canoeing, mountain biking, or a candy factory tour. Fortunately, I was able to join the canoeing group, where we were split into canoes of 2 students per each guide along the Tirino River. We paddled for about 45 minutes until we stopped for a swimming break. The water was freezing, at about 10-15 degrees Celsius (50-60 degrees Fahrenheit) but a group of us still jumped in. The water was so clear that you could see the bottom the entire trip. My toes felt numb afterwards, but it was worth it. Going back downstream we returned to the starting point and waited for the bus to return to bring us back to our hotel. In the meantime, we spotted a herd or sheep in the pasture along with a few dogs which kept us company.
The following day we woke up ready for the Trabocchi Coast and some sun! We stayed at the beach for the morning and early afternoon, where we tanned, swam, and played a lot of volleyball. The beach is my favorite place to visit, so this felt a little bit like home. Next, we attended a multiple hour lunch, consisting of fresh seafood from the coast. This occurred on a traditional wooden fishing pier, Trabocco Punta Tufano, with an amazing view of the sea. Beside the dock, there were sightings of crabs, jellyfish, and many other sea creatures.
The last day we explored the Apennines as we walked around Rocca Calascio. This was one of the most breathtaking views I have ever seen, along with ancient architecture which blew my mind. While at the castle, we got to appreciate all the work that had been put into building such an amazing monument. Before leaving for Santo Stefano to get lunch, we played and rode on some donkeys, which accompanied us down the trail.
This was the most relaxing weekend I have had since being in Rome, and I’m glad SAI was able to give us all this amazing experience. Although I would have never known to explore Abruzzo on my own, I am very happy and content with my weekend and time spent. I got to partake in some of my favorite activities, as well as discover some beautiful sights.