There’s No Place Like Home

There’s No Place Like Home

There’s truly no place like home. After almost five months of the most incredible journey of my life, I was anxious to return home. I have always been dreaming of the day that I would leave Ohio and travel the world and found myself surprisingly excited to make the journey back to Ohio. While I … Read more

There’s truly no place like home. After almost five months of the most incredible journey of my life, I was anxious to return home. I have always been dreaming of the day that I would leave Ohio and travel the world and found myself surprisingly excited to make the journey back to Ohio. While I was hoping for an unforgettable adventure this semester, I could have never predicted how many unbelievable places I would travel to, the wonderful friends I would make and how much I would learn about myself and the world. Although I didn’t realize it while I was in Europe, I am now slowly realizing with each passing day how my perspective on things has changed. Who knew that in five short months you could learn so much?

boardingpass

One of the things I realized while I was away is that where you are doesn’t matter quite as much as who you are with. While I got the opportunity to travel to some of the most amazing places in the world, I found myself wishing I could share every incredible moment with my family. I wished mom was with me to aimlessly walk through the breathtaking tulip fields in Holland, my sisters could see the Eiffel Tower sparkle, my brother could experience the insane crowds cheering during European “football” games, dad could hike to the top of the volcano in beautiful Santorini, and grandma could enjoy a cannoli with me while strolling the streets of Sicily, where her parents came from. Family means everything to me and the past five months made me realize even more how truly blessed I am to have them in my life.

ciaobella

What I looked forward to most upon arriving in the United States:

  1. Seeing my family (a hug from mom was my first priority after landing)
  2. DRIVING (finally getting to go exactly where I want, when I want, without worry of delays, strikes or cancellations)
  3. Getting back into the Sunday morning church & brunch routine
  4. Hot dog shop (two chili cheese dogs and a chocolate shake please!)
  5. Summer (warm weather, fun concerts, ice cream runs with Laur, and the list goes on…)

welcomehome

What will I miss most about Europe?

  1. The relaxed, slow-paced, “let life happen” atmosphere
  2. The ability to spontaneously hop on a plane to another country
  3. Nutella gelato waffles & spaghetti with fresh tomatoes and basil
  4. The un-replicable views of the Italian countryside
  5. The cute, flower potted, colored-door side streets in Italy

I know I will be craving another adventure, feeling the urge to travel the world, soon enough, but for now I am so happy to be back at home sweet home.

Happiness in Holland

Happiness in Holland

“Fall asleep in London, wake up in Amsterdam!” read an online coach website. When having a hard time deciding between London and Holland for our girls’ trip, Nicole suggested we do both! The rest of us thought it would be out of the question because of how expensive it would be. After a long time … Read more

“Fall asleep in London, wake up in Amsterdam!” read an online coach website. When having a hard time deciding between London and Holland for our girls’ trip, Nicole suggested we do both! The rest of us thought it would be out of the question because of how expensive it would be. After a long time of searching though, we came across a website for an overnight coach that takes passengers from London to Amsterdam. It was less than half the cost of a flight, would save us money on a hostel that night and would save so much exploring time by traveling overnight! However, we ended up getting about an hour of sleep that night. “Go to sleep in London, wake up in Amsterdam” turned into: board coach at 9 p.m., drive for one hour, get off for boarder control, another hour on coach, switch to ferry for two hours, back to the coach for two hours, 45 minute gas station stop and remainder of the time on the coach. At the time, we were grumpy, tired and sore, all of us regretting the decision, but looking back we are so happy we did it because it allowed us to go to two amazing places!

amsterdam

Our first stop in Amsterdam was to the Pancake Bakery for brunch, to re-energize and reward ourselves after our tiring journey. I read online that you must try pancakes and waffles in Amsterdam, and the Pancake Bakery is one of the best spots to do so. They offered over 75 types of pancakes, from apple with cinnamon to chicken with pineapple. I ordered banana pancakes with strawberry sauce. They were delicious!

pancakes

Down the street from the Pancake Bakery is the Anne Frank House. The house is where her and her family hid and where she wrote her diary. I am not sure what to really say about the house. It made me very sad and angry at the same time. I will never understand how someone could be so cruel and hateful. Every room had quotes on the walls from Anne’s diary. My favorite quote I read was one where Anne said she dreamed to be a writer. Her goal was to publish a book called the “Secret Annex” one day. I wish she knew then that she would be a famous author and that her book would be published in 70 different languages.

Walking through the dark and dingy rooms where they had to hide made me feel ashamed for ever complaining about rainy or cold days. Another of Anne’s quotes on the wall stated “I long to ride a bike, dance, whistle, look at the world, feel young and know that I’m free…” She wasn’t even allowed to peek through a curtain to see the sunshine, yet I complain at the first sight of a rain cloud outside. We were all feeling a bit down after our visit to the Anne Frank House, but I am glad I got to learn more about the history of the Holocaust as well as more about Anne and her courage.

Amsterdam reminded me of Venice. Although the city does not rely on the waterways, there are canals and bridges everywhere you go. Instead of getting around by metro, what we were used to in Europe, we had to use trams. The roads were rather confusing as there were not only lines for cars and trams, but also for bicycles! Most of the citizens use bikes to get around in Amsterdam. We learned that there are actually more bikes than there are people and over 40,000 bikes get stolen every year!

garden

The language in Holland is so different than any language I have ever heard. It is very harsh and sounds a bit angry. I was looking forward to hearing pretty Italian again in Viterbo. While we were there, the Amsterdam football (American soccer) team won the final, so there was raging in the streets, beer cans and trash littering every inch of the city and police in every square. Some of the trams had to avoid certain routes because of how crazy it was! I have never felt very unsafe in Europe, but I felt a bit uneasy in the city that day. We weren’t there for much of the day though because our last day of girls’ trip was spent at the Keukenhof Garden!

garden2

The garden is outside of Amsterdam, in Southern Holland. At the entrance we got refreshing “swirls” ice cream (what I considered Holland’s version of DQ blizzards) to enjoy throughout the garden. The pictures I took of the garden do not do it justice whatsoever. I have never seen so many beautiful flowers in my life. The garden only blooms from the middle of April to the middle of May, so we came at the perfect time! It was a beautiful day. After wandering through the garden, we made a little walk to the tulip fields, where there were endless rows of purple, pink, white, orange and yellow tulips. It was just like the pictures I have seen, but 100 times better. I could have strolled through the tulip fields for hours. I was so happy we got to experience both the city of Amsterdam and the breathtaking country side of Holland.

tulips

I can’t believe this was my last trip of the semester, but our girls’ trip was the perfect way to end my study abroad experience. I remember leaving for Barcelona, telling Laur “Not the next flight, or the next flight, or the flight after that, or the one after that… but the one after THAT will be the one taking me home.” Now my NEXT flight will be the one that leads me back the United States!

Shaffer Girls Take Italy

Check out my video of my unforgettable week, traveling with my sisters, here!


Check out my video of my unforgettable week, traveling with my sisters, here!

Shaffer Girls Take Italy: Cinque Terre

Shaffer Girls Take Italy: Cinque Terre

Sunday: Sunday we planned on taking the earliest train to Manarola, one of the five towns included in “Cinque Terre.” With luggage in tow, us four girls rolled our way to the train station, right up to the big screens displaying the train numbers, times and bins. Happy that I located our train on the … Read more

Sunday:

manarola

Sunday we planned on taking the earliest train to Manarola, one of the five towns included in “Cinque Terre.” With luggage in tow, us four girls rolled our way to the train station, right up to the big screens displaying the train numbers, times and bins. Happy that I located our train on the board, I continued scanning to the right to find which bin number to head towards. “Cancellato” I read. “What does that mean?” Laur and Linds both asked. This was news to me. I had never seen “cancellato” next to any train number before. I rolled my way to the ticket desk where I was informed that there was a strike in the Tuscan region and no one was sure when it would be over. Panic began to set in. We had planned for only one day in Cinque Terre. We needed time to get there to hike along the towns. We already bought our train tickets. We already booked our hotel for that night. Where else could we go? I normally would not have been so upset, but since Linds, Laur and Val were only here for less than a week, I was pretty flustered. I knew that I could go on one of my free weekends in April, but what if they never got a chance to see it?

“Go another day,” the lady at the train station told me. After seeing my face probably close to tears from disappointment, she then suggested taking a train to Pisa, followed by a train to La Spezia Centrale, and finally another to Manarola, but she wasn’t sure this would work either because of the strike. However, we all agreed to make the attempt. So, we made an unexpected stop in Pisa! Once there, we found that we had one hour until the next train to La Spezia Centrale, so I told the girls to go check out the Leaning Tower. I had already seen the Tower when I took a weekend trip to Siena, and I wanted to make sure they had their chance. So, I stayed at the train station with all of the luggage while the girls literally ran across Pisa to the Leaning Tower and back. They made it back with five minutes to spare and we hopped on the train and were on our way.

While getting on the train, there were two men that began helping us lug our luggage on board. We said “no grazie” repeatedly, but they continued to help anyways. I thought that the men were being nice, but as soon as we were seated, they came up to us with their hands out. The girls all looked at me confused, and from my time here the past few months I knew immediately that the men wanted money. “Two euro each,” one of the men said. I was frustrated and upset because this was not the first time that someone had helped me in Italy and I fell for it. I am so naive, always believing that they are just being nice. Each time though, they end up following me, demanding money for their help. I gave the man two euro so that he would walk away, but he kept repeating “Each. Two euro each.” It was already a rough morning so I said “No! We thought you were being nice,” and looked out the window so that the men would go away.

hiking

By 12:30 p.m. we successfully arrived in Manarola and were already exhausted from the morning’s activities! However, we were SO happy that we made it to Cinque Terre. Laur picked out the absolute cutest hotel. Although the hike up the steep hill to the hotel with all our luggage was quite humorous, as we were all gasping for air at the end, it was well worth it. As if the ocean view outside of our window wasn’t enough, we also had a pink-painted room with flower petals scattered across the bed.

vernazza

Although some of the trails were closed due to a mudslide, we didn’t let that stop us from making it a perfect day. We did some hiking, took tons of Pinterest-worthy pictures and hopped on a train to Vernazza, another of the five towns. Once there, we grabbed some gelato and relaxed on the rocks overlooking the town and the ocean. Vernazza and Manarola were the cutest of the five towns and I loved experiencing both. I fell in love with Cinque Terre and had the best time with my sisters and Val. Last stop for the Shaffer girls: Rome!

Goodbye, Greece

Goodbye, Greece

Spring break was amazing and I am so happy I got to travel to Greece. It is so beautiful and we had perfect weather while we were there. I am leaving Santorini with capri tan lines, tzatziki stains on my jeans and so many fun memories. Due to many, many clouds, we were unable to … Read more

oiaSpring break was amazing and I am so happy I got to travel to Greece. It is so beautiful and we had perfect weather while we were there. I am leaving Santorini with capri tan lines, tzatziki stains on my jeans and so many fun memories.

Due to many, many clouds, we were unable to see the famous Oia sunset, but that just gives me an excuse to come back to Greece again one day! The last two days were filled with lots of hiking, beautiful scenery, fitting in last minute souvenir shopping, waffles and gyros and taking in as much of Santorini as we could.

oiagreeceAlthough I am sad to leave, I am also eager to be on my way because MY SISTERS WILL BE IN ITALY IN TWO DAYS! I leave early Thursday morning to meet them, and our good friend Valerie, in Venice and we will then travel for a week to Florence, Cinque Terre and end in Rome! I cannot wait to spend time with my best friends and experience more of Italy right along with them.

Make sure to check out my video here of my time in Greece! I apologize in advance for the low volume of the video at the end.

The Benefits of Traveling Young

The Benefits of Traveling Young

I graduate in just over a month. Wow. There are many different things I am contemplating as the countdown to commence has begun. Should I go back home for a job in Milwaukee, or move just about anywhere else in the country? Should I take a little travel break after I receive my diploma? What … Read more

I graduate in just over a month. Wow. There are many different things I am contemplating as the countdown to commence has begun. Should I go back home for a job in Milwaukee, or move just about anywhere else in the country? Should I take a little travel break after I receive my diploma? What about working internationally? I seem confused about my future, but optimistic I am not settling for something I would hate. In light of all these thoughts, I can across an article by Jeff Goins called Why You Should Travel Young, and needed to share excerpts of it with you. The morality if the article is that travel may not seem like it’s preparing you for a job, but there are many immeasurable assets you take away from being on the road. Read on to learn some!

“Do you think I should go to graduate school or move to Africa?”

I don’t think she was talking to me. In fact, I’m pretty sure she wasn’t. But that didn’t stop me from offering my opinion.

I told her to travel. Hands down. No excuses. Just go.

She sighed, nodding. “Yeah, but…”

I had heard this excuse before, and I didn’t buy it. I knew the “yeah-but” intimately. I had uttered it many times before. The words seem innocuous enough, but are actually quite fatal.

Yeah, but …

… what about debt?

… what about my job?

… what about my boyfriend?

This phrase is lethal. It makes it sound like we have the best of intentions, when really we are just too scared to do what we should. It allows us to be cowards while sounding noble.

Most people I know who waited to travel the world never did it. Conversely, plenty of people who waited for grad school or a steady job still did those things after they traveled.

In a year, I will turn thirty. Now I realize how wrong I was. Regardless of the intent of those words, there was wisdom in them.

As we get older, life can just sort of happen to us. Whatever we end up doing, we often end up with more responsibilities, more burdens, more obligations. This is not always bad. In fact, in many cases it is really good. It means you’re influencing people, leaving a legacy.

Youth is a time of total empowerment. You get to do what you want. As you mature and gain new responsibilities, you have to be very intentional about making sure you don’t lose sight of what’s important. The best way to do that is to make investments in your life so that you can have an effect on who you are in your later years.

I did this by traveling. Not for the sake of being a tourist, but to discover the beauty of life — to remember that I am not complete.

There is nothing like riding a bicycle across the Golden Gate Bridge or seeing the Coliseum at sunset. I wish I could paint a picture for you of how incredible the Guatemalan mountains are or what a rush it is to appear on Italian TV. Even the amazing photographs I have of Niagara Falls and the American Midwest countryside do not do these experiences justice. I can’t tell you how beautiful southern Spain is from the vantage point of a train; you have to experience it yourself. The only way you can relate is by seeing them.

While you’re young, you should travel. You should take the time to see the world and taste the fullness of life. Spend an afternoon sitting in front of the Michelangelo. Walk the streets of Paris. Climb Kilimanjaro. Hike the Appalachian trail. See the Great Wall of China. Get your heart broken by the “killing fields” of Cambodia. Swim through the Great Barrier Reef. These are the moments that define the rest of your life; they’re the experiences that stick with you forever.

Traveling will change you like little else can. It will put you in places that will force you to care for issues that are bigger than you. You will begin to understand that the world is both very large and very small. You will have a newfound respect for pain and suffering, having seen that two-thirds of humanity struggle to simply get a meal each day.

While you’re still young, get cultured. Get to know the world and the magnificent people that fill it. The world is a stunning place, full of outstanding works of art. See it.

You won’t always be young. And life won’t always be just about you. So travel, young person. Experience the world for all it’s worth. Become a person of culture, adventure, and compassion. While you still can.

Do not squander this time. You will never have it again. You have a crucial opportunity to invest in the next season of your life now. Whatever you sow, you will eventually reap. The habits you form in this season will stick with you for the rest of your life. So choose those habits wisely.

And if you’re not as young as you’d like (few of us are), travel anyway. It may not be easy or practical, but it’s worth it. Traveling allows you to feel more connected to your fellow human beings in a deep and lasting way, like little else can. In other words, it makes you more human.

That’s what it did for me, anyway.

Thank to you Converge magazine for the post!

Sicilian Surprises

Sicilian Surprises

The first word that comes to mind when I think of my trip to Sicily this weekend is: wet. We probably picked the worst weekend of the month to go as it was cold and raining nonstop (with some hail and unrelenting winds thrown in the mix) for the first three days of our trip. … Read more

The first word that comes to mind when I think of my trip to Sicily this weekend is: wet. We probably picked the worst weekend of the month to go as it was cold and raining nonstop (with some hail and unrelenting winds thrown in the mix) for the first three days of our trip. Unfortunately, my Italian language teacher said that Italy is experiencing a very unusual spring, the coldest and rainiest they have had in years.

garden

However, the second and third words that come to mind are: gorgeous and delicious. I came across many Sicilian surprises during my trip, such as the breathtaking views of the crystal clear water and to die for desserts. Regardless of the cold and rain, the views in Sicily were beautiful! The water along the coast was the prettiest teal color that I have ever seen. You couldn’t even attempt to paint or photograph the colors of Sicily and do it justice. The palm trees, cactus’ and tropical flowers also made me feel as if I was in a resort.

pizza

The food there was also my favorite I have had so far in all of Italy. I made sure to have a slice of thick crust, Sicilian style pizza since you can’t get that anywhere else in Italy. Throughout our days in Sicily, I also tried fried calamari, a calzone with ham and cheese and a delicious sandwich with potatoes that was seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon, a specialty in Sicily. It was very good. The desserts were also the best I’ve had. I made sure to try a Sicilian cannoli. Since I didn’t try a slice of Cassata cake, I got Cassata flavored gelato… but I found that I am not a fan.

cathedral

After arriving in Palermo we explored the city and got to see some of the major sites. While Kevin and Tyler went to a crypt, Henal and I decided to split up and go see two castles instead. The next morning we went to an open market where there were tons of dead, skinned animals (even goat heads!) and tons of smelly seafood. I strayed away from the fish and animals, but purchased a few blood red oranges, which are grown in Sicily. They were delicious, a lot sweeter and less sour than regular oranges. My favorite thing in Palermo was the cathedral. It was gorgeous inside and out.

market

Friday morning we woke up early to catch a bus to Catania. Although the first day was rainy and cold, Saturday we were lucky enough to have some sunshine! We went to an old greek theater, walked to some pretty cathedrals and saw the main gate to enter the city. Our hostel was right next to Castello Ursino, so we could see the castle at night from the terrace! Although Catania itself was pretty, my favorite thing may have been the two and a half hour bus ride to get from Palermo to Catania. The views of the coast, the mountains and green fields of Sicily are amazing.

cannoli

I may be returning from Sicily with a broken umbrella (it didn’t make it through the vicious hailstorm), sopping wet socks and shoes, and most likely a few extra pounds of weight, but I am also returning with fun memories from a beautiful place I won’t forget!

Travels to Siena & Pisa

Travels to Siena & Pisa

However exhausted I am left after a weekend of traveling, it is always beyond worth it. A total of 10 hours of train time in two days took me from Viterbo to Siena, Siena to Pisa and Pisa back to Viterbo. The trip started out a bit rocky as Dom, the friend I was traveling … Read more

However exhausted I am left after a weekend of traveling, it is always beyond worth it. A total of 10 hours of train time in two days took me from Viterbo to Siena, Siena to Pisa and Pisa back to Viterbo.

The trip started out a bit rocky as Dom, the friend I was traveling with, forgot his wallet on a train when we made a switch on the way to Siena. After about 15 minutes of panic and attempting to explain to the train officer his situation, he was then told that his wallet had been found and would be available for him to pick up in Orvieto. However, he was left without it for the remainder of our trip since the town was four hours in the opposite direction of our destination.

piazza del campo

Everything went much smoother from there. When arriving in Siena, we saw there was a chocolate festival right in the middle of Piazza del Campo! But in an attempt to be healthy, I purchased a cup of delicious, fresh strawberries. Ok, fine. A cup of delicious, fresh strawberries with chocolate drizzled all over them. It’s still fruit though, right?

strawberries

My favorite thing in Siena was the cathedral. You would think that after all of the cathedrals I’ve been to, at some point I would get bored, but I am always so impressed at how absolutely beautiful they are. The inside was incredible. With dark blue accents, lanterns with lit candles and a ceiling full of stars, I felt as though I stepped into a dream. Another amazing thing inside the cathedral was the “Libreria Piccolominea,” the most colorful room I have ever seen!

cathedral

After exploring Sienna, Dom and I went to dinner where I had my first gnocchi! My favorite blogger, Emily Schuman (writer of Cupcakes and Cashmere), raved about the gnocchi she had in Siena when she traveled to Italy, so I wanted to give it a try! I am glad I did because it was really good and now I can say that I had first gnocchi in Italy!

After dinner we walked around Piazza del Campo a few times, enjoying the lit up piazza, brisk weather and the much needed walk before dessert! We then purchased gelato (what else?) and walked around the city for a while longer before calling it a night.

pisa

Saturday morning we woke up, grabbed breakfast at a café and jumped on a train to Pisa! My favorite part of Pisa was the Leaning Tower – of course. Although many students say it’s “so touristy” to take the typical picture holding up or pushing down the tower, I was so excited to! It rained off and on but the weather was beautiful and the sun was trying it’s hardest for us, peeping out from behind the clouds from time to time.

leaning tower

I am so glad that I got to travel to Siena and Pisa this weekend and am already looking forward to my next trip in just three days. Next stop: Sicily! …but first, sleep!!!

Social Responsibility Trip to the DR!

Social Responsibility Trip to the DR!

This semester I am enrolled in Dr. Kramer’s Social Responsibility and Personal Well-Being course, one that I already highly recommend. We are reading several incredible books, like World on Edge, full of factoids on how to make the world a better place, and also find ourselves within deep conversation on achieving personal growth within our … Read more

This semester I am enrolled in Dr. Kramer’s Social Responsibility and Personal Well-Being course, one that I already highly recommend. We are reading several incredible books, like World on Edge, full of factoids on how to make the world a better place, and also find ourselves within deep conversation on achieving personal growth within our lives. One of the reasons I was drawn to the course in the first place as well was the spring break service trip to a Spanish speaking country.

Originally we planned to go to El Salvador, but due to a travel warning, we weren’t able to go and are now headed to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. In the DR, our class will be working with West Indies Christian Ministries participating in service for its school and working with kids at the site for the entire week. Although we leave on Saturday at 2:15 in the morning to catch an early flight out of Cleveland, I am stoked for the trip.

I have been itching to practice my Spanish more since returning from Spain, and am glad I can be immersed in another spanish speaking culture. I also plan to document the trip through photo and video, potentially making a digital short or documentary if you will. Who knows! I also am excited to pack as little as possible for this trip to really challenge and stretch myself. I am very excited for the trip, and will share many fotos upon our return!

Later, and have fun on your very own spring break trip! Hasta luego, y diviértete en su viaje de vacaciones de primavera!

Thinking About Tuscania

Thinking About Tuscania

Yesterday for Travel Writing and Studio Art class we ventured to the town of Tuscania. When checking out Tuscania before our expedition, I found that it was called Toscanella until the 19th century. The town was founded by a man named Ascanius. It is said that he found 12 pups in town; hence the name … Read more

Yesterday for Travel Writing and Studio Art class we ventured to the town of Tuscania. When checking out Tuscania before our expedition, I found that it was called Toscanella until the 19th century. The town was founded by a man named Ascanius. It is said that he found 12 pups in town; hence the name Tuscania, as the Latin word for dog is “canis.” The city was built during the 7th century and was mainly important because of its “strategic position” compared to surrounding cities, which aided citizens of the town during Greek invasions.

saint peter

We got the chance to see the Church of Saint Peter (San Pietro), which is considered one of the most beautiful churches in the Lazio region. Kevin and Tyler were insistent on me squeezing in between metal bars in the basement, leading into complete darkness… just for fun. Regardless of the fact that it was near impossible for even a lanky seven year old to fit in between the bars, the thought of successfully squeezing in to find that I was then stuck inside the black hole of darkness, surrounded by either rats or dead corpses, just didn’t seem like an appealing thing to do on your average Tuesday in Italy. After continuous begging and pleading, I made a deal with Tyler that I would come back to Tuscania and go through the bars to the other side. First, he just has to fly to Paris, go to the Eiffel Tower, buy a Nutella banana crepe and bring it back for me. Oh, and it has to be warm of course. We shook on it, so it’s official. And the waiting begins.

santa maria maggiore

We also got the chance to see the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore. This is actually my favorite church I have seen so far in Italy! It was so interesting on the outside and really different from all of the other churches I have come across in Europe. I read that the two columns at the entrance were actually copied from the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. I have always found that it is the unexpected, spontaneous or unique things that end up being my favorite and most memorable. I believe I took up to 10 of the same exact picture of this church in hopes that I wouldn’t forget it.

tuscania

When posting a blog the other day, a quote by Gustave Flaubert appeared to the side of my screen. The quote read, “The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” While I was walking around Tuscania, I was taking in the city while snapping away with my camera, but I never took the time to sit down and reflect on how I felt about the town. Now that I sit here to write, I realize that Tuscania left me with many questions. While exploring, we seemed to be the only ones on the streets. Most of the little shops were closed, it was a dreary and rainy day and there were black crows looming all around the towering buildings. The town was mysterious and eerie. Where was everyone? Why wasn’t anyone on the streets like in Viterbo? As the town has remained ancient through the years, do the citizens here live life just as they did back in the 7th century? Looking back at and reflecting on my pictures taken, I now appreciate the beauty and mystery of the town even more. You can’t see anything like those churches in Ohio, let alone the United States. All of my questions have left me wishing that for just a day I could go back to the 7th century and see how the citizens of Tuscania lived and find some answers!