Chestnut – Castagne.

I parked the small car on the graveled private road and I hurried inside since the grey sky on my grandparent’s house started to thunder. The glass door opened with its common and familiar creaking. Nobody ever thought of putting some oil on it. I walked the marble hallway and I took a right into my grandad’s apartment. I opened the brown door and the smell of chestnut hit me. I smiled while I waited leaning on the door’s jamb. He lifted up his head from the stove and he looked at me with his big blue eyes. He smiled, showing me nothing but his few teeth left. I never liked chestnuts that much but when he offered them to me, on a white paper towel, I accepted. I sat at the round table and I opened the first brown oval, I peeled away all the burnt skin and I ate it. The chewy paste filled my mouth and I suddenly remembered why chestnuts and I weren’t friends: the taste. My grandpa looked at my disgusted face and smiled: “why do you keep forgetting you hate them?” I smiled back lifting my shoulders. He burst into his laugh and kept driving his wheelchair all around the tiny kitchen thinking he was a NASCAR driver.

[ITA]

Parcheggiai la piccola macchina sulla strada sterrata e mi affrettai verso l’ingresso dato che il cielo grigio sulla casa dei miei nonni cominciò a tuonare. La porta di vetro si aprì con il suo comune e famigliare scricchiolio. Nessuno ha mai pensato di metterci dell’olio. Camminai lungo il corridoio di marmo e girai a destra nell’appartamento di mio nonno. Aprì la porta marrone e l’odore di castagne mi investì. Sorrisi mentre aspettavo appoggiata allo stipide. Levò la testa dalla stufa e mi guardò con i suoi grandi occhi blu. Mi sorrise, mostrandomi i suoi pochi denti. Non sono mai stata una grande fan delle castagne ma lui me le offrì, su un tovagliolo di carta, e le accettai. Mi sedetti al tavolo rotondo e aprì il primo ovale marrone, spellai la parte bruciata e la mangiai. La sostanza gommosa riempì la mia bocca ed immediatamente mi ricordai del perché io e le castagne non fossimo amiche: il sapore. Mio nonno guardò la mia faccia disgustata e sorrise: “perché ti dimentichi sempre che non ti piacciono?” Sorrisi di rimando alzando le spalle. Lui scoppiò in una risata divertita e continuò a guidare la sua carrozzella elettrica per tutta la cucina come se fosse un pilota della Formula 1.

NAMASTE.

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West Coast road trip: California (Part 2)

Previous two days of our road trip thru Washington and Oregon.

DAY 3 – Redwood State Park and Dillon Beach, CA

After two hours and a half from Medford, OR, we arrived in California and a little bit after we found the mastodontic Redwood trees. It is seriously impressive and I don’t think pictures can really describe how amazing this environment is.

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Before starting Highway 101, we stopped on the beach to admire the ocean at Crescent City.

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6 hours later we arrived in Dillon Beach, CA. It’s not a commonplace, it’s a really tiny village close to San Francisco, but my host dad told me it was awesome and we should have stopped there on our way. It was an amazing advice because in Dillon Beach I found my retirement home. A perfect place, definitely cold, but worth every mile.

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We slept for the night at a Vagabond Inn in Rohnert Park, CA, before heading to San Francisco the day after.

DAY 4 – San Francisco, CA

In Mill Valley, a half an hour from San Francisco lives one of my best friends: Melissa. We met in Madison, WI, last March and since then we have created an amazing relationship that lasted all those months apart. After picking her up at her house, we headed to Kirby Beach to see the Golden Gate and try to find one of the famous swings. The hike is pretty easy but the weather was terrible, a lot of fog, and the swing wasn’t there anymore. So we just enjoyed what we could see and took some pictures.

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Since we didn’t want to give up on the swing we went to Sausalito where the Hippie Tree and its swing are.

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Our next stop for lunch was In’n’Out, a fast food famous in California. I loved it. After that, we headed to the city crossing the bridge with Melissa’s Fast Track. You have always to pay a fee on the Golden Gate bridge entering the city. It’s free going out. We parked the car (40$ per two days) close to our hostel and then we headed to the Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Square (where we had to say goodbye to Melissa), Lombard Street, the Coit Tower and then back to Pier 39 for dinner.

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Alcatraz

Our hostel, all the way to Union Square, wasn’t the best one. I should have read the reviews because it was the dirtiest possible, with a mouse welcoming us on the stairs and in a really loud position. We spent just one night there, luckily.

DAY 5 – San Francisco, CA

The second day in SanFran and we headed to the south part. First, we took a walk to Dolores Park before heading to Twin Peaks. A really heavy hike since San Francisco it is all up and downs.

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View from Dolores Park

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View from Twin Peaks

We headed back to the hostel passing thru the Castro, the LGBT district, and relaxing for an hour at the Painted Ladies.

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After grabbing our stuff and the car, we decided that we needed to see one last thing before saying goodbye to San Francisco: Land’s End.

 

 

 

DAY 6 – Yosemite National Park and Death Valley

After picking up Giusy from the airport at 1 am, we left San Francisco in the dark and we arrived at dawn at the Yosemite National Park. Unfortunately, we didn’t enjoy it that much because we were super tired but we took a little hike and we took pictures from the car while we were driving to the Death Valley.

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4 hours and a half later we arrived in the Death Valley. It was my second time there and I enjoyed it way more this time than the last time. It was actually closer to what I was expecting. 107 degrees F (41 degrees C) in the lowest point. We took a picture and then we went back straight into the car because it was way too hot.

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Our last destination for the day was Bakersfield, CA, where we needed to stop just to sleep.

Day 7 – Los Angeles, CA

Finally, on the 7th day, we arrived at our last destination, the one that every one of us was waiting but that left us with a little bit of disappointment: Los Angeles. I think movies and tv shows set everyone’s expectation pretty high so when we saw the Hollywood Walk of Fame we definitely left negatively surprised. It was just this street, full of weird shops, homeless people, smelling like pee with a lot of names written in stars on the ground. Definitely not fancy like you could imagine from Hollywood.

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Our next stop was definitely more exciting: Santa Monica beach for a surf lesson. It was 80$ per person and they give you all the gears, a 15 minutes lesson on the beach and then we stayed in the water around one hour and a half. It was magic, being able to stand on the board was awesome. It was always something that I wanted to do but I never had the chance to do. The guys of Go Surf LA were awesome.

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Unfortunately, after our amazing experience, I felt really sick and we needed to head to the hotel because I felt like I was about to throw up ( a thing that I did in the car later, bad story). We stayed in a hotel close to LAX. We shared a 6 bedroom with my lovely Franzi that we met there during her travel month and her buddy traveler, Linda. The night ended with me taking Giusy to the Urgent Care because she dislocated her pinkie toe while surfing and a pizza shared together.

DAY 8 – San Diego, CA and Los Angeles, CA.

For our last full day, we wanted to go till the end of the west coast so we drove two hours to San Diego. The weather was unfortunately unpleasant and the traffic drove us nuts way before midday. After a quick stop in San Diego, we headed to Long Beach where we stopped for lunch and a quick refresh in the ocean.

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After a quick stop at the hotel, we headed to Venice Beach to accomplish our mission: do a tattoo in LA. We decided to head to the Ink Monkey Tattoo, open until 9 pm. They did two out of three tattoos and we had to go back the next day for the third but we arrived there pretty late, so it was a miracle they did ours. The people there were really nice and if you ever go to Venice Beach and you want to do a tattoo please go there, you won’t regret it. Dinner time came quickly so we ate something at a restaurant in Venice and then we headed back to the hotel.

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DAY 9 – Los Angeles, CA and back to Madison, WI.

Our last day we headed first thing first to the Hollywood Sign that we didn’t see it from that close and that disappointed us a little bit.

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Passing thru Beverly Hills, we headed back to Venice Beach to see it with the sun and then take Stefania back to the tattoo studio before heading to the airport.

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This road trip has been amazing and hard at the same time. I will keep all those amazing memories in my heart forever. I’ve seen so much and I had the chance to do it surrounded by people that I love. We started the journey in three (Stefania, my brother and I) and we ended it up in three (Giusy, my brother and I), I met Melissa in San Francisco, Franzi in Los Angeles and for me, a person that values friendship so much, it meant a lot to me. I got a little bit disappointed by the end of how California is. I think I set my expectations too high because of movies, I should have known that is not everything like they show it on tv. But above that, I want to thank everyone shared those 9 days with me, all of them or just one because it’s because of them that I had the opportunity of enjoying this road trip so much.

NAMASTE.

West Coast road trip: Washington and Oregon (Part 1)

This summer I did the most famous American road trip: the west coast. I drove from Seattle, WA, to Los Angeles, CA with my brother and Stefania, a rented car without an insurance for 9 days and it was awesome. I came home with a lot of memories, a new tattoo and some reality checks that made me understand why I will never live willingly in California. In this blog, there will be just the first part of the itinerary, the one thru Washington and Oregon.

DAY 1 – Seattle, WA

After a morning flight from Chicago O’Hare to Las Vegas, and another one from the Sin City we arrived in Seattle around 3 pm. We took a taxi from the airport to the downtown Budget Rental facility. After a problem with the rental, we finally got our car: a grey Mazda. Our first stop was Kerry Park, where we could enjoy the Seattle skyline in the front and Mount Rainier in the background.

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Our second stop suggested from the rental guy was Discovery Park. We walked around the various paths, we got lost but at the end, we found the lighthouse that we were desperately searching. Discovery Park is such a nice place where to enjoy nature to its fullest.

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After a nice hike, we decided to head back to downtown Seattle. From 8 pm the street parking in Seattle is free. So we waited patiently our time, parked the car and we walked to the Public Market and the Space Needle. We decided not to go up the Space Needle because it was about 30$.

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After that, since it was already dark and we started to be tired, we headed to our first hotel in Lacey, WA. It was a Super 8 motel, just one hour away from Seattle. Since we already had problems with the car, we thought it was enough for the day. Nope, when we arrived the receptionist told us that there was no room booked with my name even if I had a confirmation with Booking.com. They “kindly” let us sleep there paying 18$ more of what we should have paid.

DAY 2 – Portland, OR and Crater Lake State Park.

The second day started with a nice breakfast at Super 8 motel. After that, we started our 2-hour drive to Portland, OR. I couldn’t take pictures of the landscape around the highway because I was driving but I felt like we were in Twilight. Tall pines, low clouds, and rain followed us till Portland. Our first stop for the day. I didn’t like what I saw of the city that much but we stopped at the huge Powell’s Book library and we spent at least one hour there.

After the library, we walked around Pearl District and Chinatown. Around noon, we decided to head to our second stop for the day: Crater Lake National Park. The park was 4 hours and a half from Portland. The drive was pretty nice, we left the highway pretty soon and the rest of the trip was on wavy roads surrounded by lakes and tall pines. We paid 15$ per car for a 7 days pass. The weather wasn’t the best but it gave the landscape a really particular atmosphere.

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I’ve never seen such a beautiful place, so particular. After spending at least two hours there, we decided to head to our stop for the night, other 2 hours of driving thru woods and nothing more. We arrived in Medford by evening, in time to watch the episode of Game of Thrones live on HBO.

I loved Washington, but mostly Oregon, where we definitely spent more time. The drive was really relaxing, the temperature was cold but we enjoyed it. I really hope I could go back to Oregon to visit the coastline that we had to sacrifice because of Crater Lake, definitely worth a visit.

PS: if you’ll ever go to Oregon don’t do gas by yourself. There’s a law that fines you with 500$ if you do gas by yourself, we learned the hard way, no fine but we were pretty close.

NAMASTE.

A summer weekend in the Big Apple

If you are thinking of going to New York in the middle of July: go at your own risk. I went to the Big Apple with my brother from the 20th to the 23rd of July. On his first intercontinental trip, my mother decided that was better if my brother took a direct flight from Milan to New York. So, I decided to take two birds with one stone and visit New York for real. On my first days in the States, I was in New York but I visited just a couple of places. This time we had two full days, not a lot but better than the first couple of hours.

The 20th my brother arrived at 8 pm and went out thru security and immigration one hour later. It was 10/11 pm when we arrived at our hotel: The Jane. If you’ll go to New York and you are not one of those picky people, this is an amazing place. It’s in the Meatpacking District, close by to everything you need. We walked everywhere without taking the subway once. Just the bus to and from the airport. It has the architecture and the design of the inside of a ship. The room that we had, with a bunk bed, was really tiny but it had two TVs and a really loud AC. It was enough for our short stay.

DAY 1 – UPTOWN

We started our day pretty early, around 8 am we were out of bed and ready to visit around. The weather was sunny and really hot and humid. Just a step and you were begging for a piece of shade. After a Starbucks coffee, our first stop was the High Line, a  1.45-mile-long (2.33 km) elevated linear park built on an old railway track.

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The second stop was the Madison Square Garden, just from the outside.

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Walking on our way to the Grand Central Terminal, we saw the Empire State Building and the New York Public Library. We entered into the library since it’s free and a fresh place. I loved the architecture, the peace inside and the Children’s room in which there were the stuffed animals that inspired Winnie the Pooh’ stories.

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Empire State Building

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New York Public Library

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Winnie The Pooh and friends

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Grand Central Terminal

After the Grand Central Terminal, we headed back to Bryant Park, just right next to the New York Public Library. We sat, booked online our tickets for the Rockefeller Center and we relaxed before heading to the St. Patrick’s Cathedral before lunch.

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Bryant Park

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St. Patrick’s Cathedral

After lunch, we headed to Central Park passing in front of the Radio City Hall. We wandered around Central Park. We found the Balto statue, the pond and then we relaxed under a tree before heading to the MOMA.

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The MOMA was our next stop. From 4 pm to 8 pm on Fridays, the museum has free entrance. Since we were lucky enough to be there on a Friday we decided to avoid to pay 25$ and head there a little bit before 4 pm. That was a good call since the line was really short when we arrived, while when we left it was long and still.

 

 

At 8 pm we went on the top of the Rockefeller Center and this time I had the opportunity to see the view with sunlight still out. The first time I was there it was January and it was all dark except the ten thousand lights in the New York skyline.

 

On our way to the hotel, we decided to stop at Times Square. I know, my opinion may be unpopular and irrelevant to most, but I hate this place. I think it’s the worst place that I’ve ever seen in my life besides Los Angeles and all the commercials around the city.

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DAY 2 – DOWNTOWN

The second day we decided that was all about downtown, except for the Flatiron Building, our first stop, that we skipped the first day because we didn’t have enough time.

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The second stop was Union Square. It was a dream of mine to see this place. I’ve seen it in so many movies and I dreamt to spend some time there all my life.

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On the way to Ground Zero, we passed thru the Greenwich Village and TriBeCa. It wasn’t my first time at the 9/11 Memorial but like the first time, I got caught by emotions. It’s such a heartbreaking place and I become furious when people don’t respect it.

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On the way to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, we passed thru Wall Street and then we took the ferry, for free, from Whitehall Terminal, where we could see the Statue of Liberty.

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On our way to the hotel, our last stops were Chinatown and Little Italy. Obviously, I wasn’t expecting anything exciting. Chinatown in New York looks exactly like the Chinatown in Toronto or Chicago. But I still wanted to give it a look.

 

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Chinatown

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After this last stop, we crashed on our beds, tired and ready to let our feet rest after two days in which we walked 60k steps total. I don’t really like cities, I’d rather see something more natural, most of all in that heat, but New York, of all the American cities that I’ve seen, is on the top of the list. I would never live there. It stinks and it’s full of people every single time of the day. But it’s a nice place to visit, just for two days.

Shoutout to my brother Lorenzo, who was one of the best buddy travelers that I’ve ever had.

NAMASTE.

 

I don’t hate home but…

“I don’t hate home. I hate how I feel when I’m back there.” 

That’s a message that I sent a couple of hours ago to my boyfriend. We were talking, I had my first BarreAmped class and when I read the text those words came out without too much thinking. On the other hand, my last days had been full of thoughts. I’m 5 months away from going back home and basically, everyone with whom I have a pretty deep conversation knows how bad this makes me feel.

It’s a couple of days that I’ve been living with this terrible heaviness on my chest. Even crying didn’t help to relieve the anxiety. I’ve never struggled with those kinds of things. I’ve always been a pretty relaxed person. On exam days, it was normal to be nervous but I’ve never experienced such a feeling. Only after that sentence, all the heaviness went away and I started to breathe again.

For almost two years I lived in this bubble that’s the au pair program: I had my own car, my room, my independence and a job. If you find a good host family all those things come pretty easily and I’ve been really lucky. I’ve traveled, I had fun. Now, looking at my future and seeing my move back to Italy come closer I panicked.

At home, I’m still the Elena that people knew before I left. They don’t know that I practice yoga. They don’t know what I’ve been thru in this year. They don’t know that I changed, I grew a lot and I realized a lot of things. Now I can argue with you, I don’t hide afraid of what people may think of my opinion. I’ve learned to admit if I’m wrong. I’ve learned how to use my brain in a situation in which before I would have just given up, most of all when it comes to math. I go out. I have fun. I talk with strangers and I’m not shy anymore. I’m aware of myself. I think speaking another language, putting myself in another environment pushed me so much further that now I don’t want to go back. And I know it may sound crazy thinking that just going back may bring the old me out but it’s that what scares me the most.

When I think how I felt back in Italy I can only see dark and a word comes to my mind: STUCK. I was stuck and that’s what I hate about going back home. This feeling back in me. Here I feel unstoppable, capable of doing everything. I feel my future brighter. I know it’s going to be harder about the visa but even that doesn’t stop me. It scares me the most go back to Italy than working my ass off to find a way to stay here. I know, a lot of people may think it’s just crazy. If you go back home you have your family, your friends, your country. I love my family and I love my friends but what you love it doesn’t always mean it is right for you. And I truly wished I was the girl who missed home so much she just wanted to go back, but it’s not me, not now.

I know it’s going to be hard, going back home. But after days of being anxious and negative, I now feel like I can achieve everything. I just have to keep reminding myself that yeah, I can go back to Italy for a period of time, but I can never go back to the Elena that I was before. I’m not going to allow it.

NAMASTE.                                                                                                                         

 

Overcome fear: front row in yoga class

When I go to yoga class I tend to arrive pretty early for several reasons. I like to just lay on the mat and relax, let my thoughts wonder. It helps my body to get adjusted to the heat in a hot yoga class and, lastly, it gives me the opportunity to find a spot in the last row, away from the mirrors and the other yogi’s eyes. I know, as much as yoga boosted my self-esteem I still have a long path to walk to just love myself completely.

On Tuesday I had class at 7 pm. Since I live just 5 minutes away from the studio I decided to leave as always a half an hour or 25 minutes before the class. It was my first time and I forgot that traffic can be really mean at that hour. I got stuck in the traffic for fifteen minutes and once I’ve arrived at the studio the last row was full. I don’t know which kind of face I did but inside I felt like I was trapped. The second row was full too. The only spots available were in the first row. PANIC.

Since I had no choice, still panicking, I rolled my mat in front of the mirrors. I grabbed my block and a strap and then I sat down. I didn’t even look at myself in the mirror, I laid down and started to try to stop the anxiety moment and focusing on my upcoming practice.

The class started and surprisingly, I started to create a good connection with the mirror, with the image reflected. It wasn’t perfect but the mirror, the one that I thought was my enemy, helped me correcting those poses that I was doing wrong. I aligned my hips better, I tried to make my pose look like the teacher’s one. The time was passing by and I gained so much confidence that in mountain pose, instead of looking at a distant point, I was looking at myself, in my eyes. I felt so fierce. I was so focused. The mirror that I was so afraid of started to become my friend throughout the practice. At the end, while I was sipping my water, I was actually smiling at my reflection.

What did I learn from Tuesday practice? I learned that what I fear the most may be good for me at the point that next practice I’ll just put myself in the front row, no matter if there are spots available in the last row. Because I overcame a fear and now I don’t want to put myself in the back row anymore. I want to stay in the front and focus just to be better in my practice, focusing just on my gaze I kept tree pose twice, a thing that never happened before. I’ve learned that overcome fears can be a turning point in your life, not just in the yoga practice.

NAMASTE.

A crazy road trip to Yellowstone.

Road trips are always a great idea, this last one was probably my best one so far: Yellowstone National Park. I didn’t think I was going to do it for real until it happened. I live in Madison, WI, and to Wyoming, where the park is, it’s a 16 hours drive minimum, without stopping once. A little crazy, I know, but I have to say proudly that we made it.

We left June 30th, a Friday night around 6 pm to our first stop: Minneapolis, MN. We drove 4 hours and 12 minutes. Just those hours made me realize I had found the right people to travel with. We started singing, laughing, making fun of each other in a good way and take pictures of an amazing sunset.

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The next day, July 1st, we started our 12 hours drive till Billings, Montana, the closest and most of all cheapest place before entering Yellowstone Park. The drive was long, at one point it felt like endless. Being four made the drive shifts pretty easy. We didn’t plan any kind of stop on the way but when we saw from the highway the Painted Canyon of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park we could not pull over into the overlook.

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Around 8 pm we arrived in Billings, Montana, at a Motel 6. We relaxed our tired bones in the pool and then we fell asleep after a nice shower.

On July 2nd, we left Billings to the North Eastern Entrance of the Yellowstone Park. When we saw the Rocky Mountains we all got super excited because we all come from mountains places while Wisconsin, on the other hand, has nothing but flat lands.

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On the way to the entrance, we stopped a couple of times. First, at an overlook point where we admired the mountains all around us. The second stop was at a beautiful waterfall. The landscape was amazing, I felt like in a western movie.

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Finally, around noon, we arrived at the entrance. Obviously, we had to take a picture with the sign just to prove ourselves that we really made it!

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The entrance fee is 30$ per car for 7 days. After we paid we drove thru the park and we started to see the first Bisons and deer. Our first stop was at the Mammoth Hot Springs.

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After walking around the springs, we stopped to hit the restrooms and look around in the souvenir shop. Our second stop, for the day, was the Canyon of the Yellowstone with the Lower Waterfall.

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Since it was already 5 pm, we decided to drive to Cameron, Montana, where we booked our room for the night. From the West Entrance of the park, it was only one hour drive and we passed thru Idaho too. Every mile closer to Cameron we started to become a little worried. There was nothing around. No towns, no houses, just beautiful hills and some ranches with horses and cows. We discovered that the Blue Moon Saloon, where our cabin was, was basically the main attraction of Cameron. The people there were really nice, we had dinner at the saloon and then, after watching the sunset we decided to head to bed.

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Island Park, Idaho

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On July 3rd, the third and second to last day, we drove back to Yellowstone. We stopped a couple of times on the way to the Grand Prismatic just to take pictures and enjoy the nature.

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At the Grand Prismatic, there was a lot of people but the place was extraterrestrial. The bacterias inside the water create those amazing colors and when the sun started to reflect on the water everything was so bright and beautiful that we stopped taking pictures and we just admired.

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Our second stop for the day was the Old Faithful. Let’s say it, I’m not patient, at all. Waiting for a geyser to erupt was the longest and most stressful thing that I’ve ever done. We were under the 1 pm sun, it was hot and people kept lying to us about the time. As soon as we arrived an old man told us that the geyser was going to erupt in 15 minutes. We sat in a good position on one of the benches along the border. About 10 minutes later another man behind us said it was going to erupt at 1:20 pm. Our patience slowly went out of control when it was 1: 30 pm and the Old Faithful was becoming the Old Unfaithful to us. Around 1:35 pm it started to bubble a little bit but never as much as it should. Just ten minutes later, finally, the geyser erupted and we enjoyed the three minutes show.

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After the Old Faithful erupted we decided to continue our road trip to the Yellowstone Lake. Going away from the Old Faithful parking lot was a nightmare because everybody left at the same time. Plus, the Old Faithful Lodge got evacuated in that moment because of a “fire”. It took us 20 minutes to free ourselves from the traffic and hit the road till the lake.

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We stopped at a gift store and then we hit the road thru the mountains. After the mountains there were just endless roads so we decided to stop, trying not to be hit by cars, to take those pictures that you always see but you never had the chance to take. It was one of the funniest things that I’ve ever done and it was totally worth it.

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After all the excitement for the amazing pictures, we decided to stop in Greybull, WY, to do gas. Why do I remember so well a place in which we should have stopped just to do gas? Well, the thing is from that moment things got a little bit complicated. The car started to do weird noises as soon as we slowed down. Having a person that knows about cars in a road trip is always helpful and Franzi, our technician, understood that something was going on with the brakes. It was the evening of the 3rd of July, we all knew that we weren’t in a good situation. Nobody is open in a little town in the middle of nowhere right on the 4th of July. Luckily, we found help in Brenda, a receptionist in a hotel in Greybull, that with Jonh, her boyfriend, told us that going to Gillette with those breaks wasn’t a good idea. We would have hit the mountains again and braking, even if it is just the rear brakes, can be dangerous. We decided to take their advice: drive back to Billings, Montana, on the highway and try to find somebody open that night or the day after. Slowly and carefully we drove two hours till Billings. On the drive we called as many car repair shops possible, we were hopeless at one point till we found a place that was going to open the day after at 9 am and it had all the pieces we needed. We were so relieved that we start joking again.

The day after we brought the car to the car repair. The couple was lovely and helped us as much as they could. The car wasn’t in good conditions but, they told us, it would have made its way back to Wisconsin. At 12 pm we left Billings, ready to hit the road for the last time till Madison, WI. We needed to do one last stop. On the way to Madison, passing thru South Dakota, we decided to visit Mount Rushmore. Truth to be told: it was a little bit of a delusion. In movies, it looks so huge and majestic. In real life, well, it’s ok.

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We left Mount Rushmore around 7 pm. We arrived in Madison, WI, at 8 a.m. the next day. In the meanwhile? A lot of driving, a couple of stops to do gas and stretch ourselves, a beautiful sunset, an amazing sunrise, deep conversations in the middle of the night just to keep us awake. We arrived home tired, we barely kept ourselves awake the last hour. It was a tough drive but we arrived home in time to work right away. Yeah, we needed to be home by the 5th morning because we all had to work, that’s why the crazy drive-thru Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin to arrive home in time.

This road trip has been amazing. I’m so thankful to Giusy, Franzi, and Andrea that decided to hit the road with me on this crazy road trip. I’m thankful for all the miles we drove, all the songs we sang, all the jokes we made, all the smile we shared and all the amazing sceneries that we saw. I’m so happy I’ve seen such a good part of the United States on the Independence Day weekend. We never had a fight, even when things went wrong we supported each other and we kept smiling because we were so lucky to see all that beauty that the rear brakes broke weren’t the worst thing that could have happened to us. We bonded and we created amazing memories that I’m never going to forget. This road trip taught us a lot about ourselves, America and how cars work. Just in 4 days, we drove thru Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho and South Dakota. I added to my list 5 States and I can’t wait to add even more on my next road trip on the West Coast in August. For now, thank you again to my fellow companions for the amazing and unforgettable experience and thank you America, once again, to be my second home.

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NAMASTE.